Dan Tofan ’11 is a European man – this was evident when he made me a cup of tea and we sat down to discuss his native land of Romania, his summer job modeling in London, and his resemblance to Jacob from “Twilight.”
The Argus: You happen to resemble one of the actors from ‘Twilight.’
Dan Tofan: I do. Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m not sure.
A: What has that been like for you?
DT: I had no idea who this guy was until I watched the movie on the plane to the States. I was too curious not to watch it. It’s funny; a lot of people bring it up. I even had people stop me on the street. I think I would prefer to not be known as that guy who looks like that guy from that movie.
A: You hail from Bucharest, Romania. What brought you to Middletown, Connecticut?
DT: Well, it’s a long story. I knew I didn’t want to go university back home and all my best friends left for England. So I started the process of applying to the States two years before graduation. I took my SATs, my TOEFL and then I applied to about 20 to 25 US colleges and universities. I barely knew anything about Wesleyan. It came down to choosing between University College of London and Wesleyan. At that point in time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to study business with East European studies, which would have been my major at UCL, so I decided to cross the pond and take a leap of faith. It has been the best decision I have ever made. I feel that Wesleyan has chosen me as much as I have chosen Wesleyan.
A: What do you miss most about home?
DT: I guess food—that is one thing I fondly reminisce about. But I feel that I am pretty much integrated in the American way of life. Whenever I go home I start missing the States.
A: I know you speak several languages— what are they?
DT: I obviously speak Romanian, my mother tongue. I started learning English in second grade, French in fifth grade, and I took Italian at Wesleyan, which was sort of cheating because Italian is close to Romanian. I need to learn Spanish. That is really hot right now.
A: So after spending 10 weeks on campus this summer doing research about authoritarian regimes and their economic promises, you headed to London to model?
DT: It’s surprising how this got out. It’s not such a big deal. I was scouted and they offered me a test shoot. It was really unexpected but it was a nice experience to have. I doubt I will pursue it in the future because I plan on getting a job in Boston or New York in consulting or finance.
A: For whom were you modeling for in London?
DT: I’m not sure if I can actually say the name, but it’s a really big American fashion brand. It has a quarterly review now.
A: Did you have to do anything crazy?
DT: Yeah, I had to ride a horse. Probably people think that modeling is an easy task but it is kind of hardcore. You need to understand what people want of you and you cannot really pitch in with your creative ideas. You just have to get what the concept is and execute it.
A: Not only are you a novice model, but you have the intelligence to match. I hear you’re writing a thesis?
DT: I’m writing a thesis for the Government Department. I am looking at the way elites form political institutions in Poland and Romania over the twentieth century. It’s a broad topic, but I am hoping to narrow it down. It’s quite an undertaking.
A: I know you’ve had some time to prepare for this last question, but, if you could be any fruit, what kind of fruit would you be and why?
DT: [Laughs] I really like apples. I don’t like to stand out very much. Apples are the way to go, a pretty basic fruit. My grandfather was an apple trader in the inter-war period and was filthy rich so I have to appreciate apples as a result.