Usually Creating The Next Big Opportunity
is NOT your everyday model, but rather a creative from Brooklyn, New York that's always looking for his next opportunity. We spoke with Nicholas about his experience being featured in Vogue and what it's like to walk in fashion shows for numerous prestigious brands from around the world. In addition, Nicholas also spoke with us about being the Model Director for VBTL and his personal endeavors as a designer, his advice for other young creatives looking to establish themselves, and his drive to continue to create and push his limits while always remaining humble.
Where are you from?
Nicholas: I’m from Brooklyn.
Have you lived there your whole life?
Nicholas: Yes and no. I was born in Brooklyn, then I lived in Trinidad, and then Belize. I came back to New York after that and I’ve lived here for a long time. When I was 17 going on 18 I moved to Texas and stayed there for two years. I just moved back to New York about a year ago.
When did you start modeling?
Nicholas: Modeling has always been around me. When I was growing up my mom worked for Elle Magazine and my dad always loved fashion. I’d leave the crib from my mom's to my dad's and I’d come back in a whole different outfit. So fashion was always there. Growing up people kept telling me I should model and then when I was like 13 and my brother was 15 we started taking photos for Tumblr. We started to get a lot of reblogs and become recognizable on Tumblr which eventually transitioned from taking iPhone pictures to doing more professional stuff. After I did my first shoot for my homie I wanted to start setting up my own shoots and directing them. So I started modeling officially when I was 13 and seven years later I’m here. I signed my first contract in September of 2017 so it’s gonna be two years since I started modeling professionally this September.
Were you always into art and fashion growing up?
Nicholas: Honestly I had one of those hard childhoods where there was always bullshit that I went through. I would always be fashionable but there was always something going on so my attention wasn’t as focused on it as I would have preferred. That sustainable environment where I could focus on one thing wasn’t possible because of the amount of times I moved. But I look at that positively because the amount of times I moved helped me have a better mindset of how I should approach style. I have a much more outgoing approach towards it because of those experiences. I don’t believe in one specific style or one approach towards it.
You’ve been shooting for seven years now but it’s been done professionally for almost two years?
Nicholas: Yes, since I’ve been professional that’s when a bunch of big things started to happen. When I was growing up I wasn’t so focused on the content sequence. I was just shooting because I loved it and I wasn’t really thinking about what I could really do. A lot of the things that are happening now that I either asked for, manifested, or just happened because of hard work which I’m grateful for.
How did you start going about getting modeling gigs?
Nicholas: I was nervous as shit. I had to look in the mirror to practice my facial expressions and I had to practice the way I walked. There was a lot of things I had to do. I did my first runway show a while back and I was very stiff. After seeing that footage I had to change a lot. I have bad anxiety so when I first did these things it was difficult, but I got over it and I still did it.
Has your approach to modeling changed since you started?
Nicholas: My approach has been more careful. There’s so many grimey people in this industry just like every other industry, and you don’t know who is really trying to help you. You have to approach it carefully and smart, but with the mindset of no fear so you can take the risk if given the opportunity. You don’t know if you’ll be in another country in a week or have no gigs for a month. There’s no sustainability to it so you have to be careful about what you’re doing and what you choose to do because everything can affect it. My approach is just smarter than when I first started because I was just a kid. I was just taking pictures and I didn’t think having healthy skin mattered, I didn’t think angles mattered, none of that. But now I know the importance of it.
I know you’ve done a lot of work with VBTL. Are you a part of the collective?
Nicholas: Yeah I’m part owner of the company and I’m also the model director for the company. The last LA show I directed and was in control of all the models and the rehearsal, as well as the walking and the submissions to make sure the designers knew who their models were. I had to make sure everything was set up and the show was in order. It was a lot on my plate but I did what I had to do and everything went smoothly, and we did it. That’s my role in the company so I have a say in what happens and how we approach things.
When did you initially become a part of that?
Nicholas: Since the beginning, I was one of the first people in it. Me, Lou and some other people talked about it in a group chat and we just made it happen for the first time last July in Miami.
Are you one of the models that actually walks the runway at VBTL shows?
Nicholas: I did at first but now that I’m a model director I can’t and won’t walk for any designers because I want every other model to have the opportunity. I don’t think it’s fair that the same people walking the shows run the company. The company is meant to give creative opportunities so we have to make sure that’s possible. If I’m walking for every designer I’m taking up space that I don’t need to.
Take us through the experience of walking your first runway. Were you nervous?
Nicholas: I was very nervous and you could probably see it on my face. Imagine walking in school butt ass naked. Imagine that level of anxiety, that’s how I felt. That’s how nervous I was. Every show I do the feeling is still there, but it transferred from anxiety to being ready and wanting to do it. The feeling changed but it’s still there in a way.
What’s your favorite runway show you’ve been a part of?
Nicholas: My favorite runway that I walked was either Heron Preston or Gypsy Sport. I walked Heron Preston about a year and a half ago in Dallas, Texas. Gypsy Sport was the most recent one and that one was one of my favorites because everybody that I walked with was really cool. Rico Nasty was cool, the music was amazing, the energy was amazing, and to be on the cover for New York Fashion Week best shows was what made me happy the most.
What’s it like being a part of NYFW?
Nicholas: I feel grateful. I’m happy to even be given the opportunity to be part of something like this because they chose me and to be chosen is a great thing. But you also have to get used to hearing no. You have to get used to the show not turning out how you expected. With NYFW I stepped into it not expecting anything but I gave it everything I had. I still think about walking NYFW every day, but I’m focused on the next step. It’s a big ass accomplishment to me and I stay grateful but I want to keep going and do more. Right now I’m focused on walking in London Fashion Week.
What brands have you had the best experience working with?
Nicholas: So far I would say it’s Christopher Lowman, LRS, Gypsy Sport, and Ka Wa Key which is the most recent one I’ve done. There’s so many honestly but out of them all I like those the most due to their work ethic, timing, and everything goes.
What kind of photographers do you look to work with?
Nicholas: It depends on what I need because there’s so many photographers and each one's work is different. I could get hit up by a really good photographer but if it’s not the type of work I’m looking for I’m not gonna do it. Me personally, I think about what I see myself doing or what I need and that’s how I approach it. You shouldn’t even be working with everyone since you have to take yourself seriously and be smart. At first of course you should work with who you can but at a certain point in your career you have to take yourself seriously and giving yourself to every photographer, stylist, and job isn't always smart because it may not be what you need.
Are there any photographers in particular that you want to work with in the future?
Nicholas: No, I don’t do research on photographers and stuff like that. I’ve never even done research on fashion shows. Designers of course, but not shows. I try to teach myself these things before I do the research. I think that it’s not always about who you work with when it comes to success, it’s about what you do. I could create something with a friend of mine that is better than something I created with a photographer that’s been shooting for 30 years. I’m focused on what I need and what I want to do.
How did it feel when you saw yourself in Vogue for the first time?
Nicholas: That shit was crazy. I cried like a little bitch honestly. I was going on lunch break at work when I found out. It’s crazy because you hear about Vogue all around the world. It’s an accomplishment that I’m very grateful to have and say that I’ve done and it motivates me every day to keep going.
What’s the magazine feature that you’re most proud of?
Nicholas: The magazine feature I’m most proud of right now is the one I have coming up. I just got published in Primitive magazine, 11 photos of me are gonna be featured. It releases July 17th. I'm also proud of this one I did with the photographer and with the photos I got in Vogue in this other magazine called Modellenland.
What’s your favorite fashion mag?
Nicholas: I like i-D magazine. I like their creative content because right now a lot of these magazines are becoming very disappointing with their approach. There’s so many creative individuals in the world and they’re using the same 15 people so it doesn’t make sense to me. Magazines like Paper and Dazed Magazine are taking over because they’re adding more creativity while Vogue is here doing the same covers, with the same people and the same approach. Change is important to growth and they need to change to grow, that’s how I look at it. My favorite would be Paper magazine.
What are some up and coming magazines we should look out for?
Nicholas: Honestly I’m not sure. I haven’t done my research on them that much so I wouldn’t know. So many people are releasing magazines now that there’s just so many different things to read.
I know you’ve done your own work with fashion as well. How did the collab capsule that you did with Korrupt happen?
Nicholas: I was at a Starbucks sketching and I had an idea, so I called him and asked if he wanted to do it and he said yes. We got the details down and made it happen. I’m gonna continue to do creative collabs until I release my own brand, but I’m not really stressing that right now because everyone is releasing a brand. There's space for everyone but I have other things that have my attention right now.
What made you want to work with Korrupt on that?
Nicholas: Honestly his mind is crazy and we're similar but different. Our birthdays are like five days apart too. We’re very similar in our creativity but different in our approaches. We both had something to input that made it what it was.
I know you’ve also done reconstructed pieces such as the “Chain Shoes” you made. Do you plan on continuing to develop yourself as a fashion designer?
Nicholas: Yes, it’s one of my end goals and designing has always been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. I need to get a lot of stuff done before I do that so I’m taking my time and not rushing anything. The thing about designing is there’s so many people doing it for the publicity and the money, but the real will survive and the fake will fall. I’m gonna go at my own pace and get it done.
Are there any other designers or brands you want to work with?
Nicholas: Yes. I want to work with Golf, Alexander Wang, and Akina Studios. I know I’ll work with them in the future, I just gotta keep doing my thing for now.
These days, having a personal brand is more important than ever and you’ve done a great job so far establishing yours. How have you been able to be so successful doing that?
Nicholas: I’m not gonna lie to you, I have no idea. I don’t know how these things keep happening, I just try to stay positive, keep working, manifest, pray, and be a good person. I give people advice on how to do it themselves and it’s up to them whether or not they want to take that advice. I don’t do things for money, I do things because I love them. Even if I do this for a long ass time, I’m still gonna do it because I’ve been doing it for the right reasons and that's why good things keep happening to me.
Is there any advice you’d give to other people looking to establish their own personal brand?
Nicholas: Yes. Don’t tell anyone your ideas. If you have a creative idea, do it. Don’t hesitate, don’t wait, just do it. People will try to turn your big idea into an impossible idea and then you won't want to do it. People need to keep the mindset that anything is possible because it is. The world around us makes us feel like we have to stay limited to what we have around us, when in reality we can do whatever we want. So what I have to tell people is do every idea you have and focus on yourself. Nothing is wrong with being selfish because being selfish is taking care of yourself before you take care of others. And don’t tell anyone your plans.
What should we expect to see from Nicholas Wolf next?
Nicholas: There’s a lot of crazy stuff I have planned. This video contest I have that I’m trying to complete within the next week is one of the most important things to me that I’ve done. After that I'm gonna be doing more work with brands from all over the world. I have a lot of things planned so expect to see more collaborations with me and important people.
What do you want to be known for at the end of the day?
Nicholas: I want to be known for my creativity and my drive because I’ve been through a lot of shit, and a lot of people don’t know but I just want to be known for how creative I chose to be and why I did what I did. Not for money, not for anybody, I did it for myself.
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