"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration." Ancient words taken from inventor Nikola Tesla, brought into the 21st century by Leo Hoyte-Egan at Storm Models. From the second the model and performer entered the room, an overwhelming energy ensued. Showing no inhibitions, Leo performs on cue. He entertains the BBG office with a range of accents, impressions and natural one-liners; a true performer at heart. Yet he is not just a boy with a confident presence and infectious smile. As the layers of his character unfold, his introspective honesty rises to the surface. He bears a philosophical mind, highlighting the importance in supporting yourself spiritually, mentally and physically. “My main premise on life is to keep your mind, body and soul healthy, then you’ll be cool.”
Leo talks with an infectious intelligence, making you hang onto every single word. Craving the knowledge that he possesses, his stories unravel down a wonderful tangent, wrapping you up as if you are his best friend. In a journey of Leo in the interview below, he introduces you to a small blue stone - a healing stone. He explains how it pushes his mind into a steady place, connecting his senses for cognitive ability. As he rubs the stone in his hand, you can almost feel the electric energy that inspires him so much, wishing some of it was yours. And it may be one day, as he might give you one.
To Leo nurturing your inner spirituality is key, a lifelong must-do, it’s all about the living. He won’t ever think 'live young, die fast', he just sees himself as existing. We are all born as a spiritual being beyond the limits of our bodies - however, exploration of spirituality is overlooked in today’s generation. A hindering limitation in expressive freedom has created a judgmental generation of baa baa sheep and peer pressure. A suffocating box that Leo has had the confidence and strength to break out of, now making his own rules. The boy that doesn’t celebrate his birthday, believe in time or drink alcohol - he acts as a singular beacon to his surrounding generation. Once a mischievous character that toyed with rebellion through his adolescence, Leo then grew up. At the age of 19. Wise beyond his years, but driven by a youthful energy, he is far from an old soul - even when he is just sipping on his green tea.
Instant analogue by Cecilie Harris. Special thanks to IMPOSSIBLE.
Are you enjoying modelling?
Yes, from the jump it was like surreal, when I started about two years ago, then became less of a surprise to something I was able to enjoy. At first you’re like “oh my days, I’ve just done this then I’ve got to do this next”, like that present mentality isn’t really there. But yeah, I love it.
What kind of jobs have you done?
All kinds like editorials, shows, commercial and e-commerce, I’ve done quite a few things. My favourites have been when I’ve been on video, so it’s been like a moving thing.
Are you from London?
Not originally, I do live here now though, and have been here for about five years now. I’m originally from Coventry, West Midlands, but have travelled around a lot. I grew up in Ireland, moved up to Nottingham for a bit, then to London, then back to Coventry, and now I’m in London full time. I moved here for college, to study performing arts. I tried to get into Brits school, but my Maths and English wasn’t substantial.
Do you sing?
Yeah, I do everything creative. That is a bit of a statement I guess. I can’t say I do everything creative, like I can’t burp the alphabet, but everything that has that creative essence or positive correlation about it - I’m definitely about that.
Talk a bit more about your creativity.
I tend not to go into details, I’m pretty illusive. I'm very much like; “I like creative stuff, watch and see what happens”, haha. If I didn’t have my ankle brace on right now I probably would perform for you a bit. I mainly do dancing and acting, those have been my main passions since I was young. Music has just been in my blood, like rhythm and interpreting sound has always been in my brain and body. Music, dancing, acting, drawing, gaming, skating - I love all of that. I used to do more sports, like American football and basketball. I try and do as much as I can, because the only limit to yourself is your mind, so I have no boundaries.
What would your normal day be?
I don’t think you could call it normal. From when I open my eyes, I’m super happy and energetic. Right now this is the subdued me, I’m normally super ecstatic. If I had my leg right now, I would have jumped in with my skateboard with more stuff in my bag. I’d probably carry around my Native American flute, it’s beautiful. I’m always ready to show my creative character to people, however with music I am still a bit illusive about it. With dancing and acting I’m really confident, because I’ve refined myself in those sectors. If someone said sing this I’d be scared still, but if someone told me to dance I would be on it straight away. I love interpreting and articulating through every angle, I love learning. I think one of my main passions now is acquiring knowledge from every region of the world and taking on some culture.
What would you like to achieve within modelling?
There’s a lot of people in the modelling game that do things they shouldn’t do on a daily basis. It can be abusive - if you abuse thepartying side of the model, it can abuse you back. Your body can only rejuvenate so quickly and frequently. It’s like you tend to get in a habit where you get loads of money on a job, so you can chill and do nothing for a little bit. My goal is to be able to access what I love through this industry, and I don’t want to leave any negative connotations on my name or Storm or whoever I’m working with - I want it all to be good. I’m just trying to prosper in it. In the modelling game, and I want to achieve things for the right reasons. I see modelling as an incredible catalyst - it’s showing me so many amazing things.
What about goals in your daily life?
It’s all about the living. I don’t think live young, die fast - I just think I exist. I stopped celebrating my birthday a few years ago, because you stop aging so quick. If you look at some legends, like Prince for example, he didn’t celebrate his birthday. He said; “If I stop putting a measurement on every year that I’ve aged, I feel as young as I did 10 years ago.” It’s a really nice philosophy.
Do you acknowledge your brithday at all, or do you just not celebrate it?
I turn up, I get really lit. I do as much as I can to appreciate the anniversary of my birth. I just don’t get the bad side of it, like “aww I feel older.” Some of my friends that I live with are turning 20, and the other day one was like; “I feel like I’m 60”. I really felt to box them up you know. 60! How can you feel 60? They’re in their prime and you’re crying about being 20? You can keep doing things even when you’re 60, it’s all about perspective. Einstein said that the passage of time is all about where you’re standing, and if you really think about that you can really put your own spin on that. I don't actually believe in the concept of time anymore, it's just a social construct I don't wanna live by it. I make my own Leo rules.
You seem very spiritual.
I am, I take this blue stone around with me everywhere. It comes from my Granny’s draw. I call her G, you know after Grandma. She’s cool, she’s even got Instagram, she plays Candy Crush too. This stone is for cognitive ability - I used to have two, but I gave one to my brother. I just get feelings from certain stones, this one I feel is really deep. I roll it around in my hand when I’m walking, skating or talking to someone - it gets your mind working at a steady pace. It’s like meditation, connecting your senses, and it helps guide that. I have other ones too that have healing properties - they’re beautiful. This one is for my Grandma and is really special. It reminds me of her, it’s irridescent, and has this serene beauty about it. It represents my Granny in many ways, because she was very hard on the outside, but you go travelling in her mind and it’s just like what a wonderful woman.
Cecilie takes her own stones out to show Leo. They engage deeply in conversation about the stories behind each one. Skip to moments later of deep conversation....
.... and this is why I really like stones - they all have different characteristics and gravitate towards certain people. Some people need certain stones within the spiritual realms, some people might not believe that this is even a thing, but that’s where the open mind comes into it all. If someone else feels something, you might not feel it or understand it at that exact moment but you might do another time. It’s just about how you interpret life.
What do you think about the young generation and spirituality?
It’s very down to nurturing. We are all born as a spiritual being beyond the exterior, it might not be explored as much in my generation, but it happens. My journey was that I was nurtured and guided to this kind of lifestyle and some other people are just born into it. It’s a kind of thirst for knowledge, a way of life. In today’s generation it’s very much that you should practice just one thing, but it then limits you in other regions. When you have the freedom to express there’s no need to be like; "what shall I wear, what do others think" etc, which I think is an issue with many young people. I went through that stage where I was devil child, I disrespected my mum and myself. I started drinking at 16, then finished completely when I was 18, because I just felt like it was something that was detrimental to my body and I don’t need it. That’s just personal for my lifestyle, anyone else’s lifestyle do your ting, I’m happy just drinking my tea. You might be getting really turnt up, but I’m gonna be drinking my tea in the same club as you.
Do you still “go out” a lot? Despite not necessarily confiding to society's norms of people your age that you should "go out and get drunk"?
You can always find something that will attract you within that. I’m not gonna go out, get really wasted and “not know” what I’m doing, giving my the incentive to do stupid stuff that’s not acceptable I “wasn’t drunk”. I go out because seeing that is hilarious, but also it’s about the vibe. It’s all about vibrations, energy and frequencies. When you go to a club that’s unpalatable energies, you can feel it all around you. You receive such explosive energy in the club, so that’s why I go. Some people think I’m drunk, but that’s just my ordinary energy levels. So yeah I go out when the vibe is right, I don’t go out just for the sake of it like many people do, I guess. If I go out I’m in the wilderness, I like to go on adventures.
And you are comfortable being at home with your cup of tea.
100%. Herbal tea that is, I can’t mess with PG tips. As much as I’m a British citizen I just don’t think I can say I’m English. I’m not about all the stuff English people love. I’d definitely say I’m more Irish, I’m eccentric and extrovert.
But you don’t even have a cute Irish accent, where has that gone?
(Starts speaking and singing in cute Irish accent)
You can definitely tell that you’re an actor. What kind of stuff have you done?
I’ve been doing it since I was young. I’ve done theatre and film, I haven’t done feature film yet though. One of the short film's I have done is coming out fairly soon. I got cast as being evil in that one, which I loved, because it’s the complete opposite to me as a person, so it means I can really immerse myself in the character. Being evil is fun.
You seem to go through a massive change a couple of years ago, where you had this mischievous time, then turned it all around. What happened?
I couldn’t tell you, I’m sure it was a multitude of a load of things. I’m sure my granny passing had something to do with it, my dog passing too that was emotional. The significant point for me was when I was on the phone to my mum at some point and I said to her; "I feel like I’m 12 again”. My mum was my best friend up until like 13, you know when females came into the equation. A lot of my thoughts are very spontaneous, it’s like Tetris. That’s when I started to realise that some things happened, like my granny passing really led me to wise up and open my mind. It definitely comes with spiritual life too, my main premise on life is to keep your mind, body and soul healthy and you’ll be cool. Then you just prosper in everything, especially if you’re doing something creative and you’ve got support from your parents and yourself spiritually, mentally and physically. If you secure those three pillars and make sure your mum and dad are your initial gods, because they are your creators then you will go far.
Words and interview by Ede Dugdale.