PAUSE Meets Jimmy Launay
Making plans to come London just to enjoy and explore the fast-paced city, Jimmy Launay, 22, never thought modelling would be his full-time job until he moved from Paris to London. A career which came to him by luck has now got him travelling around the world and working with the biggest online retailer, ASOS.com. We at PAUSE got a chance to sit down with Jimmy to find out more about his popular modelling life, what it’s like working with ASOS and his plans after his modelling career.
What were you doing before you started modelling?
Before I started modelling, I did a lot of things. Mainly, I went to school and graduated at a Business School in France. I was there for two years, and then I just came to London because France was bored, with school, and I wanted to discover another city. I came to London with my friend for a New Years’ Event and that was just crazy… Just crazy! That’s when I decided, okay, after my degree, I’m going to come to London and just enjoy life. But I wasn’t really planning to do modelling and stuff, I was just planning to come to London and then see what happens, so you know; it’s a crazy thing.
Before you came to London, did you know that you wanted to become a model?
Honestly, no. I always had an eye for fashion and stuff, because I love that; even with school, my speciality was Fashion Marketing, so I always loved fashion, but I never thought I would become a model or something, it just came to me by luck. So yeah, it was a big surprise when the opportunity came to me like a year and a half ago – it’s sick!
And how did you get into the modelling agency AMCK?
So like I said, it was mainly due to luck, but one of my friends, Jimmy Williams, a photographer as well, he knew a guy called Patrick, who had links at AMCK, and he said, “Yeah, you should try it.” But basically, I was a bit shy, you know, I just came to London, and my English was proper shit but he said “No! Stop it, just come with me.” So I went to the office and saw Patrick, and yeah, here we go, I started modelling and we start doing work together; I’m speaking English with you; I’m living in London; all of my friends are here and for me, it’s perfect.
Since you’ve experienced a career in modelling, how much has your life changed?
I don’t think my life has changed a lot because I’ve still got the same friends, like I’m still going out. Basically, I still go to see my friends as soon as I can, my family… Only thing that’s changed is that I get crazy opportunities to travel around the world; I’ve been in New York for two weeks just for work basically. I can say I’m 22-years old and I’ve been in New York to work. It’s mad, crazy! I’ve met so many good people, like I’m doing what I like in an easy way. For example, when I don’t want to work, I can say that I will take a one-day break or a one-week break – I can do what I want. My life hasn’t really changed, I’m still the same; I still got my cigarette, I still got my coffee in the morning, I still enjoy my food and drinks on nights so, you know, still the same but in a cool way.
“My life hasn’t really changed, I’m still the same; I still got my cigarette, I still got my coffee in the morning,”
When did you decide to grow a beard and why?
I don’t even remember. It was like two years ago, even before modelling. I think I was just bored of shaving my face everyday, like you can even see, I’m f*cking hairy! So basically, if I wanted to be clean, I had to shave my beard everyday, so yeah, one day I was feeling a bit lazy and just decided to try it – I’ve got some tattoo’s, so why not! So I started to grow my beard for a few months, I came in London and my agency saw me with my beard and decided that I had to keep it; and right now, I’m going to keep it because of my job, my beard is like part of me, you know, I can get really big or shorter, you know, I can change everything but my beard will always be part of me. But yeah, my look is really helpful, I think, I’m in my job because of my look but it’s me as well, I’m not just keeping my beard for work, it’s me. So yeah, I’m going to keep it, I think.
And how do you take care of your beard?
It’s just the same as my hair, you know, just wash it, I have to trim it, you know, my neck and side. Yeah, I got some products from New York, you know, like I said, I had to work there, for a barber brand, so they gave me so many products. They’re a barbers based in New York City, so if you can hear me guys, I hope to see you soon! But yeah, it’s amazing having a full beard and it’s quite easy. For me it’s a pleasure to take care of my beard, groom it in the morning, to shape it, you know.
What are the products that you use?
Some oil, some cream to make it soft, you know because it can get dry. Smoking, drinking coffee, eating, everything can get on it, so this is just to take care of it, like clean it, trim it because then it will just get disgusting. You can even see people with huge beards that don’t take care of their beards.
In terms of the jobs you’ve done, such as ASOS, what has been the best part of doing those jobs?
The best part with working with companies like ASOS is that it’s not even work for me, it’s more of a pleasure to come because I see friends, I see family. I started working with ASOS more than a year ago, so basically this opportunity is huge, and I know that not everyone can have it, even though it’s not impossible. I know all the stylists, all the photographers, all the studio directors, so I come every morning and have breakfast with everyone and it’s just fun, enjoying the moment. I think it’s this is why I’m still with ASOS; because of the spirit and atmosphere in the building, you know, we’re working together, but in a cool way. We’re all friends, I mean, we go to birthday parties together, so yeah, it’s not just about working, that’s why I love it. It’s really easy and chill.
So how did you get into ASOS?
So basically, it’s because of my agency, so Patrick, my main booker in AMCK, sent me a casting, like I got about twenty in a week, you know, just castings, and there was one more and I said “I will go, of course I will go. Its ASOS; huge company in London.” I just started modelling maybe six months before and never thought I’d get it, but I tried it, so they called me the next morning like “Okay, you have to be there at 9am.” One year later, I’m still here so it’s nice.
What do you hate about modelling?
To be honest, the only thing I hate is when i have to wake up super early in the morning! That’s the only thing. So yeah, some jobs are super cool of course; you love the clothes you wear, you love lots of stuff, you love the location and stuff but basically I remember maybe two years ago, working you know, to pay for my studio, to pay for my holiday; I could never complain. Right now, I’m working in the f*cking fashion industry as a model! It’s such an easy job and I could never really complain about that. The only thing is, please, no more 8am and 9am bookings in the morning; please guys don’t do it anymore!
How often are you modelling, do you get booked quite a lot?
With ASOS, the good thing is that I can get booked every week, so, I’m keeping busy. I can take my week off, like I told you but I’m still shooting every week. Like with you today, I’ve met so many guys in London so that I can do some shootings, interviews at the same time. So yeah, lately I’m shooting like every week.
Would you say that modelling could become a full-time job? What’s your advice to someone out there who wants to become a model?
My advice? It’s like, if you want something, keep working for it. It’s like every dream, I think, if you really want to be a model, keep shooting, keep trying and it will come. But my other advice is to not be too focused on modelling. Working as a full-time model can’t happen for everyone, so don’t be ashamed to work behind a bar, working at a gas station or somewhere. At the end of the day, you have to pay rent and live your life. If you’re going to do a shoot, as long as you eat, it’s fair enough, because sometimes modelling is like, they might not want you for one year maybe more and after, boom. You’re getting ready, you’re the one at the moment but sometimes it’s just not a good moment for you. So, if you really want it, if you dream about it, just keep doing it, keep doing it, and keep working, and stay focused on what you like, and it will come.
Why did you choose to leave Paris for London?
Well, like I say, I was bored with school, like I spent my whole life in France. I only travelled with my parents, so I have seen different countries but I have never experienced a proper city, you know, my dream was to live like a proper Londoner. To be able to say that London is my city right now. I’m living like a Londoner, I go to the corner shop, you know. Just being able to speak English with you guys and living a different experience.
Fashion is really big in Paris, so why would you come to London?
So basically, in Paris, they always told me I’m not good because I’m too short for Paris. My beard is not fashionable in France. My look right now is London. For London, it’s normal, like nobody will judge me because I have tattoos and a beard or something. Even if I wear pink pants or something like that, nobody is going to look at me. I swear to God, if you go to Paris like that, everybody is going to be like… Really? So that’s the only thing. I wish I could work more in Paris but I know it’s not my market anymore. Not even my city anymore. Right now, for me, London is my city. So I’m going to stay here. But to be honest, I miss Paris of course, because all my family is there, and my parents, you know, friends. But right now, London is my city, definitely.
So tell me what has been your best jobs so far?
New York. When I was in New York, maybe four months ago, I worked for L’Oreal, done some advertising for L’Oreal and that was a huge experience. Like I said, I’ve done so many shoots for ASOS, huge company, huge building, but with L’Oreal, it was f*cking America, f*cking United States. Two f*cking trucks just for two models, with maybe twenty guys, just to do one shoot. They had huge cameras, and everything was really, really professional. And I thought to myself, right now, maybe I can call myself a model because I’m doing something really professional, I’m going to be on TV in America, so it’s really something, you know. It really means something to me, because for my first time in New York, the United States, I was like “What the f*ck!” It’s just crazy, you know. Like I said, every shoot in ASOS is just a pleasure.
Well, I’m sure when you came to London, you wasn’t a model, like you wasn’t really famous. But now, everyone knows you’re a model; everyone knows what you do; you’ve defined yourself; you have your own look; you know who you are, and you’ve sort of grown on social media as well. You have a really strong amount of followers on Instagram, how you did that all come about? Why do you think you became favoured towards the public?
To be honest, I can’t really feel it. In London, it’s really easy to see famous people everywhere, like really famous people, not just models. Like I say, I always like going out with my friends, I always have a drink, I’m always getting drunk, I’m always getting food at restaurants so I’m not a superstar, trying to hide myself. For me, it doesn’t really change much. Maybe sometimes, some guys recognise me and say hi and that’s nice but I don’t really want to be a superstar, that’s why I say I’m so happy to keep the same friends as before – exactly the same. So when I go back to my city, to my hometown, like I just want people to think that I am still the same and I don’t want to get a bighead. I’m doing my job, it’s just my job and people have to understand that. It’s not my entire life. My Instagram is my job, one part of my life but not my whole life. And some people cannot understand the difference between Instagram; real life, and that’s it, but I try to explain the best I can and take every opportunity to do it. But yeah, Instagram is cool, it’s really helpful and I love that. Basically, I love to dig on Instagram, to find some things, new stuff, even girls. But basically, it’s just one part of my job; I have to do it because it’s important. You can’t really see my friends on my Instagram because I want to keep it secret and just for my life, because it’s part of me, I want to keep it just for me and nothing but modelling.
What kind of jobs and stuff would you like to do in the future?
To be honest, I would love to be in some videos or something like that for a huge singer, because like I said, in New York, I shot my first advertising video and I saw the difference between photography and videography. I still enjoy photography but it’s like posing, you know, spending two minutes in the same position to get the good one. In videography, it’s mostly just being yourself, like acting like yourself and I love that. I would still love to do photography but if I had the opportunity to do more videography, I would be so happy.
Would you ever think of getting into acting?
I thought about that, maybe a few months ago, and thought why not give it a try but I don’t think I’m ready for that. I don’t know. I think it’s totally different, like with modelling, you don’t have to learn to be a model, and it’s not that difficult, you just have to be confident. With acting, you have to learn about yourself, like a lot. What you can do with your face, emotions and stuff, so no, I don’t think I’m ready and it’s totally different. It’s too different right now for me to consider quitting modelling to go to acting. So no.
Is modelling what you want to do your whole life?
Modelling is definitely not what I want to be doing my whole life because it’s not really like a clean life or something, it’s more like I will party, travelling everywhere on train and it’s not my plan for my future life. Right now, it’s very cool like I meet so many crazy people everywhere, and I can’t complain about that. But I can’t imagine myself in 10 years doing the same shit again. Like I said, I always think about my family, my sister and stuff. My sister is like twelve years older than me, and she just bought a house, she has two babies and stuff, and when I see that, I’m like yeah, maybe not happiness but life in general. Do what you like when you’re young, and that is it, just move on.
“For me, modelling is just the first step for what’s coming up later, which is why I’m still doing it.”
So what do you want to do in the future, apart from modelling?
I want to work in fashion definitely, that’s my thing, my passion for sure. I want to create my own company. Like I said, I’ve got my degree in Business with a speciality in Fashion Marketing so I want to use it to create my own company. I don’t really want to talk about it because I’m not 100% sure on what it will be, so it’s useless to say yeah, I’m going to do this and stuff. But for me, modelling is just the first step for what’s coming up later, which is why I’m still doing it, because it’s really helpful. I’m making connections and it’s going to be so helpful for me when I want to make my own company. Wish me luck. I don’t know, maybe in five years time, I will do it, and we will watch this video say ok, he did it. So yeah, we will see.
Interviewed by Johnson Gold
Transcribed by Akhnaton Selbonne-Willie
Watch the video version on YouTube here.