Meet the man who still believes in old-school values

Photo credit: Picture Perfect Studios

He loves Italian suits, family time, Saturday date nights and strolls along Durban’s promenade. With his smouldering dark good looks, businessman, model and runner-up Mr World SA 2019, Amro Gabriels says he’s really just an old-school romantic.  

Multi-talented Amro is more than an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He recently turned heads on the runway, putting Durban on the map after finishing first runner up at the Mr World South Africa 2019. He was also awarded the title of Mr Universal Ambassador SA 2019 which will see him represent SA at one of the biggest male pageants worldwide.

Sitting across from this well-groomed man with brown eyes that light up as he speaks, Amro’s subtle accent reveals his Egyptian heritage.  The former Mr KZN, Mr South Africa Top 5 and Mr Mzantsi Africa, talks humbly about his roots, having moved from Egypt to South Africa when he was seven. He defines himself as a family-focused guy, and talks about family values, with key principles being achieving harmony, cohesiveness and keeping the flame of passion burning among those nearest and dearest to him.

One of four brothers who all attended Durban High School, Amro enjoys a close relationship with his parents and siblings. In fact, one of the reasons why he and fiancé Shienta chose to settle in their upmarket apartment overlooking Durban’s scenic North Beach, is because he grew up in this neighbourhood. His family live close by, he feels secure and he loves any opportunity to take a brisk walk on the promenade, enjoy the sunshine and appreciate what the beachfront has to offer.

An consummate conversationalist, it’s no surprise when he reveals that he received the People’s Choice Award at the Mr World SA 2019. His journey is one of young boy who aspired to be his own boss, and along the way happened to find himself knocking on the door of a prosperous modelling career. In spite of his success and upcoming pageant preparations, his biggest focus remains his family, and ensuring Shienta and 14-month-old daughter, Amrienta, are nurtured in a way that keeps them all united and happy.

“Being an entrepreneur is a life-changing, schedule-altering, heart-melting and mind-bending experience. The same can be said about becoming a dad.

“Both require risk, vulnerability, learning from your mistakes and patience. It’s only since I started my journey of fatherhood that I truly began to realize the importance of the influence a father has on his child, and the tremendous effort required to carry out this task properly.”

Founder and director of the Amrotech, Amro Jewellery and Shamro Collections brands, Amro says although he takes his role as businessman very seriously, life is more about the little things.

“I’m talking about the kinds of things that bring harmony to your soul, not just financial stability.

“From a young age, my biggest dream was to make something great out of myself. That included doing well in my chosen career, as well as competing in Mr World, something I saw as an opportunity that might open doors and provide an amazing platform to inspire others locally and globally.”

The Mr World South Africa Pageant seeks a well-balanced man who strives to not only make a difference in conjunction with the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ campaign, but also lives a balanced, healthy lifestyle and one who understands the importance of social media and multimedia. Amro ticks all these boxes. As an active philanthropist, he is the director of the Amro Gabriels Foundation, an NPO whose primary purpose is to bring together different entities and organisations who are active in social upliftment, as a united force, in order to empower disadvantaged individuals to reach their full potential in life, by equipping them with vital lifelong skills necessary to do so. This NPO operates under the slogan ‘Teach a Man to Fish’, which is a message that it strongly believes in and strives to do.

“I thrive on being successful. I wouldn’t say I’m overly competitive, but I like to make a project out of everything I do, and I don’t mean making a massive task out of something.”

“I genuinely find fulfilment in going the extra mile, because it’s really about putting my best into everything, and hoping it is well received by others.”

His gorgeous fiancé vouches for him on this.  The couple, who were familiar with each other on social media prior to meeting in person by coincidence –  they lived in the same block of flats – are best friends. This is something they believe makes their relationship more meaningful.

“Shienta’s initial perception of me was of a guy who was solely engrossed with self-image, but after we met in person, she told me that she found it hard not to fall in love with my soul. That makes me a happy man because, in turn, I am drawn to her pure soul and gentle nature… and Shienta knows, I try hard with everything I do, whether it concerns our relationship, fatherhood or my work.”

“We try our best to understand that we both have roles to fulfil in our individual capacities and as a family. We both actively help each other in fulfilling these roles. I never step out the door without a hug and a kiss goodbye, because this is part and parcel of survival for me.”

Amro believes that in order for any relationship to survive in a healthy way, it requires continuous effort, and small gestures should never be underestimated, as they are an integral part of keeping the relationship alive.

“In many ways I consider myself an ‘old-school’ romantic.”

“I am the exotic flowers, dusk walks along the ocean, picnic type-of-guy, who pays meticulous attention to anything planned, so as to produce the most magical result possible. I love the idea of romancing and treating a woman in a way that reminds her that she is special.”

Take the couple’s engagement for example. It was Shienta’s birthday (and the day Amro proposed), and he’d prepared a day full of quizzes, clues and surprises. There was a trip to the aquarium at uShaka Marine World where a diver swim past with a sign that read ‘happy birthday’, a visit to the Mandela Legacy Lock fence, followed by a photoshoot he knew she was dying to do because she was pregnant with Amrienta. The day ended with a romantic fireworks proposal, all of which, Amro says, would not have been possible without the help of some of his closest friends.

“Once a month we celebrate our relationship because, just like payday comes around, so does the date that marks our first day as a couple. I religiously set aside Saturdays as our date nights, and no matter what happens, we always stick to it and look forward to it!”

Comfortable in most avenues of his life, including his dress style, Amro still turns to Shienta for final approval of his daily wardrobe.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I love to step outside feeling comfortable and content with what I’m wearing. I’m most comfortable in a well-fitted, Italian suit or a slim fit Italian style blazer with Italian style vintage shoes. That’s a whole lot of Italian for and Egyptian guy right? But I thank my dad for that, as he spent a considerable amount of his young life in Italy, so I developed a natural attraction for Italian clothing styles and food as a youngster. They embody a retro theme so well, and this is certainly a trend that regularly resurfaces in fashion all over the world. I honestly believe any look can be brought back, it all just depends on how a person pulls it off.”

When he’s not working or jetting off to a modelling event, Amro isn’t one to just sit at home. On a sunny day he’s most likely to bundle his family into the car and head off to somewhere they’ve not been before. If they’re staying indoors, then movies on the laptop are a popular time-out option, that’s provided their daughter is sleeping, otherwise they use the time to interact and play with Amrienta.

“We both enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Lots of water, fruit and vegetables, and a good dose of exercise go a long way in helping us function well, especially now that we have a little one. Our daughter is the light in our lives! I am beyond grateful for my successes in life so far, and for the journey I’ve been on ahead of the Mr Universal Ambassador SA 2019. This is one of, if not the most exciting, periods of my modelling career, as this competition is a step towards Mr World, which is the most coveted event in pageantry worldwide. All I really want is to be able to do my best to secure my family financially, as well as provide my daughter with the best education we can, and not just in school, but in life skills. Anything over and above this, I see as additional blessings, none of which I will ever take for granted.”

You can follow Amro Gabriels’ on Facebook (Amro Gabriels), Instagram (amro_gabriels) and Twitter (@amrogabriels).

Photo credit (cover images): Picture Perfect Studios