Friday, December 20, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Anne Verhallen

Dutch model Anne Verhallen first came to IMA's attention when she busted out some seriously wicked dance moves for Miu Miu's Fall/Winter 2013 campaign. Twenty-two year old Verhallen was a standout amidst a stellar cast which included top models Lindsey Wixson, Daphne Groeneveld, and Adriana Lima. With her short androgynous haircut and imposing 181 cm frame, it's no surprise that Verhallen caught the eye of a model scout while wandering the streets of Amsterdam at the age of 16. It wasn't until Verhallen had completed her high school education that she decided to pursue modelling full-time. Fast-forward three years later and IMA met with Verhallen at the castings for Natalie Joos on the eve of her first full show season. Amongst the 200 plus models in attendance, Verhallen impressed IMA with her friendly demeanour, mature elegant beauty, and genuine warmth. IMA again crossed paths with Verhallen on the streets of Soho towards the end of the New York Fashion Week when she very graciously posed for IMA and provided directions to my next designated appointment.

Verhallen clearly charmed casting directors and designers throughout the Spring/Summer 2014 season scoring coveted blue chip runway spots at Thakoon, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Richard Chai Love, Alberta Ferretti, Guy Laroche, Giorgio Armani, and Givenchy amongst others. Verhallen's mix of subtle androgyny and versatile beauty enable her to morph with seeming relative ease from femme fatale to endearing misfit both on and off the runway. During the recent Pre-Fall 2014 castings for Oscar de la Renta where IMA assisted proceedings on behalf of John Martinez Productions, Verhallen worked her magic with her natural fluid conversational style and killer runway walk. IMA caught up with Verhallen in between modelling assignments to chat about her surprisingly mellow reaction to scoring a prized spot in Givenchy's Spring/Summer 2014 line-up, the amazing process of collaboration with Inez & Vinoodh for Miu Miu's Fall/Winter 2013 campaign, and recharging her batteries post Fashion Week on her parent's couch.

Anne Verhallen
Image courtesy of Micha Models

Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Anne, congratulations on a fantabulous Spring/Summer 2014 season! Were you happy with how the season unfolded and how did you spend your initial first few days off following Fashion Week?
Anne Verhallen (AH): I am very pleased with how this season went for me, of course it had its ups and downs but overall I'm really happy! Although I've been modelling for a few years, I'd never done a full Fashion Week as in all of the cities back-to-back. So it was sort of a win-win situation as I didn't really have a previous season where I could compare it with. After Paris, I took the train back to Holland and needed a full day on the couch at my parent's house to catch up on a Dutch TV show. One day was more than enough for me so I caught up with my friends there, had a few drinks with them over the weekend and was ready to head off again!

IMA: Would you mind sharing your backstory with IMA's audience?
AH: Well I'm 22 years old and come from a little place called Culemborg in Holland, and was first discovered on the streets in Amsterdam when I was 16. But I never took it seriously until I was 18 or 19 and wrote to Micha who is now my agent. I was finishing school and wasn't sure what my next step would be, so modelling felt like the perfect way to find out what I wanted to do with the travelling and all. So I began modelling full-time right away! It's now three years later and I can say that I really enjoy my job and everything that comes with it. During those three years I worked (and enjoyed life of course) but never booked a major show or campaign so now, after having scored the Fall/Winter 2013 Miu Miu campaign it feels a little like the beginning again where everything is in some way new and exciting.

IMA: Was modelling on your radar prior to being scouted?
AV: Throughout my whole entire high school years, I wanted to study medicine but also art, two very different things over which I couldn't make a definitive choice from. That was the main reason for me to give modelling a go. But I guess I've kept modelling always in the back of my mind ;-)

IMA: The Spring/Summer 2014 season was your most successful to date with a show list which included Richard Chai Love, Thakoon, Alberta Ferretti, Giorgio Armani, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Gianfranco Ferré, Guy Laroche, and the clincher Givenchy! What were you personal Spring/Summer 2014 highlights both on and off the runway?
AV: The personal highlight for me was Givenchy. My younger brother came to visit me that weekend and my Paris agent was sweet to arrange for him to be able to come to see the show. It was really special having him there.

Givenchy - S/S 2014
Photographer - Monica Feudi
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Marc by Marc Jacobs - S/S 2014
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
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Richard Chai Love - S/S 2014
Photographer - Alessandro Garafalo
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IMA: IMA was blown away by your compelling mix of womanly sophistication and grungy cool girl vibes at the castings for Natalie Joos in New York this past season. Do you still find the casting process daunting and what in your view are the key components for leaving a favourable impression on casting directors?
AV: It sounds a but cliché but I think it's important to be yourself. You can never keep up an experience that isn't authentically you. People will see through that fast enough. If you're the right person for the job, they will see it as it's their job.

IMA: Was the casting process for Givenchy complicated? Do you recall what you were doing and your reaction when you found out you had been confirmed?
AV: That's funny that you should ask this question because to be honest my reaction was really easy-going. Paris is the final leg of Fashion Week and after having had all of the ups and downs and some last minute cancellations, I was feeling really mellow. I just went with it, it was much less nerve wracking than I experienced with other shows. I feel like you become in a way immune to the excitement as a form of self-protection. Of course, I enjoyed the show in the end but I was cautious not to cheer too early on ;-).

IMA: Do you know that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world per capita? What other qualities do you feel contribute to the massive pool of modelling talent that seems to come from Holland?
AV: Dutch culture is really down to earth, sometimes a bit too much, which comes pretty handy in this business. We take it as it is, so that makes it easy to work with us.

IMA: You've had a short, some might describe as "androgynous" haircut since you emerged on the modelling scene in 2010. Can we expect a longer haired Anne Verhallen for 2014 ;-)?
AV: The changes that are happening are very small, but never say never I guess!

Dutch Vogue - November 2012
Photographer - Paul Bellaart
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Dedicate Magazine
Photographer - Unidentified
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Dutch Vogue - November 2012
Photographer - Paul Bellaart
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Anne Verhallen & Katlin Aas
Miu Miu - F/W 2013
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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IMA: What do you appreciate most and least about the nature of your profession?
AV: I love the unexpected, there's always something different to do or to go to. But this aspect is also sometimes the thing you hate the most as well. You just need to learn not to expect anything.

IMA: You had a starring cameo in the Miu Miu Fall/Winter 2013 campaign and video where you stole the show with some pretty impressive dance moves. Did you enjoy the process of collaboration with Inez & Vinoodh and the large cast of models?
AV: Yes, they were some amazing days. I feel that Inez & Vinoodh know what they want but they also leave room for imagination or coincidence which makes it a lot easier for a model to inject a bit of her own style into the creative process.

IMA: A model's off-duty style is becoming increasingly relevant with the rise of street style photographers and bloggers. How would you describe your street style and which three designers best reflect your fashion aesthetic?
AV: I don't know if I really have one set style, it really depends on how I feel that day or night. I like chic feminine but also a bit of a tough/rock and roll look. I love Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang, but also Kenzo and Hermés.

IMA: What has been your favourite editorial shoot to date and are there any key industry figures that you would love to collaborate with?
AV: The favourite editorial I shot was for Dutch Vogue which was a location shoot on one of the Spanish islands next to North Africa. We had an amazing team and I had to act like a very temperamental Spanish woman which I had a lot of fun with. There are so many photographers, stylists, and clients that I would like to work with, and I am really curious about what the future will bring!

IMA: What have been the most valuable life lessons that you have picked up along your modelling journey?
AV: Enjoy the moment you're in. Don't stress about what will or will not come.

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
My friends say I have a good energy and that people always remember my laugh. So I hope that's truly what people think of when they hear my name.

Anne Verhallen
Photographer - Karel Losenicky

Dutch Glamour - May 2013
Photographer - Klaas Jan Kliphuis
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Photographer - Marco Trunz
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German Vogue - April 2012
Photographer - Blaise Reutersward
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Special thanks to Micha Emmering Krijger at Micha Models Management. For more information on Micha Models, please log onto

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