John’s Diary: Arrivo A Milano

6 March 2019

A few weeks ago we asked John Wesselingh at Established Models to start writing a model diary for us. We wanted share with our readers the views of a new model and how they experience the model journey. Lucky for us, John happens to be a writer as well. So with John giving his insights to the world of modelling, this is a chance to break down all those clichès on male models etc.

In his introduction feature "What the blog?" you got introduced to John, and this time he takes us all with him as he travels from London and settles into Milan to experience the city and life as a model there. He also treats us to some iphone visuals of his experience. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do, we can't wait for John's next feature to come!

Arrivo a Milano

The sun is shining bright when I walk down the stairs off the plane from London. Relief enters me. For two hours I had suffered from this condition I sometimes get when traveling by air: unfortunate placement. I was sitting literally in the middle of an English youth football team. About 20 hormonal youngsters jumping, climbing and crawling around me. Was this the Hogwarts Express? They reminded me of my own football team. For 15 years I have been playing at the local club in my hometown, eventually reaching the first team with the majority of the players I first started with when I was only 5 years old. I miss my boys, and despite of those English little buggers being annoying, I wish them the best time.

Unique thing: my suitcase came first through bagageclaim. Result! Pretending not to struggle with it’s heavy weight, I grabbed it and strolled away to the exit like James Bond. The bus ride from Malpensa Airport to the centre of Milan was a very cinematic one. Seated around me in the old bumpy unstable coach were all kind of exotic surprises, different kinds of people. No air-conditioning. Dessert-ish landscape. Busdriver smoked while driving. I couldn’t resist to play Gustavo Santaolalla’s “Iguazu” from a movie called “Babel” on my iPhone. Just about everything in that bus contrasted the place I had just came from. It was clear that I had arrived in another country, another culture, another way of life. It was beautiful.

Sidenote: I was very happy to not run into fellow Dutchies. Dutch people ruin your vacation, you just don’t want to hear your own language on such a magnificent imperfect busride. Dutchies will understand this.

Armed with Google maps and a face probably shaped like a question mark, I arrived at my new apartment in the North-East corner of Milan. It was late, my agency had already closed and thus I had no key. Luckily my new flatmates, also two Amsterdam based models of which one of them is also managed by my mother agency arrived shortly after I did to show me in. I had seen pictures of the place, but as always things are completely different when you see it with your own eyes. Positively speaking though, really. Nice rooms, reasonable shower and stove, spacy hallway and last but not least: a 30 square meters big terrace. Because the apartment is on the fourth floor and the roofs are very high (what’s up with that?), the view is just awesome. Imagine when summer strikes.. we’re gonna have some bad ass barbeques there.

When evening struck, the boys decide to go out. I wanted to join them, but my conscience told me not to do so as I had an early and first appointment with my agency the next morning. This meant that I would be alone on my first night in Milan. Every house has it own sounds, and so had this one. I must've looked up from my MacBook about 15 times, and I slept with one eye open.

The next morning after finding myself still alive and well, I went out to see my agency for the first time. As you maybe read in my previous blog, I had already met the agency's owners in London. Very nice, warm people and as I am walking towards the metro I looked forward to seeing them again. Little did I know this moment would come sooner than I thought and caught me off guard when I was awkwardly tapping my feet and lip syncing to JJ Cale's "Call Me The Breeze". A representative from the agency who was randomly taking the same metro recognized me and approached me directly. "You're John, right?" I answered with a very doubting and quiet voice: "Uhm, yes?" Now, this was the first time I went out on my own in Milan. When someone randomly approaches you and calls you by name, you just don't know what to say. My anxiety faded away pretty quickly though as he proved to be a very nice and straight up guy. Let's all be honest here, I was happy enough that I was now assured not to get lost in search of the right building.

Together we arrived nicely on time at Independent Men. There's a thing about stepping into another agency after you've visited one for a month straight. It feels a bit weird maybe, but that feeling soon went away when I met the great team. As we say in Holland: "In elk stadje een ander schatje", which can be translated to "In every city another pretty." It's the business, and it's great to be working with different teams in different countries. Gives a bit variation to the job.

We took care of some basic stuff. Getting my book ready, discussing various things. All of a sudden the representative said: "Oh, and next Thursday you have been booked for a lookbook job in Bologna." I had to clear my ears. What? Booked? My first job, finally? I couldn't believe it when I heard it, the client hadn't even seen me in person. "No, but they have seen your pictures." I couldn't have imagined a better start in my new city.

Text "Arrivo a Milano" and images by John Wesselingh at Established Modes / Independent Men.
Introduction by Maxime Anselin.
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