While the modelling industry is often thought to be personality-less, Calum Harper is proving that that is a complete myth. While Calum on the runway is as attention demanding as they come, behind the scenes and on his social media he is a redhead ball of energy whose “strut, strut, strut” has got everyone strutting their stuff on the streets. Today, we caught up with the model to talk about getting signed onto a modelling industry through selfies, the reality of the modelling industry, and his future goals.
Hi Calum! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, I’m Calum Harper. I am originally from Gloucester, but I currently live in London. I guess you could say I am a model and content creator, if you want to say that. That’s me!
You got signed to a modelling agency during the peak of COVID, which is quite wild. So you were sending out applications to modelling agencies, right?
@calumharper18 Voiceovers with Calum means accidentally slipping into an australian accent #milan #model ♬ original sound – Calum Harper
Did you get rejected quite a few times? Or was it relatively easy to get in?
So when I first applied to the modelling agency, I applied to all of them in London. I only got accepted into one which I’m very grateful for. I’m not with them anymore. I’ve moved to Menace, who are amazing. I’ve always wanted to do acting, and so as a way to get my face out there, I was like, “let’s just try modelling” and I sent in just random applications. Fortunately, I got accepted into one.
What did your application model shots look like? Did you take them yourself?
I can’t believe how lucky I got because the modelling pictures I sent in were so bad. I didn’t take proper digitals. I just sent in random pictures of me like selfies and pictures of me and my friend. I look back [on them] and some of them were so bad. Diabolical, honestly. I got so lucky that an agent saw potential in me. Actually, the agent scouted me with my old agency, I’m still in contact with her and she’s very lovely. She’s no longer an agent anymore but I’m so grateful [for her] because she’s the one who started it all off.
Since getting signed to a modelling agency, your life has been turned upside down. What was one of your biggest “pinch me” moments of your modelling career? Do you still get those?
Oh, yeah, big time. The first big pinch me moment was when I was lining up and about to walk for Gucci. Another really big one was when I was flown to New York for modelling. I was like, “Oh my God, this is crazy. I can’t believe it”.
You’ve walked for the likes of Gucci, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, MSGM, Heron Preston… Did you have a favourite show to walk? Tell us all about it.
So Gucci was obviously like, “oh my God, this is insane”. In terms of favourite show to walk… there’s so many. Heron Preston was really, really cool – that energy was insane. Also Zegna was amazing. I really loved the music, the vibe and the visuals at Zegna. It was a really cool show to walk. I think because it was in New York, Heron Preston was my favourite show. It was a crazy show because they drew the lines of the runway, just before we walked and so we didn’t really know where we were going.
How have you found that those working in the modelling industry react to your TikTok, considering it is an industry built on looks more so than personality?
So far, really well – to my absolute surprise. When I was starting making videos, I was really concerned about how the modelling industry would react to this. But so far, so good. I’ve had amazing responses, and I’ve definitely booked many jobs with modelling mainly because of my TikTok. They’re coinciding really really nicely, which I’m very, very grateful for, because I was really worried. But fortunately, it’s going really well. There will be some people who think like, “What the bloody blimey is this guy doing?” But oh well, what can you do?
@calumharper18 99% of the time I just repeat strut strut strut your … #model #runwaymodel ♬ original sound – Calum Harper
A lot of your TikToks include behind-the-scenes footage of model castings and jobs. Why do you think your audience connects or enjoys this type of content so much?
I just don’t think it’s really been done that much before, [showing] the true behind the scenes, what it’s really like for the castings, and the process to be casted, and then the fittings. I think it’s just quite interesting to people who aren’t in the industry, because they might have never seen it before. I think that’s why they do quite well is because it’s an insight that hasn’t been given before. I like to make those types of videos quite the same style, as I normally do, chaotic and fun and positive.
How does the world of TikTok and modelling compare? Are there any similar traits or qualities to the two? Any similar struggles?
In the modelling industry, it’s always good to show your personality, just like on TikTok. I wouldn’t say there are too many similarities though. As for struggles, I would say that for the first two years of my career, it was quite slow. I didn’t have many jobs. Of course, in that time I was developing my look and gaining more experience. Through those first two years, I was thinking, “Oh, is this the right thing for me?” I was very close to giving up, very close to stopping altogether, which I’m very grateful I now didn’t. Definitely I had to keep telling myself to be patient, and just hope that it will come because there are periods where you have no work. It can be quite stressful for the finances, because you don’t know when the next job is coming, which is similar to how videos work on TikTok.
If you had to pick between TikTok and modelling, which one would you choose and why?
I love them both, but I think my TikTok reaches more people. If I was to choose one, I would choose TikTok because through [it] I can bring positivity to quite a few people. Modelling is very exciting, and very fun, and it gives me the opportunity to travel. It’s a really hard decision. But I’ll stick with TikTok, because I can bring a little bit of positivity and enjoyment to someone’s day.
What do you hope the future to look like for you? More TikTok? More modelling? A completely new venture?
In terms of brands to model for, my list was always Gucci and Prada. I’m very fortunate to have done Gucci already but Prada is the big boy that I would absolutely love to model for Louis Vuitton, that would be really cool as well. I definitely want to continue on with modelling and TikTok, but I would also like to break into the acting industry. I mean, that was my goal all along. It would be fun, and I think I would be reasonably alright. I really like theatre, but I think TV and movies are really cool – I’d like to do all of it, all aspects of acting. That’s the goal.
@calumharper18 Rate my chipotle order? Don’t judge me it’s my first time 🥲 #paris #model #vlog ♬ original sound – Calum Harper
More on CULTED