Gender Codebreaker: Tamy Glauser
INTERVIEW BY KATE LAWSON
What does she do?
Tamy is the gender-blurring model fashion’s heavyweights embraced, including Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rick Owens, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Vivienne Westwood.
Where does she live?
She’s based in Paris.…for now.
What do we need to know about her?
She has a shaved head, she smokes and she’s the ultimate Tomboy.
Why should we pay attention?
Because she’s practically Royalty!
Fashion has opened its mind to reflect a changing consciousness connected with the society we live in, as model casting and industry power players have begun to embrace and represent a radical vision of diversity - age, race, disability and gender blurring are all more commonly on the agenda, not to mention covers and catwalks.
Tamy Glauser is one such model - who with her androgynous looks and physique (and trademark shaved head) - was thrust into the spotlight as an unconventional newcomer for Givenchy’s AW13 menswear show, proving boys will not always be boys.
Now signed to Next Models and with further shows under her belt including Louis Vuitton AW15, we caught up with the 30-year-old tomboy-meets-girl to talk karaoke, awkward chat-up lines and free falling baby!
How were you discovered?
I was studying Sociology and Communication Science at University in Switzerland but I got bored and switched to the FU (Freie Universität) in Berlin. A friend of mine was a booker in the city and told me he would sign me. I thought great, some extra cash can’t hurt! Then before I even got to Berlin, the agency sent my polaroids to Paris. The end of the story is that I never actually moved to Berlin. I fell in love with Paris instead.
And you fell into modeling too then?
It was a, ‘lets give this a shot, why not?!’
But you’re the daughter of a Nigerian Princess, is that really a job for Royalty! (and should we be curtseying to you)?
Haha! Yes that’s true I am. But to be honest (unfortunately) I never met my Grandfather. Though one day I might go out there and search for him.
"I was a ‘Tomboy’ before I even knew of the expression. It’s how people started to describe me later on."
So what was your childhood like then?
My childhood was great, but had very little to do with Nigeria. I was raised by my God-Parents in a little village in Switzerland, where the world still seems intact [smiles].
I wouldn’t describe your look as very “Princess” - so with that Tomboy swagger you exude, you must have loved being offered the chance to walk in the Givenchy Menswear show?
I was a ‘Tomboy’ before I even knew of the expression. It’s how people started to describe me later on. But yes! I was super excited about Givenchy. Finally my wishes to model for Menswear came true. Back then it was a big deal and people looked at me funny when I told them I would love to model Menswear.
"My wishes to model for Menswear came true. Back then it was a big deal and people looked at me funny when I told them I would love to model Menswear."
And the fashion industry now represents the diversity of real life more, from a casting point of view anyway - but do you think that’s just because it’s concerned with what’s cool and contemporary and what sells - why has it taken so long to catch up with society?
Nowadays I feel as though it is more a collaboration between models and the industry - meaning that we give character to the clothes and make them our own, rather than being a blank canvas. In the end that makes everything more real. I don’t think that the industry is concerned with what’s cool, but rather creates what becomes cool.
"Nowadays it is more a collaboration between models and the industry - meaning that we give character to the clothes and make them our own, rather than being a blank canvas."
Food For Thought,
by Steven Meisel (Vogue Italia, May 2015).
Does fashion fulfill you then, in terms of the projects and bookings you’re offered?
I just worked for about a week in Stockholm with Acne to inspire the design team for the upcoming collection. Seeing and being a part of how a whole collection is created was very exciting and from a sociological point of view extremely fascinating. I have never witnessed such a process. I saw each look slowly coming together and now I can’t wait to see the whole thing when it is finished. It is indescribable how much work, dedication and passion and how little sleep lays in these creations. So yeah, my answer is a big YES.
I imagine your trademark shaven head inspired some hats for that Acne collection too! - are you a hat lover?
I used to wear a hat everyday but nowadays, everything goes! A hoody, a scarf, a shirt or sweater.. and sometimes nothing.
What about the things which inspire you?
Trees. I love trees. Fish as well. I can look at them for hours, ( but I would never go to Seaworld though - just saying!)
"I don’t think that the fashion industry is concerned with what’s cool, but rather creates what becomes cool."
And you live in Paris now which is full of inspiration on every street corner - say something in French (hahaha, obvious question!)?
Ha! Never been asked that question before - good one! ‘Tu veux prendre un petit verre avec moi après?’
Are you flirting with me! Ha, yes ok then! But first let’s talk about that toughish vibe you give off, I bet you’re actually quite girlie and a big softie who cries at cute puppies and romantic films right?
Haha! I definitely am. I am very sensitive and soft, yes. Not sure I cry at puppies or romantic films (ok maybe some), but family reunions kill me. Music can too… certain songs are impossible to listen to in public.
And who or what brings you complete and utter happiness and contentment in life?
To be an inspiration. Inspiring someone, in what ever way that may be, gives my life meaning.
Making it Personal,
by Fabien Baron (Interview Magazine, May 2015).
And now for the hard part: Girls or cigarettes - which one could you definitely not give up?
I never wanna have to make that decision. One day I guess I can go from ‘girls’ to ‘girl and cigarettes’. Haha!
"‘Tu veux prendre un petit verre avec moi après?’"
Best chat-up line then?
I’m never the one who starts talking first. Tried that a few times and they just walked away, like I’m the most annoying person on the planet. Haha!
Significant other or flying solo?
Free like a bird.
So if we went to a karaoke bar after this interview, where is it and what would our song be?
Could be anywhere, but mostly it happens home in front of the computer with YouTube videos. The song would be ‘Going Up The Country’ by Canned Heat.
"Inspiring someone, in what ever way that may be, gives my life meaning."
What drink should I buy you at the bar?
Champagne on ice. Or Vodka Soda. Or just a beer. Just no Gin! [laughs]
Late-night snack stop-off when we’ve had too much to drink?
As I live in Paris it would probably be a crêpe. But it’s more likely that I make a quick noodle soup at home.
That thing you say ALL the time?
Free falling baby - whenever I’m not sure or I can’t decide. I say free falling baby and then I choose the unknown.
"Free falling baby - whenever I’m not sure or I can’t decide. I say free falling baby and then I choose the unknown."
Morning or evening person?
Ok, so what’s coming next for Tamy in the City, and where will you be on GoogleMaps in 5 years time if your dreams come true?
Next stop is TamyinManhattan. I have no idea what’s going to happen in five years, but I have a feeling that there are exciting times ahead of me. In Switzerland we have a saying ‘The Way is The Goal’.