Hi James, how are you? I would like to thank you for accepting to participate in our interview.
Let´s do it.
We wanted to know where are you from?
Im from a suburban town called Harpenden, just outside of London in the UK. I now live in the city but have also spent time living in Sydney, Australia, LA and New York and Toronto, Canada.
Tell us where your passion for fashion came from and how does this good taste when dressing help your profession?
I think my first interests in fashion came when I started earning my own money and being able to buy my own clothes. I remember when I was about 12. Having saved up some money getting to go to the shops with my friends and buying a few things I liked. I have definitely quite simple taste still, but I do appreciate the quality and fit of clothes and think that with top brands that extra quality shows. Dressing well definitely helps with work, understanding the industry, presenting yourself in a way that shows you. Ive always thought of it as important to be well presented as its the first thing anyway sees of you and shows that you take care in your appearance. Those first impressions of people last and so I want my first impression to be that I take pride in how I look.
How was the beginning of your career as a model?
I went travelling to Australia after I graduated university with my best friend. I had modelled in university briefly but never really toolkit seriously, and then in Australia, when I had run out of money travelling around, I joined my mother agent, Leea, there. She took a chance on me then and have now been together 5 years. I started booking some quite nice work and eventually it lead to me leaving Australia and heading to the States. Leea has been like a second mother to me ever since, we speak most days still, even with the huge distance and time difference and I owe a great deal to her.
What is your refuge? That place that always thinks about going to relax?
Anywhere with a body of water, but if I had to pick one place then the beach. I walk every morning along the Thames. In London as I find the water peaceful, but the beach, or lakes, is where id go. I find it so therapeutic and calming. The Philippines is up there with my favourite places, although I had a job in Hawaii earlier this year and that could be tied. That was stunning and felt like it surely couldn’t be a job. Id take the lakes on the South Island of New Zealand too, around Queenstown. They are incredible.
How do you go about maintaining sanity in times as chaotic as the one we are living in?
I have a few things that help with this. I read a lot, a lot of personal growth books or understanding the human brain. Books on things like NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and mindset books. Im currently reading the classic ‘How to win friends and influence people’ which is great. Id also recommend James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Thats probably the book that’s had the biggest influence on how I approach things. I also meditate daily and take time to distance myself and just have time alone. I spend a few minutes calming the brain down and having no thoughts and then a few visualising where I want to be and what I want to achieve, along with being grateful for what I have anyhow far I’ve come. These two things I do daily without fail and especially when travelling alone.
Id also say socialising for me is a huge one. Just being around my mates or a walk with my girlfriend are moments I value incredibly highly and in particular within males, socialising is great for mens mental health. It has been proven that in men, we don’t even need to talk about our problems. To reduce stress or anxiety, just having a laugh and that male companionship has proven to do it.
What is emotional intelligence for you and how does it help you today?
Emotional intelligence is understanding your emotions and feelings, where they come from, why. All emotions are natural, necessary. They’re what we use to survive, make decisions, enjoy life, grieve, etc. Understanding that all emotions are ok and play a part is a big thing. You’re allowed to be angry or upset, just as you are to be happy and proud. Understanding that allegations are temporary is a huge one and thus allows you to make the best decisions for yourself. Accepting how you feel, and then being able to make rational decisions to compliment or improve situations will long term stand you in a more healthy state of mind. I always like the saying ‘don’t make a permanent decision in a temporary state of mind’. Eg don’t do something you can’t take back if you’re in the midst of being upset. Allow yourself be upset, step away, accept it and digest it and then rationally asses the situation.
Tell us what is essential when putting together a look.
I dress fairly simply in terms of look. I usually wear a black t shirt with some sort of overshirt or a jacket.A good pair of jeans or pants will always stand you in good stead, as will a good pair of shoes. Shoes can make or break the outfit in my opinion. Having good quality and fitting t shirts for men will go a long way to looking well dressed though.
Tell us about a remarkable moment in your modeling career.
In terms of what changed the direction of my career the most, the Tom Ford underwear campaign I shot in 2018 definitely was a turning point. After that a lot more work was coming my way and with much bigger brands. Ive always been very grateful for that. I have been fortunate enough to have jobs in Hawaii, Peru, Costa Rica, Thailand amongst others and these trips are always special. I love travelling and getting to visit new places, especially as remarkable as those is amazing and definitely a perk to the job. In terms personal progress, a recent shoot I did with Paul Scala in collaboration with Balenciaga was probably a turning point in terms of showing what I can do, and was a new direction for me.
What would we find in excess in your closet? And what we would hardly see there.
Black t shirts. I have two huge stacks of them. My girlfriend always gets annoyed when more arrive. But I just don’t think you can go wrong with them, and I like to keep them relatively new so the fit is still good. Once you find a brand that fits well I would recommend sticking with them! You will also find plenty of Hawaiian style shirts.I have plenty of those for the beach. You won’t find too many bright colours, I just don’t tend to wear them so much.
Which brands have a special connection?
I have a close connection with Tom Ford since working with them. I have a great overshirt which is probably my favourite item of clothing and also work well with their beauty department. Their skincare products are really great and Oud Wood is my favourite aftershave by far. I love Burberry and treated myself to two jackets from them last winter. Being British I think its nice to have that connection to a brand from home.
We follow his routine on Instagram and know that he loves a beach. Do you have skincare care? Do you think it is important for men to be careful from an early age?
I do think its important for men to look after their skin. I have a good skincare regime that is heavily influenced by my girlfriend… she has drilled into me the importance of SPF protection. I currently use a serum, toner and moisturiser all from Kiehls and then I use some Barbara Strum SPF drops to protect me from UV light. I definitely thing its important to look after your skin, especially when living in a city with the levels of pollution in the air, the dirt gets in your skin, so I will get a facial fairly frequently.
Health care and food are super necessary and we want to know about your routine with them.
I intermittently fast every day, so I have an 8 hour eating window. I typically won’t eat until around 1 or 2pm, and will just drink lots off water in the morning. Its incredibly important to fuel your body well, it affects everything from mood, energy, sleep, skin etc. I try to base my meals around vegetables and then add a protein source. I have cut out a lot of dairy s I find my stomach doesn’t agree with it and reduced my processed meats to rarely having them. If you follow me on social media you will know I have a very sweet tooth so I do still have a treat daily, or some cake! But generally my diet is pretty good especially during the week when ill cook most nights. I will enjoy myself if I go out for dinner though. I won’t get hung up on diet. You are allowed to enjoy yourself. But generally I enjoy a lot of healthy foods so its not a ‘diet’ as such and nowadays there are so many options available, eating well is pretty straightforward.
How do you believe this pandemic will change our lives?
I think it will force a lot of people to slow down, appreciate what we have, enjoy time with loved ones more and realise we can’t all keep working at 100mph all the time. Its definitely made me appreciate what I have, instead of constantly looking forward to what’s next, and living a bit more presently. I actually lost my grandad to Covid, which was incredibly tough, so its time with loved ones and friends that I will cherish more. Time passes so quickly and I think previously, I was constantly looking to what’s next. Im. Still as driven and competitive as ever but being present is just as important. You are only ever where your two feet are.
How is your routine? What are your daily activities and how do you spend your time at home?
I have the same morning routine every day. An early walk. Along the river, meditate and some quiet time, and then walk back with a podcast or audio book. Grab a coffee, I try and then train early and then get on with the day. If I’m working then ill go straight to set. If im home ill read and study. Im most productive in the mornings so if I start the day well, generally my day works better. Its hard to build a routine when you travel a lot but over the years ive found ways to make sure I keep the few fundamentals I need to operate well. Morning walk and some quiet time is vital for me. And I will train at some point ifs can’t in the morning as thats my hour to myself to clear my head.
When they talk about Brazil to you, what comes to your mind?
Ahh ive always wanted to go to Brazil and its top of my list. I have a few really good friends from Brazil and they all say how much they love home. First things that come to my mind, being a big football fan, is soccer. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, RIvaldo, Kaka, Neymar. Id love to see a game at the Maracana. After that the beaches, Copacabana and Rio’s carnival. Caipirinha’s are great, the party atmosphere there seems great. Id also love to see the rainforest too. I know id love it over there and need to get to Brazil as soon as possible.
We loved to know more about your life.
James Yates at Heroes New York
The MenStyle Brazil