Great talents are forged by inspiring stories and interesting career starts. Merle Gerhardy, represented by Tune Models, skyrocketed her career for Balenciaga. We spoke with Merle about her exciting path into modeling and her future plans.
You walked your first show for Balenciaga in March.
What are both the advantages and challenges of debuting your model careering with one of the most on-trend brands?
On the one hand, it is an honor to make your first steps in the model business for a brand like Balenciaga. It makes you feel that your hopes may come true and your career will continue on that level. But on the other hand, it creates a false sense of security, expecting other big shows and brands to follow.
What was it like to do your first show like that in Paris? What were your overall impressions? How do you prepare mentally for that type of show?
It was a week full of ups and downs. I went to Paris for the casting and saw so many models from all around the world and thought, I, as a new face without any show experience, wouldn’t get the show. Nearly 15 minutes after the casting my booker called and told me, I was confirmed if I let them cut my hair, which really surprised me and gave me a massive high. Two days later – back in Germany – I realized that they decide who actually walks and who doesn’t after they finished the fitting (only one day before the show). So, I had a huge down and felt insecure. I forced myself to lower my expectations and not to put all my hopes in getting the show. Didn’t work so well, but I tried. After the fitting, I tensely waited for the call. When I finally got the call with good news, I was more than excited. I sat in my hotel room and couldn’t stop smiling. The day of the show was overwhelming. I got my new haircut and my makeup and we did a little rehearsal. I wasn’t too nervous until I saw the runway which was way bigger than expected. My tension reached its peak while waiting in the line before the show started. But the moment I walked out I didn’t think about anything. I enjoyed it so much, the flashlight, all those people looking at me… it’s pretty hard to describe the feelings I had during the walk. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and experience Balenciaga gave me.
You changed your look at that time: what inspired that shift?
Balenciaga asked me to cut my hair for the show. I saw that as a great opportunity because I wanted to change my haircut for a long time, but I have been too afraid of regretting it. What better reason than doing it for a show like that?
Florian, your agent at Tune models, helped place you in that show. How did the two of you start working together?
He scouted me when I was in Cologne in summer ’17. I am very thankful that he made it possible for me to get into the modeling business so international.
Do you have any high lights from when you were on stay recently or something in particular during your travels that stands out?
I really enjoyed the job I did for Tatler magazine with the talented photographer Louie Banks. The photoshoot was in Marrakech where I was for the first time. We stayed in an amazing hotel, shot photos in the desert of Marocco and had a great time after work. I love getting to know all these talented and special people I am blessed to work with.
What is a trend you think will last beyond this next season?
I think and hope it will be neon colors and mixed patterns. You can see one of them or mostly both in almost every big brand’s collection.
What are your ambitions and goals both in fashion and more broadly for 2019?
I would love to do many editorials and shows in 2019. It is not sure yet if I do Fashion Week AW 2019 because of my university graduation in February. After that I want to do fulltime modeling, being on stay in London or other countries, maybe Japan, to gain new experiences.
Polas from Merle with her new look