The Best Of Two Worlds with Miles McMillan in our Cover Story for Apr/May 2023

Juggling two creative pursuits can be exhausting, but Miles McMillan finds his way and excels in both. In this exclusive interview, he chats with DAMAN about his life as a model and artist

Outfit by Givenchy

Art and fashion hold unique charm and often intersect, just like they did for model and painter, Miles McMillan. He had been interested in art since childhood and decided to study Fine Arts at New York University. As an aspiring artist, he never considered becoming a model until one day in 2009 when a photographer approached him to shoot for a local brand. He took the chance, and success followed. Fourteen years on, McMillan has built an impressive modeling portfolio, having worked with renowned fashion brands such as Dior, Alexander McQueen, Lanvin and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. Despite his smooth success in modeling, McMillan always remembered his love of art and continued to pursue his career as a painter. Now with thriving jobs in both industries, we sat down with him and discussed how each world influences the other.

Shirt by Sandro

DAMAN: Let’s start from the beginning: How and why did you first fall in love with modeling? And how did your first encounter with this world come about?
Miles McMillan: I was on the street in the lower east side of New York at a bar and aphotographer came up to meand asked if I modeled and ifI was interested in doing an Urban Outfitters shoot with her. I didn’t have a summer job yet, so I said yes. I negotiated my deal and I did the shoot and it kinda went on from there. I was 20 years old at the time.

DA: What’s the secret to your long-running career as a professional model?
MM: I think staying interested in collaborating with different people eventually helped me stick around so long. I always show up wanting to get the best work done.

Sunglasses by Burberry

DA: Can you tell us about some of the people that have influenced your career in a significant way?
MM: Karl Templer was a big influence on me. I worked with him a lot with Tommy Hilfiger and he taught me a lot about life. He was tough, but I respect him so much.

DA: Which project are you most proud of and why is it so important for you?
MM: My shoots with Jack Pierson, one for AnOther Man and the other for Purple, are the ones I’m the proudest of. He was my painting teacher at NYU and I loved him and his work so much and it was just such an honor for him to ask to shoot me, I also think they’re the most iconic pictures of me.

“I’ve always been an artist, so I’m always needing to do something creative.”

DA: And what kind of modeling work would you like to take on next? What would be your dream project?
MM: Strangely, right now I’d love to do a fashion show. I haven’t done one in year and I miss that feeling of nervousness and excitement of walking in them. It’s like a high.

T-shirt by AllSaints; short by Calvin Klein

DA: You once worked with Gigi Hadid, Eddie Campbell and many other big names. Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
MM: OK, so actually Natasha Poly was the model I worked with who really got me star struck. I love her.

DA: You’ve also made quite a name for yourself as an artist. Can you tell us more about this side of your life?
MM: I’ve always been an artist so I’m always needing to do something creative. Recently I’ve really been only painting gifts for friends as well as children’s bedrooms, which has been fun.

Shorts by Calvin Klein

DA: Have you noticed any links between art and modeling? What are your thoughts on this?
MM: I think there’s a lot to be expressed in both. You can’t be a good model without expressing something with your body, your face and even the clothes. Like art, fashion has to express something in order for someone to buy it.

DA: Do you have any favorite artists who inspire your works?
MM: I always am looking at Lucien Freud, Henry Taylor and Francis Bacon.

Shorts by Calvin Klein

DA: Are there any ways that art has influenced modeling? Or maybe the other way around?
MM: Well I used to paint myself, and would objectify myself. I found that an interesting exercise in my own grappling with the two parts of my life.

“You can’t be a good model without expressing something with your body, your face, and even the clothes.”

DA: What do you want people to recognize you as first: as an artist or a model?
MM: I think it would be what they’ll recognize me as I haven’t shown yet. My next hat will be the most fulfiling.

Suit and shoes by J.Lindeberg; shirt by Sandro

DA: If you could collaborate  with any artist of your  choosing, who would be your top pick?
MM: Shirley MacLaine, simply because she is just the most amazing. Period.

Briefs by Givenchy

DA: And if you could hold  a solo exhibition of all your  works, what would be the  perfect venue to do it?
MM: Some fabulous house in the hills here in Los Angeles that are impossible to get to.

DA: Any future projects you can share with us?
MM: Ah! I don’t want to jinx it! You’ll have to stay tuned!

Shirt by Sandro

Outfit by Givenchy
Briefs by Givenchy

GROOMING SONIA LEE for Exclusive Artists using La Mer