In the midst of his delicate teens, at just 16, Daniel Van Gurp at Milk Management is the youngest boy we’ve spoken to yet in our exploration of Generation Z. His boyish grin holds undeniable charisma and he radiates a familiar charm that is often in seen in that of one’s own younger brothers. He holds your attention, and his shy demeanour makes him evermore sweet and endearing.
Within his mind, he knows who he is. He's aware, owns a better understanding of himself than some adults twice his age, and he has grown because of it. Don't dismiss the words and thoughts of this young boy. He's already a visionary, looking to capture the world through a lens, to translate his artistic and organic daydreams into something physical, something to be shared with the world. Daniel's fascination with film is clear and partnered with his strong creative drive. It will be interesting to see what chapters will unfold on his path in the future and take in the concepts and work he delivers.
At 16 he's still in the process of figuring things out. Travelling the world alone at such a young age, he's preparing himself for these unexplored avenues. Alone in foreign sceneries and estranged from family for a little while, Daniel has been obligated to grow up - fast. But we don’t want him to. We don’t want him to lose his pure visions of the world and wild, erratic curly hair that frames his face. It will happen eventually, but hopefully not too soon.
Right in the deep end; who are you?
That’s a good start. I am a calm, interested and curious person. I like watching things, people - I'm very observant.
Who influences you in every day life?
I think that the creative people within the fashion industry, people like A$AP Rocky, I really like what he’s doing with fashion. In Holland, there’s a big group called ‘Smib', I’m wearing it now, and it’s a creative group who do all sorts of stuff. I really like that.
What do you want to do in the future?
I want to be a film maker and go in that direction. I’m trying to film stuff and make a little movie about this trip. Just doing creative things. Modelling is one of them; film making; photography - just making things.
Are you still at school now?
Yeah, I am still. Doing school and modelling means, I don’t have time for other things, but I only have two months left. Then I have my exams and I’m done.
You said that you like skateboarding. How would you describe your lifestyle as a 16 year old?
Chilled out, yeah. I skate sometimes, but not so much anymore, because I’m dealing with school and modelling now. Mostly it’s having time to relax and chill with friends.
How do you want that to change in the next 5 to 10 years?
I think being done with school will be a big step, I’ll have more time to do my own things. I hope I can do more modelling and travelling too, but I want to be able to still spend time in my hometown. And hopefully making my movies too.
What do you do to make yourself happy?
I think it's mostly listening to music. Looking for positive vibes and not hanging around with people who are negative or give you that negative vibe. I notice that if I hang around with people I like and who are positive, that makes me way happier. I make music myself too - playing piano or making a beat on my laptop with my mini keyboard. I’ve been playing for four years.
How do you think social media effects the generation today?
I think it’s a really nice way to meet people, see what they’re up too, and it’s so much easier being able to share. With modelling, you put it on your Instagram story that you’re in London, and people hit you up that you don’t know that are also in London - it’s handy. I don’t use Instagram that much, more Snapchat, but I think it makes the generation more creative. Everyone is making movies, they just don’t know it. Some people maybe think making movies is boring, but with Snapchat, that’s what you’re doing. People don’t realise that they’re making more creative stuff without even noticing.
How do you handle stressful situations?
Planning it well. If I have schoolwork to do, I’ll plan and try to do it - try to, sometimes it’s hard. Music is a big thing for that too. I have to chill and get everything in my head straight.
What is your reaction to being stressed?
If I’m stressed about school, I’ll get very negative and depressive, so I try to plan everything, because I know when I don’t plan my school work right, I am going to get stressed and not wanting to do things. I know stress is not good for me, so I try to avoid it.
Would you say you were an emotional person?
Are you outwardly expressive with your emotions?
No. I think I’m really emotional, but I think I hide it more. I don’t know why, maybe to try and not look like I’m emotional and sad. My parents are always saying I’m a really emotional person.
Do you feel comfortable sharing those emotions with other people?
Yeah. I’ve just met you guys, but I would share with my friends.
Do you cry?
Sometimes. I was on vacation for a week and was going to go back home and then come to London for two weeks, but then they called saying that I had to come now. I flew from Austria, skiing with my familyl and arrived like, ‘I’m not going to be home for three weeks and I have no friends here in London’. I didn’t cry, but I was a little emotional and wondered a lot about if I was going to like it here.
Is this the longest you’ve been away from home?
On my own? Yeah. Normally it’s four or five days, but three weeks - that’s a lot. In the summer I’m going away for six weeks, so I have to prepare what I’m going to do there. I already know that I’m going there though, so it’s okay.
Do you think you have control with your physical reactions to your emotions?
I think I can control it now, but in middle school, I was always always mad; always angry, always having fights with people. I just never knew why. I couldn’t handle it. Now I control it, stay really calm and don’t really worry about things.
Did you work out why you were angry when you were younger?
Yeah, it’s because I have ADD concentration problems, and I have this thing where maths and numbers and stuff are really hard, especially in class. I really felt dumber than the other people in my class, and in my head it was always; ‘I don’t know the answers. I’m dumb’, and I was learning this all by myself. Finally finding out that this was the reason I felt more dumb and talking to people, it helped me.
How do you feel about gender identity?
I think it has become more okay to be a lot more feminine if you’re a man, even things like just painting your nails. I know people who do it and in Holland, most people think it’s not normal and it makes them "gay", but I think it’s different at this time.
Do you think Holland is stuck in more traditional views?
Yeah, there are people who are more open and aware, but there are also people who still, even at my school including teachers, who look at my hair like it’s weird. It’s not as normal as everyone else’s there, and they act weird about it and making fun of it. My friends are all the same as me, and think; ‘do what you want’, other people in my school are even wearing the same clothes. Everyone is the same. Are they scared to be different? I don’t even have a weird style, but it’s very different to everyone else’s and they comment on it. Here in London you can wear what you want to wear.
Are you spiritual or religious?
I'm not spiritual, but my parents are religious. That’s a big thing. I don’t know if I am, I’m still questioning it. If I’m here ,I’m happy to be here and get these chances to travel and model, and it makes me think that maybe there’s something. Sometimes I will pray to thank God that I’m doing all this stuff, but I still don’t know if it all really exists. I’m only 16, so I’m still questioning and figuring it out.
We’ve touched on it with other things we’ve said, but do you think that masculinity is changing?
I think in these next generations people will get to be more themselves. They can be who they want to be and show that they’re emotional or feminine. Now, in my generation, I think you can be more yourself than in the past decade. You can see it in fashion too. Skinny jeans used to be really weird to wear, but now at my school, everyone wears skinny jeans. It’s just what becomes safe.
You’re only 16, so I don’t know how you’ll answer this one; have you ever been in love?
Yeah. I still don’t know if I was in love, it’s already done now, but I had a relationship and I think I was in love. At the time, I was really insecure. Can we open a window, haha.
What things are you passionate and excited about?
Modelling, I’m really enjoying it so far and have become passionate about that; being 16 and able to travel and do all these things. Music is a big thing. I’m just passionate about creating. I’m at school still and I don’t really have time for it, but making movies and creating stuff. Skating. I’m still progressing and finding these things out, trying to do it all.
Photography by Cecilie Harris
Introduction and Interview by Brogan Anderson