This week I spoke with the Dutch model Lisanne De Jong for my Model Musing column at Look Books.
Have a look at the full story here or read below.
Model Musing: Lisanne de Jong
Lisanne de Jong is one of those girls that is almost too smart to be a model, but in her career she has taken her smarts and put it to good use. Lisanne recognizes how helpful this career was in turning her from a local girl into an international woman and appreciates every second of it.
From the moment when she was discovered in Amsterdam when she was fourteen, Lisanne was very interested in the adventurous side of the business, roaming the world and meeting people were extremely appealing to her. She finished school first, and only then took a second look at that modeling opportunity.
The offer was still standing and the modeling world took her with open arms. It all started with a Prada exclusive booking in the summer of 2010 that then led to a series of blue chip bookings that included campaigns for the biggest fashion houses in the world, including Balenciaga, Celine, Missoni and Burberry; and editorials for W, V, Vogue Russia, Interview and Vogue Japan.
Here Lisanne picks her favorite image from her career so far and looks back on her four years in the business.
Why did you pick this image?
This is a picture I did for Dazed and Confused, the editorial was called “In Bloom” and I love this picture because of the power behind it; the colors and the shape make this picture incredible to me.
Who took it? Were you excited to work with this photographer?
Viviane Sassen took it. I was very excited to work with her, she is very talented, She is also Dutch, it is always fun to work with people from my own country.
What direction did the photographer give you?
I was allowed to do anything I wanted which was great. I was running and jumping around. It was a lot of fun, because there were no limits. Sometimes I would jump and fall over in the fields, but anything for an amazing picture!
You seemed to be in a stunning environment; was there anything curious about this shoot?
This is what I also love about this picture, it was shot in Holland, in the tulip fields. We have these flower fields only once a year, for two weeks during spring and they are amazing. There are loads of different colored fields that can go for miles, it is one of the things that Holland is famous for. We went to the farmers houses and asked if we could shoot between the tulips, and he was happy to agree. They told us they don’t even use the flowers, just the bulbs in the ground, to sell. Also, it was extremely good weather, the sun was shining constantly for those two shoot days.
What were you thinking when it was taken?
I was just having a lot of fun, and wanted to create this effect of being a flower in the fields.
Who was in the crew?
Styled by Katie Shillingford, make up by Irena Ruben and the casting director was Noah Shelley for AM casting.
What were you wearing?
I was wearing a lot of layers, which made it look very cool when I was air bound. Also in every picture I'm wearing tutu's which make the shape almost look like a flower.
Do you love fashion or not necessarily?
I’ve always been quite interested in fashion, when growing up I used to read magazines, and cut out clothes that I liked and make a poster out of it. Or I would cut out nice advertisements and hang them in my room. I love wearing nice clothes. When I see brands like Celine, Prada or Balenciaga (my favorites), I’m always amazed by the designs. So beautiful and inspiring.
What have you learned from your career that you consider truly valuable?
I have learned a lot over these four years. When I look back on when I just started modeling, I was a completely different person. I was still a child when I started, and I've grown up so much psychically and emotionally. This industry made me a stronger person. I'm happy that I did it, because when I started out I was quite shy, it made me more open and I feel much more comfortable about myself.
What advice would you give to aspiring models?
Don’t take things personally, don’t take everything too serious and enjoy every moment.
Click here and have a look at the latest interview I did for Look Books. This week I spoke with Claiborne Swanson Frank about the launch of her latest book American Beauty, out now in stores worldwide and published by Assouline.
American Beauty: an Interview with Claiborne Swanson Frank
The more you stare at Claiborne Swanson Frank’s portraits of women, the more your mind wonders - Who are these women? Where did they come from and what was the message about themselves that they were trying to convey when they sat for these portraits? The image that initially could seem banal starts to tell you stories that could come from some knowledge you have about that person, but also tales of a life that solely lives in your imagination, because for many, the subject of the portrait is unknown. It’s almost like staring at the Mona Lisa and trying to understand what was going on at her time, what drove her to sit for that portrait and what her life was like.
In American Beauty, Mrs. Frank wants to tell us stories of success and achievements, of women who excel in what they do, women who had a dream and a vision for themselves and followed through with it, and through their lives bring out the true beauty, that for Claiborne lives in women everywhere.
Throughout more than one hundred portraits amalgamated in this book you get the opportunity to know at least a little bit about the lives of these women, and you get to understand why the photographer felt inspired to shoot them. Through these portraits you also get the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the author, since much of her passions and inspirations are reflected in the subjects of her photographs.
Here Claiborne shares her thoughts on her most important creation thus far, the book American Beauty.
In your book there is a quote by Carrie Latet about never waking up from the American dream. Do you feel you live the American dream - or at least what that would dream would be like nowadays?
I’ve been so blessed and I am so honored, I am definitely living my dream, but I believe the American dream is more about the idea of reaching for your greatest potential. Each of the women in this book for instance, are a product of their own American dream, and that is the message here, I have never met two women with the same dream, they all come from different places and have different stories to tell, and I tell their stories through portrait.
What was the criteria when choosing your subjects?
As an artist I have to be inspired and these are all women who are contributing to society in some way, but then there was an intuitive choice and the inspiration I felt coming from these women.
Through this experience of discovering the lives of these women, did you also come upon things about yourself that you were unaware of?
Definitely! This project started out as a portfolio of my work, which took the form of an exhibition, which then led to this book. Because I wanted to have a genuine collaboration to show who these women were I think I also grew into myself and who I was meant to be, I became an artist. It’s been a true gift to follow my own heart and vision and learn that I didn’t really know who I was before.
Did you know from the start that you would have such a diverse group of women as a result of your work?
I was thoughtful about that and I wanted to celebrate diversity, the country is in a different place now, and over the past ten years women have taken a different place in society and what they represent to American women. Even looking at myself I see such a mutt, I am American with a Cuban, Swedish, German and French mix and that’s also why I love asking people when I meet them what is their background, because what makes us so beautiful is our mix.
And how about the men in your life? Will they have the opportunity to show their beauty through the lenses of your camera?
Not really, I don’t think so; I have an amazing husband and I love men, but my ability and comfort zone is in finding and trying to capture the beauty in women, to me women are the perfect representation of beauty, and that’s what I like to photograph, that’s what inspires me. Also, I find that most men don’t like to be photographed nowadays, and I think it’s a shame, men used to enjoy being documented at some point and it changed with time, but I do believe that every great man should have a great portrait.
American Beauty is published by Assouline and is available for purchase atAssouline boutiques worldwide and online.
This morning as I woke up and stared out of the window a great feeling of peace washed over me. It's a feeling I notice that I only get when I am close to nature, when I am in a different environment other than my own. To walk outside of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory is one of the most exciting yet peaceful things to experience. To look outside and see nothing but the green fields and trees changing their colors is a big change of scenery for a person who usually wakes up staring at other buildings and pavement. Not to mention the sounds; in the country, nothing but the crisp breeze of the morning rustling through the trees and the birds; blue birds, woodpeckers and so many others that will go unnamed, because that's as far as my knowledge takes me. In the city, I would have been awakened about five or six times by cars, delivery trucks, sirens and drunks. Nothing wrong with that, however. It's the life I chose to live. But for me, to be in the country is to be able to unwind, and it is the best feeling in the world.
Usually with a lot in my head, I find myself taking the time to stare at the squirrels playing in the trees, the rabbits hopping from one side to the other of the lawn, which turns into 40 acres of land covered by trees, creeks and peace of mind. Here, and pretty much anywhere else I go that is similar to this, I am driven to reflect upon life and the choices I made (and am yet to make) and look at what a life in the country would be like. I am a man of the city - always have been - born and raised. Life in the country is a foreign concept to me. What do you do out here all day? What do you do here all year?
In this village where I am staying there is only a restaurant, a pub and a post office. That's it. The church is thirty minutes away, in the other village. If you don't know your way around here, your GPS navigation system will definitely not be of much help and, instead of the church, you will probably end up in Michelle's Hair Parlor - which is, around here, just as sacred.
Being in the country is like adjusting the focus in a camera: everything is blurry and then all of a sudden things begin to clear up. All those ideas and projects that didn't seem possible, or perhaps terribly difficult, are now only a couple of tasks away from completion. Nothing seems impossible out here, because the most unattainable idea right now would be to spend an entire year in the country.
I drive around making up stories for every house I see: the one with the dog and the nicer car is probably the family that only comes here on the weekends to visit. The one with the barn and the hay probably has the family that never left, as so many around here do. I try to imagine what they think about, what kind of shops they go to, what would be a night out in the "town"? Do they date? Who do they date? I mean, the population is minus fifteen. I wonder if they are entertained by all the visitors who come and go? Or, perhaps they are deeply bothered and would much rather be left alone? I wonder if they lock their doors or if a neighbor just stops by for a visit. In the city, showing up unannounced is as close as you can get to a crime. And yet, I would love nothing more than for someone to show up unannounced. It would make me feel more like a small town, apple pie kind of guy, if you know what I mean.
But this is not my life. This is part of my life. This is part of the comings and goings that my life has become, and the thrills that are brought from exploring new places and possibilities. As much as I would love to join the simple life of the country, I don't think I would ever be able to let go of my life in the city, because that is when I am truly in my element.
Everything in life has a purpose, and we all have our tuning methods. For me, tuning is going back to the peace an quiet of the country or the beach; for others, it's therapy; and for some, it's shopping; go figure. I know people who have never been to the country and aren't curious at all about it. For me, it's a fascinating and mind expanding experience that i cannot live without. For me, to be in the country is to be with myself.
From a very young age Carolina Fontaneti knew she wanted to be a model, with support from her parents she signed up for the Elite Model Look contest back in her native Brazil; but it wasn’t until three years later, after she concluded her studies in high school, that Carolina really took on modeling as a full time job. Carolina’s mother used to tell her that she raised her kids to embrace the world, and this one certainly listened.
Since then her mileage card has been filled a few times while traveling around the globe for jobs that include editorials for Vogue, L’Officiel, Elle and Marie Claire and campaigns for L’Oreal Paris, H. Stern, Elle by Yves Saint Laurent and a Dunhill Fresh Fragrance commercial that put her in a James Bond inspired setting as the sexy counterpart of the secret agent in question.
Carolina looks back in her career and tells us why she likes this picture so much.
Why do you love this picture?
Because it had always been a dream of mine to swim with the dolphins, and this picture not only allowed me to make a dream come true but it also gave me a very unique moment, a moment of profound intimacy with nature in an environment that is so unusual for humans. The feeling is indescribable.
Who shot this?
It was a photographer called Lothar Schmidt; I had never worked with him before and that is something that always excites me, because in that lies the opportunity to meeting another great person, and Lothar was definitely all that.
Was this a long and difficult shoot, considering it involved Dolphins and an underwater setting?
This particular shot was very quick because the dolphins can get stressed after a while, so we shot this very quickly and moved on to something else. The entire shoot was done in a couple of days. The whole experience was wonderful, because we were in a heavenly setting; on a Tahitian island, it couldn’t be better, the weather was perfect, the food was delicious and the hotel was stunning. The experience of shooting in the open ocean among sharks and stingrays is unforgettable.
What were you thinking as they were taking this picture?
All i could think was how rubbery the dolphin’s skin was and how unbelievable that I was “riding” him!
What was it for?
Who was the stylist and what were you wearing?
The stylist was a sweet French girl, her name is Julie, i can’t quite remember her last name, but she used to call me “little mouse” for some reason... I was wearing a Louis Vuitton swimsuit.
Do you love fashion?
I like fashion, I like that it is another way of artistically expressing your feelings, I believe that many designers create their work like that.
Do you see yourself doing something else?
Definitely! In my veins there is artistic blood. I love to create, to express myself with words, I am constantly creating something, it keeps me moving forward. I want to play the piano, I want to dance, sing, paint, write; I am inspired by my feelings by the restlessness of the soul in expressing itself in different ways.
What advice do you wish was shared with you in your early days as a model?
To be patient, to study myself and the market, to know where my place is in it and to always try to bring out the best in myself and to share that with the ones around me.
You can follow Carolina Fontaneti on twitter at @CarolFontaneti