Ramzan Miah is a British Bangladeshi actor, dancer and model who has inspired many young people in the British South Asian community. He grew up in the UK and embraces his heritage and culture. He started his performing arts journey at Stagecoach Theater Arts when he was 10 and earned a degree in Musical Theatre and Dance in 2016. In this special style collaboration with textile designer Samuel Hoque, he plays dress up with us as he fills us in on his latest adventures
By Sabrina Fatma Ahmad
Ramzan has been modeling since he was 17. He made history as the first British Bangladeshi male model to walk in London fashion week and the Bangladeshi face of Charlotte Tilbury, featuring in their ‘Flawless is a feeling’ campaign across Europe, the UK and the US. He has worked with global brands such as River Island, FILA and Primark, G STARR, Sketchers and Paul Smith, and has starred in TV ads for Levi’s and George at ASDA. As an actor, he has landed roles in Ghost Stories, Rocketman, Disney’s Aladdin and Enola Holmes 2. Ramzan is also passionate about mental health and supports The Mix, the UK’s leading digital service for young people. He has been recognised as one of Hello! Magazine’s Rising Stars for 2022. He made history again as the first Bangladeshi Ken in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie. MWB caught up with the man himself.
Congratulations on this iconic role as South Asian Ken! Can you tell us a little bit about your role in the Barbie movie?
Yes, I am a dancer and Ken in this film – all the Kens stay in the Barbie world. There are moments where you will see Kens in different roles; the next minute we are dancing, then battling with each other; it’s all full of surprises. One thing I am very grateful of course, is being a South Asian Ken. I love that I can authentically represent this in the film. When seeing dolls, you hardly see a male Asian doll. So, the fact that I get to be a live-action one hopefully shows my community that the industry is changing and going towards the right direction.
What was the best part of working on this film?
There are so many moments in this film that have been amazing, if I am honest. Working with the choreographers Jen and Lisa, The A list actors such as Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, and the list goes on. Working with the director, Greta, has been special. So overall, I would say the best part of working in the film is the whole experience.
You’ve actually been involved with some really big projects, like House of Dragon, Aladdin and Enola Holmes. Do you have a favorite?
It’s hard to say as all these films are different, and as an actor /dancer, I am constantly adapting and learning from the industry. The one thing I keep in mind is being grateful for all the opportunities I receive. I love being in the film industry and looking at other actors and how they work. The more I work, the more I observe and learn from others.
As a man of many firsts – be it being the first British Bangladeshi male model to walk the ramp for London Fashion Week to representing South Asia as its first live-action Ken, you’re definitely pushing the envelope for inclusivity. But who do you look to as a role model?
Inclusivity is always important in the industry, as we love to see true representation. Alhamdulillah, things are changing, and there are more of us in the mainstream. I am proud to represent Bangladesh in the mainstream industry and inshallah continue to do so.
My role model is definitely my parents as they have supported me throughout my life and continue to do so.
You started acting as a child, in TV dramas. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Wow, this does feel like a while back! Yes, when I was young, I was involved in Bengali Natok, which has given me a small insight into the tv/film industry. This made me realize I need more training to really develop my career in order to work and transit into the mainstream. My experience was to always branch out into the main industry and the only way to do this was challenging myself.
What’s a dream role you’d like to play?
Alhamdulillah my journey has been amazing, but I would love to work more internationally, develop as an actor and inshallah, and continue to work in the film and tv industry.
What’s your preferred genre or style of dancing?
Growing up, I loved watching Bollywood films, but then training in the industry, I fell in love with contemporary. I like to keep an open mind and do all different styles of dance. The more I learn, the better chance I will be able to be a versatile performer.
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned in your career as a model, dancer and actor?
The important lesson I have learned in my industry is rejection; people see this as negative. However, I’m always learning from my experience and taking rejection as an opportunity to work on my craft and positively see this. If one door closes, another door opens
You’re an ambassador for The Mix, a digital support service for young people. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Being a representative in the South Asian community, I feel there isn’t enough talking about mental health, especially for men. When I was young, I felt very isolated with no one to speak to and even if I did, you analyze everything and feel ashamed. I want to ensure this doesn’t happen within our community and beyond.
What’s next for Ramzan Miah?
This is a hard one, as I never know what’s next! The industry is so fast that things develop and change all the time. One minute I could audition for something and the next, I would create content. I like not to plan and keep an open mind. Alhamdulillah, I am grateful for every opportunity I receive.
Fashion Direction & Styling: Mahmudul Hasan Mukul
Photographer: Adnan Rahman
Wardrobe: Samuel Hoque