Model: William de Haas.
WILLIAM DE HAAS, 23 years old. Barcelona, Spain.
William is a male model from Spain. He started his modeling career when he was 18 years old when at the 080 Fashion Show in Barcelona was scouted by Fifth Agency. From that moment his modeling jobs began to be more focused on fashion. Shortly after he was discovered by one of the most well-known agencies worldwide, he had an amazing opportunity: moving to China to work as a model. There he was featured in many international magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, and worked for some of the most important e-commerce campaigns. In this interview, he’s going to explain how to be a male model.
Your real name is Guillem Edo, why did you choose William de Haas as your artistic name?
(laughs) “William” is the English translation of Guillem (in Catalan) and “de Haas” is the Dutch surname of my grandmother. I thought it was better to have a different name for my social media and my artistic work.
When did you discover you wanted to be a model?
My grandmother always told me I was really handsome (laughs) but I did not know I was capable of working as a model until I was 18. I started in a really small agency doing only one casting per month but they were not related to fashion. Then I was featured in the 080 Barcelona Fashion show and I was scouted by FIFTH models. That is how everything started.
What was your life like before that moment?
I was not the best student at school but I managed to pass selectivity. Instead of going to the University, I decided to do a professional degree on marketing. However, after one year I needed a change of scene, I wanted to live new experiences and adventures and that is when I got offered to go to China to work as a professional model. Of course, I said yes! I will never regret that decision, to be honest.
Wow, how did you get the offer to go to China to work?
In my case, it was thanks to my agency and its contacts around the world. A scouter collaborator of FIFTH from Bilbao was sending models to work to different countries, but especially China because he lived there for a long time and knows how everything works. So he contacted me and offered me this opportunity. I was really curious about the country and everybody was telling me it would be a great experience, so I went.
Are there any differences between working as a model in Spain and in China?
I always say that there are many things that change when you are in China. First of all, the market. Chinese companies are looking for specific modeling profiles, you must have “the face” they need because they have their own parameters. Also when you go there to work you have to take into account the season, if it is before or after Fashion Week, if it is in summer the competence will be higher than in winter…
Also, is it true that you work many more hours in China?
This is one of the biggest differences between European and Asian markets (laughs). The working culture in Asia is pretty different, it does not mean that it’s better or worse, just different. In China, the volume of jobs used to be higher, and the hours of work were also higher. Also, they pay you per hour, so the team will try to go as fast as possible with the shooting in order to save money even if it is the biggest company in China.
What about the language? Do you speak Chinese?
No, and this is one of the struggles as well when you go to work there because most of the people don’t speak English. The most important thing in these cases is that the agencies speak English because they will be the ones who manage your job and help you with everything you need. So while Chinese agencies speak English, things will be easy (laughs).
So, do you have a manager always by your side?
You always have the same drivers -even though they don’t speak English either- and they have the address with the Chinese characters you will never understand and they will drive you to the right place. Well, not always (laughs). I still remember the first time I went to China and from the airport, a driver picked me up because I needed to go to the hotel. He was waiting with a picture of me, not even the name, I got in the car and he dropped me somewhere I didn’t know so I was lost in China with those huge skyscrapers and I was just freaking out. I expected China as in the movies, more traditional, but then I realized this country is another shark. The important this is that in the end, after half an hour, I was able to figure out where to go.
It sounds like a fancy life, where you in a hotel or in a model apartment?
First I stayed in a hotel because all the model apartments were fully crowded. After I stayed in a model apartment, but they are not fancy at all. They are too small when you want to put six people in there but they use to be in good areas, it always depends on the agency you are with. In my last two trips to China, I did not want to be in a model apartment because even though it was cool to be with other models and through parties together when you become an “old dog” of the modeling industry (laughs) you want your own space and just chill.
How is the life of a model in China?
I used to feel like a superstar because people are taking you pictures in the street, they are super nice to you, want to be your friends, in the clubs you get free drinks… The lifestyle is different, you have more advantages than if you were a model in Spain because here we are all foreigners and in China being a foreigner, even if you are the ugliest guy in Spain (laughs), is something unusual.
What kind of jobs do you get in China? Is it only local brands or also international?
It depends on your luck, but it uses to be more local brands, most of all e-commerce. The funny thing is that if companies want to hire your services as a model, it does not matter if they are big or small brands because they will pay you the same. They pay models per hour, so you will always gain the same amount of money. Of course, there are exceptions, but when it comes to e-commerce, it is always the same.
But also European and American companies produce in China, right?
Yes, they also like to work in China. During the hardest part of the pandemic, a lot of them went there to produce, I did a campaign for Adidas for example. I think it was due to the fact that in China we were able to stay in the streets without masks sometimes.
What is the modeling job you most enjoyed doing?
Half-year ago I did a Huawei campaign and it was really nice because we went to a desert near Mongolia to film. It was a long trip but it was worth it. The team was super nice, which is really important, and they also paid me a lot (laughs).
After 3 years, what are you doing right now in Spain besides modeling?
I am trying to learn how to manage my money, how to make it grow and how to invest in shares and stocks, and of course, the crypto world: bitcoins, ripple, cardano, etc. I am doing an online course about that and what I found out until now, at least in crypto, is that you need to be patient and avoid panic when things are going down.
And you are also a singer, do you come from a musician family?
Yes! My father used to sing in the best chorus in Catalonia, he traveled to many different places to do concerts. My sister is also a good artist, she is into astrology and she is trying to combine it with music. Right now I have two projects going on, related to music, but I can’t say anything about it yet. I am still in the casting process and I don’t want to snort it, so you will have to wait until it comes out – if it is does.
If you want to know more about how to become a male model, listen to our podcast episode!