It’s fresh out, and a full moon hides behind the clouds as Ivon Shiva Naicker, Bollywood Hopeful and up and coming model, starts walking over the Cambie street Bridge in Vancouver. He’s finished a shift at his day job, crossing t’s and dotting I’s, working as corporate security personnel. He’s still in work mode though, and as his day happened to end near the Cambie bridge he asks me if we can walk it. It’s a nice way to put the day behind you.
As we start to cross onto the bridge, Ivan starts taking photos looking up at the sky and down at the inlet and cars and buildings below. “Vancouver Police!” He calls out and points at the VPD’s parking lot filled with Their stealth looking Dodge chargers.
“You wanna be a cop Ivon? VPD?” I ask. At 22 years of age he also happens to be a black belt in Karate and Kick Boxing, and studies criminology. “How awesome would it be…” he says. But just as quickly as he builds excitement Shiva seems to calm himself and pauses to reflect. “You never know…” he says.
That pause speaks volumes to his maturity and it shades the tricky corners and curves of this editorial. For you see Ivon is sure of himself but he remains humble and mentality prepared for challenges.
I guess that makes sense, he’s currently a model and has just finished acting in his first independent film. He really is at in inflection point in his life.
I’ve known Ivon for 10 years, or should I say he’s known me. He used to see me, unbeknownst to me, as every so often I would make arrests and conduct plain clothes surveillance’s as a Corporate Investigator, in a previous life not so long ago.
We happened to cross paths one day as he was working in the field and began to discuss the arts and he recounted some highlights he observed of my early days work. Pretty flattering, that is sure.
So like any good investigator I started asking him questions. It’s only good form for the veteran to test out the new boot. Well, what he shared, I believe, sets him apart…if not now, most certainly in the years he has to come.
Which is greater for you Modelling or Acting?
“Acting is greater for me, however confidence in acting has emerged from modelling. I owe a lot to modelling when it comes to expression delivery…….whenever we wear different types of outfits, we need to help the designer carry out their vision through their designs. Modelling also gives you an opportunity to network and also develop confidence.”
When did you start Modelling?
I started modelling in 2016 and my first opportunity was to walk for a Indian fashion show for a magazine platform called “Darpan”. It was my first taste of modelling on runway. The most notable memory of modelling for me would be when I got to walk for south Asian fashion week, it was an amazing experience modelling in a suit for the first time.
When did you start acting?
“Grade 9 Drama was where I started realizing acting is something that I can do from the heart. The school group I was part of, mostly did comedy skits and we did film some small short films. This film takes a sharp turn for me. I am now cast in a film called “Monster”, (Directed by Inderveer Sodhi) which has elevated my acting skills, as I got my first taste of acting as a character that I am not really familiar with. I feel like Acting is something that I can make my passion.”
Ok I need to pause there. You see, in speaking with Ivon I kept seeing and hearing flashes of excitement in his voice and yet his body language was muted. Genuinely excited, but calm.
I also knew from speaking to his mom, that there was more to Ivon than he might say….shout out to moms everywhere…holding onto the secrets of our lives we might later gloss over, modestly or conveniently, forget to bring up as the canon of our personality makeup. And so, the next question…
When is the first time you realized you wanted to act?
“Going through cancer in grade 3 and 9 gave me a lot of time to sit at home and watch tons of movies, listen to music, essentially carve out things that I wanted to do in the future and where I wanted to see myself. Pain and Recovery gave sometime to contemplate amazing and fruitful thoughts about the way I will be living one day. These movies would be mainly Harry Potter and Bollywood movies. I also developed an interest in singing through watching Bollywood movies as well.”
How did you handle going through it twice?
“Going through cancer for the second time was rough, despite not resulting in chemo. The first time I had it I had to go through chemo therapy, which is painful. The feeling you get when the IV liquid enters your body transmit a “freeze-like” chemical that numbs your arm. Strange enough it affected me more when cancer had occurred in grade 9. I had to miss out on activities in the summer time and also was worried that I was going to go through it in an older age. Grade 9, I mean, we worry about which video games to play and where to eat with your friends.”
How has your family supported you?
“They have supported me in every way imaginable. These rough times in grade 3 and 9 got us closer and closer; pain essentially brought us together.”
And your community?
“The Community that I worked with has always appreciated me, they know who they are. Love you guys for always being there and giving me a chance to work with you!”
Do you have hopes for a family as part of your future?
“I go wherever my family goes, that’s the motto. My hopes are to stick with them forever.”
Ivon you have 2 Black Belts…What did you learn from your your training in martial arts?
“Martial arts…if martial arts hadn’t came into my life I wouldn’t be able to recover my physical and mental self. Martial arts taught me discipline and self belief. I can’t thank my sensei enough for always being there and guiding us in the art. I feel terrible that I usually have to skip classes due to school. However training is something that I do time to time till this day. Martial arts is a big reason I am not a drug user or someone who consumes alcohol. My stimulant is the way of a martial artist, I enjoy training and this is my high.”
How do you see yourself as a young man in your community and your country?
“I see myself as someone who can lend a hand. If anyone wants to talk and share their pain with me I will accept them open hands. I see myself as someone they can count on and I love this leadership quality, the dependability people have on me makes me proud of who I am.”
Although I don’t go into further details in this article, when I probed Ivon on the influence his Father and Mother have had on him and how he much he cared for his sister, He was beaming with Pride and smiled ear to ear as he related story after story. For another day and another interview.
Nowadays, trials and difficulties affect us all. Media becomes ever more prolific at documenting the human story and rallies behind causes and churns up just about every sort of thing we’ve ever said and done. It’s for that reason, I was especially proud and felt fortunate to run into an artist and role model in the making, such as 22 year old, Ivon Shiva Naicker.
His story thus far, is reminder of the great opportunities that are available for young men and women in Canada, but that none of us are immune to adversity. It can shape us, it can make us better, if we want it too, if we let it.
As we prepared to part ways, Ivon and I chatted about my personal transition into a full time role as a Photojournalist and Documentary Filmmaker. He then dropped me a line of motivation and support that made me smile. He said: “Des, you have to be a…Tiger…be the Tiger!”
Well said Shiva, well said.