1883 Magazine


Name: Thomas Barry Armstrong

Agency: Nevs Models

Height: 6’2.5"/189


Where are you from?

London. Actually, I was born here, but I moved to Brighton as a kid, then Brisbane in Australia where I have spent most of my life. I came back to London for modelling. Australia was a great lifestyle for a kid, I lived 2 minutes from the beach. You can even surf in winter.       

When did you start modelling?

Erm, I was about one year old! My parents took me to a model agency as a baby, we still have all the images from that time at home! I think I did work for Safeway.Then once we moved to Brighton it kind of stopped.

I started again in Brisbane, I went to see Dallys, my mother agency, when I was 16, but I was told I was a bit young, so I worked a bit but kind of paused when I went to university.

Started a Bsc to go into Zoology, then a BA in Anthropology and Archeology, but there were so many essays to write! So I went to a Bachelor of Finance, then Physics. But then I was invited to model in Milan.

What is the highlight of your career so far?

I have to say Milan was just a great, living there for 3 months was a really cool experience.

Biggest misconceptions.

How busy you might be? When you see it on Instagram or Vogue, it looks so easy. But actually, there is a lot of waiting around, a lot of rejection. You’ll go to castings, and maybe out of 10 you might get one or two jobs. But you can’t let rejection affect you, because that’s what it is like.

Lifestyle changes.

The big one, is not having many hobbies. When I was home, I used to play the guitar, surf, but when you’re moving all the time, you can’t really take a surfboard with you. And I’m not exactly going to surf anywhere nearby!

Also, it’s about not getting too attached to places. Like meeting friends, you know that the longest time you’re going to be around the same people is maybe a few momths, and unless you’re all going to the same place, you’re not going to see them for weeks or months. It’s something that’s very strange. When you were at school, you’d be with the same people at least for the whole year. It’s more like university in one way, every semester you change courses, you make new friends. It’s like when I went to Milan, I thought, there are so many models, you’re not going to know anyone. But you realise you keep doing the same shows together, so you start saying hi. And some days you go out and randomly meet them again, and you realise your friends are friends with their friends.

What tips would you give to an aspiring model?

Don’t be afraid of rejection. Even if you make it big, you’re not going to get the job every single time. You might really badly want to do a campaign, or a show, or a shoot, but chances are - especially when you’re starting out - you’re not gonna get it. So be ready for rejection.

Is there something you always take with you?

I always have a book with me. It’s always good to have something to read, there will be slow times in this business!

What is your favorite place?

I loooove Japan. I’d love to work there.

Do you have a favourite food?

I like Chinese and Japanese food. Anything that’s slightly out of the ordinary, interesting. Indian cuisine.

My favorite restaurant was just an experience really, it was overlooking the Eiffel Tower at dusk, all lit up. It was amazing! I can’t remember the food though!

What is the most curious outfit you have worn so far?

I did a shoot for L’Officiel China when I was in Milan. I was just in my underwear and they gave me this massive coat that they tied into a skirt, and I was like, ok, I’m going to rock this then! I was shooting in a kitchen so it was a bit surreal. But I saw the pictures from the shoot and I was like, that kind of looks pretty good, I was quite surprised, it actually looked cool.

Which brand/designer would you love to work with?

Valentino. I just really like their style, and for example, sneakers, they’re classic, but they have this Valentino twist on them. It looks classic with that sort of modernism to it that you don’t get with other brands.

Who inspires you?

Mohammed Ali. It was always interesting to hear how much dedication he had to his sport. He just knew that all the hours of training were going to be worth it when he won. His time in prison showed the dedication he had to what he believed it. He didn’t want to go to Vietnam and was ready to risk his boxing career for it, because if you had a record, you weren’t allowed to compete. Thank God this was overturned, but it was the risk he was willing to take. He did what he believed in, did not compromise his principles, and it’s a great way to live your life.

Is there a photographer you’d like to work with?

Mario Testino! He’s one of those names in fashion photography, and you know that if you work for him you’re doing something right. His photography is very artistic. It’s not just always simple poses, there’s always detail. You can sort of see the model’s personality in the picture, which is something quite hard.

Who is your favorite model?

David Gandy. For who he is as a person, and how you can tell he cares about others. He is an ambassador for the Battersea Dogs home. He brings awareness to the cause and he’s been helping raise money. He posts pictures of the dogs that can be adopted at the centre on his Instagram and Facebook accounts. I have 2 dogs myself at home, and they both come from rescue, because my mum was like, “you don’t need to buy a dog, there are already so many less lucky who need a home”, and we didn’t go for cute puppies, we had them when they were already adults. And when you think about rescue dogs you think about the worse dogs, the ones people can’t keep hold of... But then we got there we were lucky, I got this big white Husky, she was a bit of a handful to begin with, she needed some serious teaching, but after a little while taking care of her, she was much better.

Did you have an interest in style and the fashion world before modelliing?

I cared about how I looked, but what is important to me is style. I didn’t want to look like everyone else. I wanted to have my own style and put my own twist on something. I didn’t really care that much about brands or designers, all that mattered was if I liked it, I wouldn’t just wear it because it’s got this brand name on it, because then you can lose your individuality . Especially in this industry, if you keep your individuality you stand out, and I think that’s something you really need to do. I can see that, the bigger models, they stand out because they keep their own personality rather than conforming.



Photography Anne Laymond
@annelaymond www.laymond.com

Styling Roberta Bitto
@rbitto www.robertabitto.com

Model Thomas at Nevs
www.nevsmodels.co.uk @thomas_barryarmstrong



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