If you don’t know him by name, you’ll almost certainly know his face. Tristan spent the day with us for this exclusive shoot and interview, where we talk through his career thus far, and where he’s going from here.
Talk us through being scouted.
I was first scouted when I was 18. I was in the gym, PureGym Manchester. At the time I was doing an accounts apprenticeship. I started modelling and thought, ‘fuck off, no way’. From when I was around 15 I used to always get stopped, and people would tell me ‘You’d be good for this, you’d be good for that’ but then when I reached out I’d never get a response, so obviously when this happened I just thought whatever. But then I gave them my details and the following week I was working.
Is Nevs the only agency you’ve been with?
I first started at Brother Models, and I’ve been with J’Adore as well.
What hours/days do you usually work? Does your schedule often differ?
It’s constantly changing. Some weeks I can be working 5 days a week, travelling here and then, living out of a suitcase. Some weeks I can be sat at home… anxious [laughs]. That’s the way of the work. But you’ve got to take the bad with the good, and I always use the time off to accomplish things that I wanna do. Modelling isn’t the be all and end all, you know what I mean?
What I’ve realised works well for me is that my brain needs to be doing something – it needs to be working. If I’m not at work, I can’t just sit at home and not do anything without kicking myself for it all day, and feeling guilty. So I have to be getting stuck into a new venture… anything like that.
What does a usual week of training look like for you?
I run like 40km a week. 10km four times a week. Three days in the gym. I don’t really like the gym but I do it because I have to. I do more cardio than weights. I love the running; I don’t really get the fulfilment out of the gym… it doesn’t really shake the demons off for me. I don’t really enjoy running on the treadmill, I need to see where I’m going, I like to get from one place to another.
Do you feel pressure to be a certain shape and build?
There’s definitely a pressure to stay in shape, but luckily enough for me I don’t really have dreams of being this big bodybuilder. I feel like I suit my build, so I just maintain it. I don’t really think about it.
What’s the industry in Manchester like? Do you ever get asked about relocating to London?
I feel like Manchester … when I first started modelling six years ago, I would hear a lot of ‘you need to be in London, you need to be in London’, but I think since that time a lot of brands have relocated to Manchester.
Clients used to have this attitude of ‘we only book in-town models’, but with how convenient trains are it really doesn’t matter.
[Case in point, Tristan got the train down for our shoot today and is heading back to Manchester right afterwards].
You’re always kitted out in new gear – how do you stay inspired when it comes to outfits?
It might be a deep way to look at it, but what you wear is what you’re displaying to the world. Say when you’re walking down the street, no one knows anything about you, but I know for sure people are gonna look at me and think, shit, ‘he looks good’ [laughs]. Or at least they’re going to remember what I’m wearing, because it might not be usual. I use fashion to express myself, and I like to be comfy as well.
I’m very inspired by 90s streetwear, a hundred percent. Even this boiler suit [that he’s wearing for our shoot] is old school, really. I love old school. And I’ve just always loved clothes.
You have an affiliation for JD – how did that relationship come about?
There’s nothing official, I just went there one day and they liked me, and we carried on working. As and when. I think that’s how it usually happens with people. It really just takes that one yes, but at the same time you need to be mindful that [brands] have a change of heart. In this day and age, people are coming and going quick because of the internet. Bro, there’s about 10 other guys that look like me, so you just need to be different.
I see you’ve been experimenting a bit more with photography lately – specifically, you’ve been shooting film. Do you have any interest in working on that side of things?
I’ve always been interested in film. I like that old school look, it’s part of the culture and complements my style. In terms of me picking up a camera, I think it’d be a violation to the photographers out there [laughs]. But I think from being in the industry for quite a few years now, I pick things up and learn and now I usually know what the photographer is doing. I’m always happy to suggest angles, etc.
You’re quite often sharing positive messages and inspiration on socials – do you think there’s a lot to be said for having a positive mental attitude? Do you believe in manifestation?
Mindset is everything. If you’re constantly thinking, ‘shit’s not going right,’ or ‘this isn’t gonna happen,’ bro, it’s not gonna happen. You’ve gotta go out there and get it yourself. The difference between someone who’s got it and someone who’s not got it, is that they went out and got it. It’s that simple! You’ve gotta take a leap. Keep your mental health in check, we’re all going through shit. We’re all going through shit bro and you’ve just gotta keep on going.
I feel people are quite quick to ridicule influencers or models or any kind of public facing figure when they speak about the mental toll that a career choice of that nature can take. Obviously, it seems easy on the surface, even though there’s way more to it. But are there days when you find it difficult keeping up appearances and putting your best foot forward?
Nah not really, I’ve always been the same. I’ve never changed. I still don’t think I’ve reached the heights that I’m going to reach yet, so that keeps me grounded. I come across people that humble me quick, people who are doing great things, to be honest. I’m just being myself, a hundred percent. And people can see that, so they can’t really judge me – and if they do judge me, they’re just jealous. I always look at it like… if you’re hating, I’m glad I’m not you. Because I’m not hating if you’re doing good things.
I believe your partner is a model too. Does that help, having someone who works in the same industry, and gets it?
Yeah definitely, I always come across a lot of models who’ve been arguing with their girlfriends over the fact they’ve been around girls at work… perhaps there’s some sort of trust issues. But me and my partner, we get it. We know what it’s actually like – I might be doing a shoot with a girl and we’re looking all cuddled up, but in reality it’s not that. It’s just a job. And also it’s like, that’s just the shot. Right after, you’re moving apart. So yeah, having [my girlfriend] work in the industry really helps.
How important is travelling to you? How does it fit in with what you do?
If I have a job in Germany or France, or whatever, most of the time I’m going there, doing the job, then leaving. It’s more tiring than fulfilling. It’s bad but I do sit in my hotel room alone a lot, I don’t really get out. I’m never usually there long, I have to get back for a job, or flying wherever the next one is. That, and I want to get back and see my girlfriend.
You’re always plotting something – so what’s next?
I’d like to pursue acting. That’s something I’m interested in… something I’m curious about. But I’m aware how competitive that industry is, so I’d also like to get into some business of some sort, and get some cashflow in business. Acting and business, definitely.