One, two, three…countless! Through countless reviews of editorial concepts and pause-rewind-play-repeat runway coverage, many models so aptly represented Spring/Summer 2011. Yet, one proved himself worthy of dialogue thanks to his incredibly intriguing eye-candy appearances in a handful of magazine favorites and catwalks. The 27 year-old risen talent is the unstoppable Austrain model: Gerhard Freidl. This fashion phenomenon is of choice recognition and it would be incredulous for him to go unnoticed. Starting his career as an average subway go-er, Freidl has worked with fashion legends and traveled on several continents in front of the camera.
Making a name for himself, this S/S 2011 you have probably seen the blonde-haired blue-green-eyed beauty gracing Blush, Twist, Pen, and Slurp magazines in addition to Hamaki-Ho,Manuel Ritz and Blaur campaigns (to say the least!). Further, this past fall and summer you might have caught a glimpse of him for the Just Cavalli, Jean Paul Gaultier, Gianfranco Ferre, Z Zegna, Iceberg, Corneliani, Canali, Daniele Alessandrini, Albino Deuxieme S/S 2011 fashion weeks. Demonstrating his mastery of S/S 2011, the fashion world was also particularly taken by his most recent successful dominance in the Fall/Winter 2011 arena. Freidl is the essence of a model, and captivation and excitement is barely containable for his presence in Spring/Summer 2012. In an exclusive interview with SceneBSeen, he presents us with an inside look on his experience in the modeling world thanks to his agencies: Weiner Models in Austria, VNY in New York, and NEW Madison in Paris.
Monica Bedi: How did you get started in the modeling industry?
Gerhard Freidl: One day I went home from the university and my booker Kosmas Pavlos, saw me in a subway station in Vienna and asked me if I want to be a a model.
MB: Describe your first casting.
GF: It was on the day of my arrival in Paris. I have never been in this city before, I had been a little bit overwhelmed and helpless - I have to admit. My French agency NEW Madison sent me to Louis Vuitton. I was really nervous therefore I forgot my book at home (something I laugh about today), but the people from Louis Vuitton were okay with that and took it as a joke.
MB: Describe your first day on-the-job as a model.
GF: At first I was a little bit nervous, because I was working with Jean-Baptiste Mondino for Numero. But he was very friendly and therefore it was an easy job.
MB: Describe your first runway show.
GF: My first runway show was for Burberry. I opened the show therefore I was tremendously nervous. I have been really happy that Christopher Bailey gave me that chance.
MB: What is your favorite runway you've walked on?
GF: There have been so many great shows I was allowed to participate in. Burberry, Gucci etc. Even smaller brands have great shows.
MB: What has been your most embarrassing moment thus far in the industry?
GF: I almost fell down on a runway once, everybody realized it and started to laugh (me too!)
MB: What has been your most successful moment thus far in the industry?
GF: The Gucci campaign was something very important for me, but there had been a few editorials I did which were really satisfying. One that I am really proud on, will be released in June for Studio Magazine with Bruno van Mossevelde.
MB: What designer do you hope to work for in the future?
GF: Karl Lagerfeld is somebody I never worked with. I hope will get the chance to.
MB: What do you like most about the industry?
GF: You get the opportunity to travel a lot and gather a lot of experience.
MB: What do you like least about the industry?
GF: There is nothing that I really don't like.
MB: Do you have a male model that you look up to? Models?
GF: No. I always admired people like Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman or Christoph Waltz.
MB: What inspires you to continue your journey in the industry?
GF: The hunger for more inspires me to continue my journey in the industry. I really like to be part of a production and lately I got in touch with acting, so maybe I want to go more in that direction.
MB: What are your favorite places that you traveled to due to your career?
GF: Tokyo, because I like the culture, the food and the people are very friendly. Also, Skagen, Denmark, because of the landscape and the silence there, that gives the opportunity to "breathe" for a moment.
MB: Besides modeling, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
GF: I enjoy hiking, climbing, reading, and writing.
don't know if it's posted yet, a little talk featured in Austrian magazine wienerin in 2008.
The surrounding of Gerhard Freidl maybe has as much to do with fashion, as a bypass with the Champs-Élysées. The 24 year old grew up with the aura of Antoine de Saint-Exupérys "little prince" in Althofen, a hicksville with 6000 habitants.
Mother: housewife and mother of 3 boys.
everything had went according to plan, Gerhard would have his diploma in politics under his belt and would sit in a plane to Brussels. Acutally, the young student just wanted to go home after a long day. Who reckons that the trainstation Vienna-Landstraße is the last station before Paris? A guy approaches him in the subway and asks, if he wants to be a model.
"For me it was just embarassing! Kosmas Pavlos from Wienermodels accosted me and I thought that was meant as a joke.", he remembers. Someday he however got in touch with the agency and had some polaroids taken. Just a week later, he is standing in front of Jean-Baptiste Mondino's lense for the fashion magazine Numeró. For most of the models a highlight of their career - for the down to earth Mr Freidl just a leap in the dark.
"The people of the agency went crazy but for me, the whole thing was somehow surreal. I neither knew the magazine nor the photographer. I actually was looking for a student-job." Six weeks after the first shoots it was clear: the political-parquet has to wait.
Because at the Milan Fashionshows, everything went perfect for Gehard Freidl. Labels like Prada or Fendi book him not only for the catwalk. Just a short time after, the carinthian boy sees his portrait in king-kong size for the Dolce&Gabbana advertisment on a trainstation.
"I saw the ad for the first time and was baffled! Now I don't think about it anymore. Maybe I'll realise later that this time was a wonderful one.."
Currently he can be seen in ads for Mango and Benetton.
With Supermodels like Agyness Deyn or Alice Delall he shares set and catwalk, like at Burberry, but nothing more. "The fashion world is another society. They're all totally nice but i don't know if I fit in that well. I'd probably be the only one who is talking about politics when being on a party." Brussels has to wait.
At the moment the beauty oscillates between Paris, Milan and New York. Today he is planning for tomorrow. Real plans Freild has for later on: finishing his studies and working in foreign policy. But in the second row. Because then he has had enough flashlight in his life.
rondo magazine, april 2009
ph. christoph pirnbacher
"At 24 you are already old"
Iris Strubegger and Gerhard Freidl are currently Austria's most successful models. Stephan Hilpold talked to them about the glamour of the fashion industry and its abysses.
Right and on the following page is the previously unreleased picture of Gerhard Freidl (24) by the Viennese photographer Christoph Pirnbacher.
1,87 m tall, pale, a striking face: last year, Carinthian Gerhard Freidl was in the top 50 of the worldwide model ranking list (#46). At the latest, he will find himself there again when the newest Gucci campaign is launched. Other campaigns: Benetton, D&G, Costume National. Gerhard has just returned from New York; we caught up with him in Vienna.
DER STANDARD: How do you perceive the model industry?
Freidl: It functions like every other entertainment industry. It has to sell an image. Behind it there are strong economic interests. This image that is sold must be plain simple. The target audience are the masses. If the image held Schopenhauerian complexity, no one would understand it.
What is the role of models in the industry?
Freidl: They are the gears. They hold the gearbox together. On the outside the party-going models dominate the scene, but it works differently on the inside.
In what way?
Freidl: It's a mis-belief that you shouldn't have much to offer character-wise. Nothing works out without a personality and charisma. The client has to like you after all. It's difficult to portray something you are not in a picture. The depiction of models as clothes hangers is a harmful assumption.
There are many clichés about models, namely drugs, parties, eating disorders. Are they true?
Freidl: They hardly match the reality. You have to be mentally capable of working under pressure. You spend a lot of time on a plane and have to function even when you are really tired. I don't drink or smoke and hardly go out, otherwise I wouldn't manage.
What did you think of the fashion industry before you started modelling?
Freidl: I was very skeptical. I was in Vienna studying Political Sciences, that certainly causes snootiness. You think that models are dumb, that the people in the industry are superficial. Shortly after I was disabused. There's a lot of talent behind fashion, many things are works of superior craftsmanship.
There are many different types of people that are in demand these days. Which type are you?
Freidl: If you only fall into one category, you can't get much work. It's important to be able to work interdisciplinary for different brands, that you can be marketed in versatile ways.
How are you marketed?
Freidl: Very diversely. But there's a tendency to make David Bowie types out of me - or a sort of Ralph Fiennes.
Generally speaking, what type is in demand these days?
Freidl: With women, that is easier to determine. They have to have certain measurements. With men, it isn't so strongly defined; you can see everything from toned Italo-types and English gentlemen to pubescent boys on the runway. That is probably related to the fact that male beauty ideals are more widely spread out.
The fashion industry is very international. To what extent do national characteristics exist?
Freidl: The way of working is overall alike. In regards to model types, there are differences: in New York college types are by far booked more than in Milan or Paris. In contrast, you can hardly find "beach boys" in Paris. Here there's more interest for fashion than for physical features.
Is living in Vienna a hindrance for a model?
Freidl: It doesn't hurt if you live in Paris or New York. I like living in Vienna, but would also like to drag on to somewhere else. At the moment, nothing is planned, though.