POKER FACE. John Kolic’s cool countenance and unflinching gaze belie a vibrant personality with a lot of great insight into the modeling world
Outfit by Michael Kors
Fashion models are seen, but not often heard. That’s how things used to be, at least. Nowadays, a model’s personality can count for just as much—if not more—than his looks. For model John Kolic, though, the cool and somber look still works swimmingly for his runway appearances, his campaign shots and his editorials (including this one, obviously). But beneath that look is a genuinely warm personality with a penchant for humanitarian work (Kollic supports the A.skate Foundation, for one, along with several non-profits mentioned below) and a lot of insight into the world of modeling. Oh, and apparently, he has quite a sense of humor. Below he shares his thoughts on what gets a model noticed in the industry and his passions beyond fashion.
DA MAN: Hi, John; great to have you with us. So, what are you busy with these days?
John Kolic: Thanks for having me. Interview shoots are always nice, because my mom gets to hear me lie to strangers. But let’s get on with my fabulous life.
DA MAN: Take us back to the very beginning. How did you end up becoming a model?
John Kolic: I was surfing in Malibu, and got approached by a creepy dude who turned out to be the most fortunate acquaintance of my life—Jim Jordan. Jim also found a girl named Taylor Hill [now a model and Victoria’s Secret Angel]. Luckily, I’m holding it down for him.
DA MAN: During your early days as a model, what did you consider to be the hardest part of the job to get used to?
John Kolic: Eyeliner. That s**t is no joke. I have been doing this for three years now, and I still cry every time.
DA MAN: On the flip side, what were some of the things that you picked up immediately?
John Kolic: Looking like myself, and being kind to everyone on set. That’s about all I can do, but I try to do them well. You wouldn’t believe how many models think the world revolves around them. I like pushing the focus onto the artists around me, as I’m actually an introvert in many ways.
Outfit by Calvin Klein
DA MAN: Was there a particular moment when you realized that you were going to do well as a model?
John Kolic: Riccardo Tisci chose me to walk for his 10th anniversary show in New York. That’s when things changed. Givenchy has been using me for ever since.
DA MAN: What has been your key to success in the super-competitive world of male modeling?
John Kolic: Don’t be competitive, and take this time to cultivate other talents. This isn’t a competition. You’re chosen—or not chosen—based solely on an artist’s creative inspirations. There is no good or bad work. Just focus on your happiness, health, and personal endeavors. Everything comes in due time.
DA MAN: Many TV shows and movies try to convince us that modeling is a ruthless arena where everyone is super-tense and super- ambitious. In your experience, what’s the atmosphere really like backstage at fashion shows or on set between takes?
John Kolic: Everyone gets along until you take yourself too seriously. It’s fun once you get over yourself.
DA MAN: On a related note, what do you think is the key to being noticed by top-tier fashion brands?
John Kolic: Be genuine. Individuality is palpable. Be yourself, and stay positive. You’re going to be surrounded by insecurity. Advertisement is built on our insecurities. Your job is to exude confidence to people who lack it. That is what jumps o of the page when people see your photo.
DA MAN: Among all the photo shoots you’ve done so far, which was the most memorable?
John Kolic: I got arrested, hit a kid in the head with a beer can and was pulled away from a fist fight by Maria Carla Boscano in a shoot for Interview Magazine with Fabien Baron. That was a weird night, but one that I will always remember.