Sander enters the room looking as if he has to bend to fit in a regular sized room. We are used to tall boys, but his limbs seem to have an element of infinity to them if you were to look at them for too long they might forget to ever end. He kindly removes his shoes and joins us for a chat. It is soon evident that this boy cannot talk without the use of his hands, which wave almost uncontrollably accompanying his words.
Sander at Elite Models talks candidly, and about the fact that children say things with no agenda, and in that fact he exposes a child like way of expressing himself. Honesty walked in the door with him and we are left with a sense that anything we might ask he would answer. His slight accent lingers on words, as if the desire to express his thoughts was stronger than a language barrier. In this way he tells us about his encounters with chocolate shop man, along with his double life; one second playing with children in his day care job, the next walking down a Prada runway.
So first thing is first, what’s your name?
Sander, Sander Van De Coevering. It is difficult to say in English, normally I just write it down and give it to people.
Do you bring a note pad around you?
No haha. If you want to say my name, you have to be prepared with pen and paper.
We have plenty of pens and paper so completely ready for you. What else should we know about you?
I'm 23 and I'm with Elite Models London.
How long have you been with Elite?
I came on the 6th of September this year, and got signed then.
What got you into modelling, did you just look into the mirror one day and decide?
No haha. Well, I was drinking a beer in my hometown with my sister and some friends, and this guy came up to my sister and asked if she wanted to become a model. And she was like “nah nah, go to my brother, he looks exactly like me.” He then asked me and it just seemed like a good idea at the time, so I said why not. He worked at a chocolate shop near the bar I work at. He took some pictures and sent them around. I had some meetings with some agencies in Holland and did some test shoots. To begin with I thought I didn’t even want to be a model, then I got signed by an agency in Amsterdam, I suppose I started to want it.
So you let a chocolate shop man decide your career?
Yes. One night I came home from a party with my boyfriend and Tony jones lives above him - now that’s a coincidence! He knocked on the door asking for a cigarette, turns out there was a casting the next day so my boyfriend kicked me out of bed and pushed me to the casting. So I went and turns out I got signed.
What made you move over here?
After the Prada show, I got in contact by Elite Models in London. So I decided to work in children’s day care during the summer, so I could take a month off to be a model. The original plan was to go to New York, but I ended up here first.
What was the original plan before modelling?
I graduated in February as a drama therapist, but lets face it finding a job as a drama therapist at this moment is impossible because of the recession. So my plan was to go do another study, primary teaching, but I skipped that plan and tarted working in children’s day care doing this - waves arms around - the model business. I’m going to give it a year, because I don’t feel like a model haha.
What are some of the funniest things that kids have said to you?
They say a lot of funny things. They have honest questions, like everything they ask is purely curiosity. They don’t have second agendas. They told me I was tall and skinny,which is true.
What do you do when you’re not working or modelling?
I can be very lazy and watch a lot of movies, I love movies and TV shows. I’m a real people’s person, so whenever I’m home alone for an hour I always need to make social contact. If I’m surrounded by people and talking then I’ll feel happy, but when I’m home alone two nights in a row I feel down.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Honest, friendly, stubborn.
What would you say you’re most passionate about?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m passionate about too many things, and I think passion is a very strong word. But I am passionate about people.
Is there any advice for anyone coming in completely new to modelling?
Just take things at it is, have a backup plan. Don’t get carried away, see it as a job. After seeing photos of myself from shoots I began to get really worried about how I looked and I didn’t used to do that. I felt the need to look as good as the photos, which is impossible to achieve every day. Looking good isn’t everything.
Take it from him, he's a model.
Interview and words by Liz Ord.