AN INTERVIEW WITH `THE 4 OF US` BY FEQUALS
THE 4 OF US ON FEQUALS.COM
We were recently interviewed by the lovely twin founders Danielle Newnham + Natalie Bardega of Fequals.com. Their mission is: "To empower women everywhere to rise." Click here to find out more and read all the other super interesting INTERVIEWS WITH INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN here.
THE Q & A
Newnham: What were you like growing up? How would your family and peers have described you?
Sara: Growing up I would say I was very active! There was never a moment of my day when I weren’t doing something, and I was terrified of missing out. Pretty much every evening of the week was filled with some sort of activity, dancing, singing, theatre, nanbudo (martial arts) or other sports.
School has always also been very important to me growing up. It was the place I got to see my friends every single day, and together we were very active in school activities as well: setting up plays and concerts, running the cantina, organizing the senior ball and being school president during my last year of high school. Basically there was always a lot going on, and I loved it!
My family would probably describe me exactly like this, a girl who was always doing a million things at the same time. I’m also pretty sure they would say they wish I would slow down sometimes too, as every now and then – it did become too much, and I was completely burned out from time to time.
Zsanett: I was always a "tomboy". Very active, did all the sports available in my town, I was always out playing every chance I got! My family and friends would probably say the same, I wasn't a particularly misbehaving child.. :)
Annabell: Like the other girls I was quite active. I studied ballet and music (piano mainly) from 5 till 12 years old, which I enjoyed a lot. Im still a passionate music lover with a penchant for male vocalists and acoustic sounds. My older brother has a handicap, which made me very protective of him growing up (I still am). It also meant that I was a bit more mature than other girls my age as I had evolved into the role of the bigger sister.
My family would have described me as “Fairly introverted and quiet. An animal lover, obsessed with making her own jewellery.”
Newnham: How did you get into modelling and end up in London?
Sara: I started modelling in small local shows and shoots whilst I was still living at home with my parents over in Norway. After showing quite a big interest for this line of work my auntie, who has modeled around the world for most of her life, asked if I wanted to come and meet the bookers from her Oslo agency, Team models. So mom, my auntie and I went in to see them, and they took me on. At this time I was 15, and it was all very exciting. Still school and my life back at home was my main focus, and I only did a few modelling jobs here and there when I could make it work.
Later that year me, and one of my closest friends, won a national competition for L’Oréal Paris. Together with three other girls, we became the face of their new hair colour campaign for the following year. This really helped my modelling career, and it all became a bit more serious after that.
I always wanted to move abroad once I finished collage, and London was one of the cities on the top of my list. It was a coincident that I met my now boyfriend, only six months before graduating. He is a Brit and lived in London at the time when we met.
Age 19, I was also offered a spot as the vocalist of a new band that was being put together over in the UK. These two factors made London the obvious choice for me, and after living here for about a year or so I decided to try and get into modelling over here.
Zsanett: My agency in Hungary once offered me a chance to start modelling in Asia, and I grabbed it! I lived there for over 4 years, then came to London for holiday and ended up staying here for 6 years, because I found a lovely agency that convinced me, and I don't regret my decision one bit!
Annabell: I actually started modelling at a very young age. I was about 5 years old when the in-house photographer at one of my dad's Kodak shops took photos of me in dandelion fields posing with my dog. These images were used as place holders for the photo frames in the window of the shops! My Godmother suggested that my mum send the pics to a kids model agency in my home town Munich. They must have liked them as I ended up joining the agency by age 7 and never looked back. At 16 I signed with Model Management in Hamburg and from then on have always been working part-time as a model whilst doing my Marketing apprenticeship and later jobs.
At 20 I took 1 year out and traveled to San Francisco to improve my English at a language school for 2 months. After this, I spent nearly a year living and working in Australia. That year was one of the best times in my life and for the first time, I felt really happy and positive about life.
When I returned to Germany I moved to Berlin to work full time in marketing as well as modelling part time. Following that I did a stint at a commercials production company, with whom I went to Cannes and met a very nice English boy. He became the reason I now live in London.
Newnham: You fit a lot into your time from modelling to blogging, martial arts, singing, business degree – what are your passions and how do you fit everything in, especially when you are traveling?
Do you have any travel hacks you can share with us – things that save you time whilst traveling, working etc.?
Sara: Yes, I guess I haven’t been able to change my teenage habits just yet, as I am still trying to do a lot of things all at once. I haven’t actually been doing martial arts for many years now, and as I grew older singing and dancing became my passions. My main focus now a days are on modelling, the blog, and finishing my business degree – as well as making sure I have time to spend quality time with my boyfriend, family and friends, travel and also just enjoy life
For big periods of the year, revising for exams and finishing papers etc. takes up a lot of my time! On average I sat with my books for 10 – 12 hours every day during all of last April and May, and I had very little time to do anything else. Luckily my semester finished on the 1st June, and for the last two months I’ve had a lot more time to do all the other things I want to spend my days doing. I start my next semester beginning of September, so now it’s all about getting as much as possible out of the rest of the summer.
The only way I’m able to fit everything in that I need to do is to make plans! Yes, I’m one of those annoying people obsessed with making very detailed schedules and plans – but it’s the only way I can make everything work. It means that my brain can focus on what I’m doing at that exact moment, but still know that I have scheduled time to work on all the other stuff that also needs doing. If that makes sense?
Without a plan I find it very hard to focus, and I spend most my time worrying that I might forget things, and so on. If I have a trip booked in, planning ahead is particularly important. If I’m on holiday, I want to work as little as possible. Therefor I always try to write all of my blog posts, uni-papers etc. before leaving.
Newnham: What have been some of your favourite jobs and why?
Sara: Over the last few years I’ve been getting more TV commercial jobs, which I really enjoy. It means I get to act a bit, and it’s quite different from still photography. I love the challenge, as well as being part of bigger productions.
My favourite one that I’ve done so far must be the TV ad I did for a shampoo called Touch Of Silver, where the studio was made into my own little fairy tale world.
Newnham: Zsanett, how did you meet Sara and Annabell and what led to you starting THE 4 OF US?
Zsanett: I met Sara first on a modelling job about 3 years ago and became friends. We both had our own blogs at the time and we spent a lot of time helping each other taking pictures. We later on came up with an idea to maybe do a joint blog, Sara mentioned about a lovely girl she met on a shoot, Annabell, that she thought would be a good addition, so we met up and ended up deciding to have one more person. Margot, our friend was the chosen one, but sadly she had to move back to France so unfortunately she couldn't continue working with us, which is how the monthly guest blogger idea came up!
Newnham: What is the mission behind tTHE 4 OF US – what do you hope to achieve with it?
Zsanett: We would like to grow to be one of the recognised bloggers, travelling and collaborating with big brands having our own lines within labels for example.
Annabell, can you tell us more about some of your other work such as art direction on films, interior design work, your jewellery line?
Annabell: Art department and jewellery: When I first moved to London, I didn’t want to work in an office anymore so I figured it has to be something creative where I can use my my hands. So I then looked into being an Art Department assistant on set for TV commercials. This job brought me lots of fun and I really enjoyed getting my hands dirty and be surrounded by lovely creatives from the film industry. I also got a London based modelling agent not long after that and started doing both jobs, I then quickly found out that it’s a bit of a mission to get freelance work as an Art Department assistant unless you can commit full time, so I stepped back from this career path a little bit and focused on the model business and starting to run a successful blog with THE 4 OF US. I still have a big passion for interior design and anything DIY, thats why I always find something to do in our house, or you find me purchasing the 50th candle holder online ;) haha.
My jewellery line has been on hold for a while as I could not juggle Art Department work, Modelling, Blogging as well as renovations on the house all at once. I’m pretty sure sooner or later I will pick up this work again as making it brings me lots of joy.
Can you tell us more about female narratives and why being part of a female-led collective like that is important to you?
Annabell: Female narratives is a fairly new integrated creative agency that operates using a collective of female freelancers to connect brands to real women and real stories - directly. The founders think out of the box and I personally believe they will be super successful. The two models behind it decided to do their own thing in the model industry and it seems to be going from strength to strength.
From producing photoshoots, videos, dinner parties and events. The females onboard are all from the creative industry - you’ll find everything from singers, songwriters, authors, photographers, film makers, to bloggers, models, graphic designers, marketing strategists, poets and environmentalists plus many more! I think it’s an original and unique collection of talented smart women.
Newnham: What are some of the bigger obstacles you have faced in your life / career, if any, and how did you overcome them?
Sara: Career wise, I feel I haven’t started on this path properly just yet– as it’s still such early stages with the blog, and I’m still in the process of finishing my degree. I guess modeling is sort of a career though, and something I’ve been doing for a while now.
My main frustration with modeling over the years is that there is actually not much you can personally do yourself to move forward in your career. Normally in a job, you can work even harder, study more, come up with new ideas and so on, but with modeling you kind of just have to be patient and wait until the next job comes a long – and hope you are going to get booked for something good for your portfolio etc. You must of course always make sure you go to as many castings as possible, stay in shape and always have your portfolio up to date – but other than this, it’s down to if your look fits what a client has in mind, and this is not really something you can change or work on. To overcome this frustration, I have found other things I like to work on that will keep me busy in times when there are few modelling jobs. I hate twiddling my thumbs, and have made sure I never have to.
Zsanett: We are still quite new, we haven't really experienced big lows, other than having to be extremely patient with growing our following. You have to keep up the hard work, content is everything! You constantly need to work on good posts, quality images for both the blog and social media. Since we all have a busy lifestyle with modelling and other jobs, it takes up a lot of time, but it's worth it once you see the positive responses coming through. A recent high point for us was when we've been asked to do a photoshoot for Headmasters as bloggers, not as models! Yay! :)
Annabell: I had lots of lows in my past and I'm constantly working on balancing everything to be happy in life. One of my career lows for sure was when I worked for the film production in Berlin as I didn't get the learning experience I had hoped for and felt very down when my plans didn't come together. In the end I realised it wasn’t the industry for me but at the time it was a tough position to deal with emotionally. I think it’s important to recognise that not every plan you have will come together and two steps forward, one step back is not the end off world as it can really focus you.
Newnham: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give a younger you?
Sara: I would say: keep doing what you are doing, travel, see the world, grab every opportunity given to you, but don’t take for granted the small town life you have right now. These years in this ‘boring little place’ where nothing happens, will give you some amazing memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life. So don’t wish this time away!
Zsanett: I like the way my life has been, so nothing major, maybe I'd advise my younger self to start learning more languages and persist in staying in university, even though it's very difficult with all the travelling.
Annabell: Don’t worry so much about everything and don’t take life too seriously. If you are unhappy try and change your environment or daily circumstances.