With the outburst in celebrities turning models, and reality TV stars becoming the faces of high end brands, the modelling industry has become somewhat controversial to say the least. Here at TFH we talk to Brooklyn based model, Steven Keating about his road to becoming a famous fashion face and his verdict on fashion today.
Image: The Fashionisto
How and why did you start modeling? I never thought of myself as a model, nor did I think I would be living in NYC or ever go there. To my surprise many people felt otherwise. Once I reached high school I was continually asked if I was a model, which I scoffed at with amusement. It just didn't seem right because I grew up in the woods living the simple life but also spending most of my time at the beach surfing. Fashion was completely unknown territory to me. After hearing I should be a model so often, I figured why not give it a try? If it didn't work out, at least I’d have the experience. With the help of a high school friend Grace and her family, I was introduced to a photographer and eventually an agency that was immediately intrigued. After extensive planning and dialogue I finally moved to NYC. I changed management a few times, lost interest and direction for a while, but I am still here and loving life.
What’s been your favorite shoot so far and why? This is actually a really tough question because there are so many shoots that stand out for special reasons. Although, a notable and enjoyable experience was shooting a "Blow Up" inspired shoot with Nicolas Guerin for Prestige Intl. while in Paris. He is a brilliant man with a great eye for photos. He is very down to earth and we bonded right from the start. Also, his team is great, they are more like a family than anything – there were great vibes!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done whilst being a model? Oh the stories that come to mind but cannot leave my brain! However, the entire modeling experience has been the craziest thing I have done in my life. I went to Paris 3 times in one year; I was basically living there. NEVER thought I would even see Paris so it was a really beautiful and special experience that I will never forget. I am grateful for everything that has happened through modeling. There have been many opportunities and I have been lucky to meet some amazing people along the way. Of course some wild antic and parties, but those days are long gone!
You were the face of the YSL Spring 2014 advert with Cara Delevigne, how was that? It was an incredible moment in my life, I found out around Christmas as well so it was a pretty rad time to find out. When I found out I was shooting it I flipped out. Finally, after all those years of patience I accomplished something big! Working for a prestigious brand such as YSL was an honor. Their team was absolutely huge; it was the biggest production I had ever seen. The funniest part was that I did not even know who Cara was at the time. I actually asked her name and introduced myself, oops. She was really an amazing girl though and I completely understand why she has the following she does. She has a relatable personality, she is ridiculously funny, and she possesses just the right amount of quirkiness. It was not a boring day at all, that’s for sure. I was working alongside some of the most prominent figures in fashion: Terry Richardson, Sam McKnight, Lloyd Simmonds - talk about a wild day. Also, how often does one see Cara Delevigne, Jourdan Dunn, Karlie Kloss, and Sam Rollinson all in one day, at the same place? Talk about my lucky day.
Favorite place to be? NATURE. I grew up in the woods and I have been surfing since the age of 5, so anything close to nature is comforting for me. Way before the modeling world I was making a name for myself in the surfing scene. I was sponsored, competing and traveling, but eventually the competition lost its appeal. Unfortunately, surfing wasn't about fun and enjoying nature anymore. Also, I LOVE PARIS. Paris is one of the most beautifully enchanting locations I visited. It’s a place with real, tangible history that blew me away. The food, the culture, architecture, what's not to like? I also like being at home with my parents enjoying peace and quiet or lounging in my apartment listening to music, watching Netflix, or reading when I have the time.
Favorite thing to wear? Lots of Black. I now wear all black with random pops of color. Whether it is a solid loud colored t-shirt or a wild psychedelic pattern, the color will find its way in somewhere. I also just started making all of my shoes customized through the Vans website for added uniqueness.
Top 4 models of our generation? Cara, Barbara Palvin, Candice, & Adriana. Also, if you don’t know about my great friend Richard Deiss, you should all watch for him. Otherwise, I stopped paying attention to who books what, etc. It seems to be whomever the casting directors are swooning over at the moment haha.
What are your thoughts on the recent outbreak of celebrities turning models? LIKE THEY NEED MORE MONEY! As a marketing student I understand why these brands would use celebrity endorsements. It generates immense awareness and large profits. However, some of these brands are so far beyond the need for a celebrity endorsement it just reflects negatively on them in my opinion. How much money does the company really need? The modeling industry is full of young men and women who are striving to make it in life. Some are coming from other countries in hope of helping their family back home. They put in ridiculous amounts of their time and effort, not to mention their own money. All of this only to be turned away because some celebrity will attract the attention of the masses with more efficiency. Brands could put forth a bit more effort and bring the life back to this industry by creativity and not settling for what's guaranteed to sell. Aren't there risks taken anymore? How are these people budgeting? It baffles me how consumer items with such high price points don't generate enough funds to take a few risks. It’s all too safe and predictable.
What are your plans for the future? I graduate this spring and hopefully will be doing my internship before then with a respected brand in the industry. I won't drop the company name yet because it’s not a definite. However, this is where my path seems to lead for the moment. I have many goals and aspirations to achieve and don't intend to limit myself to just one. My ultimate goal is to be living happily. (I know, how cliché?) I would like to be completely self-sustainable in the sense that I grow most of my own food, harness energy through solar panels, and spend time getting back to the nature we are genetically connected to yet so detached from. I would relish being in somewhat of a remote location that is not too far from people, but certainly not too close. A nearby beach with some waves would also be ideal. Although, it doesn't take much to make me happy anymore
Why should people follow you on Instagram? I like to think of my Instagram as an extension of my own eyes. When I post an image, its because whatever I saw at that moment stopped me in my tracks in order to capture it. I'll usually see something and know I need to take the picture. I see the final image in my mind before it’s even a picture, which is pretty trippy. Anything that appears on my Instagram is something I deem special or beautiful. Basically, I offer a look into my life and if people want to check it out, I warmly welcome them to join me on my life adventure.