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INTERVIEW: JAMIE WISE + MMSCENE COVER STORY BY BENJO ARWAS

Cover star Jamie Wise sits down for an exclusive interview with our editor Ana Markovic to talk about life of a model, his music and working with top photographers.

JAMIE WISE was photographed for MMSCENE Spring 2020 cover story in Los Angeles by BENJO ARWAS with styling from SHALEV LAVAN. Grooming courtesy of Nicole Chew. 

Get your copy of MMSCENE Issue Thirty-Four in PRINT or DIGITAL $3.90

For Jamie’s MMSCENE Magazine interview and more from the cover story continue reading:

jamie wise

jamie wise

jamie wise

Hi Jamie, we are so glad to have you back in our magazine. You were on the cover of our very first DSCENE Magazine back in 2014. Tell us, what have you been up to since then?

I remember and it was truly an honour! I’ve been focusing on my music. I worked with producer Mitchell Kulkin on one of my songs “Stranger” and released it in on Spotify in 2019. It got placed in the HBO documentary “Wig” and was a very proud achievement of mine!

Take us back to the very beginning. How were you discovered? – I actually walked into several agencies. Every single one of them said no but one of the big agencies booked me a test shoot to see how I’d do. After getting the pictures back they said no too. I never thought of modeling or that I looked like a model until my acting agent at the time told me to try. After everyone said no I sent the pictures out to every agency in London as a last little test and next thing I knew I was flying all over the world.

My number one piece of advice is to do something outside of modeling to keep you grounded, that means when the good things happen with modeling everything stays good and when the bad things happen your life doesn’t change much

Do you remember your first photo shoot? – My first photo shoot I remember very vividly, it was a good experience and somewhat different to all my previous life experiences, I remember being directed how to pose and discovered another side to myself. I will always be thankful for this journey.

When you think about your work, what is the shoot that comes to mind and why? – There have been so many shoots and I remember each one pretty specifically. But the one where I was blown away the most by the end the result was when I worked with Mert and Marcus and Karl Templer for Interview Magazine, the pictures were just stunning.

jamie wise

jamie wise

jamie wise

In addition to Mert & Marcus you worked with some huge fashion names such as Inez and Vinoodh, David Sims, Hedi Slimane… Is there anyone that you didn’t work with but would really love to? – I honestly enjoyed working with all of these people and all of the other people who aren’t as well known in the industry. Every single shoot I’ve worked I’ve had something positive to gain from. I never expected to be doing this so I have learnt a lot about something I otherwise wouldn’t have. I’m also always excited to work with people who’s work I really resonate with, so I was really happy to work with Benjo on MMSCENE Magazine shoot!

With your experience, how would you describe a model’s life? – It’s tough, but has some incredible highs and moments where it’s too easy. It has such major ups and downs. My number one piece of advice is to do something outside of modeling to keep you grounded, that means when the good things happen with modeling everything stays good and when the bad things happen your life doesn’t change much. I think being solely focused on modeling and constantly riding the ups and downs is a recipe for an unstable life. I’m thankful for my music.

jamie wise

Tell us about your music. When did you realise that you wanted to be a musician? – I was always enamoured by musicians starting with my friends at school. I never felt like I could justify calling myself a musician in comparison to how talented they were so I kept my singing and playing very secret. It wasn’t until people started telling me I should share my music that I ever thought about really putting it out there.

I rarely find current music that’s been written as a story or from a genuine feeling anymore, I find most music nowadays to be about being happy or being written so that people can dance to it and sing the lyrics back to the artist

What is your creative process?  – My creative process is always centred around understanding mine and others subconscious. Asking the big questions in life.

jamie wise

jamie wise

jamie wise

So, what inspires your music ? – With music I usually start writing from a big feeling, whether it be sadness, uncomfortableness, extreme happiness or a place of serenity. I usually feel this feeling and then start playing my instrument. The chords generally match what I’m feeling and then I sing and improvise from that place. Piece by piece through improvisation and being in the moment I create my songs. It’s a very therapeutic experience.

Which artists inspired you the most growing up? – Highway by Audioslave. I loved Chris Cornell’s voice so much and the passion and energy he sings with. I also liked the poetic lyrics and the anxt of the music.

jamie wise

Is there a song that instantly puts you in a good mood? – Sad Song by Otis Redding. He’s a genius at taking sad lyrics and sad subject matters and making them so fun and happy and upbeat. It’s like seeing the bright side even though things aren’t so great sometimes. I’ve been really into him in recent years. With current artists I’m not so sure, I rarely find current music that’s been written as a story or from a genuine feeling anymore, I find most music nowadays to be about being happy or being written so that people can dance to it and sing the lyrics back to the artist. Not knocking it though everything has its place, it just isn’t my thing!

How do you see the relationship between music and fashion? – Fashion has always had a strong relationship to music. The part of fashion I enjoy the most is creating a fantasy and a story. Music is pretty inherent to human emotion so when you combine music with a specific aesthetic you have a powerful combination to take people into a different world.

jamie wise

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt as a model and a musician? – I’ve learnt self-sufficiency, expression, taste, I’ve become significantly more worldly, I grew up in a very small place, I’ve learnt how to deal with an extreme variety of people from different creeds and backgrounds, and I can rock up to a million dollar set and have everything riding on me and smash it out! I’m really proud of where I’ve come throughout this journey.

How would you describe your personal style? What styling rules you always follow? – My personal style is very understated. In person I like to be authentic as humanly possible and for the focus to be on me, what I say and how I act. I don’t like to distract from that really or have the focus on my aesthetic. This is why I love acting and modelling so much sometimes because when I get to wear the more out-there clothing it acts as a costume, and I feel free to express and create in that situation. In real life, day to day, I want to be grounded and 100% myself. I save the performance for the moment.

I  approach life with a childlike curiosity with minimal limitations to my thought process. I believe it’s magic that myself and everyone else even exists with such individuality and uniqueness

Your tip for taking the best photo? – Calmness. It’s like an inner place I go to, similar to when I write music, I take the context given to me by the creative director, stylist or a photographer and I let that sink in, then I go to a still place and let it come naturally to the surface. This is just my way, but again I’m all about authenticity even when it comes to performance.

jamie wise

So, what makes you happy? – Happiness for me comes from self acceptance and being myself and having people respond to that. I also love pizza and milkshakes and video games, they make me happy too.

Finally, what’s next for Jamie Wise? – I’m going to be releasing more music soon, with a really honed vision, I’m going to continue to push myself forward for acting roles, and keep on working on my ability to express myself! This all might sound really serious, but honestly I approach life with a childlike curiosity with minimal limitations to my thought process. I believe it’s magic that myself and everyone else even exists with such individuality and uniqueness. Creative formats are my way of exploring that! Thank you!

jamie wise

Keep up with Jamie on Instagram @jamiejwise

Director and Photographer: Benjo Arwas at Seen Artists
Model: Jamie Wise at Vision Los Angeles
Styling: Shalev Lavan at The Visionaries Agency
Video edit: WE STUDIO

Grooming: Nicole Chew at Art Department
Assistant: Josh Hammaren
Film stock, process and scan: Pro8MM

Get your copy of MMSCENE Issue Thirty-Four

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