Life is a numbers game, especially when you are in your early twenties. These are the formative years upon which we build the foundations of who we will become professionally and as a person. The ubiquitous question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” can have the power to paralyse in an instant. We are regularly presented with scenarios formulated by statistics, probabilities and chance - being in the right place at the right time, making opportunities for yourself when they do not naturally occur. In essence, we are required, innately, to be problem solvers.
Jamie Murphy (Distinct Model Management Dublin) is a twenty-two year old model and student of Mathematics, from Dublin. When he is not modeling he solves complex problems by thinking laterally, mostly by knowing when to use the right formulas. His looks are boyish, and there is a natural endearing shyness to his character which positions him in the midst of maturing from boy to man. The paths we choose to wander down are steered by our ability to make decisions, even when it may feel as though you are without direction. A simple action like sending a picture of yourself via social media can instantly open up a new world, one far away from the one you may have pictured yourself inhabiting.
Photographer, Doreen Kilfeather captures the transitioning period of leaving boyhood behind and entering into the abyss of adulthood in this shoot with Jamie. Oversized army green fisherman jumpers, slouchy pastel pink crew necks are offset by smart navy button up shirts, styled by Colm Corrigan, depicts the duality of age during this period. The interplay of light and Jamie’s movement throughout the photographs simultaneously signify tones of nostalgia and hopeful prospects for the future.
How did you get into modelling?
It all began with Instagram would you believe? You probably would! One day, I decided to send some direct messages around with a low quality selfie and here we are. It’s all still very new to me as I only started last summer.
What were you like as a child?
Apparently I was a bit of an annoyance with the most awful bowl haircut, not the most gracious combination. I am told I was a grumpy little toddler who was quite mean about certain things. As I grew into a bigger child, if you will, I became a bit shy. I remember when I was eight years old I got the main part in an advert for a fizzy drink. I didn’t expect there to be hundreds of people on set when we were filming, so I found that experience very intimidating due to my shyness. It’s safe to say I didn’t give the best performance, confirmed by the fact that the ad was taken down after about two or three months. As I got older, I started to perform again on stage I came out of my shell and regained confidence. I’ve gone through a few metamorphoses and I’m still only twenty-two!
What is your favourite photograph of you as a child?
There’s a photo of me with the bowl haircut and a turtle neck jumper. It does sort of make me look like an aspiring Bond villain which I think is pretty silly.
What is your star sign? Do you think you're a good example of your sign in terms of personality traits?
I believe I am an Aries, but to be honest, I have no idea what the traits of an Aries really are. Is that bad? I suppose I don’t want the horoscope subtly convincing me what I am supposed to be like. Things might get pretty confusing.
Are you a confident person?
Ah, I like to think I am. If not I try my best to fake confidence.
How do you like to unwind?
Depends on the mood or what kind of day I’ve had. I’ll listen to music or try and bash away on the drums or guitar, both of which I am spectacularly below average at. Other times I’ll try watch a film or read a book or watch a football match on the tv. Or have a drink and hang out with friends. The usual kind of unwinding!
Are you in university?
Yes I am. I am studying Mathematics at Trinity College, in Dublin. I know that may sound a bit nauseating to some, but it can - and does - get a bit crazy, which is always great.
Why did you want to study maths, would you consider yourself a problem solver in everyday life?
Ah, it’s good for the brain. I had no concrete direction when I was getting ready to finish school. I instinctively felt that Mathematics was a good fit. I was always pretty good at it, so I thought it would be a good course to focus on and perhaps keep hobbies as hobbies. For me, the skill you are developing most when you are studying Mathematics is how to think, which is always a benefit. So yeah, you could say I apply it to everyday life, hopefully.
Typically, models are often also actors, musicians or designers; something overtly creative. Is there a creativity to Maths that I'm missing out on?
I mean there is lateral thinking involved. University Mathematics is taught on a whole other level. You have to think outside the box in order to solve some, for example, intense abstract algebraic problem. The subject does run parallel with topics like Philosophy and Music, so I suppose there could be some element of that in it. It’s fascinating how expansive it is as a subject.
Do you have a favourite Maths Theorem?
Hmm, that’s tough. I’ll go with one of the first ones we were shown; the Nested Intervals Theorem. I suppose I have a special affection for this one only, because it was when I started to realize the difference between school and college Mathematics. Also, it’s quite satisfying to use.
What do you enjoy most about modelling?
It’s all still very new to me, so it’s hard to tell. It’s great getting to meet some excellent people and wearing some dapper gear. I do enjoy that part of the job.
How do you immerse yourself in a modelling job? Do you create a story and a character in your head to portray a particular feeling?
Yeah, absolutely. I always thought it could be, in some ways, similar to acting, which is an artistry of conveying feeling and emotion, I suppose. It very much depends on what kind of job I am doing. I would try to convey a certain emotion if that’s what is being asked for and try to block everything else out. I kinda think there can be a certain mystery associated with modeling as the end product is a picture, so yeah you are right, I suppose you can have the freedom to be any character with any story, but it’s never told.
Do you think you would like to focus on modelling as a career after college or do you have different plans for you future?
I am all over the place, always unsure, but it definitely would be something I’d like to do, if more opportunities arose. Absolutely!
Typical Aries man, never one to refuse a challenge or opportunity!
Ha! Perhaps I am a good example of my horoscope, after all.
What three albums did you listen to the most last year?
Recently I’ve been back listening to lots of older music like Nick Drake - he is great. Over the past year I listened to Alex G, I really love his album Rules. My friend introduced me to Koi Child, another eponymous album released last year and it’s sweeeeet.
What do your family and friends think about you working as a model?
Ah, my mum quite likes it. My family, in general, thinks it’s cool. I’ve no idea what my friends think about it, to be honest. Maybe it’s good to keep it like that!
How, in your opinion, are maths and modelling similar?
They both begin with M! I’d almost go out and say that they are the complete opposite. You could argue that there is explicitly almost no emotion in Mathematics, whereas one needs to show a bit for modeling! Although, I feel quite happy if I can get something right.
Do you like to read?
Yes I do! I read “The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut, not too long ago. I very much enjoy his style. He can really depict the pointlessness of it all with such ease. I’m currently making my way through Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, I love how the wit is expressed. It’s brilliant.
Are you a good cook?
Unfortunately I am not, I would like to say I am, but that would be a blatant lie. However, my mother is absolutely fantastic, so I need to get recipes off her. My dad is also great, especially with potatoes. Nobody would beat him in a potato cook off competition, if they exist! In general, I like to eat healthily, but I most certainly interact with some of the evil members of the food world. I mean one needs to have a balanced diet by having some bad food now and again, right?
What would be the most difficult thing to have taken away from you in life?
It would have to be family and friends. Although, losing sight or hearing would be fairly awful, also.
Have you any advice for anyone that wants to pursue either Maths or modelling as a career?
A common one for both I think is to have no fear!