Quantum Walrus

17 February 2016
Roll up! Roll up! For we have found him! The one that solves all your problems, the one that will guide you through life - yes, he is the one that is guaranteed to brighten your day. No, he's not situated in a glass box with a coin insert on the right hand side, he is instead our new Boys by Girls Guru.
Daniel Birtles at Next Models may be a slight oddball and a bit of a geek (the good kind), but while we have him hanging Peruvian rugs on the BBG walls, conversation flows from naked mole rats to diabetes and lung disease. His chatty demeanor and love for life is eye wateringly infectious and it's not long until he has the whole team in stitches with tales about his day to day endeavours.
From Luton to Manchester, Australia to London, Daniel's convinced he's a 'normal boy.' He educates us on biology and gives life lessons while spreading nothing but good vibes and positive energy. You definitely want to spend some time browsing around his blog, including killer article titles such as 'Beaver Fever' and 'Sit Down Children it's Time to Learn About Diabetes,'. He's a bundle of fun making a fuss of Tilly the BBG Mascot, as we discuss the importance of open mindedness and Life in the Undergrowth.

You look a little flustered, are you ok?
People keep thinking I'm a girl! The casting I went to yesterday, I was walking out and they were like, 'he might have been a girl'. Then, there was an old lady on the train and I helped with her luggage. As she sits down, she turns to the person next to her and says: 'what a lovely young lady.' Another time I was at the airport going through security, and you know how they split you into men and women now? They put me in the women's queue and then they were like, 'what's your name?' and I was like *deep voice* Daniel. I was like, 'yes I'm a boy.' Then they were like, 'Ooh that queue then please.'
You do have that slight feminine look though, let's be honest.
Well, it's not like, 'you're fat and ugly and your mum hates you!' I don't care.

Instant Analogue by Sophie Mayanne. Special thanks to IMPOSSIBLE.

It's like you look like a girl, but a pretty one. So... great!
At least it gets me the jobs.
Do you have any advice for people?
I'm not the person you'd go to in your time of need; I'm someone that needs advice myself. That could be my thing couldn't it; Advice by someone who needs advice. It's something I've been trying to do more, relax and get more perspective on a situation. It's not the end of the world if I'm late for my train in the morning, but in my mind I'm having anxiety and I'm sweating.
There are courses for that you know.
Yeah I know! Haha, but it's just like, chill, no one's dying. So what, you have to fork out another fifty quid to get another train. What is fifty quid in the grand scheme of things? And as well, with family and stuff, if you fall out with them, it's long term. They love you and they just want what's best for you. I'm turning into an agony aunt aren't I?!
We'll send you troubled boys in the future.
I'll be like a guru. Incense burning, Peruvian fabrics on my wall. Imagine the next casting I go to where they're like: 'why do you smell of insense?' I'd be like, long story... Anyway! What other advice do I have? I don't know, just standard stuff your mum tells you. Be nice to people, be polite, the world doesn't owe you anything. People come from different places in the world and in life, but at the end of the day, you're the one that's going to carve a genie out of yourself. You get out what you put in as well. If you were a horrible person to everyone, the people you're going to end up being surrounded with are going to be horrible as well.
Let's take a little step back and just get a picture of who Daniel is.
I am a human. I live in Manchester currently, but I was born in Luton. I'm from the hood. Then I lived in Norwich, then Hemelhempstead, then I moved to Manchester and now I'm hoping to move to London. I love it. I love what a nice place it is. I love the idea of people able to see a drag queen wrestling in chocolate. You know, something random like that. Plus the museums and stuff that they have, which are free mostly. I love all the opportunities London has. Even though Manchester is quite a big city and there's a lot going on, I'm someone that needs lots of different things, just 'out there' things.
What are you doing in Manchester at the moment?
I'm redoing my Physics A2 so I can get into better universities, I got a C in that. But then I got an A in Chemistry and an A* in Biology. So I might as well bring that up and then apply to a really good uni.
Will you apply to anywhere in London?
Yeah, Imperial, UCL, Kings College and then Bristol and Birmingham to study biology. I just love life. I know that's really broad, but I'm obsessed with David Attenborough and nature documentaries; I used to binge watch. You know how people watch 'Orange is the New Black'? A whole afternoon would be Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life in the Undergrowth, all that stuff. I just love animals, hence why I'm vegan.
Have you met my cat? My cat is really beautiful, you'll love her. She loves boys.
Oh hello! Black jeans are not the best with a white cat are they?
I do have a roller you can use.
I've got a biology blog, well, it's not a biology blog, it's a science blog. OK I'm going to tell you how we got to the name first. I was like to my friend, 'I want to set it up, because I love biology' and he loves physics and I was like, 'we're never going to find a name for this'. What's your favourite thing in physics? He was like: 'The Quantum Heating Effect' or something, I don't know, physics isn't my strength. Then I was like, 'I like walruses!' So, I was like, Quantum from yours, I like walruses and together, it's Quantum Walrus.
That's genius.
It's good isn't it?! So now we have QuantumWalrus.
It sounds a bit geeky....
Really geeky. I embrace that! There's geeky where you're staying in your room playing video games all weekend and then there's geeky where you're contributing to society. I love biology! If anyone read a scientific journal, they'd just be like, 'what's going on, I have no idea what they're on about.' So we try and break it down for people who don't know much about biology.
Do you make it easier for youngsters to understand?
Yeah, but then also have something that interests people who have been studying it for a while. I write about the weirdest stuff. I wrote about naked mole rats the other day, I wrote about menalin, I got really philosophical. It ranges from naked mole rats to diabetes to lung diseases. I try to make fun of stuff.
Do you see yourself as a geek?
Aspects. I feel like as well, everyone has things about them that is seen as embarrassing or whatever or that you could have an insecurity about, but if I own that and make it my own... yeah I have a biology blog. It's important to embrace every little aspect of you.
Just also curious, where are you from?
Well, my dad was traveling Australia and my mum moved with her mum to Australia when she was sixteen from Israel. They met when they were at a clothing factory or something, they were doing jobs when they were young and all that kind of stuff. They moved back to the UK, had me, got divorced. Now my dad has moved back to Sydney, and is living there now with my step-mum. It's a long flight. Really long. Like, really long. People don't understand how long. You get in the middle, you stop off and you feel like, 'this is my life now, I live on a plane. For the rest of my life, I'm going to be waiting in airport lounges and getting dry sinuses from airplane conditioning.' Airplane? I'm not American: aeroplane.
How long have you been modeling for?
So my mum was like, 'you need to earn some money.' So then I'm like, 'OK.' She said 'I'm sending your pictures off to modeling agencies.' She used to work in advertising. I had lost quite a lot of weight before that, this was my build for when I was a kid and all of that and then I got to high school, I started being in charge of my own food... so I had lost quite a lot of weight and my mum was like, 'OK.' then, long story short, I'm with Next Models now. And they're all really nice.
What have you done so far?
Apart from test shoots, I'm just doing London Collection: Mens this year, I think it's just to ease me in. It's exciting. I love the fact I got thrown into it.
How are you finding the world of fashion?
I work as a shop assistant in this local co operative grocery that specialises in gluten free, vegan, organic, free range, you know all that stuff. I feel like I need something to keep me grounded, because otherwise it's like *snooty voice* 'oh yeah I'm heading off to London Fashion Week darling.' I'm a normal person. It's weird when people see stuff in you that you didn't see in yourself. Thankfully it was later when I got scouted. Imagine from early teens, being told you're amazing or how good looking you are and you're being paid for being pretty. I think it was Edie Campbell that gave an interview and she said you need to learn to separate your sense of self with ... this. You on the outside is the shop front, but then you've got everything in the inside that makes you you.
That's actually really good advice.
You need to separate that, because in my real life people aren't giving me opportunities because of the way I look. I'm not making friends because of the way I look. A lot of people exist, not exclusively in fashion.
Is there anything else that you would have to add?
Just thank you for having me!
Thank you for coming!
When Sarah told me, I was like, 'piss off,' as in like, no way! It's weird! I love the apartment.

Interview by Cecilie Harris.
Words by Savannah Liu.

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