Gen Z: Kit Batham-Read

6 September 2017

Photographer Caoimhe Hahn
Fashion Abena Ofei
Grooming Gemma Tylor
Interview Hedvig Werner
Words Berit Warta

Running around school at midnight. Playing tag with security. Running across the field. Eyes on the ball, the end goal is almost within reach. Adrenaline is high - the match must be won. That’s how pure boyhood feels like. Bruised knees and muddy shoes. Mum telling you to leave your worn out trainers at front of the house. The moment of youth is almost tangible. The earthy smell of fresh rain softening the ground and the distinguishable laughter of close mates. That is what lingers on the mind of Kit at Models 1 while photographer Caoimhe Hahn captures his young persona.

Youth is the test of identity. Personalities on and off the field like day and night. Graceless reach for success, and no chance to look back. Today, the physical rugby player gets to be the strategic brain behind tomorrow’s tennis match. Following smooth chatter about the 16-year-old’s sports passion, life at boarding school and upbringing in in Brighton, Kit throws us the ultimate curveball. He believes in ghosts and spirits - not moving glasses or pendulum, no talking to a mirror at midnight. He simply likes to understand the world and what lies beyond its borders, just out of pure curiosity.

Generation Z has access to a wealth of information at the single click of a button, and Kit is no stranger to reading up on the happenings of the world. That is something he shares with his generation - a pure curiosity for the unknown, which concludes with the normalization of new thoughts and discoveries. Stylist Abena Ofei knows how to play with classic elements of menswear and feminine additions from the colour palette. Soft purple and candy red are flattering to boys the same way as they are to young girls. There is no box to fit into anymore - it’s all up to you.

How would you describe your generation?
I think we are very different and I guess that's good. We are more individual. Things have gradually changed since previous generations - it’s becoming more modern. Technology and everything have changed so much over the past few years, growing up with social media and all that, so I guess it has improved in multiple areas.

What do you think are the good things about your generation?
I think there are a lot of new things being developed. We are developing and creating new thoughts and things. I guess with time, more will happen and we'll see more improvement.

What are the challenges you think?
I guess we want to be different and therefore find it difficult to be accepted by previous generations, the way we do things differently to how they do it. They might think the way we go about things shouldn’t happen, because that’s how their generation was brought up.

You mentioned technology and social media previously, do you think there is too much information available?
Yes, definitely. I think things can overload with too much happening at the same time. That’s the way it's heading and people are just copying other people's ideas and forwarding those. I think technology can be very useful - the Internet can be helpful. It can also be a distraction from life and for some, it can sometimes take complete control; Technology, the Internet. Some people probably use it too much, but it can be used be for the right reasons as well.

What is it like growing up in Brighton?
I think it’s quite relaxed for a city. Obviously, it’s not very big, but then there are other parts to the city, where there is more countryside and green areas. There is not just one big city with buildings, and you also meet lots of interesting people coming from the city.

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from Brighton?
Probably watching the Brighton & Hove Albion Fc for the first time in the stadium. There are lots of things that have happened. Maybe my brother being born, because I guess that was quite a big event in my family. That could definitely be one of my favourite memories.

How old is your brother?
He is about 12. So I was quite young, but I remember it. I remember it well.

Are you a good big brother?
Haha I try. I am not sure what he would say about that. But I think we get along fairly well. I think that I would say I am a good brother. Helpful, at least.

What are you guys competitive about?
School and basically every sport. He is breaking a few of my records at school, so there is lot of competition between us.

I wanted to ask you about your passions, but it sounds like sport is your passion. Can you tell me a bit more about the different sports that you play?
I play rugby, football, tennis - I play mainly like the mainstream sports. I might be venturing out a bit with the racket sports. Yes, and then it's mainly just the football and rugby.

What would you say is your favorite?
I have to say Rugby. I like the adrenaline that it gives you and also the roughness. I like that.

Are you difficult to tackle?
I’d like to say that I am, but I don’t know.

Do you think you are a different person on-field than off-field?
Yes, I kind of feel pop a front up when you are on the field, like you don’t really have a personality. You just want to be in and around and everyone is ..I want to go for the field and I say you see a lot of different sides to the people. They are kind of like all up in your face.

I have a bit of a philosophical question for you. Who is Kit?
I would say I am kind of a young person, different, but with kind of a spiritual side to me. I believe in spiritual things that other people don't really believe in.

Tell me more...
Things like ghosts could be something outlandish that not everybody believes in. I kind of don't follow what everyone else thinks. I've got my own thoughts and believe whatever I do.

So you believe in ghosts?
Something’s like your witness or something you have seen on the Internet or television. I think there must be something I have to believe in.

Do you read about these things a lot?
Not in particular. I've thought about it and I've seen some people talk about it on the Internet, but I haven’t looked at it very in depth.

How would you describe your current lifestyle?
Fairly relaxed I would say; with a serious side to me when need be. Obviously, I do quite a bit of sports, so I'm quite active. Lately it's been very relaxed.

What do you want your lifestyle to look like in five to ten years?
I want to be all of that, and successful. In sports maybe, but successful, whether it'd be as a sports player or behind the scenes of that.

Would you like to maybe become a sports commentator?
Eventually, yeah. If the option comes up, I would say that would be something. Probably within rugby or football.

You must be training quite hard?
Yes, recently it's been every day. We've started the pre-season, so getting ready for September.

Who are you influenced by?
I think someone like David Beckham, because he's been very successful in life, but then at the same time he is charitable. Someone who donates and does a lot of charity - he strives to help out other people. He is not just spending money on whatever he wants. He gives a lot too and goes on trips to other countries to contribute. I would say David Beckham is definitely an influencer. He is one of my biggest inspirations and role models.

Who do you see as influencers of this generation?
I am not sure, because people look for different things in role models and everyone thinks kind of differently, so it's hard to think of a specific role model for this whole generation. I think you could say there is no person which influences everyone, because their interests don’t go together. I think there is not one person that fits everyone because they have all kind of different interests which don’t go together, I guess. So I wouldn’t say you can't picture one or a few individuals.

What are you passionate about besides sports?
I mean, I would say that social media is quite interesting. I like to catch up with other peoples' perspective on various topics. And the news, like what is going on around me. It's interesting to see how the world is moving forward and what's happening in general.

Do you think the world is going in the right direction?
I would say, yes. But there are some things like global warming, which isn’t very beneficial. I think we are moving forward, but there are still things that needs to change.

Are you helping contribute to a better world?
I would like to think I am. I do little things like recycling and all that. If you are able to contribute with the smaller things, then those will eventually add up, I think.

Back to social media. How do you think social media is affecting your generation?
I think it can be over-controlling, as a lot of spend a lot of their time online. I think that can affect people and how they choose to live their lives, because they start comparing theirs to others. I think that social media is good for staying in contact with people. When they're not around, it comes in handy. It is a really good thing. But I think that we sometimes spend too much time on it. A certain amount is fine - seeing what’s going on around you and what your friends are up to It can take over your day sometimes. If you just keep looking at what other people around you are doing, and then you maybe you start thinking you should be more like them. So it can definitely have a negative effect on people.

What makes you happy?
Seeing my friends and playing sports at school with them. Just spending time with my family. I think being active and being outside can just brighten a day so much and just makes you that much happier.

How would you describe your perfect day?
Sun... and I would be hanging out with my friends. Talking and just getting up to stuff. Nice weather, that always helps.

Would you say you are an emotional person?
I would say that I keep my emotions private a lot of the times and I become very quiet. Although I do keep them to myself mostly, I would say I'm a fairly emotional person.

Are you not that comfortable sharing your feelings with other people?
I do feel comfortable, but it's just that I keep some things to myself. It doesn’t really affect me if I talk to someone or not. But sometimes you just want to keep certain things to yourself.

Who would you most likely turn if you are feeling down for instance?
Probably one of my best mates. My friends first. If not, someone in my family. Friends, because they understand in a different way than my parents do. In certain situations, I think they are more able to help you than maybe your parents can. I guess because I spend so much time with them. I live with them at school.

Are you in a boarding school?
Yes, in Surrey. I am with them most of the time and they know what's going on with me.

How is boarding school?
It's good, but tiring. You're always surrounded by people and you never really get a break, but I do think that’s also quite a nice thing. You become friends for life, because you're constantly with each other.

What is the biggest mischief you've gotten up to at boarding school?
Probably running around the campus at three in the morning. That was just a few weeks into my first year - a really great start.

Why were you doing this?
It just sort of happened, because it's actually something that gets passed down through the years, so we just decided to keep it going I guess.

Oh, it’s a tradition at the boarding school? What's it about, you just run?
Yes, you just run and then you meet up with people from other houses. And then the security is running around after you, which just adds to the fun.

Do you cry?
Yes, but I guess for different reasons. If I'm in a lot of pain, I might cry. Or if certain things happen it can make me cry in a different way I guess. Crying can be caused by sadness or by pain, but then you might also cry of happiness.

Do you cry of happiness often?
I wouldn’t say so. I don't cry a lot, but if I would, happiness is often the main reason.

What emotions do you feel most strongly?
I would probably say I am a fairly happy person, so happiness.

Are you happy right now?
Yeah. I would say, because everything around me is good at the moment. I do things I enjoy, which makes me really happy.

If you were to be in a highly emotional situation where you're not able to keep it back. How would you handle a situation like that?
I can go very quiet. I would just think about it by myself or I would maybe go talk to one of my friends about it. But if I don’t feel sure if I should tell someone, I can become very quiet and then go on to self-reflect. I just think about it. I like reflecting on things that happen. It helps me.

Mental health is kind of a big 'buzzword' nowadays. What is your relationship with mental health?
There is always going to be people around you who are suffering, like friends or family. It's a lot about it in the press as well. It's something that is being talked about a lot. I think I am fairly aware of what's going on and of how it tends to affect people. It is something that needs to be talked about, they way people are suffering.

If you find yourself in a disappointing situation or if you happen to disappoint yourself, are you able to let go and forgive yourself easily?
I think I would probably carry it with me for a tiny bit and then I would just think about it again, but in the end I'll move on. I'll make a decision to not do it again. So I would say I move on fairly quickly from things.

In our time of day, genders are becoming more fluid. How do you feel about gender identity and fluidity?
I think that everyone is their own person and how they choose to live is up to them. You shouldn't judge someone for being whoever they want to be. You are yourself, so you just have to accept what they are, even if you don’t think it is right. I think we are changing. Everyone is becoming more understanding and accepting than before, but I think we are still in a process of moving forward on this topic.

What is your idea of masculinity?
I think everyone's got very contrasting views on this. I don't think it's possible to outline masculinity - masculintiy is just about being yourself. People might copy what masculinity meant in the past, but everything is changing. So one can’t say that means you are more masculine than another.

What would you say is your personal definition of masculinity?
Someone with a big and tall structure - wide shoulders and maybe a bit of facial hair. And then quite a strong personality, someone who doesn’t just follow everyone else. Someone with his own set rules and beliefs.

Do you feel like you fit into your own definition?
Yes, I would say I am quite good at listening to myself and not just following whatever other people say I should do, but I would say I'm sometimes affected by other people.

How do you feel about honesty?
I think it would be silly to say everyone is always truthful. I think honesty is of course best, but sometimes not being honest isn’t always the worst thing to do, in certain situations. But most of the time being honest is the best.

When you see other people experiencing pain. How do you react to that?
I think it varies from situation to situation. When someone is really close to you, than it affects you more than a random stranger. But I don't think it's not nice to see someone suffering, so it definitely affects me in some way. I would say I'm quite analytical abut, I feel sorry about what they are going through and that affects me, but I won't absorb that pain myself.

Yes, it can be dangerous letting other people's emotions get to you.
Yes, definitely. I think it can affect you really badly. It makes you do things you wouldn't normally do if you just kind of let that affect you instead of brushing it off.

How do you feel about spirituality and religion?
I would say I believe in spirits and ghost, but I wouldn’t say I am religious. I also wouldn’t say I am anti-religion, but I just don't think there is enough evidence behind it to believe in it.

Have you ever been in love?
No. I would say like loving in sense of like your family or your pet, but I have never been in love. It's quite hard to say what love is.

What do you think love is?
I don't say, because it is so different for everyone and it is so hard to say. I would say love means caring for someone, but more so than for family members or friends .I think it makes you happy. It brings happiness to your life, in one way or another, so I think it is a positive effect on your life, really.

What is your dream?
My dream is to be happy and live as long as I feel I need to. Avoiding bad things, if possible. Also seeing people around me happy. Surround myself with people and things that bring out the positives instead of the negatives.

Do you have any wisdom for us older people?
Keep doing what you're doing I guess. I wouldn’t say I've got any wisdom, maybe just do what makes you happy.


Above left: Kit wears Bomber Jacket by KENZO, Blazer and Collar Shirt by COS and Trousers by QASIMI
Above right: Kit wears Jumper by BARACUTA


Above left: Same as above
Above right: Kit wears Coat by TIGER OF SWEDEN, Shirt by RAILS, striped Shirt by ZADIG & VOLTAIRE


Above left: Kit wears Shirt by BARACUTA and Jeans by E.TAUTZ
Above right: Same as above and Jacket by BERTHOLD

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