From a small village in Switzerland to the catwalks of the world: new and upcoming male model Janusz Kuhlmann left his home at the age of 18 to conquer the fashion world. The 188cm tall model tells us how a simple Instagram message changed his life completely, what it’s really like to walk over the runway for Versace and if he ever exploited his good looks opportunistically.
TPP: From doing an apprenticeship in Switzerland to doing runway shows in Paris, Milan and London real quick. Tell us about your life before you became part of the fashion world!
JK: I grew up in a small village in the Emmental area very close to the capitol of Switzerland, which is Bern. I finished school after the 9th grade and started an apprenticeship in business in Bern, which consisted of me going to school 2 days per week and working in an actual office the other 3 days of the week. Bern is a really beautiful city with the river are flowing through it. It’s not the biggest city, but a nice place to chill and hang out. However I ended my apprenticeship after 1,5 years to pursue my modeling career.
TPP: How did you get discovered?
JK: I got approached on Instagram by One Time Management, which is my mother agency based in Zürich/Switzerland. They asked me if I would like to come to Zürich to introduce myself and I did.
TPP: Was it weird for you to get scouted on social media and receiving that Instagram message?
JK: Not really. The approach was unusual for me, but I was never skeptical about it. I tend to be very open for new things in life. So I just gave it a go.
TPP:Also you are only 18, right? How did your family and friends react to the news of you being signed?
JK: Yes, I am 18 years old. Born on 28th December. I grew up in a world far away from the fashion industry, so people couldn’t really grasp what it meant to be signed to an agency. I get more and more reactions from family and friends now that I actually work as a model. They see me walking on runways or they see the campaigns I am in. And that’s when I get a reaction. Overall everyone is very supportive, but it’s not like I am talking constantly about modeling when I am with my loved ones. We just hang out.
TPP: When did you realize you “made it” as a model? Was there a specific moment?
JK: I think it hit me when I did my first runway show for Versace. Before that I have been doing small runway shows in Switzerland, but Versace was a huge thing for me.
TPP: How would you describe how does walking down the runway for the first time feel?
JK: To be honest every time I do a runway show I am very focused and concentrated. I am just trying not to trip or walk the wrong way. Right before I get on the catwalk I get a bit nervous, but once I am on it I just try not to think. It can be overwhelming when you see all the cameras and the people sitting in the audience, but I am trying not to think about it too much.
TPP: You walked for Balmain and Dior and the list goes on and on. What would ideally be the next brand on your “to walk for” list?
JK: I would love to walk for Prada. Calvin Klein or Tom Ford would be super cool, too.
TPP: If you could pick one campaign you would like to be featured in which one would it be?
JK: There are too many. On top of my mind I would really like to do a fragrance campaign, which would round up my portfolio. And I am grateful for being able to be part of a Versace campaign. That was actually really cool!
TPP: Be honest, have you ever exploited your good looks opportunistically?
JK: I have not really exploited my looks. But I have to admit that the job as a model comes with a lot of advantages, like e.g. not having to queue in front of the club to get in and so on. Also I feel like it’s easier to meet new people.
TPP: Who is your favorite male and female model at the moment?
JK: Hmmm… I do like Bella Hadid and Hayley Bieber. And I like what Kit Butler is doing. I really respect that he keeps his level and is being constantly booked for campaigns, season after season. I am striving for a career that is consistent, so I really look up to models that manage to keep their level of work consistent.
TPP: The fashion industry can be a bubble, a world full of partying and using drugs and other temptations. How do you keep yourself focused?
JK: I am trying not to attend too many parties as my job is my first priority.At the end of the day I want to make a goob job and leave a good impression, that’s why I am trying to stay away from all the temptations.
TPP: A great physique is a must have in this industry, but we all love a cheat day. What are your guilty pleasures when it comes to food?
JK: To be honest I don’t have a strict diet, so I don’t really have a cheat day and can luckily eat whatever I want. But when it comes to food I do enjoy a good piece of lasagna and pizza. That might be my guilty pleasure. As a dessert I don’t mind panna cotta.
TPP: How do you keep in shape?
JK: Lately I haven’t had much time to actually do sports. If I do have time I like to go for a run. Don’t get me wrong I also like going to the gym, whenever I have time, but often the procedure to going to the gym, changing, showering, going back home is very time consuming. Therefore I do small workout routines, like e.g. pushups, at home or in the hotel room or wherever I have the possibility to do so.
TPP: We all want to know your secrets: What beauty tips do you swear by?
JK: You will be disappointed but it’s not that big of a beauty secret: I am only using a cream for my face every morning, which is keeping my skin hydrated and protects it from pollution. And that’s about it.
Words by Danijel Vukoja
Janusz Kuhlmann at One Time Management, Photographed by Alexis Negrin, Styled by Cristina Fado with pieces from Cerruti 1881, Kenzo, Mihara Yasuhhiro, Calving Klein, Hugo Boss, Gentle Monster, Homme Plisse Issey Miyake, Issey Miyake Men, Phoebe English, Charlin Cohen, and more in exclusive for the lasted Cover Story of the issue #007 Surviror in The Pink Prince!.
Videographer & Photo Assistant by John Siryana.