Jam-packed schedules are something that busy models have to contend with. Little sleep and constant jet-setting is often part of the lifestyle. This makes getting an interview somewhat difficult. However, for me it’s 3am and I’ve managed to track Briaen down in San Francisco Airport while he’s waiting for a connecting flight to LA to get home again after another crazy week in his life.
He comes across as a very welcoming guy who is more than happy to answer my questions, immediately friendly and very open and honest and even though he himself admits to not getting enough sleep he’s happy to give me time to talk to him about his life as an androgynous model. In fact when I asked him what he did to relax he said that sometimes he wished he could take a whole day just to sleep.
In recent weeks he’s been part of German rock/pop sensation Tokio Hotel’s new music video Love Who loves you Back, been out to Madrid to work and walked the runway for Los Angeles based designer Marco Marco.
His androgynous style has brought him many fans from all over the globe that follow him on his many social media accounts, which he keeps regularly updated with behind the scenes shots of his life and some of the shows and photo shoots he’s been part of.
I am most recently one of them, discovering him after seeing a photo on social media of him and Tokio Hotel’s lead singer Bill Kaulitz and wanting to know more about the self-proclaimed Pretty Boy.
In the short time I had to talk to him we discussed his love of modelling from an early age, his love of watching America’s Next Top Model, Tokio Hotel, Andreja Pejic and how sleep was always the last thing on the long list of things to do.
I like to go into my interviews with as much knowledge about my subject as possible, however Briaen is quite hard to Google. He’s young and fresh and only just breaking into the modelling world, having only been modelling professionally since the age of 18 and he’s only 19 now. We discussed his childhood dreams of being a model.
“I’ve always wanted to be a model. I remember being 8 years old and watching America’s Next Top Model every night because I would record it all the time! I was always so inspired. When asked at school I would always say model!” I now completely hold him accountable for my current watching of ANTM from cycle one. It’s certainly understandable how it inspired him to make his dream a reality.
He is living his dream, having modelled for Vogue Italia in a ‘Vintage Doll’ Style shoot and modelling for Vogue was something he’d always wanted to do, claiming it was an amazing experience to work with such a big publication. The photos are stunning, shot in black and white the emphasis is on his Briaen’s beauty. I asked how he would describe himself to someone who had never heard of him before. He speaks honestly about how he feels about labels.
“I don’t like labels. I believe labels are the source of close mindedness in the world. I hope this changes one day. If I had to label myself, I would say I’m just a pretty boy. I am not taking hormones nor have I ever had any surgery to look the way I do. I identify as a boy. I just so happen to have feminine attributes… I am me.”
One of my followers on Instagram asked how he kept his hair in such a beautiful condition and according to the man himself he simply blow dries it and curls the ends a little, using little or no product to maintain his shoulder length locks healthy and shiny. So there you have it, keep it simple!
In the last few months Andreja Pejic has come out to the world as a transgender woman. It was a brave decision in a world that is constantly plagued with prejudice and a lack of understanding but she has stood strong a proud and become an inspiration for many, including 19 year old Briaen.
“From my own personal experience (I can’t speak for everyone) it [androgyny] is generally very accepted if not praised in the modelling world. Though if I’m honest, there aren’t many jobs for androgynous models. Most agencies and clients look for the typical male or female model. But when there is ever a job for an androgynous model I’m the only one to call… If that makes sense?” He speaks highly of Andreja, even claiming that she was the one who opened many doors for models like him and who he claims as probably his biggest inspiration and gives her credit for his career.
Briaen is certainly in demand and his recent walk on the runway for Marco Marco shows just how versatile a model he can be. He appears to be one of those models that no matter what he wears he looks wonderful. His versatility even extends to working on music videos.
When I asked him how he ended up working on Tokio Hotel’s new music video he simply said he was asked by their casting director. The promotional video on YouTube for the single Love Who Loves you Back set the Tokio Hotel universe alight when people began to wonder who this beautiful person was.
We soon knew it was Briaen when he posted a picture of himself and Bill Kaulitz on his Instagram. I asked him what it was like to work with the band and whether he got a chance to interact with Bill. “They’re good people; I can see why you all love them so much. He’s [Bill] just like anyone else, he’s very sweet. I can see why the fans think so highly of him.”
Another follower question from instagram; @lassunskeine asked whether Briaen had heard any of Tokio Hotel’s music before the day of the video shoot.
“I did briefly actually. Many years ago! I heard the song literally all day so I was forced to enjoy it. Kidding… I found myself singing it for weeks waiting for it to come out.”Our conversation then moved to day to day life and I was intrigued to know where Briaen saw his career going in the future.“I honestly can’t answer that. I don’t really know where I see myself tomorrow, if that makes sense. I am in constant change, and I like that. We will see. I usually just say “stay tuned”.
So there you have it, stay tuned to see what life has in store for Briaen.