War Paint project

War Paint project

The War Paint Project: something that is significantly instrumental in enabling an individual to feel comfortable with their sense of self. In collaboration with Illamasqua cosmetics, every model was provided with a range of makeup to apply on themselves in whatever manner they pleased, allowing them to become both model and creator of their photoshoot. In blurring the boundaries between the two tasks, all of the models were liberated from their typical routine and given the chance to visually express their personality and style before the lens. After the photoshoot, we had the privilege to catch up with all the models, and find out a little bit more about their personalities, interests, and their careers so far. 



Joseph Kinsella - Models 1

Down to earth, friendly and perceptive, 23-year-old Joseph Kinsella is signed with Models 1, and has just recently completed a role in a music video. Here we further discuss his perspective on war paint, acting, and his career so far as a model. 

UNBLOCK: Could you explain how you were discovered?

Joseph: I was initially working as a landscaper for around 6 years after I had left school, I didn’t really do so well at school as it wasn’t something I had bothered with at the time. Before modelling, landscaping was the only job I had been involved in, I was working in Hackney at the time, and to be honest I walked quite literally into a fashion shoot, it was a very immediate thing. I feel I’ve been very lucky.

UNBLOCK: Do you have any interests outside of modelling?

Joseph: Definitely, I love acting, to be honest I love anything creative, I would consider myself to be fairly artistic! I couldn’t be working and sitting in an office all day, I guess that is why I enjoyed landscaping, it was an active role that certainly involved a design element. 

UNBLOCK: Earlier I overheard you make a comparison between acting and modelling, do you believe that some similarities exist?

Joseph: Yes, I mean for example during the photoshoot we were asked to try and recount a harrowing memory, which could definitely be regarded as acting.  I have attended so many photoshoots that have revolved around focussing on and expressing certain emotions, I feel that the only difference is that you aren’t necessarily talking or being filmed.

UNBLOCK: I suppose in a sense you have to adopt a personality before the camera lens?

Joseph: Exactly, every time I step in front of the camera I have to adopt a personality, that is the ‘model me’, obviously I wouldn’t be seen walking down the street posing! It is imperative to assume a role because you don’t want it to go to your head.

UNBLOCK: The theme for today’s photoshoot was war paint, what did you choose and why?

Joseph: To be honest I was going to attempt to recreate the generic two stripes of paint across the cheeks, but thought I should be different so I chose to draw a line from my forehead to my Adams apple. In one sense I contoured my cheekbones, for me there was more of a visual aim to my actions, so I decided to just work with what I have on my face (laughs), but I was actually quite satisfied with the end result!

UNBLOCK: Often we need war paint to deal with challenging aspects of our lives. Do you have a personal war paint, something you cannot leave the house without?

Joseph: Yes, I do, I have a little ankle bracelet that my first love left at my house about 4 years ago. Despite the fact that we are no longer together it is unlikely that I would leave the house without it as it means a lot to me; everything other than that is removable and transferrable, but I feel that something of that nature is very different.

UNBLOCK: Perhaps I am being slightly over philosophical, but the personal sense of attachment to it almost makes it function like that of an extension of the self?

Joseph: No I completely agree; you aren’t being too philosophical at all (laughs). 

UNBLOCK: War paint can also be a personal mode of expression, is there anything about your character or look that you think others would perceive as distinctive?

Joseph: In terms of looks I cannot make any comment on my appearance, but in regards to personality I suppose making everyone tea on the job has frequently set me apart from others and elicited a reaction. Many people have questioned ‘what is this person doing?’…is a model making tea really such an alien concept? Really? I guess I do things that some people wouldn’t necessarily do on jobs. 

UNBLOCK: I guess you mean you are really accommodating.

Joseph: Yes, I definitely can be accommodating

UNBLOCK: Could you describe your career in a word or two?

Joseph: Enjoyable. I find it incredibly enjoyable, and although creativity is involved in both domains which I was very thankful for it is definitely different to landscaping, there is definitely a chasm between the two industries! 

UNBLOCK: Could you describe your style outside of modelling?

Joseph: My style? (laughs) I think it can sort of be a little all over the place! Some may see me as some sort of rude boy or a hipster, I can’t really pinpoint it to an exact style. One day I may decide to wear a tracksuit in combination with these (takes a pair of oversized 60s style sunglasses out of his bag), I guess I’m very individual, I can’t imagine you see many people with this style combination walking down the street! (laughs) My style sits between unique and ‘samey’, I would say that it has never been particularly outlandish, most of the time I have played it safe with my fashion choices, apart from with these glasses. (laughs)

UNBLOCK: Well, it isn’t as if there is anything wrong with being individual!

Joseph: Exactly! If somebody thinks I look stupid then that’s their problem, sadly I am not wearing clothes because I want to please certain people, but because I like the look of clothes myself. When I look in a shop window I don’t think ‘those are lovely, somebody will think they look so lovely on me’, I think, I want to buy that because I love that colour, or that style! In society we are never going to escape that subconscious element that presents itself in our fashion choices though…

UNBLOCK: I completely agree that to a certain extent we will never escape judgment which is a shame, but it really shouldn’t matter!

Joseph: I agree, in society there is no better freedom than not caring about what people think about you.

UNBLOCK: Is there anywhere particularly memorable that you have travelled for a photoshoot?

Joseph: Well so far I have not yet been travelling, I’m going to Yorkshire tonight! (laughs) I may be going to New York next week have not been abroad for 10 years so travelling would be a great opportunity. I guess locally I really enjoyed going to Alva West studios in Harlesden; visually, the set design was incredible. 

UNBLOCK: What did the sets involve?

Joseph: A range of everything, from an elegant fifties hotel to a dilapidated building scrawled with graffiti and cobwebs. There was a range of visual possibilities, yet when the props were taken away you were left with a massive white void, when everything was gone it looked like a blank canvas. 

UNBLOCK: Is there anywhere you would dream of travelling?

Joseph: (hesitates) I guess I would love the idea of a shoot in Cambodia, I have seen some of the stuff there, it is visually stunning and I couldn’t think of anywhere more beautiful to go. It isn’t really something I have given extensive thought; within this industry you have to understand that you cannot attempt to plan ahead. I try not to overthink things at the moment and pin my hopes up, as I am very much aware that things of this nature could just simply not happen. I guess you never know (laughs).

UNBLOCK: I sense that modelling involves numerous different experiences, has it influenced you as a person in any way?

Joseph: It has definitely helped me with my confidence, and learning not to care as much about how you could be perceived by others. Before this I had not yet put acting into practice, it was something I always wanted to do, and just recently I was involved in a music video. It has given me an insight into the creative world, and I am exceptionally grateful! 



Nataly Machado - Leni's Model Management

Enthusiastic and attentive, raven haired Nataly Machado is signed with Lenis Models and has travelled from Portugal to be with us today. During her conversation with UNBLOCK she discusses her love for modelling and the passion for travelling that her career has elicited in her. 

UNBLOCK: Could you explain how you were discovered?

Nataly: I was spotted whilst on a shoot with my boyfriend, I was approached and asked whether I was interested in modelling. The photos were shown to my (now current) mother agent who signed me. 

UNBLOCK: Do you have any interests outside of modelling?

Nataly: An interest that I have outside of modelling would definitely be travelling. I love the idea of learning about different cultures and meeting new people as it helps you to grow as a person, it is a big adventure for me!

UNBLOCK: Is there anywhere in particular you would like to travel?

Nataly: There are many places that I would love to travel, but I am in love with London. It is a very liberated city, the people surrounding you are not judgmental, everything is so free and it makes you feel free.


UNBLOCK: The theme for today’s photoshoot was war paint, what did you choose and why?

Nataly: I chose to use blue for a number of reasons, it is my favourite colour and one that I consider to have a particularly significant meaning. For me personally blue is a very calm colour, it represents both peace and reassurance; since that is important to me I chose to use that for the photoshoot.

UNBLOCK: Who would you dream to work with?

Nataly: There are so many designers I could choose, but I would really like to work with Karl Lagerfeld, I think he has a very innovative approach to fashion. 

UNBLOCK: Has modelling influenced you in any way as a person?

Nataly: Yes, as modelling requires a lot of travelling you tend to be alone. In being alone you learn how to do everything by yourself and look after yourself; at times this can be slightly difficult but also very rewarding, it opens up many opportunities that I am grateful for. 

UNBLOCK: Could you summarize your career in 3 words?

Nataly: Spontaneous, multifaceted and exciting! I love the spontaneity; it is fun to be surprised and not really know what the concept of a photoshoot could be or what clothes you may be wearing.


Shawn Golomingi - Nevs Model

Cool, calm and composed, 19-year-old Shawn Golomingi is signed to Nevs Models and was born and raised in London. He has recently graced the catwalk for Givenchy in June, UNBLOCK talks to him about his interest in current trends, and what modelling has taught him as a person. 

UNBLOCK: How were you discovered?

Shawn: I was scouted in Superdry, at the time I was working there as a retail assistant. Lyly is my current mother agent and she spotted me and took a picture and gave me her contact card, from then on it just took off! 

UNBLOCK: Often we need war paint to deal with challenging aspects of our lives. Do you have a personal war paint, something you cannot leave the house without?

Shawn: I certainly can’t leave my house without my phone and headphones, I’ll go everywhere with those items, even if I am just going to pick up some groceries!

UNBLOCK: I’m quite similar myself, especially if I end up getting lost or something, having my phone is pretty useful (laughs)

Shawn: Yeah I know the feeling (laughs) the internet on the phone is always pretty useful. 

UNBLOCK: Are there any interests you have external to your career?

Shawn: Umm…well I do like working out, I guess some people may consider that quite boring (laughs); I tend to just go with the flow. 

UNBLOCK: I guess the mindset involved within working out could be quite similar to modelling though?

Shawn: Exactly, within modelling you have to be aware that you will not get every job, a lot of it is about waiting it out and looking to the future, you have to be determined and deal with the outcome. You have to persevere and be patient to see a desirable result. 

UNBLOCK: Could you use some words to summarise your career?

Shawn: In a couple of words I would say unexpected and full of surprises.

UNBLOCK: That’s interesting as quite a lot of people have remarked upon the unpredictability of modelling.

Shawn: Yes, it can be unpredictable, but I see that in a positive sense. I personally quite like it!

UNBLOCK: It sounds like at times it can be quite hectic, is there any regime you abide by to keep up with the lifestyle?

Shawn: I try to drink a lot of water and when possible I try to get as much sleep as I can, but I would say that’s about it. 

UNBLOCK: How would you describe your style outside modelling?

Shawn: I can’t really specify my exact style, but I would say that I tend to try and keep up with high fashion and see what people are wearing in the magazines. I am quite interested in what the current trend is, what is hot and what is not. 

UNBLOCK: Is there any item of clothing in particular that you are interested in at the moment?

Shawn: Yes, I am really developing an interest in Chelsea Boots! Prior to modelling I tended to wear trainers, but now my clothing style has become more diverse and I am more open to new trends. 

UNBLOCK: The theme for today’s photoshoot was war paint, what did you choose and why?

Shawn: I used brighter colours in order to stand out more before the lens and form a contrast, we looked at pink lipstick, gold paint, silver paint to give it a more metallic look and we smeared orange all over my face, it was definitely quite fun!

UNBLOCK: So I guess you were more focussed on using war paint with the visual outcome in mind?

Shawn: Yes, definitely, by using a range of bright colours and different textures such as matt and metallic paints, I was hoping that photographically it would appear very striking. 

UNBLOCK: Have you had to make any excursions as of late?

Shawn: Yes, I travelled to Paris in June, I modelled for Givenchy; I was surrounded by a lot of big names which was a very good feeling, it was really fun and an experience I am very grateful for.

UNBLOCK: Would you describe it as one of your most memorable jobs?

Shawn: Yes, definitely, I hold that memory in a very high regard. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t end up getting the job at the time, it is something I am exceptionally thankful for. 

UNBLOCK: It sounds like a completely different world to your job as a retail assistant, sometimes character changes can come along during such transitional stages. Has your career so far influenced your character in any way?

Shawn: It has definitely helped me to develop my confidence, I used to be a very reserved person. But the requirements of my career often involves many social situations, whether that is attending meetings or simply meeting new people, it is something that I have enabled myself to adapt to. Every week brings a new casting or new people so I’ve gotten used to it, it has been embedded into my personality, and I definitely consider myself to be more comfortable and open when it comes it meeting people. 

UNBLOCK: Would you say that modelling has helped you come out of your shell?

Shawn: Yes, to a certain extent we have to be ourselves so coming out of our shell is inevitable, particularly when you are shooting in front of a large team. I would definitely credit modelling for doing that.



Juli Ostapiuk - PRM Agency

Outgoing and full of positive energy, at just 17 years old, Juli Ostapiuk is signed with PRM and has recently walked the runway in Paris. Today, she has travelled from Ukraine to partake in our photoshoot. During our conversation she boldly and passionately discusses her interests in fashion, the arts and education.

UNBLOCK: How were you discovered?

Juli: I guess it was my mother’s ambition, she took me to an agency casting, and within one day I was signed!

UNBLOCK: It sounds like it was a very quick transition!

Juli: Yes, it was a very quick process! I was signed in January, and in the summer I found myself in China. 

UNBLOCK: Is there an interest you have outside of modelling?

Juli: Yes, I am very fond of psychology! I am interested in human relationships and want to understand why we might act a certain way or do certain things, and how that could present itself in our minds. I am studying a diploma in international relationships, I want to gain more knowledge on how to communicate effectively with others, for me that is really important. I also enjoy playing basketball, to keep fit and active is valuable to me, so I guess those are some of my hobbies! 

UNBLOCK: Often we need war paint to deal with challenging aspects of our lives. Do you have a personal war paint, something you cannot leave the house without?

Juli: Umm, to be honest all I need is myself and my phone, I don’t really require any accessories or makeup. I don’t tend to use makeup in my daily routine, and I sort of consider accessories to be uncomfortable!

UNBLOCK: How would you summarise modelling in 3 words?

Juli: For me personally, I would summarise modelling with the three words, freedom, passion and attraction.

UNBLOCK: I understand what you are saying about freedom, there is a very diverse range of approaches to fashion and design.

Juli; Yes, for me I really do consider the fashion industry to be a form of art. I would regard everybody working around me as artists, whether that is the designer, hairdresser or stylist. As an artist they are creating something incredible, something that is ahead of time. I find myself getting a lot of inspiration from the creativity that surrounds and amazes me. 

UNBLOCK: Is there a brand you would like to model with?

Juli: There are so many! I don’t think I can single one out in particular, but I think my dream would be to walk for Versace, that would be a dream of mine, or maybe Chanel. There are so many brands that I admire and consider to be amazing, Balmain…Givenchy…it is difficult to pinpoint just one. 

UNBLOCK: How would you describe your style outside modelling?

Juli: I tend to focus on the practicality of my clothing outside of modelling, I like clothes that are usually casual, warm and comfortable, which could include a pair of denim jeans and a pullover. I do regard fashion as a form of art, you can’t include an amazing Dolce & Gabbana dress in your daily routine! 

UNBLOCK: So I guess you feel that in order to truly appreciate the work of designers you can’t be wearing their clothes daily?

Juli: Exactly!

UNBLOCK: The theme for today’s photoshoot was war paint, what did you choose and why?

Juli: For the photoshoot I loved the idea of doing something quite crazy! I used a lot of bright colours, I really love bright colours such as red and green, and I felt that including these would evoke a lot of emotions.

UNBLOCK: Would you say that you used these colours to serve as a reflection on your personality?

Juli: Not really, it doesn’t so much reflect itself on my personality, it is connected with how I am feeling at the time and what is happening around me. As a person I am really different every time, sometimes I want to be calm and peaceful, and other times I can be crazy and excited and want to go out with friends! So I used a range of colours to represent the diverse nature of my feelings and emotions. 

UNBLOCK: You remarked upon the fact that your transition into modelling was very immediate, do you feel that this immediacy has changed or influenced you as a person in any manner?

Juli: Yes, modelling has changed my life. I started at the age of 15, my classmates may have been doing simple things such as playing games or reading, things that didn’t really bear any seriousness. They may have not had many responsibilities, whereas I was all alone in China. I didn’t have any friends or family surrounding me or helping me, it definitely allowed me to become independent a lot earlier than those around me. That is definitely one big advantage of modelling, it teaches you to survive by yourself.

UNBLOCK: Well, at such a young age that is definitely a big life skill to learn!

Juli: Yes, it can be a little challenging at times, but I believe that in the long term it has a positive influence on your character, which I quite like about modelling. 

UNBLOCK: It sounds like the lifestyle can at times be quite demanding, is there any regime you rely on to allow you to keep up?

Juli: Not really, my lifestyle is rather simple. I like to go on 10 mile walks sometimes and keep healthy but I eat what I want and don’t have any bad habits.

UNBLOCK: What has been your most memorable shoot to date?

Juli: In Paris I did a show for an Italian brand, I was amazed by the atmosphere there, walking on the runway there was incredibly rewarding, but I must admit it made me very nervous! It was so memorable for me as I had never done such a prestigious show before. On the day I saw the director of Vogue Italy, for me it was incredibly nerve-wracking, but it was an amazing and unforgettable experience at the same time!

UNBLOCK: I imagine in Paris the atmosphere in itself must have been pretty memorable?

Juli: Yes, I think there is also a difference between the atmosphere in Paris and in London! I have personally felt that Paris can be a lot crazier, you can have twenty castings and many shows per day; here it is slower but I think I find it more enjoyable. 

UNBLOCK: Is there anywhere ideally that you would like to travel?

Juli: I have never really thought about it! I love Paris as a city, the atmosphere there just makes me so happy. I love to marvel at the beauty of the architecture, the parks, and everything else that surrounds me, it gives me a lot of inspiration!   

UNBLOCK: I agree, I think I would consider Paris to be highly cultured and very artistic!

Juli: Yes, and the atmosphere in Paris is so positive, you feed off of the positive energy and it inspires you!



Photographer Linda Cooper

Art Director Oliver Monaghan

Interviewed by Libby Festorazzi

Casting by Lyly Bui

Hair stylist Josh Aspell

All cosmetics by illamasqua clothing by Marco Bajjali and Models' own, Shoot at Blocked Studio.