Having worked as a fashion photographer, model, and judge on the popular show, America’s Next Top Model, (among several other notable things), it’s safe to say that Nigel Barker has extensive insight into the world of fashion.
In the Models of Influence Introduction, you discuss your mother’s modeling career and how she, ultimately, introduced you to that world as well. However, we were fascinated to learn that you originally wanted to study medicine! Is there anything else people might not know about you?
Ha! I hope there’s a few things… One thing few people know is that as a young boy I sang as back up for Barry Manilow at a few concerts in England which was quite the eye opener! Singing in front of tens of thousands of screaming female fans made you reassess reality at 12 years old.
You’ve worked both in front of the camera and behind the camera. You’ve worked on books. You’ve been a model and judged modeling competitions. Do you have a favorite project? Or are they all special in different ways?
I feel very privileged to have had so many opportunities in life. My favorite projects have been when I have been able to create films and photo exhibits showcasing real life problems and issues. The ability to change hearts and minds with powerful imagery is the dream of any photographer, whether working for the Humane Society International, The Edeyo Foundation in Haiti or the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, my work for these great organizations changed my life and helped show me what’s truly important.
How do you stay motivated to keep branching out and working on new projects?
How do you not stay motivated? I am inspired by everything I see, hear and touch. From the changing seasons, music of all styles and varieties to the wonderful artists I have the chance to work with. As long as opportunity knocks, I’ll answer.
Models of Influence is a beautiful book that spotlights 50 women who had a giant impact on the modeling world. What inspired you to put something like this together?
After 20 years working in the fashion and modeling worlds alongside so many extraordinary women like Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Twiggy, Paulina Porizkova, Janice Dickenson, Coco Rocha, Alek Wek etc etc. I felt compelled to write a book that discussed how many of these ladies were pioneers and trail blazers in the fashion business and transcended the modeling world helping to shape the way we see beauty in the world at large.
Was there one model whose story really stuck out to you?
No, there were 50.
At Barnes & Noble College, our primary focus is our students and their success both in school and after graduation. What advice do you have for students hoping to pursue their dream career?
Be your own critic, learn how to edit yourself, and love what you do regardless whether other people like what you have done or not.
Wise words from an accomplished man. What was your favorite part of the interview? Post a comment or tweet us @BNcollege.
Don’t forget to order your copy of Models of Influence online here.