We had the opportunity to talk to Janina Wissler. She is the girl from the classic music video ‘Infinity 2008’ by Guru Josh. More importantly, Janina has had a compelling modeling career so far, despite the fact that she isn’t necessarily up to the common standards of a model. Nevertheless, Janina also works as a TV host and a graphic designer. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about…
How did you become a model?
Actually, I never thought about being a model, it wasn’t my intention to work in that business. However, my best friend sent pictures of me to the German Playboy back in 2005, shortly after I got invited to the casting, which earned me a shooting. Eventually, I became the Playboy Playmate for the month in September 2005. Ever since I have been modeling. At the beginning of 2008 I was fortunate enough to start working self-employed. So, at the moment I model full-time and in addition I work as a freelance graphic designer for a couple of clients.
If you had a daughter who aspired to get into the modeling business, what would you advise her?
This job has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, I would address the topic from the beginning and frankly talk to her. My experiences as a model are different from how the job is portrayed on TV shows, i.e. ‘Germany’s Next Topmodel’. The most important thing is to be yourself. Of course sometimes you have to slip into different characters and act in a certain way during a photo shoot, but at the end of the day you should know who you are and stay true to that. To be well grounded also helps a lot. Being a model doesn’t make you a better person and it certainly doesn’t entitle you to think that you are superior to anyone else. My advise to my daughter would be to only get involved with the jobs that she wholeheartedly wants to do, otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to feel comfortable.
Your height is 1.60m, but models are usually taller. Do you think it’s out of the ordinary that you get to do all those amazing jobs? What do you think is your secret?
It’s always been very difficult for me to assess myself. I barely recognise myself whenever I see a picture (of me) in a catalogue, a brochure or a poster. In any case, I’m glad and proud of everything that I have done and achieved so far. My height didn’t bar me from being a successful model. All the agencies that represent me, as well as my clients, know how tall I am, therefore, I never get booked for runway jobs in the first place. Since all relevant people know the deal, problems regarding my height are scotched. Anyway, when I have a modeling job, I always make sure to arrive on time and to be friendly. I didn’t develop any airs and graces over the years, I think that is one of the reasons why I am successful.
There is no sign or link to an agency on your website. Does that mean you manage all of the job requests yourself?
I’m involved with a couple of agencies, I seek to have an agency in every major city. That’s where I get most of my assignments from. I also get a few job offers through my website, those I manage on my own.
You designed your own website, are you a web designer as well? Would you say that this is your second profession?
For the design of my website I teamed up with a programmer, because it’s generally better to get a second opinion. Well, for a trained graphic designer its not unusual to design a website every now and then. During our education we learn how to create everything – from business cards to exhibition stands.
You are also a TV host, how did that happen?
Well, it was kind of a lateral entry. Initially, I did not know how to present or host properly. During the past ten years, I have been working on a bunch of different television projects, thus I was able to learn more and more about how to speak in front of a camera. On top of that, I received a professional training in that matter while I was living in Munich. Now, I acquire hosting jobs every now and then.
What was the most interesting hosting job you did so far?
The project was called ‘Game Report’. It was an online platform for computer games and every week I was presenting a new game. Our team was great and we had a lot of fun working together.
You got the main role in the music video ‘Infinity 2008’ by Guru Josh. How did you get that particular job?
I happen to have known the production company for several years. One day they called me and asked if I wanted to take part in a music video, which they were planning to shoot. Nobody suspected how popular it would become; I didn’t even know the song in advance. Shooting the video only took one day though. Again it was a very pleasant and enjoyable day of work for everyone and eventually we all wondered how the whole thing would turn out…
Did the infinity-hype have an impact on you and your career? Do people recognise you at work or on the street?
After the whole ‘Infinity 2008’ sensation, a lot of things changed for me. Fans from all over the world asked me for my autograph. I got requests from Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Panama, Israel and China, just to name a few. This was kind of surreal to me. I still cannot begin to understand the whole extent of the videos’ success. Regardless, I’m thrilled that it came off so well and I’m grateful for my part in the production of it.
What is your opinion on online platforms such as ModelManagement.com?
I like those platforms. I think they are very useful, especially for newcomers, who like to inform themselves and get in touch with others. It helps them to understand what it means to be a model. Another thing I particularly like about ModelManagement.com is that photographers and agencies use the site for their purposes too. The combination of models, photographers and agencies is quite appealing and unique to me. It’s something I haven’t seen that often.
How important is the Internet for the people in the modeling industry? Do you think it helps them to get more recognition and do you think it is an appropriate medium for that purpose?
The Internet offers numerous possibilities nowadays. Not every model necessarily needs its own homepage, if you ask me. However, having a website definitely paid off in my case. Everyone has to figure that out for themselves and reflect if it’s worth it. One thing is for sure though: modeling takes great dedication. Today models are ten a penny.
Is there anyone (model, designer, photographer) who you would like to work with?
I would like to work with Tush Magazine (https://www.tushmagazine.com).
And is there someone you would rather not get involved with?
Until now I never thought about that question. After all I think I wouldn’t want to work with amateur photographers.
What qualities do you consider mandatory for a model, in order to be successful?
Discipline, punctuality, friendliness, being down to earth, staying in shape and to have fun.
What are the qualities a model should never display?
The opposite to my answers for the previous question.
Are you one of those girls who claim to eat anything they want, never exercise and still don’t have problems to maintain a slim figure?
Yeah, that would be nice. Unfortunately I’m not. I have a sweet tooth, therefore I have to pay attention to my body. Usually I go for a run three times a week and try to do sit-ups regularly. In addition I eat good and healthy food, however, occasionally you need to kick over the traces. When I was younger, I ate whatever I felt like eating. Today I need to be more cautious, as bad as that may sound. As a matter of fact, the outward appearance is utterly important for a model, it just has to be perfect.
If you could change anything about your body or personality, what would it be?
That’s a good question… Once in a while I wish I would be more relaxed and take certain situations easier. Yes, of course there are some parts of my body that I would like to change; every woman has those.
Modeling jobs involve hours of waiting time. How do you pass yours?
I make phone calls, read or close my eyes and just chill.
What was your most interesting modeling experience so far?
The Playboy Shooting was certainly the most interesting and exciting experience for me. Probably because it was the first shooting of my life and for such an amazing client.
What are the elements that you love about your job and what ticks you off from time to time?
It’s just great to meet new people all the time; I love that. I also learn a lot about myself and discover new sides of me. Every job is a challenge on its own, that is what’s extraordinary and unique about it. The only part that is difficult is to get up at 3am for a shooting; it’s a little bit annoying as well. I get over it the moment I stand in front of the camera though.
How many seasons of ‘Germany’s Next Top Model’ did you watch? 🙂
All of them, to be honest.
Do you have a back-up plan for your future life, after you stopped modeling? What’s it going to be like?
Since I’m a graphic designer, I could imagine I end up working full-time in an advertising agency once again.
In conclusion we have some of the truly significant questions:
Dog or cat?
Mountains or the ocean?
Geha or Pelikan (or even Lamy)?
Catch an aeroplane or take the train?
Catch an aeroplane
Beatles or Rolling Stones?
McDonalds or Burger King?
Lego or Playmobil?
Check out Janina Wissler’s professional profile on www.modelmanagement.com/model/janina-wissler/