“Your success is not based on genes anymore, but more about how much passion, effort and love you invest in your dream!”
Kristof and Denise, could you briefly introduce yourselves individually and tell us a little bit how did you start modeling? Where is home for you at the moment?
Kristof: I am 28 years old, from Nuremberg/Germany, living currently near Mannheim/Heidelberg. Actually, I am a professional photographer and trainer for retouching. Two years ago I moved to Mannheim, to work for Calvin Hollywood (a very famous Photographer and Retoucher in Germany). Being his assistant, I got to help to set the lights and other support equipment. Very often I had to stand in front of the camera to help Calvin judge and adjust the set lighting. We felt that some of the pictures were pretty good and decided to show them. From there it sort of took on a fast paced life of its own!
Denise: I am 24 years old, born and raised in Mannheim/Germany and still living there. Five years ago I had an inquiry in my Facebook-inbox from a photographer who wanted to take pictures of me. That was my start into modeling.
You’ve been modeling for some years now—what surprised you about the industry when you first got into it?
Kristof: Most of the time it seems like it is all about connections. Who do you know, who knows you. It often seems that it is not as fair as it should be. And most important: Surprisingly, beautiful people in „real life“ are not always beautiful in front of the camera and the other way round!
Denise: That there are so enormously many styles in photography and in Image Processing drawing attention to you in many different ways.
What do you love most about modeling?
Kristof: Its fun :)! And from my point of view, being a photographer, I like the way things come together and seeing everything from different perspectives what makes it pretty easy for me to interact with the photographer.
Denise: Meeting so many different people, that, often leads to new friendships!
Can you tell us more about the session with photographer Raymond Wy? What was the idea? Is there any interesting story to share?
Denise: For years, Raymond has been one of my favorite photographers, and has become a good friend of mine. I knew Kristof from prior shootings and wanted Raymond to take pictures of him.
Our idea was to create a kind of modern fashion-lifestyle-couple shooting. The plan was to make it indistinguishable for the viewer, if it is a real couple or just a fashion-thing.
The focus during the shoot was more on Kristof at the time, because the outfits he had were especially selected for that shooting and sponsored by a big boutique from Nuremberg called Adam&Eva!
At the start of the shoot, we were not a couple. But look at the pictures from that shoot, and you can see why we are a couple now.
What do you believe is the key to success for a model? What qualities does one need to succeed?
Kristof: Patience, stamina, being thick-skinned and most important, do not take yourself too serious!
Denise: In my opinion it is important to see modeling as a profession! Things like punctuality, reliability and determination should come naturally.
How has modeling experience changed your personal and professional lives?
Kristof & Denise: laughing… We try to focus a little more on our nutrition 😉
What have been your most favorite moments or experience in your careers thus far?
Kristof: Making the cover of one of Germany’s most popular camera-magazines was definitely a highlight. I also really love the travelling to jobs in different parts of the world (Dubai, Capetown, India…)
Denise: I had the honor to work with a couple of Germany’s best photographers. To work with such professional teams is always a great experience!
What do you find the most challenging part about working in the modeling industry?
Kristof: Being a Photographer and Image Processor myself, I found it challenging, when I first started modeling, to remember which side of the camera I was on, seeing things in images that I may have done slightly different.
Denise: Being in the spotlight all the time is very challenging. You always have to manage and control your social media, your portfolio, and other public aspects of your life. Being lazy can be a major step backwards in your career.
Is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could?
Denise: I would try to make modeling even more open to girls who are not blessed with perfect measures like 90/60/90. I find that somewhat outdated!
What do you usually look for in photographers that you would do trade with? What tips can you recommend to models looking to expand their portfolio?
Kristof & Denise: For us even more important than good pictures is the right feeling. The right chemistry is a requirement! It should always be teamwork, because that is what you see in the result.
Our tip: Do not hesitate or hold back, do not give up, be patient and give your heart and soul. Good things often take time 😉
How would you define the word “beauty?”
Kristof: 90/60/90 kidding ( Denise: eyeroll) In fact everybody defines beauty in a different way. For me beauty has a lot to do with „perfect face”. But even that is subject to interpretation.
Denise: The usual answer is: Beauty comes from within… BUT THAT’S HOW IT IS!
Something that most people don’t know about models is that we . . .
Kristof: … are mostly retouched 😉
Denise: hahaha true, except me laughing 😛
Denise, what is your beauty regimen like? Do you have a skin care routine? Any beauty secrets or products you swear by?
Denise: Always remove your makeup before sleeping! That is the most important rule… I don’t use fancy and overpriced products, just regular face-wash, toner and moistening lotion.
How do you keep your confidence up? What advice would you give to a girl who is body conscious?
Denise: I read books dealing with mindsets, attitudes in life and confidence. That is exactly what I would recommend to others, always try to improve yourself!
Kristof, who or what has influenced you to start taking photographs?
Kristof: I like to travel a lot. Seeing all those beautiful places the world has to offer, I always wanted to create something tangible for the times being at home. I always love to save things up, and photography is the perfect tool for that.
How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of look do you try and create in your photos?
Kristof: That is hard to say; because it always depends on the style you are shooting. If I shoot indoor with a lot of strobe lights, I’ll choose a different look than on an outdoor sunset shooting. Also on Landscapes it is different if I am shooting architecture or nature. It always depends on what, where, and when.
Kristof, can you please tell us about your role as an assistant of photographer Calvin Hollywood? What are the most important lessons you have learned?
Kristof: Most important lesson I have learned is recognizing the point of diminishing returns. The ability to know when you have done your best and not chasing a disproportional goal.
At Calvins Company I started as an assistant. Pretty soon I started working as a trainer, as he does. Due to my knowledge in Photoshop, I give a lot of workshops and personal coaching’s in retouching. In the meanwhile I am booked all over Germany to hold workshops and train other people in Photoshop (mostly beginners, but also bigger companies).
In your opinion, how important is it to have an established relationship with the photographer who captures your image?
Denise: Like we said before, a good connection to the photographer is very important. For example shooting with Raymond is like working together with a good friend. We know each other, know how we can help each other, know what the other wants and this leads to great results.
How do you feel about the importance of social media in changing and developing concepts of beauty? Has Photoshop created a skewed perception of the ideal body image? In your opinion, is it fair to alter reality by adjusting images in post-production?
Kristof: That is a difficult question because it is my job to use Photoshop. On the other hand as a model, it is at same time disillusioning as it is fascinating to know that in the end everything can be changed and optimized in Photoshop. I am in love with Photoshop, so for me it is more a pro than a con! In the end it is not about how you look, but more about your business-strategy, your connections, and your social media! That is what counts.
And I think it is good. Your success is not based on genes anymore, but more about how much passion, effort and love you invest in your dream!
Do you feel social media has helped your careers?
Kristof: Definitely YES! Especially Instagram helped me to reach out to a lot of people, helped me to gain attention, and lead to many of my jobs and new partners. With lots of work and passion I made it in 6 months from 0 to 16K followers. That is insane!
Denise: Sure… nowadays without social-media it is nearly impossible to get attention. But still I love the personal contact to people.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a young model working toward building their social media profile?
Kristof: Stay focused, work hard, provide a lot of stamina and don’t forget: its SOCIAL media… you have to interact a lot!
Denise: You need a lot of pictures to show and the better the quality, the better are your perspectives.
Where can we get connected and see more of your work?
When you’re not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do? What are your interests next to modeling?
Kristof: definitely traveling and all kinds of sports.
Denise: I love spending time with my dog! Secret talents? Kristof always tells me I could be a good retoucher 🙂
What superpower do you wish you had and why?
Denise: I wish I could fly.
Kristof: Flying would definitely be awesome! But if I had to choose I’m not sure if I wouldn’t pick breathing under water instead.
Tell one fact about yourselves that our readers may find surprising.
Kristof: Before starting my business as a model and photographer you couldn’t find a picture of me on the internet. I was always scared of being too transparent!
Denise: I can eat tons of food without ever being full! 🙂
Thank you, Kristof and Denise.
Published in 2016 June Volume II: BUY NOW