The wilder the greener, the crazier the better.
New to the scene, model Kalam Horlick at Elite London is the spontaneous boy that was scouted twice at the same festival. Born, raised and living amongst the lush landscapes of South Wales, Kalam brings a hint of a fantastical quality everywhere he goes. His modelling adventures within London has his mum involved every step of the way, as she dedicatedly drives him into the city to enable her boy to start this new chapter. Together, they openly discuss how their first model scout encounter led them to finding a harmonious way to spend more time together.
Unexpectedly, the 16 year old’s Welsh voice sounds as deep as someone twice his age; yet his face remains as fresh as Iceland’s blue lagoon. With a devout passion for chocolate raisins, Kalam talks through how he balances his time modelling in the city, with hanging out with friends back home in Wales. We chat about making use of his gap year and growing to accept his elf ears, as well as catching the eye of menswear designer, Craig Green. His mum on the other hand, reveals the real Kalam and shares her side of the story...
How were you scouted, Kalam?
Kalam: I was scouted at Boardmasters festival in the summertime. I was just walking around and someone approached me and asked if I was interested in modelling. At first, I thought it was a practical joke, but we eventually became best friends. I gave my mum a look at first, thought about it, and ended up taking pictures later on with the agency.
Kalam’s mum: I accused the model scout of hitting on Kalam. In front of him, I said, 'is that really inappropriate?’ To which he replied, ‘I’m genuine!'
Kalam: Such a good start.
Kalam’s mum: It was a bit of a cheesy line. When he approached Kalam, it was as if he was saying: “hey, I think you’re pretty, do you want me to take photos of you?"
Kalam: At first I thought he was someone who was just checking me out, but he took notes as well, so I was confused.
Kalam’s mum: Kalam was much shorter at the time. He was scouted twice at the same festival.
Instant Analogue by Sophie Mayanne with special thanks to Impossible.
What have you been up to since you’ve been scouted?
Kalam: My time’s gone by really fast. I’m not tied down in college, so I’ve got more free time. I used to ride my BMX quite a lot, but then I started to become a bit lazier. I eat a lot of food, especially love chocolate raisins and pizza. I have done my first shoot for Craig Green, and that was quite strange. Strange in a good way though; it was just an insight into what to expect in a fashion studio. Overall it was a really good shoot with great styling and I liked meeting tonnes of new people. I’m constantly gaining new experiences from the shoots.
What have you got planned for your gap year and the future?
Kalam: I haven’t used my gap year to its full potential so far, but I really want to spend more time with friends. Unfortunately they’re in college right now, so they don’t have much free time apart from the weekends. It’s really good to have a break for now though. Next year I might enrol for college, this is why I’ve decided to take the opportunity to do something that I never expected to do: modelling.
What was it like growing up in South Wales?
Kalam: It’s different, it’s nice. Pretty quiet, but there is a beautiful scenery. There are good walks to go on if you are into doing a lot of activities, and if you’re into hiking there are plenty of mountains. There are tonnes of beaches, trees, it’s pretty. I used to climb trees, but I’m not as active as I was before. It’s more slow paced; less people, less cars and maybe less to do. Kids my age get together, party, and hang out. It’s more about socialising with each other rather than being swept up in technology. I like a good walk every now and then; Wales is beautiful for long walks, while eating chocolate raisins. I have a favourite spot which others may not see as beautiful. There is a golf course just up a mountain where you can see miles ahead. You can even see that central is the busiest area, it’s pretty cool, because you can see through all of the valley.
How would you describe yourself as a person?
Kalam: I don’t stick to a plan, which can sometimes be a good thing or quite a bad thing. I like to see what happens with the flow, I'm pretty chilled out.
(Cecilie Jumps in) Does anyone ever talk about your hair or ears? They're like elf ears! Really cool.
Kalam: Not before, but now they do. Does everyone think I look like an elf? One of my ears is more elf-like than the other. I used to have long hair, so I would always use that to cover my ears. My hair is currently still in a testing stage. I’m at a stage where I don’t know if this is going to be my look. I’ve had a hairstylist create a grease lighting type of look on me before, which was really cool.
How do you feel about showing your feelings in public?
Kalam: It’s definitely fine for boys to show their feelings. There’s no point in hiding it, because no one else knows what you’re feeling. If you’re happy, express it. If you’re sad, also express it.
Can you tell a story about Kalam that can entertain everyone.
Kalam’s mum: There’re quite a lot, I’ve got a whole bank of those stories. Kalam has always done BMX, so when his stabilisers came off at three years old, he rode his bike down the steps to the front of the house. The walls were much closer than the turn at the bottom of the stairs, so he slammed into the wall. Not even a stunt-man could’ve done that without getting hurt!
What do you think of all his modelling?
Kalam’s mum: I’m proud and impressed. He does things that I wouldn’t be able to do. He’s a natural, because it was nothing that we thought about before and it can be quite scary, but he seems comfortable with it. It’s been such an adventure.
Do you enjoy being in front of camera?
Kalam: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. I try to clear my head when I’m in front of the camera, I always try not to have loads of things running through my mind and cooperate with the photographer. I personally like the shoots that are quite out there, the crazier the better for me since I’m quite a spontaneous person.
What music do you listen to?
Kalam: My music list is so wide, I can't pinpoint what I listen to. I like a bit of classical music and anything with a good beat. I like dance music and bands, and listen to a range of bands and musicians. One time at a festival, I was expecting ‘Skream' to be there, but he didn’t turn up and I was quite upset about that. My mum and I have similar music taste, except she has a few tunes she doesn’t agree with me on and vice versa.
Are you together a lot?
Kalam: Not as much as we probably should. We don’t spend enough time together, since I was always hibernating in my room or out with my friends. Modelling is where we bond and where we truly spend time with each other.
Kalam’s mum: I usually won’t see him again until the next time he needs a lift to London, haha.
Interview by Saskia Pfeiffer.
Words by Nicole Chui.