Friday, September 6, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Annemijn Dijs

Dutch newcomer Annemijn Dijs has been firmly on IMA's radar since she made the leap to modelling full-time a little over a year ago. Hailing from Rotterdam, 18 year old Dijs possesses that indefinable star quality and a look all of her own which makes her a standout amongst the battalion of newcomers descending on Manhattan for the Spring/Summer 2014 collections. Dijs' powerful androgyny and lanky 178 cm runway perfect proportions making for an imposing proposition for the Spring/Summer 2014 runways. Behind Dijs' blue steel gaze and striking angular features is a delightfully eloquent young woman with a multi-faceted personality and a kindness of spirit. In an industry where pretty faces are a dime a dozen, Dij's enquiring mind and genuine interest in others speaks volumes and assures her an immediate rapport with those in her company. IMA had the pleasure of meeting Dijs in Sydney during Australian Fashion Week and again at the Natalie Joos Casting for the Spring/Summer 2014 season, and was astounded by her rare beauty, engaging personality, and commitment to her craft. Armed with an uncompromising beauty, a transformative quality, and a 'model as muse' approach to modelling, Dijs is primed for a Spring/Summer 2014 season of epic proportions. 

Annemijn Dijs
Image courtesy of IMG Models

Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Annemijn, thank you for taking timeout in the midst of pre-casting madness to chat with IMA! You're about to embark on your first show season for the Spring/Summer 2014 New York collections. Are you looking forward to New York Fashion Week and how are you preparing yourself mentally and physically for the onslaught of the month long fashion marathon?
AD: It's my pleasure! I am really excited for New York Fashion Week as I've never been to the States before and I've heard such good stories about New York. I am mentally preparing myself by focusing on the jobs alone. I must admit that I do look forward to the craziness of fashion week and seeing how the experience will affect me.

IMA: As a relative newcomer, would you mind sharing your backstory with IMA's readership?
AD: I am 18 years old and I started full-time modelling exactly one year ago. Quitting high school in my household was not an option so the day after my last exam, I took the train to Paris and from there on I started exploring the other markets too. I am from Rotterdam which is the second biggest city in Holland. When I was 15, my current mother agent invited me to come in to do a test shoot and shortly after she opened up her own agency.

IMA: IMA first featured you as a face to watch out for in the lead up to the Spring/Summer 2013 show season. What a was your initial reaction to being featured on IMA and 12 months on, do you feel primed to take on New York Fashion Week?
AD: My older sister found the article online and texted me about it. I didn't quite get the media around fashion and models yet as I had just started travelling. It gave me a major confidence boost to know that somebody had so much faith in me, judged only by my looks. That boost of confidence paid off at the castings.

Photographer - Fanny La Tour-Lambert
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Lumiere Magazine - Issue 1
Photographer - Nicholas Samaratis
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Photographer - Tsasha Olivier
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IMA: You recently spent time in Australia where you landed key editorial exposure in cutting edge magazines including Yen, I love Fake, Black Magazine, and Oyster. What were you general impressions of Australia and were you surprised be the positive response that you received from the Australian market?
AD: When my agency in Paris proposed to me about going to Australia, I didn't know what to expect. It may sound silly, but I thought Australia was what you see on BBC with the nature, giant spiders, and kangaroos. Of course a big part of Australia is nature, but Sydney was a complete revelation to me. Everybody was so kind and laid back, when I look back at my time there it seems like a dream. I didn't expect to work so much in Sydney because I thought they were looking for the standard beautiful blonde beach babe. My look is a bit more unusual and androgynous so I was surprised and really happy to shoot for these amazing publications.

IMA: During Australian Fashion Week, you made a killing walking in high profile shows for Manning Cartell, Alex Perry, Bec & Bridge, and Easton Pearson alongside top Australian models Julia Nobis, Ruby Jean Wilson and Nicole Pollard. Do you enjoy the runway component of modelling and what do you feel are the key attributes for nailing it at show castings?
AD: I enjoy the runway a lot. Although I like photo shoots as well, when I am on the runway I feel like I am in my element. At show castings I feel very comfortable and I guess it's that level of confidence that a designer likes to see. Wearing the right clothes to show castings is also important to make a good impression, as the casting directors want to get a good inkling of what your body looks like.

IMA: You stood out amongst IMG Model Management's Development board because of your striking androgyny and compelling unconventional beauty. Did you feel beautiful growing up?
AD: I have never felt unattractive growing up but I've never felt really beautiful either. Early on I was taller than the boys in my class and I've never had that bombshell look. Boys used to make fun of my flat chest but now it actually comes in handy for the shows, and I realised that other aspects can make you feel feminine too.

Manning Cartell - F/W 2013
Image courtesy of Dune Agency

Alex Perry - F/W 2013
Image courtesy of Dune Agency

Manning Cartell - F/W 2013
Image courtesy of Dune Agency

IMA: You're represented in Holland by Dune Agency and by IMG Models Worldwide. What is the most valuable advice that your agents have given you so far and what advice would you offer to other young girls considering modelling as a career?
AD: The most valuable advice I've gotten is to be patient and to never lose focus. The fashion world can be quite overwhelming and it's so important to stay true to yourself and what you believe in. Don't let anybody pressure you into doing something you don't really want to do.

IMA: Interest in models as public figures appears to be gaining momentum with Dara Delevingne Kate Upton, and Daria Werbowy being featured on recent covers of W, Vanity Fair, British Vogue, and Interview with accompanying profile articles. What factors do you feel are contributing to this resurgence of interest in models as personalities?
AD: I think being a personality instead of just a pretty face will make people want to know more about you. Also young girls will start to see you as a role model. When clients place personalities on their magazine covers, they know more people will buy the magazine because the personalities simply have more followers than simply unknown beautiful faces.

IMA: A big part of a model's overall package is her innate sense of style. How would you describe your street style and which three designers are you currently obsessing over?
AD: My street style contains a lot of black. I love black for the obvious reasons; toughness, elegance, it's slimming effect, and it matches with everything. I must admit I am going through a style change right now so I am constantly searching for new and surprising looks, something nobody's wearing yet. I am currently obsessing over Romance was Born, Balenciaga, and the last one I'll decide after I've seen all the collections this season ;-)

IMA: Recent test shoots with Sean Slattery, Ash Reynolds, Fanny La Tour-Lambert, and Tsasha Olivier have produced some amazing images which showcase your incredible modelling range. Do you enjoy the process of collaboration and are there any key photographers that you dream of working with and why?
AD: I love the process of collaboration on shoots. To not feel like you are just being a mannequin standing there, looking good in the clothes but actually bringing your feelings and emotions to the pictures. Having a connection with the photographer and working together to achieve a great result, that's what makes me passionate about modelling!

Photographer - Ash Reynolds
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Photographer - Ash Reynolds
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Annemijn Dijs
Image courtesy of IMG Models

IMA: What are your hopes and aspirations for the future and what career path would you have chosen had modelling not interceded?
AD: My hope for the future, and I know this sounds very cliché, is to be truly happy. For now I hope I'll find that in modelling but I am sure I can find that in making a career in another industry too. When I leave modelling, I'll probably go to university to study dentistry for 6 years and then 4 years of specialisation orthodontics.

IMA: Dutch girls have taken the modelling world by storm! What is it about Dutch girls that has designers and casting directors so enraptured?
AD: A lot of girls in Holland are quite tall and slim. The reason that I think that may be is that we never take the car anywhere choosing instead to travel by bicycle. Other than that Holland is a small country and I think that's the main reason the Dutch are so tolerant. We are quite open-minded and therefore pretty easy going which comes across as a positive in castings.

IMA: What do you enjoy most about modelling and if there was one facet of the industry that you could change, what would that be?
AD: What I enjoy the most is to be part of a process to create something beautiful. It's nice when you feel like a designer or photographer really thinks you add something to his/her collection or vision. Also, I can't complain about the travelling as I've made so many new friends from all different countries. I am very blessed to have this opportunity. What I would definitely change is the industry being so strict on model's measurements. I would prefer the emphasis to be on being toned instead of skinny. I love for instance the healthy look of Doutzen Kroes, she's an example for me of an amazing model.

IMA: Complete this sentence - I am happiest when...
AD: I am surrounded by the people that I love who love me for my personality not my looks. During big family dinners or movie nights with friends, that's when I feel really blessed with my life and content.

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
AD: I hope to be Inoubliable because of my positive energy, but I'll let you decide if I am truly unforgettable ;-)

Annemijn Dijs
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Image property of Inoubliable Model Army

Image courtesy of IMG Models

Special thanks to Marjolein van der Lans-Lentz at Dune Agency and to IMG Model Management. For more information on Dune Agency and IMG Models, please refer to and

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