Now Ramzanali’s mustachioed face is on posters plastered around the world promoting Movember, the campaign designed to promote awareness of men’s health issues like prostate cancer, testicular cancer and depression. He’s even featured in a Movember TV commercial.
The idea behind Movember is for men to grow a mustache in November, and when people ask why they’re doing it, they can direct them to websites with information about men’s health.
Now that Ramzanali is an international celebrity, it’s time for 10 Questions. Surprisingly, Ramazanali still acknowledged that he knew me.
CultureMap: How did your mug wind up on that poster promoting Movember?
Raheel Ramzanali: I would love to say I have a great agent [Editor's note: At this point, Ken will take just about any agent] or that my mustache was too good not to be in included, but it was just luck.
Back in May I received an email from the folks at Movember saying they were looking for faces to be part of their 2019 global campaign. Now you know me, I don't like being in the limelight, but I had to get over that and at least audition for a chance to be part of this historic campaign that would feature men from around the world to help raise funds and awareness for men’s health.
I sent my audition pictures and videos and thought nothing of it because thousands of guys applied to be part of this campaign. Then about two weeks before the actual shoot I learned that not only was I selected to be part of a photo shoot, but I was also picked to be in a TV commercial!
CM: How would you describe the unusual expression on your face on that poster?
RR: Exhausted. I'll never make fun of models again because after sitting in a chair under bright lights making funny faces for 45 minutes, I was done. That was literally the last expression they told me to try and I really wasn't that into it. As that great philosopher Michael Scott of Dunder Mifflin once said: you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.
CM: Where did they take that photo?
RR: The photo was taken in a studio in London and my commercial scene was shot on a subway, which they call the Tube.
CM: How long it take you to grow that mustache?
RR: That was about 35 days’ worth of growth. They asked me not to shave once I submitted my application in case I was picked.
CM: Did the promoters ask for a particular style of mustache?
RR: I sent them previous mustache styles I kept for Movember, but they told me they would decide once I arrived at the studio in London.
CM: After the photo, did you keep the mustache or shave it off?
RR: I had to keep it for three days! My photo shoot was on a Monday and I also had the TV commercial shoot to do, but that wasn't until Wednesday morning. I met one of my friends at the Tate Modern on Tuesday and he did his best to stand as far away as possible from me because of my ridiculous mustache.
CM: Did you meet the other guys in the mustache poster?
RR: Of course being part of a global campaign where my face is on buses, subways, and TV is an immense blessing, but meeting the other guys from around the world was really interesting. There's nothing I could've done in my normal life where I would meet guys from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. in one place and learn about all the great work they're doing in their communities to promote men's physical and mental health.
CM: What did your wife and daughter think of the mustache?
RR: They both couldn't stop laughing at it. I FaceTimed them after the stylist shaved my beard into the handlebars and my daughter thought it was some guy off the street.
CM: What celebrity has the most awesome mustache?
RR: Dead, Freddie Mercury. Alive, Hulk Hogan, brother!
CM: Have you ever, and our friendship is riding on this answer, worn a T-shirt that reads, “Free Mustache Rides”?
RR: Not yet, but you’ve given me a good reason to consider it.