Schön!: Tell us a little about how you got your start.
Abiah: I was scouted to be model in Tribeca, then Givenchy was my first runway show in Paris. It was fun. I was pissing my pants. I was extremely nervous, but I didn’t trip or fall.
Schön!: Does that happen often with male models?
Abiah: Less so than with girls. I think their goal is to trip – that one good fall that gets them the attention they need (laughs). They have it planned out.
Schön!: What happened next?
Abiah: I killed it. I did a lot of editorials. My first campaign was a little late. Some people get in the first few months, but whatever, I took a time-out – about a year and half, two years – just to take care of my daughter. She’d just been born. It’s good that I’m doing the modelling now though – it’s on another level. Now I’m getting into acting too.
Schön!: Can you tell us about a couple of your favourite experiences so far?
Abiah: Being painted completely from head to toe – kind of like Avatar – intricate designs, fine details. It was a shoot for Vogue Homme, before they turned into British GQ.
Schön!: Anything else?
Abiah: Just finished up shooting my up my lead role in a short film- it was amazing, exactly what I want to do. It’s made me more comfortable even in terms of modelling although actually now, I’m like ‘Alright, I’d prefer to be acting.’
Schön!: What’s the film?
Abiah: It’s called The Last Days of Hustling. It takes place in Sunset Park [in Brooklyn] and it’s about this kid whose older brother dies, and his other older brother is coming out of jail, and he has to explain to him what happened, and it’s the guilt, that sort of thing. As the guilt piles up, he becomes more suicidal. He doesn’t kill himself but he does take his anger out on this others. It comes out in springtime.
Schön!: What else are you looking forward to?
Abiah: You know, Fashion Week is around the corner, I’m getting my own place when I come back. My parents are selling the loft that I grew up in – it’s gonna be weird.
Schön!: What something you’re excited about?
Abiah: Excited about 2014 – excited about ending this year in a completely different place than where I started.
Schön!: What is the biggest difference?
Abiah: I have to say money. Money definitely is a big difference. I take that back. Maybe money changes people, but I’m still wearing the same baggy-ass clothes (laughs).
Schön!: Can you tell us something a lot of people don’t know about you?
Abiah: Aside from the fact I have a daughter – nobody in my family comes from the same place. If you go back my grandfather, everyone is from a different country in the world.
Schön!: Do you think that’s shaped how you view yourself?
Abiah: Definitely. I was born in Jamaica and then I was raised here for the most part. I identify with Jamaica because that’s the music I was brought up on – it helped shape me but it didn’t define me. I consider myself a really universal person.
Schön!: Why don’t you start by telling us a little about how you got into modelling?
Duncan: After I finished school I took a gap year and moved down to Brighton, which is a seaside town in England. I got a job as a chef and was working as a chef for about 6 months, then one ordinary, boring day I got sent out to buy milk for the restaurant. On my way out, my agent, whose my mother agent in London, came up to me and said, ‘I work for a modelling agency. Do you want to be a model? Can I take a picture? Can I take your number?’ At first I thought he was taking a piss, I thought he was joking. I said, ‘No, get away from me, I’ve got to go buy milk,’ and he said ‘Come on, come on, just one picture,’ so he took it and a of couple days later I get a call telling me, ‘Come to the agency, we want you,’ I was like, ‘Oh God.’ I went in, it was all pretty crazy, and then a week later I was doing London Fashion Week.
Schön!: Wow, that was a fast turnaround. So what was that week before, was it hectic, were you excited?
Duncan: Super hectic, I was going to castings for the first time, meeting all these other models. It was pretty nerve-wracking to be honest.
Schön!: What would you say was your favourite part of your first Fashion Week?
Duncan: Definitely stepping out onto the catwalk for the first time – that was just such a rush. It’s such a rush every time, but that first time, I just remember.
Schön!: Other than the first time, what were some of the highlights?
Duncan: My first Fashion Week I only did two shows. It was great, I really enjoyed it, but New York Fashion Week was the best, I did 14 shows.
Schön!: What were your favourite experiences there?
Duncan: This is going to sound really pretentious, but I felt famous in a way. I was having a private driver pick me up to take me from one show to take me to the next, there was no time, with shows back to back to back. I was just going along with it, thinking, ‘This is amazing.’ Y3 was a lot of fun – it was in an old library, and they gave most of the models different routes to walk. It looked pretty chaotic from outside. I was walking across this big warehouse room and there were three drummers playing. So much electricity in the air.
Schön!: Would you say that preference for the crazier sorts of runway shows translates to a preference for crazy photoshoots?
Duncan: Yes, I don’t like shoots that are boring. Had a shoot yesterday where they didn’t know what they were doing, it was bit slow. I like it to be, ‘We’ve got good ideas, let’s play – jump about and take pitures of it.’
Schön!: What’s the most exciting experience you’ve had so far?
Duncan: Sort of most exciting and terrifying was Prada . Getting ready for that was the most terrifying experience of my life – my second ever runway show was Prada, in a huge hall where there were about a thousand people. Also what really made me nervous – the first runway show I did was just up-and-down, it was easy, but at Prada there were steps and you have to go round round round the whole room and come back and I was just thinking, ‘Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall.’
Schön!: Is that a real concern for boys?
Duncan: Yea, not as much as girls, but its still like a big threat (laughs) – I feel like I’d just crawl up into a ball. At Nicholas K, one of the girls – she stumbled, and her picture was of her foot bending like this. She nearly fell over. I felt so bad for her, I remember her coming back saying ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’ nearly crying.
Schön!: What are some things you’re looking forward to?
Duncan: Of course I’m looking forward to the January shows, that’ll be fun, I generally prefer shows to shoots, they’re more engaging, it’s my sort of thing. I’m terrible at posing so shoots don’t come easy to me.
Schön!: What other projects do you have upcoming or what do you want to get into?
Duncan: I don’t know, I’ve been asked this this week – I had a casting with a guy who wanted to do a short film with me, I’ve never done much film-related, was never much of a drama kid so I’m a bit sceptical, but I’d like to give it a go.
Schön!: You should – you’d never modeled and it took you a week (laughs).
Acting is a completely different thing, I hear.
Schön!: What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you off the bat?
Duncan: People never guess that I like cooking, but I worked at an Italian restaurant for six months. I really like cooking Italian, also like Mexican food, Caribbean food, I cook almost every night.
Schön!: What do you personally consider beautiful in fashion?
Duncan: Before I got into modelling I knew absolutely nothing about fashion – I was not into it at all. I tend to focus more on fit – I like simple clothes that fit really nicely.
I quite like smart but simple stuff, like when people reinvent classic items of clothing. I’m not really into the quirky side of fashion so much – I mean, I’ll wear it on the runway, but not in public.
Schön!: Can you tell us how you got started?
Martin: I’m Brazilian, I was living in south of Brazil. I went to this agency with my sister because she was a model before me. When they were all done, they asked me if I wanted to be a model too, and I was like, ‘No, no way.’
Schön!: How old were you?
Martin: I was maybe seventeen or sixteen and then I think one year or two years later I went to Sao Paulo, and won a contest – Ford Models – then they called me and asked it I wanted to go to Milan.
Schön!: What was your favourite experience?
Martin: My favourite experience was my first season in Paris this January because I opened the Dries Van Noten and Phillip Lim shows on the first day. For me it was the best, I was very surprised. Then I walked for Dior and Lanvin, it was better than I ever imagined
Schön!: How would you describe the feeling of being the first one?
Martin: I was pretty nervous like, ‘Can I do it?’ I didn’t want to fall, because everything was dark in Dries Van Noten. They started out light by light, but I was wearing sunglasses, thinking, ‘Oh, am I in the right spot? Am I doing the right thing?’ When I saw the little spark of the camera I knew that I needed to turn.
Schön!: Would you have fallen off?
Martin: Yea, I was wondering when I would need to turn! Then I saw the camera, and I turned around, and the lights were on and saw everybody and thought, ‘Holy shit.’
Schön!: For you, what makes runway show exciting?
Martin: The music. The music really helps and the catwalk as weel. I did again the Dries show another season and there was a girl playing the drums, it was amazing. I remember Ermenigeldo Zegna had good music and we just needed to walk in a circle – there was no stop. I hate to stop, I just like to walk.
Schön!: How would you compare the experience of runway to doing a photoshoot?
Martin: I think a photoshoot you have to focus on what the photographer wants in the picture, because photographers work in different ways. Some let you move more, some other one say, ‘Do more of this position, stay like this, look more to that side, play with your shirt.’
Schön!: Do you prefer it over shows?
Martin: I like the shows but sometimes it gets to be too much – you have castings, fittings, everything happening at the same time, then you go to a place and you have to run to another one. Its a good thing it’s only two times a year.
Schön!: How would you describe your personal style?
Martin: I don’t really have a style because sometimes I’ll be more casual, just a shirt with a jacket and sneakers – other times I like a big coat, skinny pants and some boots. It depends how I wake up.
Schön!: What would you consider beautiful in fashion?
Martin: I like when there is a story behind a collection. Sometimes the clothes looks so weird, it’s nice to know how they ended up with them.
Schön!: Can you tell us something not a lot of people know about you?
Martin: I was a swimmer before modelling – I was paying half of my university, it was good, but it was too much. I really miss it though – I liked going to competitions, trying to be better and better.
Schön!: What are you looking forward that’s happening soon?
Martin: I’m looking forward to go back to Europe – to see if some campaign comes around, and do some more editorials. I want to go to London as well because I’ve never been there.
Schön!: Tell us how you got into all of this.
Ronald: I’m from Philly, Pennsylvania. I was actually a janitor at Whole Foods for a year, and some guy came in and was like, ‘You should be a model.’ I did a few Philly Fashion Weeks, and some small photoshoots there before I got scouted by Fletcher Harrington, who owns a scouting agency overseas called No 15 Scouts. He sent me to Wilhelmina and New York Models and DNA, and Wilhelmina signed me on the spot. Nine months later, I’m here. Can’t complain.
Schön!: That’s amazing. Tell us about some experiences you’ve had recently.
Ronald: I just shot the River Island campaign. I had six looks to shoot over two days – was there for five days, had three days extra to hang out on beach and play basketball. I didn’t get in the water because it was breezy still, but I played basketball the whole week. It was during Halloween, so I got to see all the crazy people on the beach dressed up weird. Then I did commercial for Phillip Lim and a runway show for Target. It was the first show they’ve had. The runway was moving, with the dot was circling backwards and forward, and we had to dance – it was pretty crazy.
Schön!: Did you have a lot of time to rehearse?
Ronald: No, it was one day! Dancers were rehearsing all week.
Schön!: What’s coming up that you’re excited about?
Ronald: Fashion Week in Milan. Last year I was an option for Calvin Klein. I didn’t get it because I think I was too big and couldn’t fit into the suit, so I’ve slimmed down a lot and gotten a lot of work. I did Calvin Klein’s new jean campaign – I did their new presentation for their Spring Summer collection. Now I’m first option for this first fashion week in Milan, so hopefully it’ll be a lot of exposure, a lot of good will come out of it.
Schön!: What makes fashion interesting to you?
Ronald: Good question. I like preppy looks – I like bow ties, ascots, things like that. I guess in fashion, I like things are far-fetched, that make you stand out – pow! I like layers, and different ways to accessorise.
Schön!: So if you were to see a man walking down the street, what would him stand out to you?
Ronald: It would first be colours. I always wear colours – like in my bookbag, I have yellow basketball sneakers. I like crazy ties – white bow ties, neon-green ties, crazy stuff like that. Colours first, then after that, there are a lot of details. I just learned how to do this crazy tie knot called the Eldridge, it almost looks like the knot is checkered – took me like two days to get it straight, and I wore it to a Spike Lee premiere.
Schön!: When it comes to something like art direction, what’s a recent show that you liked?
Ronald: I went to San Francisco for an Academy of Arts show – it’s a school, and every year they have a show for the graduating designers. They had a big projection screen with a galaxy in the background. It was really powerful, they had black and blue, all the stars – everything! I almost thought the people were looking at it more so that the models walking down. Target was really cool too, the moving stage and all.
Schön!: It sounds like you really like things that are active.
Ronald: I do! I’m outgoing so I like crazy things.
Schön!: What’s a crazy thing you’ve done recently?
Ronald: I went fishing for the first time in years, which might not sound that crazy but I caught four fish, scaled them, cut their heads off, took the guts out (laughs).
Schön!: Did you eat them?
Ronald: Yes! Split them open, seasoned them, put fruit cocktail over them, threw them in the oven, and baked them.
Schön!: That’s pretty cool. I couldn’t do it!
Ronald: No? You should definitely try! You wanna go fishing? I’ll take you fishing. You could cut off their heads if you want.
Schön!: Tell us something about you we wouldn’t guess.
Ronald: I got hit be a drunk driver at the age of four – I have four metal pins in my right leg, I was in coma for a month – I went from there to being a state track champion, and I play football and basketball, so I made a pretty good recovery in my life from the injury.
Schön!: Tell us how you got your start.
Paul: I was scouted in Berlin while I was in school outside of there. I was working for an environmental company, writing press releases and stuff. Then I went to Paris for Fashion Week, and from then on I’ve attended every single Fashion Week.
Schön!: What was the first show you walked?
Paul: Prada, in Milan. It was awesome!
Schön!: What have been some of your favourite experiences so far?
Paul: I don’t want to mention names or favour anyone, you know, but you see all kinds of things: you work with actors and great talents, you travel to amazing places, like places that you would never end up going if it weren’t for the job. Like I shot in an underwater stage where they shot James Bond movies – it was in the desert. That’s the best part of it: the variety of places you see, and the people you work with.
Schön!: Within the context of fashion, what would you say is very beautiful? What makes it special?
Paul: What makes it beautiful is when it’s clean. When it comes to fashion, I don’t like any unnecessary things. I guess that’s because I’m German, you know. I’m into clean cuts and clean colours – a Bauhaus aesthetic. It’s special when it serves a purpose.
Schön!: Do you think you will ever be on the other side of fashion?
Paul: No, I’m a terrible photographer – I’ve done some acting so that’s another career path I’m taking. I’m working on several projects: I’ll be in a play next March here in New York. I have the lead role. It’s called the Hamletmachine by Heiner Müller – it’s the second time it’s going to be staged in New York, so it’s kind of awesome. I’m also working on a project where I’m playing the character of Reiner Maria Rilke, a poet, to be filmed in Paris, with funding from L.A. The Goethe-Institut is involved in that as well. Something I don’t want to talk about because it’s not set in stone – I just signed with an agent in Berlin – we’ll see where that goes because I think that European film and German film is definitely something that is coming back. People might say Europe independent film has died, but I think we’re getting out of that hole, and there’s great stuff happening . This summer its my objective to find and agent for that and get my foot back into the door in Europe because I’ve been away for so long.
Schön!: Would you ideally live there?
Paul: No, I want to live between New York and the rest of the world. I think it’s the perfect base for me right now. I don’t want to give that up.
Schön!: Any fun facts – something no one would guess about you?
Paul: The kinds of things that nobody know had better stay that way – well-kept secrets, you know, I’m sure I have many of them. Oh, I can say that I’ve been sober for four and half years – I guess that’s something a lot of people don’t know. I don’t like to hide that.
Schön!: Congrats, that’s really great. Last question: can you tell me about a recent adventure you went on?
Paul: I was in Idaho for two weeks – I shot three music videos which tied together, so that was quite exciting. We all became really good friends, and my girlfriend was with me, so she has a part in it as well. My friend who shot it – he shoots in film – he shot it in 35mm and it looks like a Coen Brothers movie – guns and horses and good guys and bad guys and kids gone crazy in the desert!
This Schön! online exclusive was created by
Photography / Georgia Nerheim
Fashion / Seymour Glass
Grooming / Shaun Thomas Gibson
Interview / Amanda Vandenberg
Models / Abiah Hostvedt @ Red (Citizen)
Duncan Proctor @ Fusion
Martin Conte @ DNA
Ronald Epps @ Wilhelmina
Paul Boche @ Fusion
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