Gen Z: Gabriel Lindsay

16 August 2017

Photographer Jade Danielle Smith
Model Gabriel Lindsay at Premier Models
Interview Cecilie Harris
Words Hedvig Werner

“There have been idiots since the world began and there will be idiots long afterwards.”

During an intriguing afternoon chat we explored Gabriel Lindsay at Premier Models and his longing for retirement, disgust with idiocy and romance with Hooters. All while sipping ‘French 75s’, sorry - that was an outtake from his dream last night. Photographer Jade Danielle Smith and Gabriel worked like peas in a pod together, as she perfectly captured his struggle to rescue his imaginary friend Bob who was unfortunately stuck in the editor-in-chief’s blue gym ball for the full duration of the shoot. He might still be in there for all we know…

Gabriel loves spending time with older people and deep down longs for the days when he'll be a 70-year old man enjoying long island ice teas at a tennis club in sweaty Florida. It’s worth taking notice that a lot of Gabriel’s ideas involve cocktails. Anyhow, with our exploration of Generation Z, we’ve discovered that visual aesthetics is the general consensus and the cold truth is not necessarily essential. Even though Gabriel is part of the so-called selfie generation; he can’t help but add his flair of self-irony to the narcissism. He has got his head screwed on right, although he might not admit that to himself or to you for that matter.

Gabriel finds capitalism to be the one and only influencer of this generation, he is therefore fashioned in London based menswear designer and newcomer Scarlett Di. We go against the tide and stich him together in separate jeans fabrics, which has since the 1950s been a heavily commercialized product. Scarlett Di breaks the rigid fabric and pulls it together the way she happens to view the world. Gabriel gives life to her quirky designs, allowing him to be the outspoken and amusing chap you've all loved since his genius apple-throwing action in issue 9.

I’m going to start big; how would you describe your generation?

A lot more globally aware, I’d say. Everyone gets a lot more involved into the rest of the world instead of just closing off. I think that is a good thing. I mean; I think we have a greater understanding of different cultures and what’s acceptable and what’s not. We’re almost self-policing, which I quite like. If someone does something or says something that’s offensive to someone, read into it however you want, but someone somewhere is going to say something about it. I think they should have had more of that type of mind set in the past. Having more of it now is never going to be a bad thing.

What would you are the positives and negatives of this generation if you were to compare it to previous generations?
El positivos... Well, I think we’re all a bit more open-minded. My social background is posh white kid living in a quite nice area of the world, and so I would have probably not have met as many people or been as open-minded if I had grown up 50 years ago. I think it has made me a much better person. I’m a 'chiller' and I’m not afraid of the world. My grandparents are quite afraid of life outside the bubble, but with our generation we’re excited to explore and try things and go do things. There isn’t much stigma related to going out in the world and doing what you want. It’s like mingling. For the negatives… Everyone can get quite caught up in stuff. It’s quite ‘faddy’, if you get what I mean? I’m sure there have always been fads, but people get really into one political topic for a while and then they forget about it and they go along with the flow. People don’t really get too much into stuff - they don’t really research things. A lot of people get a political idea from one Facebook post and that seems to shape their whole opinion. And you’re like; actually, you are so wrong about everything you just said. Please, just go and read… But you know, you’re going to get idiots everywhere. There have been idiots since the world began and there will be idiots long afterwards. Ignorance is bliss. I’ve always said I wanted to live in like tiny small-minded town and just go into work everyday. Have a really set routine working at a screw factory. Have a pint every night. Hang out with the lads and live a silly and quiet life. I think there is something quite noble about that.

Yeah, I’m sure we can fulfil that dream if you want to.
Nah, I think it’s too late for that now.

I’m sure there is a screw factory that needs a good worker…
Yeah, like a gap year at a screw factory. Title of the story: ‘Gap Year at a Screw Factory’.

What are you passionate about?
Nothing, I’m a heartless cold bitch. I think I am passionate about experiences. I really love trying something new and then pushing myself to the next limit. If I do something great and someone says I should do it again, I wouldn’t want to. I would just be like ‘well, that was at the time, but now I’ve finished it and it’s in the past and I know I can do better. Let’s get on to the next thing’. I’m passionate about self-improvement. This is starting to sound like the worst job interview in the world, isn’t it? ‘Passionate about being the best version of myself.’

Is this because you’re becoming more grown-up now and starting to understand these adult things?
No… I’m not grown up. Don’t be silly, I’m just pretending to be one. I get so flustered all the time; ‘Why are people giving me responsibility?’

You don’t like it?
No, I love it, but sometimes it gets a bit too much. Then I take a step back and I’m like; ‘Don’t be a dick, Gabriel. You can do this.’ I think everyone who gets above the age of 20 are just pretending to be a grown up.

I love your personal pep talk.
Yeah, thank you - I talk a lot to myself.

Who is Gabriel?
A genius for inventing this.

*Gabriel stretches out his cup*

Do you want to describe to our readers what you just invented?
What I’ve done, dear friends, is put a teaspoon of Galaxy hot chocolate mixture into a cup of coffee and it’s something they call a mocha, but I’m going to name it a ‘Gabriel Fun Time’. It’s great - it’s amazing.

Is there anything you would like to add to that deep question from before?
Oh yeah… Sorry about that.

This is like the big…
Existential crisis? Well, I think the answer to that almost lies in my response, because I think I don’t question myself that much. Whenever I try and work out who I am… I get to the conclusion that I am the sum of the people I’ve met and the experiences that I’ve had and the impressions that I’ve left on people, which I’m hoping is positive. I want people to remember me as fun - I want to be remembered for a certain type of energy that I bring.

How would you describe that?
Fun. Vibrant. It’s kind of like a game of squash where I’m the ball, so sometimes it can be super aggressive and really fiery and other times it can be quite a bit of fun. Every time you’re going to get something new and it’s not going to be boring. I’m not going to come to your house and just sit on my Instagram. I’m going to come around and be like ‘Let’s make margaritas and pretend to be pirates on a ship’. That is so much fun to me – just being an idiot.

Do you still feel now that you are 20 that you have that sort of playful little child within?
It has probably gotten worse. I think it went into a dip at like 17-18, that period where you’re proving that you’re like an adult and you’re much acting in accordance to that. I’m just thinking that everything worked out for me. I’m just kind of trusting that the universe has got my back, really just taking it as it comes. There is an opportunity to have fun everywhere. Every day you should work hard, but also have a lot of fun. Smile a lot, have a laugh and just feel in your mind that some greater power is going to lead you in the right direction.

How would you describe your current lifestyle?
A very lucky one, I’ve got great friends and plenty of opportunities to create things. I’m doing something I love every day. I hang around with really interesting people. I don’t want to be a cliché like baseball dude on Instagram, but like - blessed. Hash tag blessed. No, it’s great - I mean... I don’t know - out there… Oh I don’t know… Why do you ask me such tricky questions?

It’s going to keep getting harder…
No, it’s fine… Keep going. I like it. Lifestyle, I would say a beautiful one.

Oh, I want that…
Yeah, I spend a lot of time with older people. Basically everyone I work with. I hang out a lot with my parents’ friends – just really great. I can’t wait until I’m like 70 years old. At 70 - here is a new point, but at 70-years old, I want to be with the pals at a tennis club drinking long island ice teas and bitching about all of our friends. Not even playing tennis, just sitting there in the sunshine. I probably have to move to Florida. I just want to live in a retirement village or something. When people are old they have some desire to go out and just be and have like a younger person around. I’d be so happy just having a drink every day with my friends in a hot country.

I think that sounds like a very nice existence…
Doesn’t it? Who cares about having a jet?

Who do you see as influencers of your generation?
People who see people like Bella Hadid as an influencer, it’s not her doing the influencing, it’s really the people who are behind her. Since I’ve been working on doing social media posts – designing all these things for artists. How often a brand has such a big say in a post or anything. I’m going to say that capitalism is the biggest influencer. How negative is that? It’s got to be said. I don’t really like influencers, although I will happily sell some teeth whitening products on my Instagram. Send it over - just kidding…

Who influences you?
Can I go through my Instagram? I’m not sure who inspires me, maybe just people living their best lives? I would say - I don’t have anyone. That sounds like an awful thing to say, because I don’t know what inspires me. Obviously things do inspire me. I’m honestly baffled by this one, like I see photographers that are great, but then I don’t take that many photos. My photos are more candid, so it can’t inspire me for work. You’ve actually baffled me. What has everyone else said for this one? I wouldn’t say any one person - that would be such a boring answer. I don’t want to be copying anyone - you know what I mean? Who wants to copy someone?

How do you think social media is affecting this generation?
A lot more narcissistic. I’m a full on narcissist; I’ll give you that. People say that people are spending too much time on their looks and appearance, but if it makes them happy, why not? Gratification comes in many forms and I’m sure there was an equivalent of that in the 50s or the 30s or maybe like in the cave man era? When the cave men roamed around, I’m sure that holding up a big lump of meat to your tribe was seen as a good thing.

I think it's within our human instincts to attract a partner, and hence the need to feel attractive within ourselves. We want to feel desired and validated. It’s not something new, but maybe multiplied a little bit.
I know, more personal hygiene has never been a bad thing. I think it has even been helpful to some people as well, so maybe you can’t find love when you live in a small town. Maybe someone is really lonely - even going online and seeing people liking you. I know, it sounds awful, but like having a ‘like’ now and then is kind of a way for someone else to say ‘I’m thinking about you in this particular moment. Seeing you. I am aware of you.’ Twitter - a completely different ball game. I love twitter. People have gone off it, which I kind of love. I can just write shit on there. As soon as a thought comes to your head, you can get it out there - it’s almost equivalent of a diary. It can be a bit dangerous sometimes. If you’re not really thinking about something, if you just tweet something - it could potentially offend people. Not that I’ve particularly had any scandals. Yeah, just me talking shit again…

What about the opposite side of that? What about the people who don’t get the likes?
I haven’t really thought about that.

Because there are a lot of people out there struggling, and you are really lucky that you are popular, good-looking, lovely, funny, entertaining.
No - stop it you. I’m not going to be able to fit my head out the door. I really haven’t actually thought about that before. That’s good - it’s good that you’re making me think.

You’re now just going to go like all the pictures of those poor people that have no likes.
I always go and like random people’s photos. I don’t know - I try my best. All the ‘Babriels’ - I have lots of Asian fans that are called the ‘Babriels’. Actually, a lot of them aren’t from Asia, but anyways they’re so cute; they always comment nice things on my pictures.

What’s your favourite cocktail?
The French 75. It was first introduced in the ‘Savoy Book of Cocktails’ from the 1930s and I think it consists of gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne. It’s a really old drink. I would say it’s a French 75 or a margarita from ‘Hooters’. Frozen strawberry margarita… What a great restaurant. I’ve only been to the ones in Asia. For some reason I love commercial restaurants, literally anything with a theme. I love that. Like a cowboy themed restaurant - that is great. If it looks like a castle, I’m into it.

Why don’t you dress funnier? Although your socks are quite fun…
These socks are fun. My personality speaks for itself, as I think it would actually be a bit too much. I mean, subvert expectations.

I like the geeky glasses.
Oh, that’s just because I’m a bit dippy and forgot to wear my contact lenses, so I had to wear these again…

What do you do to make yourself happy?
That is a good question. I don’t know, because I think I’m in a constant state of happiness. I wouldn’t do something if it was to make me unhappy and so therefore I’m constantly happy.

Nobody can be constantly happy…
I take that back… I get pissed off sometimes and then I will go sulk in my room. To be around people makes me happy - conversations. This right here is making me very happy, doing something that I usually don’t do. I like to have a little plan, say if I have a friend coming around or I’m having a little party - I really enjoy making a little theme for the get together. Sort of like organized fun, but it makes me really happy. So here the other night I had a Mexican night and it was really great - I made like a menu and we were having nachos, tequila and making margaritas for everyone in 17 different flavours. And we could watch like, I don’t have any Mexican films; I think we watched like a chic flick, which is also great. Going out of my way to do something weird. I like dive bars. I don’t really like going to a club, as that’s a bit boring.

What is a good alternative night out suggestion from Gabriel?
Go to a really fun Korean BBQ with some of your friends and get lots of meals to share. Have a couple of bears at the Korean BBQ and then go karaoke afterwards - dress up karaoke where you sing the best hits of the 80s. Doesn’t that sound way more fun than going to a club? I love speaking. I’m famously known for running away from clubs. If I go in there and don’t get my own way - if the music is not what I want and I’m just like ‘I’m not going to stay here and be unhappy’. I will do a shot, get in an uber, go home and eat. Junk eats while watching TV, tell me, what’s better?

Would you say you’re an emotional person?
Any negative emotion I have is fleeting, so I might get angry with someone and go like ‘I can’t believe you’ve done this. You’ve ruined my life’, but then like five minutes later I’m like ‘Ah, maybe I overreacted… Maybe it was me and not you.’

Are you comfortable with sharing your emotions with others?
Some of them. My main flaw I’d say is that I try to make everyone really happy. That sounds like another job interview thing, but that manifests awfully. I’ll say yes to doing two things on the same day or like three things on the same day and then I’m like ‘But I want to do them all… I want to make everyone happy.’ Then it just turns into this whole stressful situation and sometimes I can’t do it properly. So then it will be me seeing like four different friends in one day. ‘Why have I done this?’ I’m then not the best version of myself and I can’t have as much fun. I can’t relax, so that is the issue and that bottles up all inside and I just end up being like ‘It’s all gone wrong…’ If someone is like ‘can you do this?’, I don’t want to say no. I’m going to start saying no.

Oh, I thought you said you were going to start to cry…
Oh god, I haven’t actually cried in ages. The last time I cried I was because I was watching a film. I never cry. The movie was ‘Me, Earl and the Dying Girl’. I was alone in my house with my dog, and then at the end of the movie I was properly balling. That was my cry for the next three years. Done.

When you do get sad because of movies or angry because you triple booked, do you feel like you have control over those strong emotions?
No, not really. I’m a bit of a wild card. If I’m angry everyone is going to know about it. I don’t think it’s right to keep things bottled up inside. If things bottle up too much, then you have a really big one and you’ll take it out on the wrong person. If you’re like ‘Stop being a dick’ to everyone who is being a dick, then they’ll know and you get super pissed off about life. And then you can go on with your day. That’s why I think I never look too stressed out. It’s usually an in and out kind of thing.

You seem like you can quickly forgive other people, can you just as easily forgive yourself?
I am quite hard on myself. I do like to learn from things though. So you did something shit, how could you learn from this and not do it next time? I’d say if I would do something again, something stupid that I’ve done before, that’s when I’m like; ‘You really need to stop being such an idiot’. It’s nice to have little talks to yourself, you know like keeping yourself in check. It doesn’t take long for me to forget that I did something. In the end we’ll forget about it the next day and move on. Life is too short, so don’t regret. I think I might have read this on the side of a cereal box at some point, but anyhow, don’t regret anything you’ve done in the past because it was what you wanted at the time. It’s quite a nice one though. Thanks for that Kellogg’s.

With mental health being a bit of a buzzword now, is that something that is close to your heart?
I wouldn’t say I’ve had particular problems with mental health, but you can get to a point where you model for a long time - modelling takes a toll on a young mind, you know, because of the need to look and be a certain way. I took a break from it for a month or two. I was caught up in a little bubble.’ It’s quite difficult to actually take that step back, when you’re so involved in it. I don’t really know what advice I can offer, but I am a lot happier now than I was about six months ago. It’s just good to take the pressure off of yourself sometimes. The world is not going to end - the world is going to keep on turning. Everyone’s got problems that can stress people out quite a lot, but for me, it helps to put things into perspective. ‘Your life is actually great, and if your biggest problem is that you don’t think you look great in a sea of models - then you’re being an idiot.’

I do think it’s good that mental health is being brought up and everyone’s becoming a lot more comfortable speaking about it. I was having a conversation on the train earlier - nowadays a lot of it is down to memes, a lot of memes are actually mental health based. It’s quite bizarre that our generation’s way of talking about repressed issues and feelings is through comedy, which is great - comedians have been doing it for years. Now we get to do it as a generation and it’s a good way to take a bit of the pressure off and see that everyone is in the same boat.

How do you feel about gender identity and fluidity?
It’s great. The first genderless baby was born here the other day in Canada. First genderless birth certificate… I’m kind of torn between it, because I’ve always been quite comfortable as a guy. It has never really been an issue in my mind, so it must be like a horrible feeling to be like trapped in the wrong gender. If you know from a young age, you obviously know. I’m all for everyone to do what the hell they want. It’s great. It should probably have happened a lot earlier. I basically think everything is on the spectrum nowadays, I mean, I think we’re going to get to a point where it’s really not even a matter of gender. We’re going to reach a kind of androgynous point in the future that’s going to, well, in my optimistic view of the future - everyone is just going to be concentrating on the environment. These people are doing whatever they want and that makes them happy. Just chilling. My dream is that everyone is just chilling. The chillest future.

‘The chill generation’.
Yes, ‘The Chill Generation’. I don’t understand why people get so antsy about it. Why would anyone be angry about someone else changing their gender? It baffles me that anyone would get angry about something like that.

Do you think masculinity is changing?
For sure. Masculinity is so not a thing anymore. That was such a catch phrase.

What does it mean to be a young man today? How is it changing?
I wouldn’t say it’s even a thing anymore; it’s more about what it’s like to be a young person. There is of course going to be the polar opposite of the spectrum who is going to be the really manly man and there’s a certain portion, a pocket of the world left who is really going to fight for that image. People usually act out when they know a big change is coming. There’s usually like a spike and then it’s over. People realize and see that it’s all going a to be moving in a certain direction, it’s going very liberal and open. They’re scared because of that and they know that the rest of the world is pretty much on board with you being whomever you want and doing whatever you want. People are getting scared about it, because it upsets their way of life. So much of the world, especially through social media and stuff, you can see so many other people living their life. I think being a man is just being whoever you want to be. Do what you want. It’s great, isn’t it?

Are you spiritual or religious?
I would say more spiritual than religious. I’m not religious, don’t want to get into that, but that’s an old money making machine. I think everyone should just subscribe to his or her own thing and not try and force anything on anyone. Be your own spiritual guide. There is obviously something greater than us, but I’m not sure I would place a label on it. It’s more like a type of energy. I meditate now and then.

Have you ever been in love?
No, not really. I’ve been infatuated. You can think something is love, but then it is not. Been en route to it, but it will happen when it happens. I’m not going to go out of my way to look for it. Laame.

What is the dream?
To be happy. I think I used to have a very different outlook on life, I used to think I needed like a car and a plane - I was going for it. Just be happy with what you’re doing. Do something you like every day. Be nice to everyone. I think if everyone was less focused on themselves and more about what they could do for their own community. Think about what we can do as a group and how we can help each other grow as humans. We would all be a lot better off if everyone got in on that.

How do you think your generation, who is so self-infatuated, would be able to do that?
I think we’re already doing it. If you look at any group on Facebook, say a group for trans women of colour, this is only an example, but if you look through that group and you see all the thousands of people helping each other to grow and talking each other through things and all these forums and message boards that you can go on to educated yourself on problems with people who have actual real answers. We’re getting there. I think more than anything we need to go away from the whole ‘Look at me, look at me’ attitude. If you want to be inspired by someone, look at vegan whole food accounts, they are motivational as hell. I think enthusiasm is so infectious. Even people just being their true selves on Instagram - people who perhaps 20 years ago would have been looked at as outcasts of society, they’re now so happy being able to express their thoughts and ideas. And that inspires other people to do it. Damn.

Follow us on Instagram @boysbygirls