Not a stranger to the fashion world—and also to DAMAN—British model John Halls talks about the modeling industry and why is he so lucky.
Years after his leap into the fashion industry, John Halls has proven to be a notable model. With his signature bearded look and his naturally stylish moves, he continues to charm the industry through various editorials, campaigns and runways. He exudes confidence everywhere he goes and that particular trait is really hard to pass. For those of you still unfamiliar with him, Halls was a pro soccer player and at one time played for one of the biggest clubs in England, Arsenal. He retired in 2012 after an injury and never looked back. Moments before taking home the “International Model of the Year” at this year’s DA MAN Party, we sat down with the British model and talked about his modeling ventures.
DAMAN: Hi, John. Awesome to have you with us again. How are you doing?
John Halls: I’m very good, thank you. So nice to be here. What an amazing country, amazing place—I’m having a good time.
DA: It’s been four years since our last interview. What’s been going on with you since the last time we had a chat?
JH: Has it really been four years? Well, time has gone too quick. I’m still doing this amazing job, I’m very lucky, I’m very blessed. I’ve been travelling around the world, shooting here and there, so it’s been nice, really nice. I’m a lucky boy.
DA: Are you still based in New York? And how’s the city been treating you?
JH: No, I’m based in London still. I keep thinking and keep being asked to go and live in New York because you know how fabulous it is with work and fashion, but I’m such a London boy. I go to New York, maybe spend a month in the city, but as much as I love it there, I want to go back to London. I miss my family, my friends, my girlfriend, my dog and all the rest of it. So, yeah, I’m still a London boy.
DA: Besides London, what’s your favorite country or city?
JH: I do love going to New York because it’s got this energy. No matter where you stay, especially if you’re in Manhattan, it’s got this energy that makes you not want to stay in your hotel room. Uou want to go out and something is always happening. Also, Bali is amazing, I’ve been to the Caribbean a few times to do a shoot in Antigua—also amazing.
DA: How do you see the modeling industry nowadays and what has changed since you first started?
JH: I still have some jobs where you get to travel to beautiful places, beautiful hotels and you got looked after and treated so nicely. And then you have some other jobs in a studio and shooting some clothes you don’t really care for and you could be there all day doing outfit after outfit. It’s a little bit of a grind, but it’s worth it when you get to come and do these things. It’s still a great industry to be in if you’re working but if you’re in it and you’re not working so much, it can be a really difficult industry. But I’ve been lucky so far.
DA: Do you still do castings?
JH: Yes, I still do castings. Clients these days really want to see the model most of the times, especially with Instagram, where they can look different than in real life. Also, if you’re going to spend two or three days with the model, you want to know if they’re quite nice and if you can get along with them, without them being difficult. So, I still do castings and I’m happy to do that.
DA: You mentioned before that to be a successful model you have to be polite and be someone that everyone likes to work with. How do you keep that positive vibe alive on location?
JH: You know what, I’ve been very lucky. Everywhere I come and everywhere I’ve been so far in the industry, everyone was just so nice. Everyone I’ve worked with been amazing. I think what you put out you kind of get back as well. So, if you’re nice to everyone included in the whole shoot, everyone plays their part and their role.
DA: In your own opinion, what does it take for a model—especially those new to the profession—to actually be noticed by the industry’s real movers and shakers?
JH: As much as I don’t really care for Instagram, it is huge now. I know plenty of clients that will definitely just scroll and book their models or find their models through Instagram. So, Instagram is a big part of the industry now and you need to be currently on it all the time, uploading and getting yourself out there. Also, you need an amazing agency, a great booker that loves you and really believes in you. So, you need to be lucky, I know so many great models out there, great looking boys who maybe aren’t successful yet, but you just need to be a bit lucky as well.
DA: You are quite active on Instagram, what’s your take on Instagram models?
JH: Everyone for themselves, really. If there’s money for them to be made or it’s a job for them, then it’s brilliant for them. I’m not going to knock them either way. Sometimes, I get a little bit jealous of them: They get some amazing things and I found myself paying for hotels and trips and they’re not. It looks like an amazing life, but it’s all good.
DA: Have you ever booked a job over social media?
JH: Yeah, it’s one of the reasons why my agent tells me to try and keep up with it, because he gets a lot of my jobs or phone calls for me coming through my Instagram and having his number on my Instagram. A lot of stuffs comes from there as well.
DA: Still about social media, what do you think about brands that are doing their campaigns on social media?
JH: Everyone’s on it. Everywhere you go people are scrolling through their phones. It seems the way to do it, whether you have problems with it or are against it or it’s not your cup of tea … but at the moment, it works. With the content there, it’s moving so quickly now. I personally didn’t grow up in the years of social media, so I found it a little bit difficult. But we got to move it at times. And the young kids love it! [Laughs]
DA: You often travel for work. Is there any place that you really want to visit that you haven’t yet?
JH: I want to go to Japan—anywhere in Japan. I know a few guys that have gone there, loved it and had a great time. And I have friends and family that have gone there for holidays and it seems beautiful and the people are amazing so I’d love to go there.
DA: Back in your first interview with DAMAN in 2015, you mentioned that you have several ideas planned out. How’s that turned out and what was it?
JH: I’ve always come up with little plans on what I want to do. But at the moment this is keeping me really busy. So, unless I can find the time and put my full efforts into it, I don’t want to do something just yet. For now, I’m happy with modeling and traveling the world.
DA: Are you still interested in coaching football?
JH: Since I retired, for a year or two I was quite upset about it and I didn’t want to be involved in it. I didn’t really think about going back into it. I’m used to being retired now and I love football as much as ever, so maybe one day in the future I’d like to go back into it. I have a lot of friends who became coaches and managers, and they’re still in the sport industry. We’ll see … I’m still so passionate about it because it feels like that was my life and what I’m supposed to do.
DA: What is your exercise regime like? How do you keep in shape?
JH: If I’m working, I’d go the hotel gym and go on the treadmill a bit: 30 seconds of sprint and 30 seconds of rest, 20 times. After that, some core, some upper body work and body weight stuff. I think it’s kind of a mental thing as well for me. Mentally, I need to go the gym to release whatever it is cooping me up a little bit and then it sets me up for the day.
DA: One last question: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
JH: I’d give myself bigger calves! [Laughs] And then it’d make myself less injury-prone for my football career. But I’m quite content with myself … which is quite harder these days. I have things I want to change, this and there, but I think I’ll never stop if I start. So, I’m all right, I’m good.
Photography Ronald Liem
Styling Peter Zewet
Styling Assistant Jerdi Anarchi
Model John Halls/Next Models London
Location Banyan Tree, Jl. Melasti Banjar Kelod,
Ungasan, Bali-Indonesia, +62 361 300 7000
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