Aftter hearing a gentle knock at the door a few weeks ago, we were greeted with the charming smile of James Gatenby at FM Models. It was a great start to the morning, as we were just pouring ourselves tea, and James gladly accepted to sit and join us for a cup. PS; He enjoys raspberry tea.
The handsome 22 year old Australian came in with a very relaxed, down to earth vibe. He let us snap a few photos for our instagram, while gladly answering questions about his favorite cartoon and telling us his secret treat he eats to get through fashion week castings. If you know us at all, you will know how excited we were about what he said.
James Gatenby has an easy-going attitude to life, saying he doesn't get nervous very often, which might have helped when he landed the opportunity to open exclusively for Louis Vuitton's SS14 show. Check out the interview below to find out what makes James so friendly.
How did you get into modeling?
I was a poor University student back in Sydney, and I saw this special deal at a fancy new hair salon for a free haircut. The hair stylist that cut my hair happened to work for GQ Australia, and said that I should model. I thought he was being nice since its their job to say nice things about you when you go, but he ended up getting me an interview with my mother agency, which then lead to also being signed in London with FM Models.
When did all of this happen?
A year and a half ago now. I started off part time when I was in Uni, and I did a few editorials and little shows in Australia, but I was studying bio chemistry, and didn't have time for too much. At the beginning of the year I decided to go full time, and I recently just got to open for Louis Vuitton for the spring/summer season.
Polaroid by Cecilie Harris.
What has been one of the best parts of modeling?
Definitely the travel, because I never know where I am going to be. You get a call the week before saying you are flying from New York to Paris, and it's amazing that someone wants to spend money to fly me somewhere. I can't get over that. Seeing the places, the people, and having such great experiences make this a fun job.
Is there any shoot you have done that stands out to you?
The first editorial I did back in Sydney where we were shooting at a beach. It just started to pour with rain, and the wind was blowing so hard you could jump in the air and it would push you back a meter or so. The clothes were getting wet, and the models were getting wet, but we were having so much fun that we just kept shooting. In the end, they put all these stupid filters on the pictures to make it look like a nice sunny day, because that is what the magazine wanted.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
Has to be chocolate! It is the only way I get through the fashion week castings, and after each one I have a little piece of chocolate. It just makes you feel good, and gives you a bit of energy.
Are you similar to your parents?
I'm told I look more like my mom with the Russian features, but I think I act more like my dad. We both have the same mannerisms, and we both aren't very good at dancing that's for sure!
How would your dad describe you?
He would probably say I was annoying, but still a hard working, smart, and kind. That is what I would hope he would see in me anyway.
What type of impression do you try to leave with people that you meet?
I am one of those people that is always engaging, trying to learn about each person as much as possible. I don't want to talk about myself, because I know myself, and that's boring. I just love to learn about other people, so I love to feel that people think I am engaging with them.
What is your typical Saturday night like?
I am not a big fan of huge parties, but I really enjoy a good movie, friends, and a bottle of Chardonnay.
Do you have a favorite cartoon?
Spongebob Squarepants has always been my favorite, and I still watch it to this day because it is such a funny show. I love a lot of kids movies, and cartoons, because you can't really go wrong with something like that.
When you were were a kid, was there anything you wanted to grow up to be?
Since I was little I always wanted to be a doctor. That is what lead me to study Biochemistry at University. After modeling, I want to go back to Uni, and then work somewhere in the medical field.
Tell us about the last time you were nervous.
I am not sure, I don't usually get nervous! It is funny because as I was about to walk for Louis Vuitton they kept asking repeatedly, "Are you nervous?!", and the answer is always "No, I am feeling good". I am a pretty easy going Australia, don't usually too stressed about anything, and just float through life.
If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?
I am a big reader, so I would get out my kindle and read a book. At the moment I am re-reading the Book "Thief" by Markus Husac. After downloading it I realized that it was a book I read when I was about 11 years old. I completely forgot that I read it, so it is fun to revisit something like that.
What other activities do you enjoy?
My favorites sport is tennis, and have played it since I was little. I also enjoy body boarding and rock climbing when I have the time. All of it is fun, and really good exercise.
Any last words you would like to leave the people reading?
Don't ever take anything to seriously. That is not what life is about, just enjoy it.
We couldn't agree more with that, James! Thank you for the interview.
Words by Wyatt McCollum.