Spur Magazine Interview: Rianne ten Haken + Wayne Sterling
Rianne Ten Haken, the 23 year old Dutch beauty currently igniting a major buzz in the fashion industry is the interesting case of a girl whose career started immediately from the top. In her very first season in September of 2003 Rianne opened the SS 2004 Marc Jacobs show on the recommendation of the show’s power stylist Venecia Scott. Immediately there was a bidding war with Versace quickly nabbing the fresh faced newcomer to be the face of the label for Spring 2004. Italian Vogue and Numero covers followed quickly as well as assignments for Chanel. All seemed aligned to assure that the luscious beauty of Rianne was to follow the path of the traditional supermodel. But suddenly work slowed to a trickle even though her perfect proportions kept earning Rianne sporadic runway gigs like a cameo on the Vuitton Spring 2008 “Nurse” intro where she walked in the section of the show reserved for icons like Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer. It was interesting then when Miss Ten Haken re-entered the Steven Meisel orbit in 2009 with back to back covers of Vogue Italia (Oct and Nov) proving that this powerfully glamorous girl has serious staying power with some of the most demanding photographers and designers in the business. Already the leverage of those two covers have earned Rianne a massive Only Girl story in Self-Service magazine as well as an interesting conversation about the return of image of strong women in magazine editorials. In her first post-comeback interview, Rianne sat down with Spur to explain what she had been doing in her “off duty” years, her views on femininity and sexuality in fashion and her thoughts on the increasingly fast turn over on new models. This was her strong perspective.
WS: Two Italian Vogue covers later everybody ‘s buzzing about you Rianne. You took a little time off. Tell us what you were doing during that off duty phase
I was still working. I was doing some commercial work. I was living in Europe having a nice life…finishing my school and you know just enjoying the moment …not anything major but just going on with my life
WS: What were you studying in school?
RTH: It was business school which was a little bit boring but I had to get it out of the way. I’m done with school. I graduated in July . I’m enjoying the moment right now of not doing anything. I’m finally having the time to read the books that I want to read. And not always having that weight on your shoulders of having to do assignments
WS: What made you decide to come back to NY and plunge back into the industry?
RTH: I was living in Paris for 3 years. it was beautiful city and a beautiful life but at certain point you had done everything you can in Europe and you’re ready for a change again. Because I used to live here in New York so I was kind of missing New York so I decided to give it another shot. It is such an easy city to live and the energy and the people make you feel like everything is possible.
WS:As opposed to Paris…
RTH: Paris is a little bit more mellow . It is definitely a better quality of life in some ways but if you want to work and make the most of your career you definitely have to come back to New York.
WS: Upon coming back did you find things different or essentially the same
RTH: I think you grow up and you look at it in a different way. Whereas when you were younger you just don’t really know what’s going on you just run around and people tell you to go here and go there and you just do it. I guess now that I have more life experience ..you form your own personality.. so you look at it in different way and you’re not the youngest one anymore. That is what has really changed. People are not any more like “Oh you’re a baby!” But you appreciate it more. You realize how lucky you are. You know who people are . The first season I came here I was like…Marc who? You have no idea who people are ..you don’t understand the politics of the game . Now is better
WS: Do you feel like things in fashion are moving faster?
RTH: Well definitely. If I only look model-wise, I think in the last 3 or 4 years so many models pass through it . After 1 or 2 seasons of fame you never hear from them again. Whereas when I started I felt like there were more girls who were around for a longer period of time. Today you’re big for one or two or three seasons and also I find the look of the models to be very different. Before it was more of a classic beauty whereas today it is like the girls look alike. Longish hair, pale skin. They work together on the runway. If you look at the fashion shows there is not much individuality.
WS: Speaking of individuality…your hair…
RTH: I know..I’m standing out. You couldn’t miss me. After the Italian Vogue cover came out I thought let me just wait and see what the response is. We can always go back to a different color.
WS: Off duty from modeling what’s fun for you?
RTH: I’ m very much a homebody. I have very really beautiful house in Holland so I like to do some work on it in Holland. I like to read. I like to be in nature. I grew up no farm so I like to be outside. I like going out to dinners and to the movies. Music wise I like tacky 80’s music.
WS: What would you say your career goals right now are
RTH: My goal is just about sticking around as long as I can. It is hard now to set certain goals to tell yourself like… I want to be on the cover of Vogue Paris. It is not up to you no matter how beautiful you are or how great a personality you have. I just take it as it comes and I hope I can do some great work still.
WS: There’s a big surge of girls from Holland right now…
RTH: There is! There’s Mirte… Patricia…I don’t know all of them because they’re really young girls . I think there’s always a trend going on. There was the Russians for a while…the same thing for the Brazilians. There was a time when the Belgian girls were really hot.
WS:What quality would you say best describes a cool Dutch girl?
RTH: I think that if you look at Holland as a country you find that life is good there so models from Holland tend to be more laid back and relaxed because they know they can always go back to a stable life. So girls take modeling as something to enjoy as opposed to coming from a really poor country. There’s a tradition of putting things in perspective. In Holland no-one asks me if I’m a model or what labels I’m wearing.
WS: There’s something to be said also for a woman looking like woman in fashion shoot. How do you feel about this?
RTH: I also think it is different from what I remember from the past. I think it is different from the past three years in that the girls are very child-like. If you really look a woman then fashion is not so interested. People are very afraid of sexuality in the fashion industry. French magazines like Self-Service don’t mind a very beautiful woman. But I think some people feel like it takes the focus off the clothes. Which is why people like the girls who are more like anonymous clothes hangers as opposed to attracting attention in and of themselves.
WS: Could you see yourself as being a star in the supermodel mould?
RTH:I don’t think you can choose to be that . If it happens it happens but it is difficult to be in that position because nobody tells you the truth anymore. People just want to be your friend at any cost. Being a public figure is very difficult because you live under a microscope. Everything you say or do is being judged a million different ways. I love being able to go back to Holland and having my two feet on the ground.
WS: Well thank you so much Rianne for sharing your interesting perspective on the industry.
RTH: Thank you so much Wayne!