From child model to the runways of Europe and editorial shoots with photographers as distinguished as Steven Meisel, Red’s Will Lewis opens up about how he got his start, castings and in this industry, what matters significantly–aesthetic.
The Fashionisto: Where were you raised?
Will Lewis: NYC, born and raised in Manhattan, UWS, 1982 son. That’s what’s up.
TF: Where do you live now?
WL: Still NYC, but now I travel a lot. I spent about a third of this year in London. This month, and right now, I’m on the west coast, in Cali. I just drove back from Oregon, camped on the coast last night. Life is good, I like to travel.
TF: So, how did you get your start in modeling?
WL: Well, I did some stuff when I was a tot. A writer in my building used me for a children’s book on bread, and a photographer made stock photos of me reading a new dictionary.
OK, but really I was discovered around ’99 on St. Mark’s Place. I did an editorial for L’Uomo Vogue, and two for D mag. I was asked to sign with an agency and make a career out of it, but I opted to not. I did lots of other worthwhile stuff. I traveled a lot, saw a lot, learned a lot, tried on a few careers, even made a few trips to France and Italy for the shows.
After five years on my walkabout I decided to be serious about modeling. That was almost three years ago when I signed with Red.
TF: What is a typical casting like?
WL: Remember at school when everyone has to go do something weird that only takes a minute of your time but you have to wait all day anyway? Like yearbook photos, you wait and wait, fill out a form maybe, and when they call you up they take your picture, get your name and info, then they say, “Thanks!” and you’re done.
Castings are usually faster than yearbook day, and you don’t have such a goofy smile on your face in the photos from a casting. (hopefully).
TF: So, how would you describe your look?
WL: I think I just look natural, anachronistic in our day, maybe. I say, “Hey that’s just how I came out,” whenever people ask me about it. Probably that’s the kind of thing that makes lots of people in the business call me ‘the hippie.’ luckily, that hasn’t seemed to typecast me too much.
Clients use me regularly for widely varied looks. Suits and formal, hippie, urban, high-fashion, commercial, whatever. They like to throw a curve ball by using me in unconventional jobs for an edgy look like mine.