LONDON: Notting Hill
Artists are found in many forms. They are the unexplained “Alpha”, the silent creatives who find their voice amidst the world’s loud shouts of nonsense. They are the undefined who define themselves outside of traditional social institutions and if lucky, remembered through time by the generations that follow. Linnea Pihl is one artist who expresses her art through modeling and acting. Originally from Sweden, she resides in London where she models and acts.
Where are you from and how did you get into modeling and acting?
“I’m from Lund, a university town with 85 thousand citizens in the south of Sweden. I was 19 years old and studying literature while trying to figure out how to further pursue my acting ambition. I was active in several student theatre societies, and going to auditions but I was very green. A friend told me I should go to the open casting at the local modelling agency and see if they would send me abroad. It sounded amazing: travel, cool life experience and possibly some commercial roles. I went and they signed me on the spot. My first on-stay trip was to Athens, where I learned all the basics about modelling, which in turn has helped me immensely as a film actress.”
What sort of a model do you consider yourself to be? Commercial, fitness, swimwear?
“I’ve been told I am a crossover model. I do runway every now and then, but it has been a while since I did fashion week. I mostly do beauty campaigns and editorial work, but also lingerie and e-comm. As I am an actress as well I do everything from tv commercials to feature films. I am grateful for being able to pursue and develop many sides of my creativity.”
Where have you lived or worked for your career?
“I’ve been to Paris, Milano, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Australia, Germany, Miami and LA. I do direct bookings all over, but my base is Scandinavia and London. I would say London is my favourite city to work in as it has such a varied industry and so many talented people working there. Israel was beautiful and exciting, I will forever cherish the day off when I took the bus to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea with two fellow models. I like to go to Miami when I need to spend some time by the sea and be pampered.”
What is your personal fashion style? Comfort? Elegance? Sport?
“As many other models my wardrobe is a complete mess with all kinds of different shades of black! I am slowly leaving the casting look behind me and wearing what I personally like instead. But I still mix basics from H&M with my favourite designer pieces. I like to rummage through vintage shops and buy a fair share from Etsy, I have a soft spot for everything velvet. There are two items I will never throw away; a hand painted Russian black scarf with flowers, and a pair of antique red coral earrings covered with marcasite. Both gifted to me by a special friend.”
What is your exercise or keep fit routine like?
“I go running about 4 times a week and whenever I have some extra time I do yoga. I walk or bicycle everywhere, which also helps keep me in shape. If I’m on-stay I try to walk between 4-10 km a day, the very best way to get to know a new city!”
Favorite desserts or cravings?
“As I am lactose intolerant it does affect the range of CHOCOLATE I can indulge in. But I’ve always liked dark chocolate the best, so it’s not too bad. I believe in “everything in moderation”, but obviously a whole lot can’t be indulged due to being lactose intolerant. I’m on-stay in Milan right now, and I found a soy based Ricotta cheese, it made my day!”
Favorite alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage?
“Again tied into diet, I prefer a glass of red wine to a cocktail. If I’m cozying up on the couch with my cats and a good movie I might indulge in a glass of whiskey, but not too smokey!”
Things you enjoy most about modeling and acting?
“I would definitely say the best part is striking lasting friendships with creative and inspiring women all over the world. I have been very lucky to meet strong, passionate and empowering women who have helped me grow as a person and artist, and I never would have met them if I didn’t model. The beautiful locations are a big plus. I love to walk everywhere and just relish the experience of immersing myself in a new environment and culture.”
A few aspects of modeling and acting you dislike?
“The big downside is the uncertainty and risks. It can be dangerous at times. Even though ultimately I have been lucky compared to some of my friends, I have been in precarious situations because there are people in the industry who are in it to get close to and use young, impressionable women.
Another side of the job is the stress and pressure to keep up with the schedule, to not be under the weather during your busiest season and to be ready to travel at any time. It can be difficult to maintain relationships outside the industry, as people can feel you are unreliable and flaky when you suddenly dart off to Miami for a shoot instead of having that girl’s night or attending their birthday party.”
“Sleep is very important. I try to sleep 7-8 hours a night, and if it’s been a rough week I take a nap in the middle of the day with my persian cat. A literal cat nap, there is nothing more relaxing. During flights I try to sleep as much as possible. I turn off the air ventilation over my seat, curl up in a big cashmere shawl, and fall asleep within 7 minutes. I could probably nap anywhere.”
Your idea of a good model vs. a bad model?
“It is the same with models as with other people.
A good model is helpful to their fellow models, and generous and honest at the shoot or in the model housing. I would say most models are like this. Recently I was at a casting that took a few hours longer than I had anticipated, and a model I didn’t know was cold. We shared my giant scarf and cuddled for half an hour, and then we went our separate ways as we had different castings that afternoon. If more people were kind to each other this way, and not just models, I think the world would be very different.
Being focused and determined is obviously of great importance, but being sisterly trumps everything else.
A bad model is a model who is consistently ill prepared, late, and even unhygienic. We all know people like that. At a shoot they might be disengaged and uninterested in the expression. They need someone to show them the way, and when that fails they should probably look into doing something else.”
First big job in either modeling or acting that made you feel “successful”?
“I think it was the Custo Barcelona show in Athens during my first FW. Adrenaline was high, all the other models were super excited and the stylists didn’t speak any English. To be fair my Greek is very limited. I remember thinking “where am I even going?” as I strutted behind a model/medicine student from Poland, the loud music booming in my ears. “What does this even mean?”. Complete Zoolander moment. Someone stole my personal underwear as well, so I was greeted by the industry with open arms hahaha”
Brands you have worked with/for and notable publications?
“Ooh there are so many, but some of the most notable are perhaps Tigi, H&M, Myla, Littlewoods and Headmasters. Russh magazine, Vogue Hellas, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, HUF magazine, InStyle, Red magazine, Grazia Germany among others.”
Your acting plans?
“I am currently preparing for a feature film shoot that will take place in Malmö in December. The film will be directed by Magnus Hedberg who did – From The Depth of My Heart, and the film will be shot in one take! I will be playing a sociopathic former philosophy student who does some serious damage to the main character. I am excited about getting to play someone dark and utterly unforgiving as a person. It differs from my previous roles.
I also shoot a web series as a little side project, called – Just Model Things. I make fun of the anxiety and everyday failures of being a model. It’s all tongue in cheek but everything is based on my own experiences.”
Anything quirky about you?
“I play the ukulele and write my own music! Right now I am learning how to use Protools so that I can record and mix it myself. I’ve even written a few songs about being in the fashion industry, hopefully models out there will get a good laugh and enjoy them.”