” YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO STAND AND WALK IN HEELS THAT ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO YOUR SIZE FOR HOURS AT A TIME. YOU OUGHT TO BE FLEXIBLE AND BE ABLE TO HOLD ANY AWKWARD POSITION FOR WHAT WILL FEEL LIKE A MILLENNIUM BUT WILL, IN FACT, BE 5 MINUTES. YOU MUST BE OK WITH NOT BREATHING WHILE SHOWING OFF A GARMENT THAT IS EITHER TOO SMALL OR TOO BIG. YOU MUST BE READY TO SHOOT BIKINIS IN THE SNOWY SEASONS AND LAYERED SWEATERS IN THE BLISTERING HOT ONES. YOU MUST ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU WILL GET ZIPPED. YOU WILL GET PINNED. YOU WILL GET BURNED.”
– MICK SZAL
MICK HAS BEEN MODELING NOW FOR SEVEN OR SO YEARS AND THIS PANDORA LAD HAS DONE JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING THERE IS TO DO MODELING WISE. SHE HAS WALKED ON MAIN RUNWAYS AROUND THE WORLD, SHE HAS SHOT TV COMMERCIALS, WORKED SHOWROOMS FOR SOME OF THE TOP DESIGNERS IN THE WORLD AND SHE’S MADE THE EDITORIAL SHOOTS FOR HYPED MAGAZINES.
MICK POINTS OUT THAT MODELING IS ONE OF THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD PROFESSIONS OUT THERE SO FEEL FREE AND LISTEN TO THIS ROCKING MODEL ABOUT THE REAL MANNERS.
MICK: – I grew up in Delaware and the person that made the greatest impression on me growing up was my mother. My mother moved to America from communist Poland for a temporary job back in the 70’s. She planned on being in the US for a few months but she got stuck here because it wasn’t safe for her to return to Eastern Europe. My mother always makes the best of any situation and so, she a made a life here and left behind everything she knew: her home, her friends, and her family. I grew up poor but I didn’t even realize that until I was much older because my mother had this amazing gift of taking the ordinary and making it magical. She had learned in communist Poland how to reuse everything and turn old junk into treasure.
” When I was growing up, she would constantly tell me about the brilliant women in history who had changed the world like Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin. She made me believe that I could be one of those women, that I could change the world. That’s what I dreamed about as a little kid and what I still dream about today.”
DT 500 MAG: – How did you crash into the modeling world?
MICK: – Like so many of the models I’ve met, I was wildly unpopular in high school. I grew up waaaay too fast and had no idea how to properly coordinate all my limbs in a graceful manner. I was also always very skinny. Basically, I was like those wacky, wild inflatable tube men that you see in front of car dealerships.
DT 500 MAG: – Ha-ha, so right here you had to decide to be a model?
MICK: – I towered over most of the guys in school so I didn’t really every think of modeling as a possibility. It wasn’t until after I had graduated that my English teacher came to me and told me I should consider becoming a model. I think my reaction was nervous laughter as I waited for the punch line to the joke. She then told me that she used to work as a casting agent in NY and that I fit the build but she never wanted to risk me dropping out of high school by telling me too soon. She convinced me to go see agencies and a week or two later.
” I hopped on a train with some Polaroids I’d taken with a disposable camera. I got incredibly lucky and got signed right away and started working from the get go. I planned to only do it for the summer but then I fell in love with it and I have never looked back.”
DT 500 MAG: – What is a typical model day?
MICK: – Well, there is no typical day at work for me, that’s why I love my job. Every day is different. One day I will just be running around meeting new clients for work, the next day I’ll be shooting a make up the campaign, the next I’ll be channeling alien vibes for an editorial. The jobs are all very different. Some days can be monotonous if I am just shooting product for e-commerce.
” Other days I shoot editorials and I really get to play and become a character. The more a job pushes me, the more I enjoy it.”
DT 500 MAG: – What was the most hype job you have done so far?
MICK: – The most inspiring job I’ve done so far would probably be the commercial I shot for William Rast. It was a carziest job I’d done at that point and the scale of the shoot was massive. They even rented a train for one shot. I loved doing that job because it showed me that there is no limit to what you can achieve.
” I couldn’t believe they chose me for it and yet, there I was, kicking ass, running next to a train in the middle of the desert. It was surreal.”
DT 500 MAG: – Mick, what is your experience at backstage fashion?
MICK: – You’re leaving out the physical and emotional stress that this job comes with. I fell into this job by chance. I never thought that this would be my life and despite all that it has provided for me, I don’t know that I would recommend it. I have survived so much because I am extremely thick-skinned.
” I have seen so many gorgeous women fall apart under the pressure. It is heartbreaking to comfort a beautiful girl while she is crying that she feels old and ugly at 23 years old. Some people treat models like garbage and will try to break a girl just to say they did.”
“If you want to be a model, prepare yourself. The people who laugh at you one day will be the ones that call you for favors the next. Find an agent that believes in you and stick with them but always remember, the only person you can truly count on is yourself.”
DT 500 MAG: – Mick, tell us more details, what does it take to be a model?
MICK: – People tell you that you have to be ready to hear “NO” a lot but it’s worse than that, you hear nothing. You have no idea why you don’t get certain jobs you thought were in the bag and early on, you will over analyze many things. You must be prepared to know every single flaw you have because people will tell you. You must be ok with having no personal bubble.
DT 500 MAG: – Tell us more…
MICK: – If you do a lingerie shoot, someone you meet in the morning well is re-positioning your cheeks in your panties in the afternoon. You must be ok with not knowing when you’ll get your next job and paycheck and not knowing what you’re doing tomorrow until the night before. You must be ready to do a casting at any time, sometimes even at night. You must be prepared to do anything ridiculous on a casting to get the job. One time, on a casting, I mixed dancing through a field of butterflies and then playing in a waterfall.
“It’s a demanding job but also one that is incredibly rewarding emotionally. When you get to be a part of creating something really beautiful and see it from start to finish, that is a damn good feeling. You get to meet some of the most creative people out there and you get to see the world. The opportunities you get are unbelievable but, it is far from the easy life people imagine it to be”
DT 500 MAG: – You should have some good statement in your pocket, can you inspire us pls?
“My inspiration is a vision of myself that is always ten steps ahead of where I am and I’m always chasing to catch up to her. I’m always looking forward and pushing myself to be better and do more. I guess, my statement is: Be great because you can be. “
DT 500 MAG: – What is self-realization for you?
MICK: – Sometimes I feel like I’m part of a creative community and some days I feel like I’m just another beastie in the rat race. It depends on the work I get to do. After two weeks of doing E- commerce, I start feeling like a bit of a drone. However, it only takes one editorial shoot or one stop motion project to put me back on track to feeling great. My passion in life is to make people laugh.
” I don’t mind making an ass out of myself if it will bring a smile to a friend’s face. I love being able to cheer someone up with a joke or story.”
DT 500 MAG: – which personal achievements do you feel harshly attached to?
MICK: – I try not to feel attached to my personal achievements. I’ve been in commercials and magazines and all over billboards but it doesn’t matter. I’m always looking forward to the next project, trying to think of the next idea and pushing myself to do more. I don’t rest on my laurels, I study them and look for ways to improve upon myself.
DT 500 MAG: – What type of girl are you, can you classify yourself?
MICK: – I don’t believe in classifying myself. Classifying yourself puts you in a box with walls around you and I think that’s dangerous. I’m a chameleon and I go where the wind blows me. One day I may feel like a tomboy but the next I’ll want to dress like a 1950’s housewife. I refuse to limit myself. I think our personalities are more fluid than people would like to admit. Have you ever found that one day you feel extremely confident and extroverted only to flip the next day into an antisocial hermit? I don’t know what type of girl I am, but I strive to be kind, patient and wise.
” I try to be creative in all my endeavors and I’m always seeking adventure but I think the most important thing is to be kind. The world could be a wonderful place if only people were a little nicer to one another.”
DT 500 MAG: – Mick, what is your superpowers?
MICK: – If I could pick any superpower, I would choose teleportation. It would save me a lot of time and money. However, I don’t feel like I am anywhere near possessing the ability to teleport. I do feel like I’m just one radioactive accident away from possessing telekinesis.
DT 500 Mag: – Who is your spirit animal?
“My spirit animal is the Capuchin Monkey: clever and mischievous. “
DT 500 MAG: – Transcendence…what does it mean to you?
MICK: – Your words have power and they have to mean. Be careful what you say and what kind of vibes you put out there because it will always come back to you. My philosophy is that it’s nice to be nice.
” Transcendence for me is something I’d like to experience, the closest I’ve come is by eating tacos at Barrio Chino. Pure heaven! “
DT 500 MAG: – Who would you invite to your BD party?
MICK: – I could sit on this question for days and add people to my guest list but here is the short version. I would invite: Salvador Dali, Napoleon, Mata Hari, Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison, William Shakespeare and Thomas Marlow, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gaugin, Teddy Roosevelt, Frederick Chopin, Ayn Rand, Tycho Brahe, Benjamin Franklin, Empedocles, Mary Shelley, George Sand, Annie Oakley, Oscar Wilde, Machiavelli, Socrates, Lucille Ball, Robin Williams, and of course, Marie Curie. It would be utter chaos and somehow I think the chaos would be something many of the people on that list would really enjoy.
DT 500 MAG: – you live in NYC, what does this place mean for you?
MICK: – New York for me is an opportunity. This city is filled with some of the most creative people on the planet and they all came here looking to do something incredible, to be a part of something. I love being surrounded by that energy every day especially on the days where I get to create something myself.
DT 500 MAG: – What is your top 5 NYC?
MICK: – MICK’S top 5 for the city are as follows:
1. Eating at “AWOL”. Their food is sourced from what is locally available and the menu is healthy while still being extremely delicious.
2. Donuts at “Babycakes”. I have an allergy to gluten but the donuts at “Babycakes” taste better than any normal donut. I remember eating before I was diagnosed with Celiac.
3. Sneaking into the dog park in Madison Square Park and pretending to own a dog so that I can play with other people’s pets.
4. Walking through Washington Square Park and listening to the different Jazz musicians playing impromptu concerts outdoors.
5. Driving over the Williamsburg bridge and looking at the city skyline, especially at night when all the city lights illuminate the sky like our own set of stars.
DT 500 MAG: – Who is a New-Yorker?
MICK : –
” A New Yorker to me is when a guy pushes me out-of-the-way to make it to his train and knocks me over. Then another guy comes over to help me to my feet. The guy who helps me up is the New Yorker, the other guy is just a schmuck. “
DT 500 MAG: – what is an NYC ID?
MICK: – NY identity is something I can’t wait to get. They say it takes 10 years of living here before you can claim a NY identity, so I’m still working on that.
DT 500 MAG: – We are inspired of NYC legacies: Blondie’s ”Rapture” song, the 80ies NYC, East Village, ”Downtown 500”, Nan Goldin, J. M. Basquiat, punk, rock’n’roll etc… What are your impressions about that?
MICK: – I think that the 80s were a marvelous time for NY. I wasn’t here yet of course and I know that it was extremely unsafe but it seemed like it was more free, artistically speaking. We’ve become a much safer city but I think that comes at a cost of creative and artistic freedom. The artists that made neighborhoods what they were in the 80s are the artists that can no longer afford to live here.
DT 500 MAG: – Gentrification!
MICK: – The neighborhoods become fun and desirable which leads real estate developers to come in, tearing down the mom and pop shops and the hole in the wall cafes. They replace the culture with massive condos so that the wealthy can move into these desirable “artsy neighborhoods”. Rents skyrocket, the artists get pushed out and everything that gave character to the neighborhood shutters. It doesn’t take long for those bohemian enclaves to become just another set of banks and Starbucks coffee shops strategically placed between high-rise condos. It happened to most of Manhattan, it happened to Williamsburg and now it’s happening to Bushwick.
” I’m afraid for the future of this city if this continues. Where will the artists go? What will this city become without them? Are we doomed to become nothing more than the Epcot Center version of old New York City? “
DT 500 MAG: – You live in Lower East Side?
MICK: – yeah, I like the Lower East Side for many reasons, it’s got a lot of great places to eat and shop but honestly, I live here because it’s an extremely convenient neighborhood for work. My top three places on the Lowest East Side would be Shopsin’s for Brunch, Mission Chinese for wings and Black Crescent for drinks.
DT 500 MAG: – Mick what is your future plans?
MICK: – To change the world.
DT 500 MAG: – Let’s do!
INTERVIEW / AD BY DT 500 MAG