Behind The Shoot

Willy & Annely

They're both from the Netherlands, both have a successful modelling career, they're outdoorsy, and they love to travel. While Willy and Annely don't look alike physically and are by no means related, their similarities proved to be plenty during our short interview backstage of our editorial shoot. 

by Chloé Bauwens

Let's take a look back first, how did you get into modelling?

Willy: 'I was scouted a couple of times, but at the time I didn't spend a lot of attention to it. After graduating from high school, I started with a new degree but wasn't particularly interested in it. That made me realise that I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do with my life and the idea of modelling came back to mind. I figured I might as well give it a shot and I decided to send some pictures over to Paparazzi Model Management. Then the ball just started to roll.'

Annely: 'A long time ago, nearly ten years ago now I think, I was signed at Ulla Models. I did some work at the time, but I was a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to modelling. At that time I was passionate about horse riding and I was spending a lot of time abroad, modelling wasn't one of my focal points. When I came back to the Netherlands, I had decided to quit and went to the agency to collect the pictures from when I was younger. I had just cut off my hair, and my booker decided to make some new Polaroid pictures, just for the heck of it. A few days later he called me to inform me that a lot of agencies were interested and three days later I was in Paris.'

So for neither one of you, a career as a model was a childhood dream?

Simultaneously: 'No. (laugh)'

Can you still recall the first big assignment you booked?

Willy: 'Last year my travel visa for New York got approved at the very last minute, so I went to work at New York Fashion Week. I ended up walking for Marc Jacobs' spring/summer 2017 collection. It was very unexpected, but it's my biggest booking to date and coincidentally the most fun assignment I have experienced as a model so far. It was a unique and distinct experience, and I felt incredibly honoured and grateful that I could be a part of the show.'

Annely: 'One of my first big modelling gigs, was the pre-fall 2014 lookbook for Proenza Schouler. Afterwards, I also had the honour to walk their runway for their spring/summer 2015 collection, but their lookbook is what started my career.'
Willy - From left: Ashley Williams FW17, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi SS17, Viktor & Rolf Fall Couture 17, Marc Jacobs SS17

What has been the biggest personal highlight in your career so far?

Willy: 'Without a doubt the Marc Jacobs autumn/winter 2016 campaign.'

Annely: 'I always love to do shoots that take place in remote locations. I'm thrilled that my job allows me to travel as much as I do and I love to discover new places. When I book a location shoot, I'll always schedule my own flight, that way I'm in charge of something. (laughs) It also allows me to stay a little while longer after the shoot.'

Do you both consider that as the biggest advantage of the job you're in? Travelling?

Annely: 'To me personally it is. I try to 'abuse' the luxury position that I'm in as much as possible. (laughs) Don't take the word abuse too seriously though. It's an advantage that we're offered so I figured I'd make the most of it.'

Willy: 'I agree. Our job has the unique advantage that we aren't limited to sitting behind a desk. We can see and experience different countries, different cities, different people. There isn't a constant element in your career as a model because you are always rushing from one place to the next, but in the end, that's what makes it interesting and fun.'

Is there an aspect of the job you are less fond of?

Willy: 'Also travelling. (laughs) Not the travelling itself, but the fact that everything gets arranged at the very last minute. You're always working with options under a proviso, so you're never in charge of your own schedule and planning. Luckily my friends and family all understand the situation I'm in, but I can find it annoying to cancel things at the last second.'
Annely - From left: Opening Ceremony SS16, Suno SS16, Thakoon SS16, Lanvin SS16

Is there anything, career-wise, that you're still dreaming of doing?

Annely: 'As long as I'm able to witness an upward trend in my career and portfolio I'm happy.' 

Willy: 'Indeed. Of course, I would also love to shoot an editorial or cover for a well-known high-end magazine, but it's not something I'm pining after. It's a motivational factor, a personal challenge to see how far you can go.'

What do you think you would be doing if you weren't working as a model?

Willy: 'I would be studying for some kind of degree... But I still have absolutely no clue what that would be. (laughs)'

Annely: 'Production. I'm working on setting up my own company, which would have nothing to do with fashion or shoots. It would revolve around all of the other aspects of production. It's something completely different, but I'm very excited about it.'

Lastly, could you reveal something unexpected about yourself?

Willy: 'My dream is to own a treehouse one day. Not to live in per se, but I just want to have it. That would be amazing.'

Annely: 'I love camping. I love being outdoors and am not a city girl at all. Aside from that, I'm a part of Nick Balcombe foundation. It's an organisation created after my love, Nick, passed away. It's founded by his closest friends and family to continue to support his music and that of other upcoming artists. Feel free to check it out.' 
Photography by Jan & Jorre