A Way of Life

We catch up with model-extraordinaire Aurelien Muller and chat about his jour­ney in life, his ris­ing ca­reer and his phi­los­o­phy on mod­el­ing

DA MAN - Style - - Designer - pho­tog­ra­phy & in­ter­view ronald liem - styling peter zewet


Aurelien Muller was part of the pre­miere is­sue of DAMAN Style, and now he’s back again for a spe­cial fash­ion spread shot on In­done­sia’s Is­land of the Gods. For sure, the French­born model has been an in­spi­ra­tion: He has found steady work with Dolce & Gab­bana as well as var­i­ous other no­table names in fash­ion; he’s posed to­gether with the likes of Tay­lor Swift; and mean­while, his so­cial me­dia pres­ence tells the tale of a well-trav­elled gentleman who is al­ways on ad­ven­ture. That be­ing said, his ap­proach to mod­el­ing re­mains al­most philo­soph­i­cal. He of­ten muses about be­ing true to him­self and treat­ing his vo­ca­tion as a way of life.

DAMAN: Awe­some to have you here with us again since the pre­miere is­sue of DAMAN Style in the fall of 2014. Can you tell us some of the ma­jor high­lights of your ca­reer since then?

Aurelien Muller: So, I shot a cam­paign for Tom Ford, Dolce & Gab­bana and then shot an ed­i­to­rial with Tay­lor Swift for Van­ity

Fair. And then, ob­vi­ously there’s the Dolce & Gab­bana cam­paign, the Furla cam­paign with Mario Testino. I shot with Bruce We­ber for Vogue Hommes. It has been a good jour­ney so far.

DA: Let’s talk about your work for Dolce & Gab­bana. What do you think was it that the brand saw in you when they picked you for their shows and campaigns?

AM: Ob­vi­ously, I feel lucky and for­tu­nate be­cause that’s the brand that I was aim­ing for when I started out. I don’t know, maybe it was the en­ergy be­tween me and them, so ev­ery­thing clicked right away.

DA: You’ve worked with Dolce & Gab­bana for four years now. What would you say has been the most mem­o­rable run­way show or ad cam­paign that you’ve done for the brand?

AM: I would say, prob­a­bly, when they first booked me for this cos­metic cam­paign and just be­fore this, I closed their run­way show. It was a big deal, be­cause clos­ing the show means you’re the main guy in the brand. I was very for­tu­nate.

DA: Speak­ing of which, you of­ten hear about ri­val­ries among ac­tors, mu­si­cians, ath­letes and so on. Is this some­thing that’s also com­mon in the mod­el­ing world?

AM: No. I mean, I wouldn’t say that. It’s just about, you know, en­joy­ment. This is not a business for us; it’s a way of life. It’s just op­por­tu­ni­ties after op­por­tu­ni­ties, and you just take it one after the other. It’s not a com­pe­ti­tion at all. I mean, at least I don’t feel that it is.

DA: What would be the next ca­reer mile­stone that you’d like to reach next?

AM: Well, it wasn’t my idea at first, but peo­ple around me are push­ing me to be­come an actor. Which is quite flattering, ob­vi­ously. They even pushed me to take classes. I met Bruce We­ber again two months ago and he told me: “You have to do your act­ing lessons.” He has been push­ing me to his friends. He knows a danc­ing teacher and a di­alect teacher and so on. So, I might go in this di­rec­tion and it would be my next goal.

DA: What do you con­sider to be your most no­table or unique phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tic?

AM: Well, I can’t re­ally tell. I mean, I’m very com­mer­cial in a way, so peo­ple prob­a­bly like my smile. And I work out a lot. [ Laughs] In a way, it’s very flattering when peo­ple like my body and the way I look be­cause it’s a way of life. It’s pretty hard work. You re­ally can’t ask me this kind of ques­tion, you have to ask other peo­ple about this. [ Laughs] DA: You’ve been mod­el­ing for more than half a decade; you’ve walked on nu­mer­ous high-pro­file run­ways; and now you’re

do­ing a shoot half a world away from where it all started. When you con­sider all this, what goes through your mind?

AM: Well, it’s not 5 years, actually; it’s three and a half years. It went re­ally quick and I like the fact that it went re­ally quick. But some­times I look back and I’m like: “Wow, it’s al­most four years. What did I do?” It went so fast, you know, and some­times I feel I’m miss­ing out with my fam­ily be­cause I’m trav­el­ing a lot. But some­times I feel that I’ve done a lot as well. I’ve achieved a lot of goals in ev­ery part of my life and I still have a lot of goals to achieve. It’s kind of freaky, but at the same time I can look back and say: “Yeah, I’ve done some crazy things.”

DA: What’s your cur­rent state of mind right now?

AM: When it comes to my state of mind it’s al­ways the same: En­joy as much as you can; you’re very, very for­tu­nate right now and just have no re­grets. It’s funny be­cause I was read­ing this in­ter­view and I’ve got the ex­act same spirit when I did the in­ter­view with DAMAN three years ago.

DA: Where do you see your­self in five years from now?

AM: Wow, that’s a tricky ques­tion. Hope­fully in a sunny place and sur­rounded by my loved ones, fam­ily and clos­est friends. Ba­si­cally— and hope­fully—still do­ing what I love.

DA: Who is your big­gest role model?

AM: My big­gest role model would be my dad, be­cause of all that he went through in his life and for what he’s done for the four of us, for the kids and for me as well.

DA: On the flip side, we wouldn’t be sur­prised to learn that there are peo­ple who con­sider you to be their role model. What would be your top three tips for new models as­pir­ing to be like you?

AM: First, you don’t have to take this business too se­ri­ously. Like I said, it’s not a job; it’s op­por­tu­nity after op­por­tu­nity. And then, just have a very pos­i­tive en­ergy all the time. And don’t be too ar­ro­gant; your rep­u­ta­tion pre­cedes you at some point. So, just be friendly to ev­ery­one. Be ir­re­place­able, be­cause if you’re ir­re­place­able no one can change you. And don’t try to im­i­tate any­one be­cause ev­ery­one is al­ready taken.

DA: What would be a fash­ion essential that you sim­ply can’t live with­out?

AM: Un­for­tu­nately, I don’t have any. Maybe a watch. I don’t know why but I just be­gun look­ing into watches. Maybe it’s be­cause I’m a grown up man and I like a grown up man toys. I’m not into cars right now, maybe be­cause I don’t need one; but for me, a watch is a new el­e­ment that I would say fits a man. It’s a good toy.

DA: What is your number one pet peeve when it comes to how peo­ple— par­tic­u­larly men— dress them­selves these days?

AM: Well, I have to say that I don’t like socks with flip-flops, but some­times I see my dad wear­ing it. I don’t want to have an ar­gu­ment with my dad. Who am I to judge, any­way?

DA: Look­ing at your In­sta­gram ac­count, and con­sid­er­ing where this shoot is tak­ing place, it looks like you en­joy trav­el­ing quite a lot. What are some of your fa­vorite des­ti­na­tions and why?

AM: I love ev­ery des­ti­na­tion I’ve been to so far and Bali is one of the great­est is­lands I’ve ever been to. This is my first time in Asia and I’m sure if I’m going next time, it’s going to Viet­nam or Laos. But right now, Bali is my fa­vorite des­ti­na­tion—un­til I find the next one.

DA: Speak­ing of In­sta­gram, however, do you think that your so­cial me­dia pres­ence plays a role in your ca­reer?

AM: That’s a good ques­tion. It’s a new business now. I think, even when I meet clients they know me bet­ter from my In­sta­gram than my look book. So, they know how they want me to look and they can just show me a pic­ture from my In­sta­gram. They don’t even go through my look book any­more. You have to be care­ful now about what you post. Even though you don’t have to hide your iden­tity, you have to be your­self. So­cial me­dia is like a window to your way of life. You have to show your true iden­tity and what you look like. If the client likes it, they will book you; if it’s not a match, they will not book you. It’s a dif­fer­ent game now. It’s like you go more into some­one with­out even meet­ing him. Some­times you don’t have an idea un­til you meet this per­son. On In­sta­gram maybe he’s more so­cial but when you meet him in per­son he’s very shy. And some­times it’s the op­po­site. Some­body might not even be on so­cial me­dia but when you meet him he’s the best per­son on Earth. And I know my fol­low­ers don’t like it when I post ed­i­to­rial pic­tures or cam­paign pic­tures, be­cause it’s not me—it’s not my nat­u­ral self. They like raw pic­tures more. You could take a selfie in the morn­ing when you’re just wak­ing up and they would love it.

DA: Other than keeping a good so­cial me­dia pres­ence, what does it take to be a suc­cess­ful male model?

AM: For me so­cial me­dia is like a re­al­ity show. And if you want to be a male model, you have to play. For me, though, a su­per male model is like a movie star while so­cial me­dia is a re­al­ity show. A male model has to have hid­den part. You have to keep this fantasy and don’t show ev­ery­thing.

DA: What are some of the big­gest things that most peo­ple still get wrong about how mod­el­ing actually works?

AM: Even my brother and sis­ter think it’s all glam­orous, with cham­pagne ev­ery­where like in a fantasy world. I mean, in a way, it is. I’m do­ing an in­ter­view in Bali right now, right? But some jobs are very dif­fi­cult. You could be shoot­ing in a for­est dur­ing win­ter, and you have to change and get naked in that for­est while there are in­sects ev­ery­where and it’s rain­ing. Most of the time, it’s not glam­orous at all. Or you could sud­denly gain a lot weight. You al­ways won­der if you have to change some­thing about you, or if you have to min­gle more, or if you have to stay home more. You have to play with these kinds of pa­ram­e­ters. DA: On that note, are there any as­pects of the mod­el­ing and fash­ion in­dus­try that you wish you could change?

AM: That’s hard ques­tion. I love the way it works right now. For me, I don’t see the in­dus­try at all. On my side, I’m just an em­ployee for client, for one day. And then I jump to the next side. I’m on the good side, I think.

DA: Do you have a motto, a fa­vorite say­ing or quote that you’ve al­ways fol­lowed?

AM: I have a few. My fa­vorite ones would be “be the hard­est work­ing per­son in the room and ev­ery­thing will fol­low” and “don’t call it a dream, called it a plan.”


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