As 23-year-old Hampus Lück will tell you, his unusual name really doesn't have any special significance. "I've been trying to Google it and Wikipedia it and everything, but there is no meaning for the name Hampus." Umlaut aside, the Sweden native's career is better characterized by his last name. After being street-scouted in Gothenburg last year, he quickly found himself opening for Salvatore Ferragamo's fall 2011 menswear show in Milan; for spring 2012, he booked five or six major slots, including Giorgio Armani and Michael Bastian. Then, the very same day that he signed with an agency in Paris, stylist Serge Girardi scheduled him for a Numéro Homme shoot with Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and in turn, Mondino recruited Lück to star in a YSL fragrance commercial. And to top off his first year in the industry, Tom Ford nabbed the Wilhelmina model for a fall 2012 exclusive. Hampus stopped by our offices last week to talk about working with Ford, male versus female modeling, and "the weird shit" he just deleted from his Facebook in-box.
Tell me about your childhood and what it was like growing up in Sweden.
Well, I was pretty much into sports all of my life. I [grew up] in Jönköping, a city with a population of around 100,000 people, and it wasn’t very small, but it not very big, so you kind of had an identity in the city … which I enjoyed actually growing up. I moved out of there as soon as I could, when I was about 18. I moved to a university in Gothenburg [to study business and technology]. Sweden, in general, is the safest place on Earth … if you’re not good in school, they help you until you’re good in school. If you’re sick, the health care takes care of you. So if you want to have no problems, just go to Sweden, basically ... I thought I had problems back then, but when you meet people from other places in the world like I’m doing now, you realize how safe and cool of a childhood you had.
How were you discovered?
I was street-scouted. I was walking on the main street in Gothenburg and I was hungover from a college party, and I realized that a guy was following me for five or ten minutes and looking at me really weird — and this is my mother agent now, he’s an old Italian man. So … he came up and grabbed me on the arm and he asked me if I am a model ... and he gave me his card and said you should call us, and at first I thought it was a joke from my friends, but I answered an e-mail from them and sent them one picture, and very shortly after that, I went to Milan Fashion Week, and since then I haven’t been home really.
And what did your family say?
[My parents] said, “What?” And then they were like, “Well if you feel like you have time to go there, then go there.” And five days later they saw me walking for Giorgio Armani, on the Internet, livestreaming … and I guess they were kind of shocked … My brother — he’s four years older than me — actually tried to be a model when he was younger. I know he sent some pictures somewhere, but he never got picked up. But he’s cool with it … and he’s been supportive and storing my clothes for me.
What was it like, once you were in Milan, to open Salvatore Ferragamo as your first show?
That was the weirdest shit I've ever done in my life. [Laughs.] They were like, "Hampus, you're opening." And I was like, "Cool." I didn't even know what opening was. I was saying yes to everything … And then I realized I was first in the line, and I looked back and there were all these guys, looking totally cool … And for the clothes, I had guards protecting my white coat and everything. They were like “1, 2, 3, Hampus, you're on.” And I walked … I remember I walked so fast on the way back, because I wanted to get off the catwalk. It was not fun. But when I came out in the second outfit — this was like the clearest feeling I had ever had.
And last season you didn’t walk because you had an exclusive for Tom Ford. What was it like to work with him?
He has a lot of stories to tell you. He told me about how he started, he told me about all the different jobs he had, different people he met, different houses he owned, about a lot of things. And he was a very interesting person to talk to and a very interesting person to look at while he was working. He did all of the makeup himself, hair himself, he shot [the pictures] himself. He was working with the light himself … If you’re shooting for another brand, the main character is not always in the building watching you doing your thing — it’s maybe casting directors who put you in the hands of a photographer or whatever. But when I was standing there I thought, This is the man controlling everything. He is here actually watching me do my thing. So that was the first time I felt like maybe I am actually pretty good at this.
You were also in a YSL commercial for the brand’s Parisienne fragrance.
I signed with an agency in Paris a few months after the Milan fashion shows … [and my agent called me and said,] “You’re going to see Yves Saint Laurent tomorrow morning.” And I was thinking that that was the location. I was somehow messed up. I didn’t know that was a designer. I thought it was like a church or something … And when I saw the logo, I realized that it was a brand … And I walked in there, and there were five people, talking to me like, “Okay, so you, go in front of the camera. Do you know acting?” And I said, “Absolutely not. I’ve never done that in my life.” So, they were like, “Get your shirt off and go down to the floor.” And I was like “What?” And it was kind of a dodgy studio, and I checked the address again, and I was at the right place. They talked to me while videotaping me, like, just dirty talk to me — and then it made me upset. But when I told my agent, she just laughed and told me I got tricked into being a good actor … And then I got the commercial, and I still didn’t know what it was for — it was just a driver coming to pick me up. And I came to the biggest studio I’ve ever seen, and I met Jean-Baptiste Mondino again, so I got off with the clothes and jumped into bed with this amazing-looking woman.
So, how would you say male modeling is different from female modeling?
I’ve discussed this with a few friends — like the girls — and I think they have more pressure. And they’re younger, so they have to handle the pressure at a different phase of life. Like, I came in when I was 21 and already had my identity, and I did the college party thing. But these young girls are coming in and they have pressure to actually eat less and get thinner, get leaner, and stuff like that. For guys, you’ve got to live healthy and work out and control yourself — in a different way, though, which might be easier. But I think the age is a big reason why it’s easier for the guys than the girls … And I guess, also men, you [get better work] the older you get.
What do you do in your spare time?
I work out a lot, hang around with friends, I read way too many books … The last time I was at the airport, I forgot my Swedish book at home so I bought the number-one seller which is called The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund. And I could tell the reason why it’s number one is because it’s extremely easy to read. But, generally I like Stephen King a lot, and I read all the Michael Connelly books, which are more commercial than a lot of Swedish books. All kinds, I read everything you’ve got. You’ve got a lot of time to read.
What would you say are some of your obsessions?
Running. That’s therapy for me. I’d rather do it — I don’t feel like a normal person if I don’t work out, like get my energy out. I have an obsession with being creative, what do they call it, working out the brain? If I just sit around watching a movie, I easily get bored by doing the same thing over and over, so I want to do new stuff and try the limits and stuff like that. That’s an obsession for sure.
Do you ever Google yourself?
I’ve done it, for sure. But … actually I opened my Facebook in-box [recently], with the people who aren’t your friends writing you messages — and I had like 400-something from people I don’t know — and that was a lot of weird shit. Like a lot of compliments, which was great, but in general followed by some sort of invitations to some weird stuff. The first ten were funny, and I laughed, next ten was like, This is weird, then the next ten was like, Oh my God, I cannot do this, so I just erased them all.
Model Profile: Hampus Lück
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