Visual Tales: Hi Jack! It was great to finally meet you while you were in NYC. You came from London to LA to walked the Amiri FW2022 show. What’s your perspective on the differences between London, LA and NY?
Jack Blanco: I love everything about New York! The energy of the city is something I hadn’t experienced anywhere else, it’s nice as it has similarities to London but it is ten times the size. As for LA, I only got to spend a couple days there so I didn’t have as much opportunity to explore the city, however I definitely would like to go back – just maybe not to downtown again. One thing I will say though is that, for me, it felt like I had been to LA before just because I’ve played so much Grand Theft Auto 5! Haha
VT: How did you get into modeling? What attracted you in wanting to pursue this path in the first place?
JB: I was street scouted whilst strolling around London. It’s funny actually, I was supposed to be going to a university open day, however I got the dates mixed up and had nothing else to do but go shopping and make the most of the day; if it wasn’t for that mistake then I wouldn’t be where I am today which makes me appreciate it a lot more. I did a little bit of modeling when I was younger, so I think that experience together with me being interested in fashion and the creative industry really motivated me to put my all into my career as a model – also meeting so many like-minded people has definitely made me love it even more.
VT: What are some of your highlight experiences so far?
JB: The first time I got that feeling of ‘oh shit I really did this’ kind of thing was sitting on the back of a yacht watching the sunset, having just finished the first day of filming for the Prada SS22 show in Sardinia - That’s definitely something I will never forget. Another thing that has been a highlight for me this year so far was seeing myself on the front page of vogue street style in Milan and in other magazines and articles from that season. I remember my mum and some of my friends sending me messages like ‘have you seen this?’ – something that again, will stay with me.
VT: What are some of your own personal interest that you would like to pursue in the future?
JB: As much as I love being in front of the camera I also love to be behind it, which is something I really want to begin to put more time into. I am really lucky to always be working with great photographers and seeing how they work on and off set which is extremely valuable to me. I also did a lot of acting when I was young which I am definitely going to be putting to use. Moving forward. Aside from that, there are too many things to list so you’ll have to wait and see!
VT: More and more, everyone can express or judge an individual with or without knowing them. They could like or dislike someone just by clicking on the latest imagery. It is interesting because modeling, in some ways, is creating a visual illusion; It doesn’t necessarily represent what the subject is really about. What’s your take on it?
JB: I think at the end of the day, the job of a model is to try to bring the designer or artist's vision to life while still holding onto their own sense of originality – which can sometimes be a challenge. The mindset I always have when going into a job is to keep an open mind and always appreciate the work put into the collections I modeled by the designer, whether It’s my style or not. Something that really resonated with me was in line-up before the Amiri FW22 show as Mike Amiri stood up and said to us all; ‘Put your all into these next 20 seconds, because I spent 6 months on those 20 seconds’ – and I think this really represents that point of we only see the final product, not the work put in behind the scenes. I really loved that collection and am so grateful to have been a part of it!
VT: You are signed with Patrick Egbon-Marshall, founder of Menace Model Mgmt, a great modeling agency that represents models that are known for being individualistic. How did that came about? We often wonder about the Agent/Model’s relationship, what’s the collaboration process like? What goals would you like to achieve through modeling?
JB: Patrick was the one who street scouted me actually. I think Menace Model Management is such a unique agency not only because of the variety of models that they have, but because we all have such a close knit relationship. It’s nice as I know a lot of the guys in the agency through parties Patrick has put on for us or through going abroad to fashion week with them – something that I don’t think you get with other, bigger agencies. Another thing that is great about Menace is that I know that Patrick has my best interests at heart and I am frequently in contact with him, in person or over text. One of my goals for now is to be feature on a cover of a magazine that is in-print and just to keep traveling and working as much as possible. Something that I’ve always wanted is to see myself on a billboard on the tube (London metro), which I’m sure will happen soon enough.
VT: From the moment you arrived on set, we witnessed your love of fashion. Share with us your personal style. Who are some of your favorite brands that you gravitates towards and why?
JB: My style changes frequently depending on where I am and what I’m feeling, it's usually just bits of everything. When I’m at home I usually opt for baggy jeans/trackies and a vest – maybe some baggy jumpers or jackets – very 90's. Aside from that, I think staples of my wardrobe right now are Cuban heeled boots (everyone should have a pair), scarfs and cool sunglasses. I have way too many pairs of shoes and sunglasses, because I think that these can make or break an outfit and should be chosen accordingly. I don’t really have a favorite brand if I’m honest because a lot of the things I buy I stumbled across while vintage shopping. However, a brand I am really liking right now is Diesel. They definitely can be a hit and miss with some things but I have a lot of love for some of their archival pieces and their most recent collection definitely has a few stand out fits. I got a good look at it during their new Soho store opening while I was in New York and I saw a lot of things I liked.
VT: You buy and collect a lot of vintage pieces for your wardrobe, share with us your selection process and some of your personal favorites you have acquired in your shopping.
JB: Yes I do! Probably a bit too much… I usually just stumbled across things, but I feel like I know where to look. In the UK, we have stores called charity shops everywhere - which are basically the same as Goodwill – and these are one of my favorite places to look. When abroad, I usually search up vintage stores on google maps and go to all the ones I possibly can. Another place that I can always rely on is a UK based store called Vintage Threads (shoutout to Charlie and Freddie), I’ve got a lot of cool pieces from them and you all should go check them out!
VT: Since this is a fashion special that focused on you wearing CELINE by HEDI SLIMANE, what are your thoughts of CELINE by HEDI SLIMANE's collection? Why do you think young guys like yourself gravitates towards his aesthetic?
JB: I really love the energy of this collection, it felt amazing to wear and there are some great pieces that I would love to have in my wardrobe. I think that Hedi really knows what he’s doing at the moment with Celine; the aesthetic they are pushing is a massive influence on guys like myself who are into fashion and have great style, it’s the perfect balance being on trend and setting new ones. I think this influence is because it fits the fast paced energy of young guys nowadays.
VT: Describe a perfect day for you?
JB: Iced black coffee, long walks in the sunny countryside, good food, music and driving my car.
VT: As a representative of a new generation of models heading towards 2023, knowing what you know, how would you like models like yourself and the modeling industry evolve going forward?
JB: I think that the industry has a lot of work to do in terms of looking out for models. I say this because I know so much goes on that isn’t talked about, such as agencies and clients being shady about money, people having to put up with bad living situations and other things that shouldn’t be acceptable. Thankfully I haven’t had any bad experiences, but I know that there are a lot of people affected. There is a great organization called Model Alliance that is based in New York that focuses on changing things for people working in the fashion industry.
VT: Everyone have their own personal account as to how the pandemic affected them, what’s yours like?
JB: Initially, I was really thankful for the covid lockdown as it allowed me to get some much needed rest and take some time away from everything so I could work through some personal things. It was also when Patrick convinced me to grow out my hair, a decision that has definitely changed my life so far! After 2020, the pandemic then became a big problem as it stopped me from doing a lot of things I could’ve done if it wasn’t around; however, I think that without all the setbacks and bad choices made I wouldn’t be where I am today.
VT: What defines beauty in your eyes?
JB: I think that beauty is whatever you want It to be, it’s a very personal thing that I think differs for everyone even if you don’t know what It is for you yet.
VT: We all have individuals we look up to or aspire to be, who is that individual for you?
JB: I definitely have individuals that I look up to, but there is no one that I aspire to be, because there is no one I’d rather be than myself. Saying that, someone I have a lot of respect for would be a good friend of mine called Clément LaGuardia: a model, mother agent and photographer. I look up to him because as well as being a successful model, he manages successful models and still has the time to capture beautiful images – a work ethic that I think is unmatched.
VT: If there is a song to sum up who you are and what you are about, what song would that be and why?
JB: Everything I Am by Kanye West – because everything I’m not made me everything I am.
Hit the Road Jack