Back for more, top model Aurélien Muller reconnects with DAMAN for a special photoshoot and a chat about fatherhood, modelling and pursuing a career as an actor
Aurélien Muller is no stranger to the pages of DAMAN. Now, two years after we last talked to the French fashion model, our latest meeting felt like catching up with an old friend. Although he hasn’t had the chance to shoot overseas for quite a while, being based in Paris has been a blessing for him. The city is, of course, one of the most important fashion and beauty capitals, which makes it convenient for a pro model like him to book jobs. And that is how our conversation started…
DAMAN: Hi Aurélien, great to have you with us again. How are you doing and where are you based these days?
Aurélien Muller: Hey, guys! Thank you for having me again. It is always a great pleasure to work together! I am feeling on top of the world here in Paris, witnessing my legacy growing up very fast. [Laughs]
DA: Speaking of legacies, if we were to look at your career in its entirety, what are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve picked up throughout your journey as a professional model?
AM: Throughout my eight years of modelling so far, the most valuable lessons I have learned would be about enjoying this journey as much as possible. This is a huge opportunity that I have the blessing to live out and I won’t take anything for granted!
DA:On the flipside,if we go back a bit, what was the most memorable moments from when you first started out as a model?
AM: The most memorable moment of my career was probably my first shoot ever as a model for the cover of V Magazine’s Summer 2014 issue with Joan Smalls, shot by Mario Testino in Miami and released exactly on July 16, which was my 25th birthday! Interestingly, I also had another shoot on the same day with Bruce Weber for Vogue France with an iguana on the beach. And I did not realize back then how huge of a start it was, as I did not know either of them.
DA:You have been in the industry for a while now, what would you say does it take for a professional male model to make it in the industry these days?
AM: These days, to make it in the modelling business and stay competitive in the long run, it starts with the basics: Manners, education, show up on time, be nice, be polite. Then you have to open up your personality. Nowadays, with Instagram on the map, you are not just an image anymore—you are a universe.
DA: What do you consider to be the biggest challenge for professional male models today in 2022?
AM: In my position, not being a show/ editorial fashion guy, my biggest challenge is to show my entire universe amid all the Instagram influencers and actors I am competing with. I need to deliver day in and day out; I need to be able to perform at any time when the phone rings. Consistency is important to last in the long run.
DA: What do you think is the one thing that most people still get wrong about your line of work?
AM: Obviously, there are still misconceptions about the job of modelling. People think you just wait at home being good looking, not doing anything until a client calls. Modelling is not a job; it is, first of all, an incredible opportunity and then it becomes a 24/7 way of living. But we are entrepreneurs. A lot of models I’m friends with, and myself as well, create businesses and charity foundations; we become artists or take masterclasses; we support our families and kids and show up at the gym every day.
DA: What are your top three tips for aspiring your models looking to make a name for themselves?
AM: If you want to make a name in this industry, you first need to find your entourage: The people who really believe in your potential and will defend your interests at all costs. Second, you need to show up on time, be honest with yourself and love what you do! Third, you need to take action and go out, meet people, network, stay always curious and be open to new connections. Your next life is sometimes just one meeting away and I strongly believe in that!
DA: Being a professional model, travel from one place to other is part of the job. Now that you’re also a father, how does being far from home affect you?
AM: Yes, traveling is a big part of the job and sometimes jobs string together, so I am not home for quite some time. But never too long, though … probably never more than 10 days since Ayana, my baby girl, was born. But strangely, it affects me in a good way, since I have this balance between my private and my professional life. I know that I am realizing great things for my career when I am away from home and also trying to secure my legacy for my girl. And creating this missing part when I am away makes the longing to go back home even stronger! I will always cherish the “welcome back home hugs” from my daughter…
DA: What would you say to your daughter if one days she says she wants to take up modelling just like you did?
AM: If someday my daughter wants to be a model, I would warn her that it is a world full of promises, so she should not expect anything from anyone to protect herself. And if it makes her happy, then go for it. And to tell you the truth, she is already represented as a model in an agency in Paris! [Laughs]
DA: What’s next for you? Any plans or projects lined up for the future?
AM: I shot several amazing campaigns lately that you will see coming out in the next few months. And next for me, aside from modelling, is a charity brand about animals facing extinction that I am setting up now. I want people to realize how dramatic we are turning our home, the earth, and killing these animals that did not ask for anything but peace. At first, it will be them disappearing one after the other because of climate change and then it will be our own children. It’s a wakeup call for the new generation that I want to make happen using Web 3.0 technology that is being developed now. I have also been taking acting classes quite intensely for two years and will be appearing in a French TV show called “Bendo” which will come out in January 2023 on Netflix. I aspire for more and want to portray great characters in movies in the future.
DA: Do you still have any dream projects? Perhaps tackling campaigns for certain brands or working with a certain photographer?
AM: My dream project nowadays would be to shoot a worldwide campaign with my daughter. We were supposed to walk on the Dolce & Gabbana show and the campaign right after the first lockdown in Milano. But they announced the second lockdown two days before the show, so everything was cancelled and the project aborted … which was really frustrating. But I believe it will happen someday.
DA: We talked briefly before about how you’re going into acting. How’s that going so far?
AM: Acting is a new world for me, but I want to jump right in with no safety net! I utilize some parts or emotions of myself that I have never used ever before in my life and it’s incredible. You have to let go and follow your emotions with no turning back. It’s scary but intoxicating at the same time. I have met some great directors and producers, so we will see what happens. In the meantime, I just started writing a movie script.
DA: Besides that, have you ever thought about delving into other aspects of the business? Launching a brand, perhaps. Or maybe taking up fashion photography?
AM: In the modelling industry, if the opportunity comes, I would love to launch my own brand, but I haven’t really thought of it yet. I love the art of photography, but I leave these skills to my wife and people who are more talented than me.
DA: You have quite a following on Instagram. How selective are you when you post anything on your own Instagram account? Does your online presence have a marked effect in getting more work?
AM: I have a love and hate relationship with Instagram. I love it because it is so convenient to contact anyone, get access to everyone, develop your business and having it exposed to the entire world immediately. And how it creates infinite opportunities. But also, it is all smoke and mirrors, which is an aspect that I don’t like. A lot of people fake their own lives and scam people. For myself, at times, I find it hard to be consistent in posting and creating content. That’s why I always ask for advice, since I am far from an expert. I like to share my travels and my jobs and exchange with my community, but I love my privacy even more. So, I try to find a balance between everything.
DA: You always stay in shape … that being said, what would be your guilty pleasure? What do you indulge on your “cheat days,” if you will?
AM: I have been on a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting for four years now, because it is the way of eating that I found the most efficient to regulate my appetite and stay in shape all year long, plus having stable energy and fun along the way. I am also trying to stay vegetarian as much as I can. Luckily for me, I don’t have a sweet tooth. So, my guilty pleasure is cheese or peanut butter with dark chocolate.
DA: One last question … do you have a favorite motto or saying that has kept you going all this time?
AM: Yes! I live with several mottos that I have in mind at different times of the day. In the morning I always say to myself “life rewards action.” Then when I enter the gym: “Be the hardest worker in the room, if you train and eat like everyone, you will look like everyone! Be in the one percent!” I think that’s a great motivational quote. And lastly, I also have this one to remind myself to focus on my projects: “A project is a dream with a deadline.” Because, “to change your life, you need to change your priorities! Where you are right now is the result of your priorities.” And to sum it all up: “To exist is a fact, to live is an art, make your life a masterpiece.”
PHOTOGRAPHY MITCHELL NGUYEN McCORMACK
STYLING KIMBERLY GOODNIGHT
GROOMING MAXWELL MARTIN USING BALMAIN
MODEL AURELIEN MULLER/NEW MADISONS MODEL PARIS
PRODUCTION & CASTING INDUSTRY LIFESTYLE CONSULTING
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