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Model swaps fashion for food
Simon Crossland. Picture: Rob Duncan

He is one of Perth's hottest male models and is now adding some serious sizzle to the city's flourishing food and drink scene.

At 24, Simon Crossland is emerging as one of the hospitality industry's new breed of young guns with the opening of his second venture with business partner James Crabtree.

Building on the success of their Victoria Park bar The Causeway, which last week celebrated its second birthday, Crossland and his offsider have branched out with The Belasyse in the CBD's Shafto Lane.

The buzzing city locale is familiar territory for Crossland because the tanned hunk's other workplace,

Scene Models, is conveniently located next door to the new bar and restaurant.

"Modelling is something I never thought I'd get myself into and it's definitely given me the confidence to attack anything in life . . . I use that confidence in taking risks," he told AAA Weekend.

Crossland - who has featured in campaigns for the likes of Forrest Chase and Crown Perth and walked the Perth Fashion Festival runways since making his modelling debut in 2010 - was raised in the country and showed plenty of promise as a footballer with WAFL side West Perth, while Crabtree plied his trade with Perth Demons. When injuries ruined their AFL dreams, a new career beckoned.

"We both come from country towns and humble families and have had to work hard for everything we have," said Corrigin-raised Crossland, who also worked in project management in the construction industry.

"We were attracted to hospitality because we're really social characters and love networking and being out and about."

Serving up a tapas menu in a laid-back ambience, Crossland drew much of his inspiration for The Belasyse from his European travels.

"We signed the lease the day before I went to Europe for two months and I carried the camera everywhere . . . Barcelona played a massive role," he said.

Adding an "artistic vibe" are recycled materials sourced from local salvage yards and a mural inspired by childhood memories painted by Perth urban artist William Heerey (aka Daek William), who in recent years has divided his time between WA and New York.

Buoyed by Perth's thriving hospitality scene, Crossland's ambitions aren't stopping at his second venture.

"James and I have similar values and we push each other . . . I don't know how far we're going to go but a club would be nice in the next few years," he revealed.

None of which means his modelling days are over.

"I'm still on the Scene books and do bits and pieces throughout the year, and I'd definitely like to get back into it more down the track."