About five years ago I went to a model and fashion event, without any expectations. I ended up leaving with the contact details of 8 modelling agencies – Definitely worth the shot! The first few years I was signed with Elvis Models, but recently I switched to Touché Models. The Fashion Industry, especially in the Netherlands, is so incredibly diverse and “colourful” (in the sense of the many different types of people), that I feel very comfortable and can really be myself. I have a light form of autism and I am Pansexual and Genderfluid, which at times makes being in this industry difficult. However, most of the time I can be my spontaneous self. Actually, my androgynous appearance is exactly what I am often booked for. I can come across as very feminine, but I am often portrayed as very masculine.
The best thing about modelling is the collaborations. The industry is full of “beautiful” people (and I’m not talking about their looks) with special personalities, who create something beautiful for every shoot or show. That makes me very excited to be part of fashion. But despite that, sometimes I find it hard to be expected to work topless. Only when I feel comfortable enough, like for the TMHP campaign, will I be topless on set. Although this is not visible on the screen, when topless you can move more easily without paying attention to how the clothes look.
Ups and downs
Despite the many “ups”, there have definitely been more frequent “downs” for me. The setbacks like not having the right size, not being booked for options, being cancelled last-minute for that Vetements show that I really wanted to walk…the list keeps going. These things are hard to deal with on your own. I make sure to often speak to my family, my boyfriend and others with whom I can open up. Cry it all out and start over. It sounds very harsh, but so is the industry. If you think everything will come naturally, then you probably won’t get very far. So it’s a matter of getting yourself back together, working super hard and sticking with it till the next “up” comes around. Walking the shows, being booked for campaigns, those jobs that you can be incredibly proud of (at least I am!).
I have noticed that slowly the sizes have become less strict and extremely thin. Important to say here is that since I have moved to commercial work, I have an easier time staying in the right ‘shape’. To be in the high fashion market, I had to pass on a lot of snacks and exercise (too) much. That became really difficult to sustain and too unhealthy for me. Now, in the commercial market with its slightly larger sizes, I only have to go to the gym a few times a week and “just” eat like I did before I started modelling. Maybe a little healthier, because I have mostly stopped snacking.
Also, I notice mental and physical health has become more important, which I think is great. In my view, more attention should be paid to “#me-too incidents”. I have not heard much about this in the Netherlands, but I can imagine it also happens.
TMHP is an organization that I have a lot of affinity with. They safeguard health in the fashion industry, something I find extremely important. Being yourself in any situation, feeling comfortable in your body and staying healthy while modelling. I am really very proud to participate in this campaign. You can’t make much difference on your own and since that’s not an option for me, I talk about this topic as much as possible.
Be yourself! You have your own priorities, habits, traits and limits. Because people often judge you, it is difficult to stay true to yourself. However, this is incredibly important. For example, I have noticed that it has brought me further than I thought I could go.
And finally: know your limits. I was told from the beginning that if anything happens against my will, I must report it. My agencies (first Elvis models and now Touché models) as well as my family and friends appreciate that I indicate my limits. Otherwise you can only regret it.
Interview by: Merel Zoet