Toni Gabriel Mahfud is a German model, photographer and illustrator, born on 2 December 1994 in Hamburg, Germany. He’s widely known for being a content producer on the social media site Instagram.
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Although there’s not much information about his parents, it’s known that Toni became interested in art when he was four years old, after his mother bought crayons and other art materials for him.
The next step for Toni was to start watching anime and other media that inspired him to sketch: ‘Started with Anime figures when I one day asked myself, ‘why do these persons have such big eyes and a nose like this? What was the first step to start working on my art to look more realistic?’ I was around 12 at the time. I never went to an art school or anything. I just thought of everything myself.’
Concentrating on creating his own style, Toni improved his work throughout his childhood by experimenting with various techniques and more realistic themes, putting special attention into portraits. However, dedicating his life to art was not his only goal, as he also became interested on modeling, beginning when he was eight years old.
In 2011 he started posting his art online, though it was only in 2014 that he created a YouTube channel, on which he shares videos of his artworks creation process, often using watercolors for paints and dark pencils for drawings. His videos are entertaining and relaxing, as he takes a long time to edit them on high speed to catch viewers’ attention, and chooses soothing music fitting the work he’s working on.
Toni’s illustration portfolio on his YouTube account includes his drawings of celebrities, such as actor Channing Tatum and singer Adele. Despite Toni uploading only six videos onto his channel, and hasn’t posted any videos on the platform since 2016, he’s managed to attract more than 100,000 subscribers to date.
The photo and short-video platform Instagram has been Toni’s principal tool, to speed his career not only as artist and photographer, but also as model. The first photo he shared on the site was a ladybug drawing posted on 8 May 2012. Since then Toni has continuously posted his art, photographic works and even pictures of his everyday life.
Although his talent has been notable since the start, his early works looked amateur and uncomplicated.
He never let that stop him though, as he slowly improved his technique and gained more and more followers through it. Some of the many celebrities he has posted drawings of are Rihanna, and top-models Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner.
In recent years Toni has been experimenting more freely with his photographic work, often editing his photos in a very original and particular way. One of his most notable is a picture posted in 2017, on which he appears underwater, with a setting notably enhanced by his editing skills: ‘Back to my underwater walk in Dubai with this incredible location. It’s probably one of my fav pictures’.
To integrate a wholesome and pleasing aesthetic to his Instagram content, Toni is very careful of what he posts, so as not to break the visual equilibrium he has created throughout the years: ‘I always make sure the images fit with the color of my feed.
The page must look harmonious. You should pay attention to this, especially as a beginner.’
Normally he uses a SLR (single-lens reflex) camera for normal posts, though his selfies are often taken with his ‘phone. He also recommends that photographers travel and get out of their comfort zone, to create more original content, giving their work an unexpected turn based on the acquired new perspective of the world: ‘You can photograph things that are different, that you can’t see every day. Simply there’s an insight completely different. And that’s precisely what is interesting for followers’.
Toni Mahfud’s looks have been one of the many reasons he has attracted a huge number of followers on his social media accounts.
Instagram particularly has allowed him to show his physical appearance in a more intimate and somewhat artistic way. The first picture of himself he shared on the platform was posted in 2012, which surely caught his followers’ hearts as they were quick to praise him for his appearance.
Never a stranger in receiving those types of comments, Toni has used the fame provided by his looks to pursue a career: not long after posting his first selfie, he began receiving offers from many fashion companies to model their products.
To date, Toni has worked alongside brands such as Hugo Boss, Adidas, Gillette and Daniel Wellington, and gained worldwide fame as one of the most successful male models.
As a result of his massive presence on social media, Toni has obtained fame as an influencer as well. Posts of his travels and lifestyle attract many brands interested in collaborating with him to promote their products through his social media.
In an interview with GQ Magazine’s German edition, Toni revealed some of his secrets to creating a loyal and massive following online. In his words, Instagram was built for images and its aesthetic, making quality over quantity essential: ‘What is most important is variety and specialty’.
For beginners he recommends posting once a day, opposed to what Instagrammers with a huge following usually do: ‘In my opinion, if you have a certain number of followers, you don’t necessarily have to post something every day. I don’t do that either.’
Create your own path. I know nowadays it’s very difficult to act like yourself when you have so much pressure coming…
In his opinion, visuals shouldn’t be the only thing important for influencers, and he takes time to choose interesting and deep captions for his posts.
His artistic work has also caught the attention of companies not only interested in his looks, but in his talent as well. Such is the case of Pepe Jeans London, which in 2016 collaborated with him to create a line of printed denim jeans.
In 2018 Toni worked alongside sports car manufacturer CUPRA Deutschland, and posted a photo on Instagram of it: ‘I don’t know what it is, but when you give me a pen and a piece of paper, its like you’re sinking into another dimension. Very happy to be working on something creative again with @cupra_de ‘s brand new SUV that is launching soon!’
On Wattpad Toni Mahfud answered various common questions regarding his personal life. One of those inquiries was about his sexual orientation: ‘I’m not GAY. I’m straight as a perfect line.’
On 5 April 2013 Toni shared a picture of himself and an unknown woman who was rumored to be his girlfriend, as the post was clearly an anniversary celebration of their relationship. Unfortunately, the pair apparently broke up and he never posted another photo with her.
Toni has shared various pictures accompanied by model Ruhama Negassi, awakening rumors of a possible romantic relationship with her. However, the pair haven’t denied or confirmed if they were together.
He has also been romantically linked with model and influencer Sonia Esman, who in 2015 posted a video on her YouTube channel entitled: ‘Sonya Esman & Toni Mahfud. Miami’. On it the pair can be seen adventuring around the city together, in a somewhat intimate setting.
Family and Ethnicity
Toni has not revealed the identity of his parents, though it’s a known fact that they’re both Syrians. This answers fans’ questions regarding his ethnicity.
Toni has a twin brother named Jan. Although he is not as active on social media as his brother, and rarely post pictures on his Instagram account, Jan apparently likes to travel, and is fan of Harry Potter.
As a result of his career as a model, illustrator and photographer, Toni Mahfud has accumulated an estimated net worth of $4 million.
— Toni Mahfud (@ToniMahfudReaI) August 22, 2016
As expected of a model, Toni Mahfud has a very handsome physical appearance. Although his current weight is unknown, he’s 6ft 1ins (1.85m) tall. His eyes are hazel and his hair is naturally black.
He revealed to Forbes his favorite place to spend the summer: ‘Of my fav spots is def Dubai. I’m Arabic, so I always enjoy the Arabic food (especially because it almost taste as good as from back home!). You have super luxury spots, but also really beautiful old areas with a lot of history’.
His many goals in life are to live in Los Angeles, marry and have two kids.
His personality is often misunderstood by people who don’t know him personally, thinking he’s arrogant or mysterious. He, however, says that this isn’t his real self.
He dreams of appearing on the cover of Vogue magazine.