With a resume that includes working with some of the biggest names in fashion, Désiré Mia has quite a few tales to tell about the world of modeling.
Hailing from Hannover, Germany, Désiré Mia was discovered in 2017 and the following year, he walked on runways and appeared in campaigns for the likes of Tom Ford, Bottega Veneta, Jacquemus and so on. From there, his trajectory continued upwards. You might have noticed him this year in, perhaps, the campaigns for Lacoste L1212 Eau De Parfum or Ralph Lauren, among others.
DAMAN: Hi, Désiré, thank you for having us. So, how are you doing these days?
Désiré Mia: I’m healthy, passionate and all my projects are heading into a good direction. So, all in all, luckily pretty good.
DAMAN: So, if we’re not mistaken, one of your latest works to come out is the campaign for the Lacoste L1212 Eau De Parfum. Overall, what was it like working on this project?
Désiré Mia: I used to film a lot of skaters as a teenager and know what it’s like to capture somebody’s act. In the end, no matter how great or experienced the entire team is, it falls or rises on the shoulders of the performers. Therefore, performing for a project of that level puts a lot of pressure and eyes on me. When everything was said and done, I realized what an absolutely beautiful and shaping experience that was for me and what a precious ensemble of creatives we had on set.
DAMAN: We’ve often heard from the models we talked to that getting a fragrance campaign is a big deal. What’s your take on this?
Désiré Mia: Well, it is. It’s like the Champions League for soccer players. One of the fragrance campaigns I was lucky to be part of, was planned for eight years and had a production team of 300 people. Performing there is no coincidence, especially when most of fragrances require you to be able to convey a variety of emotions and actions on screen. Even to be requested for one tends to be a testimony of hard work, beyond just the physical looks of a model.
DAMAN: By the way, you’ve had quite a few projects throughout 2020 and in 2021 as well. What were some of the biggest challenges working on photo shoots with extra health and safety precautions in place? And have things started moving back to normal again?
Désiré Mia: It taught me a lot! Some sets required you to bring and apply your own makeup. After doing that roughly twenty times, I’d say that I successfully graduated the rookie stage of powders, concealers and balms. Apart from that, it definitely felt weird, not being able to hug and thank everyone on set after a long and bright day of work. The restrictions seem to slowly lessen, but in my opinion, there will be no “back to normal.” However, there will be a “new post-COVID normal.”
DAMAN: If you look at your career so far—from walking on Tom Ford’s fall/winter ’18 show to this year’s Hermès Fit campaign and more—what do you consider the biggest or most important highlights of your modeling journey?
Désiré Mia: It’s been quite an overwhelming ride for sure! Projects like Simon Porte Jacquemus’s very first men’s show on a private beach in Marseille—breathtaking. The way he interacts with all the models … he is an absolute Idol. Or the Calvin Klein spring/ summer ’19 campaign on the coastal cliffs of California inside a hot air balloon during sunset. Also, in the beginning of last year, I went on a work trip with Celio in the Atlantis Dunes in South Africa, where we shot amid nothing but pearl white sand and blue skies. Some sets are so extraordinary that if it weren’t for fashion, I would have never even dreamt of them. Thank you to my agencies Wilson Model Management, New Madison, MINT and HEROES New York on this note.
DAMAN: What would your dream fashion shoot look like if you had the chance to work with any fashion house, any photographer, etc.?
Désiré Mia: I have a very particular vision in mind, where my friend and I direct a project with Tom Ford, where we travel to the Daintree Rainforest, The Wave in Arizona as well as a few other destinations I wrote down, to shoot a specific kind of suit. I wrote everything down already. But everything at its time.
DAMAN: On a somewhat related note, do you have any upcoming shoots or projects that you can tell us about?
Désiré Mia: Well, I just created a video and content production company a few weeks ago and we’ve already worked with top 50 models and established fashion names like models.com. It’s called “Keine Halben,” which is German for no half way measures. This is a way of life that my colleagues and I stand behind. Quite exciting!
DAMAN: What would you say does it take for a professional model to be successful these days?
Désiré Mia: As models, we work in a very subjective and “interpersonal-relationship–fueled” space. I therefore feel like it helps to work on: How to behave on set and at your agency; how to respect the administrative process; and how to inspire your surroundings. Also, you should never take anything for granted, ever. The fact that one is a model is already a blessing in itself.
“You should never take anything for granted, ever. The fact that one is a model is already a blessing in itself.”
DAMAN: And on that note, a belated congratulations from the DA MAN team for making it into models.com’s The Money Guys list! Which of your personal qualities do you think is it that makes you a top choice for brands and clients?
Désiré Mia: I honestly don’t really know. I’m super thankful to have made it on the list and will always keep working on my persona.
DAMAN: If we could look even further back, all the way to the beginning, how did you first get into the modeling world?
Désiré Mia: My story is not really that spectacular. A friend from high school said he was traveling a lot because of modelling and I figured that’s what I want to do as well. And so,I went on a trip to his agency, walked right in and asked what’s up with this modeling thing. They luckily gave me a contract and stayed in touch with me for two years until my now mother agent Brandon Wilson convinced my parents to allow me to sign the contract myself.
DAMAN: During those early days, what were some of the biggest challenges that you had to face and overcome?
Désiré Mia: Believing that the things that were promised to me actually are real and definitely also convincing myself that this path would be a smart choice. Also, not being able to plan more than three days ahead and always having to be conscious about what I put in my body or how I have to prevent myself from exercising too much.
Modeling is more a lifestyle than a job and you don’t get paid right away! [Laughs]
DAMAN: Conversely, what were some of the things that came naturally to you? Things that really made you think, “Yeah, I can definitely see myself doing this for a living”?
Désiré Mia: Well, I love being independent and being rewarded for my efforts instead of my time. Therefore, I quickly saw great potential in the borderless-ness of success, if that makes sense. I also loved being in front and behind the camera since day one.
This exclusive story is part of DAMAN’s Jun/Jul ’21 issue. Get your copy here!
PHOTOGRAPHY FRANK WIDEMANN
STYLING DAOUD DAFTARIE
GROOMING CORINA FRIEDRICH
DIGITAL IMAGING BIRD IMAGING
MODEL DÉSIRÉ MIA/MINT MODEL MGMT
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