It’s been about six years since Eliad Cohen became the poster boy for Zionist sex appeal around the globe. With endless ambition and gnarled Middle Eastern features such as big muscles, hairy chest and a mischievous smile, Eliad was able to leverage the Israeli look as far as possible. Since appearing on the cover of the most famous gay travel guide, Spartacus, in 2011, Cohen modeled in countless magazines around the world, was chosen for the gay men’s hot list by Out magazine, launched a clothing line and successfully built a world renowned gay party-line based on his image. And he’s not even 28.
After years of success in the global marketplace, Eliad is finally coming back to be more involved with Tel Aviv nightlife, with his own birthday party (co-produced with the king of Tel Aviv gay nightlife Shimon Shirazi) and involvement in the pride weekend parties. “I still live in Spain, but in the end, there’s no place like Tel Aviv,” he tells Israeli website Mako. “Tel Aviv is a significant destination in the Papa party tour, which was originally born there. In this period of time in Tel Aviv you can sense that it’s time for new things in the city, and a hunger for something Fresh. The collaboration with Shirazi, whom I am proud to introduce at my birthday party, is coming full circle for me, because I began my first steps in the nightlife business as a bartender at his parties, at FFF. Our collaboration will continue into pride month. We will launch the Tel Aviv Pride bracelet, which will allow hopping between the Papa party and Shirazi and Offer Nissim’s.”
For many fans around the world, it seems that Cohen fulfills a dream job of skipping between gay festivals, hot guys and amazing parties, but Eliad says things are not what they seem. “Papa was born six years ago and became a huge success and this was really a dream come true, but I must admit that things are much less glamurous than they look,” he says. “In order to achieve this glamorous and fabulous result you need to invest a lot of energy and things backstage can get very demanding. The gay crowd is a crowd full of innovations and therefore, in order to remain relevant, I’m always looking for the next concept or the next thing. A large part of my job as a producer is far less sexy than what people imagine: hours of Skype calls in which I try to build a puzzle out of a Spanish DJ, a French graphic designer, a costume designer from Colombia and others from an international team in order to build one unforgettable night.”
“I believe that no matter what difficulties you experience as a producer, most important is that the audience that comes to enjoy won’t not feel those difficulties and will devote themselves completely to the experience,” Eliad added.
Growing older, for Eliad, might force him to evolve in order to remain relevant in the forever-young nightlife business. “Papa began when I was 22, when I was a kid just arrived to the city, and I admit I got carried away in practice,” he says. “For six years I’ve been in the process of constantly touring around the world, and didn’t get to just relax and take in the process I went through, and frankly that I’m still going through. However, I must say I slowly find myself more on the side of production, and even some attempts to moderate my part as the face of the party. It’s hard to tell how will it be in a few more years, but I believe that over time, my place will become more and more behind the scenes, which is a challenge I can’t wait to experience.”