We had a pleasure speaking with Olympic swimmer Calvyn Justus, captured by Riley Taylor.

How would you describe your work and swimming across the past, present & future?

I think it’s been a good journey although I believe I’m still in the beginning stages, there’s so much I still want to do and achieve so hopefully there’s still a long road ahead, but I’m having the time of my life. 

What has been your favourite swimming moment of your career and why? 

Winning my first national title in 2016 which secured my place on the Olympic team. I wasn’t a favorite for the race, I went into the final ranked 6th. 

Tell us something that is not on your resume.

Outside of swimming and modeling a huge passion is film and photography, I’ve been lucky enough to have directed and produced a few campaigns and commercials for the biggest swimming brand, Arena. 

Have you learnt or explored any other new passions during this past year?

For awhile pools were closed, actually to this very day most still are, so I kept my fitness exploring another passion of mine, Surfing. 

When did you start swimming and when did you know it was what you wanted to do as a career? 

I began swimming competitively at 9 and that same year watched South Africa win and break the world record in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Becoming an Olympian was all I thought about from then on. 

What is your daily beauty routine like? And what beauty products you cannot go without?

I’m usually up pretty early to go for a surf, swim or run. When I get back home I’ll have a shower and use a face wash, when I’m out the shower I’ll apply a serum from ‘The Ordinary” along with a face moisturizer with sunscreen in it. Sometimes I’ll spray my face with rose water face mist. I’ll repeat that in the evening before bed using a night time serum instead. I’ve also been using a zinc sunscreen from a company called EIR NYC and it’s great for surfing. 

How was it like competing at the Olympics and are you preparing for the coming Olympic Games in Japan?

Competing at the Olympics was a dream come true and an honor, I feel incredibly blessed and I’m so grateful for the experience. 

Preparing for Tokyo 2020 has been incredibly challenging with Covid and the pool closures. Whether the games will be on or not is still being decided and that adds another layer to a challenging preperation. It’s something I’m just having to take day by day at the moment. 

How is it different living in Los Angeles now to South Africa where you grew up?

The weather and coastal living are very similar, the culture and the way people operate in LA took a little adjusting and learning to drive on the opposite side of the road felt strange at first but ultimately I love having the option of both places, they’re so different and satisfy different parts of me. I love California and I’m really happy to be here. I wish more people could see how beautiful and unique South Africa is. 

What are your other passions next to swimming? What kind of other creative things and projects have you been working on?

Touching on the video and photo passions I mentioned earlier, I definitely want to explore that world more, in-front and behind the camera. I’m trying to spend a lot more of my time writing and editing content. I’m also really enjoying the modeling and fashion world and I think there’s a few ways I could merge these two worlds together, I’m excited to keep learning and exploring. 

What are some of your favourite travel spots you have been to and why? Also which are some of your bucket list places you want to visit after Covid-19?

With my swimming career I’ve spent a lot of time training and racing in Europe, I really love France and Italy, at one point I nearly took a directing job in Rome. I love Greece and the Maldives for vacation too. I would really love to spend time in Japan, I’m fascinated with the culture and food. Travel is one of the best parts of life and learning and I’m always excited to visit new places and cultures. 

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion to me is a way to express yourself and different versions of yourself visually. It’s how you’re choosing to show yourself to the world and it’s one of people’s first things they’ll learn about you on first impression. I love the idea of being different characters and experimenting with styles and colors. It’s such a big part of the world of film and photography and I can’t wait to learn more. 

Timotej Letonja