Keeping It Real – While relatively new in the biz, Michael Oder has quite an impressive portfolio. This is the story behind his success
Among the questions we asked to Michael Oder, there was one he declined to answer. It was about what he thought what his best trait as a model. Never one to boast about himself, he humbly left it for others to answer. So, Kevin Ziehenberger, who is Oder’s booker since day one, offered his views. “Sometimes this industry can be very hard, but Michael knows that everything can only work when all of us work together and give our best every single day,” he says. “So, I would say the best characteristic is his character. Because at the end of the day, if you are a pretty face people will book you once; but if you have the right character, then clients will fall in love with you and want to work with you again and again and again.”
That certainly sounded like a truly professional model with his head in the right place. Unsurprisingly, the rest of our conversation with Michael Oder merely confirmed this notion.
DAMAN: Hi, Michael. Great to have you with us for this issue. So, earlier this year, you appeared on, among others, the catwalks of Miguel Vieira and Philipp Plein. What do you remember the most about those shows?
Michael Oder: Of these shows, I have to thank my friend Miguel Vieira for having me for the third time. It’s always a pleasure to walk for him. Always amazing shows and also the stuff is amazing. As for Philipp Plein, it was always my dream to walk form him since I started modeling it was a big goal for me. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it because it was exactly on my birthday! It was the best birthday gift of all.
DAMAN: What was the casting process like for a show of this magnitude?
Michael Oder: Castings are always very stressful and exhausting. You are walking through the whole city, from casting to casting, hours of waiting … but it was worth the wait. It’s very quick because most of the clients know what they want.
DAMAN: How do you usually prepare yourself before casting for a major fashion show?
Michael Oder: If I can be honest, I do not prepare! I am just myself and I go there with a positive mindset. I don’t think about it that much. It’s all about a strong mindset.
DAMAN: What are the things that the average person out there gets wrong about what really happens during a proper fashion show?
Michael Oder: It’s very hectic and a lot of stuff is going on; so many things have to be on time; the preparation for all of the models take hours and then there is the rehearsal and then make up then. Everything has to be on time and nothing more or less.
DAMAN: You’ve also done quite a few campaigns these past few years, right? Between those and runway shows, which do you prefer?
Michael Oder: A runway show is a 30-60 seconds thing and you are so focused that you don’t really realize what’s going on around you and you are just focused on walking the right way. A campaign shoot is completely different. It’s organized and everything has to be on time but the vibes are different and you feel more connected to the production and staff who are involved. Both are the best things you can do in modeling, so it’s quite hard to tell you what’s best. I love both things equally in their own ways.
DAMAN: Whether it’s for shows or campaigns, what do brands and designers usually look for in a model? Or perhaps, what does it take to convince a brand to pick you from among hundreds of other models?
Michael Oder: First of all, the fashion industry is changing all the time. It’s not easy to survive in this business. But every model knows his market and knows where he belongs. Every brand knows what they want; it’s exactly the same as for a show! There are so many things going on that I cannot tell you the process, but I know that it takes a long time to set up everything and prepare for everything and every model. It takes months. What I can definitely tell you is that it’s very important to be yourself and to be true to yourself. There are so many people trying to force things or pretend to be somebody they are not and this is never successful. People will know when you are playing a role. Of course it always helps to take care of yourself and when you have a story to tell, because at the end of the day it’s still humans working together and everybody wants to be appreciated for who they are.
DAMAN: Obviously, a professional model needs to stay in shape. Other than this obvious part, what else does it take to be a successful model?
Michael Oder: It depends how your lifestyle is. So, it’s different from model to model, but for me … I train and I try to eat healthy as much as I can. I look after myself! Because you work with your appearance and you have to look after it, it is what it is. [Laughs] To be successful … it’s a hard question, but it’s all about you. You have to know where you want to be and what your goals are, have a good mindset and a bunch of people you love around. Then you can reach everything you want. Put everything in it, it will come back to you, twice as big as you thought. So, to sum it up: Focus on what you want, find the right people to help and support you, work for it and don’t stop.
DAMAN: How do you define “success” as a professional model?
Michael Oder: In this business what counts are what you did, who you’re with and how many people you know. For me success is never owned, it is rented and the rent is due every day! So, today you are a star tomorrow you can be nothing. Success is hard to define, but what I learned is that a successful model never acts like one.
DAMAN: Going back a bit to the beginning, what was it that originally sparked your interest in modeling?
Michael Oder: Definitely my sister. She was the one who said I have to try it and she also paid for my first shoot, against my will. Without her, I would have never done this. I love her and my family so much, they helped me a lot and I really appreciate them for that.
DAMAN: Tell us, what do you remember the most about the very first fashion shoot or show that you did?
Michael Oder: What I remember the most was that I was overly nervous! I felt like a little boy who was waiting for his first day at school. I was sweating and shaking but also excited at the same time! [Laughs]
DAMAN: What was the biggest surprise that hit you when you first started modeling?
Michael Oder: I never traveled so much before I got into modeling, so I was a little bit scared as I had to leave my comfort zones. In the beginning, it was also hard for me to realize how lonely you could get despite being around so many people. Modeling changed a lot of things in my personal life as well. I started to see who my real friends are and who just came towards me because I was a model now. In some cases it hurt to say goodbye, but in the end it just made me stronger and made me realize who I can really trust and with whom I enjoy spending my limited free time, because that’s what counts in the end: Time with your friends and family.
DAMAN: Which project—runway show, campaign, editorial, etc.—was it that really put you on the map?
Michael Oder: I think for me it’s not just one single job or one picture that put me on track; it’s more the consistency and a mixture of luck, patience, faith and hard work.
DAMAN: Will we see you in any campaigns, shows or photo shoots in the near future?
Michael Oder: Actually, I did some big things during the last few months. Things I never would have dared to dream of, but I hate people who show off. I can just tell you, that there are some big things coming and you should definitely stay tuned!
DAMAN: What would you say are the top three fashion essentials that every man should have?
Michael Oder: First, a nice discreet watch. Second, your shoes should complement the rest of your outfit. Third, be yourself! Never change your style or the way you act, as long as you feel good and confident you don’t need anything fancy or expensive. Your own character is the best thing you can show to the world.
Photography Luise Reichert
Styling Mike York
Grooming Jody Cuberli using make up from Chanel and hair products from Oribe
Model Michael Oder/Addicted to Models
SHARE THIS ARTICLE