dance in to the light

David Friend, the muse of saint lau­rent, talks about his jour­ney into the high-stakes world of male mod­el­ing

DA MAN - Style - - Designer - pho­tog­ra­phy Mitchell NguyeN Mccor­Mack - styling Suzi re­zler

“i come from a re­ally pas­sion­ate fam­ily; a lot of my sib­lings and my mom are artists”

the life story of top model David Friend sounds like some­thing tai­lor-made for a best-sell­ing novel or the script for an Os­car-nom­i­nated drama movie. There’s the child­hood spent in a small town in Florida, there’s the bound­less cre­ativ­ity kin­dled by a charm­ingly artis­tic and closeknit fam­ily, there’s the years spent behind the scenes as a stylist fol­lowed by a mo­men­tous run­way de­but. Only, of course, all of this is real.

Last year, Friend ap­peared as a sur­prise ad­di­tion—the only male model, actually— dur­ing the un­veil­ing of An­thony Vac­carello’s first collection for Saint Lau­rent. This, by the way, was right after Vac­carello was ap­pointed as the brand’s creative di­rec­tor. Since then he has walked for other brands (Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo’s spring/sum­mer 2018 show, for in­stance) and ap­peared in var­i­ous ed­i­to­ri­als. Still, his most no­table works to date are for Saint Lau­rent’s run­way shows and campaigns. And he does all that and more while still keeping his pas­sion for styling and de­sign­ing very much alive. DA MAN: Hi, David. Awe­some to have you with us. So, we no­tice that you’ve had quite a busy 2017 so far. Will we see you any­where else be­fore the year is over? David Friend: I hope so, but I don’t want to ruin the sur­prise fac­tor for ev­ery­body. DA: Let’s move back a bit to the show that re­ally put you on ev­ery­one’s radar: An­thony Vac­carello’s first collection for Saint Lau­rent last year. To­day, what do you re­mem­ber the most about that day? DF: I was re­ally ner­vous and talk­ing to peo­ple wasn’t very easy be­cause I felt dis­tracted. But after the walk I was re­ally happy about it.

DA: What, would you say, is your most unique side?

DF: I can’t stop danc­ing in any sit­u­a­tion. Doesn’t mean it’s good, but I don’t think any­one dances the same way. I do it when I feel awk­ward; it makes me feel more re­laxed. DA: You’ve done a lot of “behind the scenes” work in fash­ion be­fore you started mod­el­ing. In what ways has this helped you as a model? DF: I think it helped me book a few shoots, taught me how to work well on set and I learned a lot of ran­dom lit­tle things.

DA: You’re known as a model who also does styling, de­sign and even pho­tog­ra­phy. Where did this pas­sion come from?

DF: I didn’t know I was known for all that. [ Laughs] I only fo­cus on de­sign at the mo­ment but will get back to shoot­ing when those two cor­re­late. I come from a re­ally pas­sion­ate fam­ily; a lot of my sib­lings and my mother are artists.

“at this mo­ment i dress like a crew mem­ber. def­i­nitely not my most stylish point in life”

DA: By the way, what does be­ing a model mean to you? DF:

I don’t think about it much. It went well so far and I’ve had a lot of fun. That’s why I’m still do­ing it.

DA: So far, what is the best part of be­ing a model? DF:

It’s eas­ier to make a goal come true now, than if I would have stayed in Florida. I had a re­ally hard time know­ing what steps I need to take to get away.

DA: Con­versely, is there any­thing that you wish you could change about the way things are done in your line of work? DF:

It’s a lot harder for women. I think it’s been good for me but ev­ery in­dus­try has faults.

DA: Among all the designers, pho­tog­ra­phers, fel­low models and so on that you’ve worked with, who has had the big­gest im­pact on your ca­reer or on your out­look on the in­dus­try? Also, who would you want to work with in the fu­ture? DF:

I’ve met some re­ally great peo­ple; I wouldn’t say just one name. Some of my best friends are models, stylists or pho­tog­ra­phers I’ve met over the last four years and right now I re­ally en­joy work­ing with friends.

DA: How would you de­scribe your per­sonal sense of style? DF:

At this mo­ment I dress like a crew mem­ber. I re­ally like hik­ing gear be­cause I feel like I can do any­thing and walk any­where. Def­i­nitely not my most stylish point in life.

DA: When you’re styling some­body else, though, or when you’re work­ing on your own de­signs, what do you usually fo­cus on? What in­spires you? DF:

Smok­ing on my bal­cony be­cause there is a view of down­town but it’s far and ev­ery­thing looks re­ally tiny. I like lis­ten­ing to mu­sic with head­phones and on­line re­search­ing. I get pretty ob­ses­sive look­ing at vin­tage de­signs on­line.

DA: Mov­ing ahead, do you think you will spend more time in front or behind the cam­eras? Say, in the next five years or so... DF:

In five years I may have a re­strain­ing or­der against cam­eras; you never know...

DA: Have you ever thought about what you would be do­ing right now if you hadn’t gone into mod­el­ing back then? DF:

I like na­ture be­cause I grew up with it. I have in­ten­tions of be­ing deep in na­ture again when I’m older. If I could have any job, I’d want An­thony Bour­dain’s job, no doubt.

DA: What do you usually do when you have time to just do what­ever you want? DF:

Thrift, draw, smoke with friends. Or if it’s a lot of free time, I’d road trip or fly some­where.

DA: Nowa­days, what is it that re­ally lifts your mood and makes you happy? DF:

Na­ture.

DA: What was the best piece of ad­vice you’ve ever heard? DF:

It would take me a re­ally long time to de­cide that, but when­ever I’m in my head or stressed, I tell my­self to go swim­ming. And I think that is good piece of self-ad­vice be­cause it al­ways works.

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