Alistair was shot exclusively for by Nick Scaife, with styling by Roberta Pinna, and grooming by Ernesto Montenovo at David Artists. Interview by Jonathan Shia. Special thanks to James Coyne.


Alistair Waterfield

Elite London (London)




Place of Origin:
Northamptonshire, England

Ethnic Origin:
I’m completely British: English and quite a bit of Scottish in there as well.


How discovered:
I was at the Latitude music festival in Suffolk last summer. I didn’t take them very seriously because it seemed really unlikely that someone would pick me out. I was with my friend and he was laughing, so I played along and said, “Oh yeah yeah yeah, thanks,” and he gave me his card and that was kind of it. I thought it seemed a bit strange and then about an hour later I got scouted again by someone else and I thought, “Actually maybe there’s something in this then.” If it had just been one, I probably wouldn’t have pursued it because it could’ve been a con or something.

What were you doing before you started modeling?
I’d just finished school and, like everyone my age, there are crossroads where they’re not really sure what they want to do with their lives. I’d decided that I was going to do an art foundation course because at that point I was looking at maybe doing architecture. I’d also found that in my last year at school I enjoyed doing my art so much ahead of the other subjects that I was considering doing an art degree, so I wanted to take the one year of foundation to make my mind up. I did my art foundation and it’s helped me decide that I want to do fine art now. This last year, I’ve been doing my art foundation locally in Northampton and it’s gone well — I got a distinction — and now I’m going to Central Saint Martins, so I’m quite excited about that.

What kind of art do you do?
I’ve been painting mostly so far. When you do art at school, it’s quite limited — you can paint or sometimes do other things, but it’s a bit restricted — so I have been trying other things, but painting is still probably my strong suit. I used to paint portraits and I found that really interesting, but for the sake of this year I’ve been trying to free myself up a bit, so I’ve been looking at far more abstract concepts. I’ve been looking at process painting like Jackson Pollock and Gerhard Richter, Yves Klein, and people like this. For my final project, I’ve also been looking at moving into a more personal approach, so I was looking at artists like Oscar Murillo, who I think was a big influence for me.

How did you get started in painting?
My granddad is a painter and I used to visit him a lot when I was younger, and he’d always show me his paintings in his studio. He was very keen for me to get into art — same with my sister — because my mother did an art foundation as well, so there’s definitely something running in the family there.

Favorite things:
Funnily enough, I am quite into sports, even though the art student doesn’t normally have any interest in them. I’m not very good at sports, but I enjoy them. I used to play cricket and rugby, which seems strange again, but I watch quite a bit of sport on TV with my dad. Mainly I’m a Bristol City fan. I’m also really into music and film. I’m normally walking around with my headphones on, that’s kind of my way of relaxing and getting into the mood for something. I feel like sometimes I’m a bit of a solitary person, so it allows me to escape into my own little world. I really enjoy film as well. I haven’t been able to watch many recently, so I’m a bit annoyed about that, because normally my summers are a film a day and then something else. I used to stay up late and watch the art house film on Film4 that started at about three in the morning. That was kind of my summer thing, but I just love films of all kinds really.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Well I listen to a really eclectic mix. I listen to a bit of rap music and some EDM. LCD Soundsystem are one of my all-time favorites. I just really enjoy listening to them all the time, no matter what mood I’m in. I grew up with my dad getting me to listen to some of his old collection, so I’m a big Smiths fan, and David Bowie as well. I was really upset about his passing.

Favorite movie:
Possibly something by Wes Anderson. I love his directing. I’d say maybe Moonrise Kingdom or The Life Aquatic. I just love those films because it’s more about the aesthetic than anything else. I’ve almost finished his collection and there’s one film I still have to see, Bottle Rocket, his first, and I kind of don’t want to watch it because I know then it’s all over, that’s the end of it. So I’m hoping he brings out another one soon.

Favorite designer, fragrance or beauty product:
I like lots of different things I’ve looked at. I didn’t really know much about fashion this time last year so I’ve got a very new idea of everything. My style has always been quite minimal and very plain, but I quite enjoy at the moment the way a lot of brands are decorating and putting little things into their work. Gucci have done that quite a lot and I think that’s quite cool. It’s gone back to what a lot of people would’ve said was “garish,” but I really like that. I quite like a lot of the Alexander McQueen-style things.

What would you be doing if you weren’t modeling?
I’d probably be looking for a job to find a way to pay for rent my first term in London.

What’s something uncool that you love anyway?
There are lots of things that are uncool about me. For some reason, I really get into watching cooking shows. I don’t know why. I think it’s because when I was ill from school I would sit and just watch the Food Network all day long. It would be Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson and the Two Fat Ladies and now I really get into that. I watch so many cooking shows, which is definitely uncool.

First modeling experience?
The very first thing I did was the Elite Model Look competition. Three days after I got scouted, I was asked if I could come down to London. I didn’t really know what was happening and it was actually the semifinal. It was the equivalent of, I suppose, a casting. There were like 30 other guys and they took some pictures of us and we walked up and down in front of a panel of people and they took our measurements and then they lined us up and I was announced as one of the five boys that had gotten into the final. The final was the next day and that’s when all the modeling stuff started happening. They did a photo shoot with us, so it was my first ever photo shoot, and then they did catwalk training and the finale was a runway show in the Superdry flagship store on Regent Street in front of about 300 people. From not having any idea pretty much the morning before to doing that on my first-ever day was pretty intense, but it was an amazing experience. After that, I did a series of test shoots and then my first job was I was told that I’d been requested to meet someone called Elliott Smedley. I didn’t really know anyone in the industry so I went to his office and just met him and then afterwards I did a Google search and saw he was a stylist and worked closely with the team at Burberry and that’s when I realized that it was a casting for that. Then I received word that he liked me and he wanted to work with me more and I ended up meeting Christopher Bailey and I’ve worked with Burberry quite a lot since then, so that was kind of my initiation.

Did you know what a big deal the Burberry show exclusive was?
I opened and closed Burberry as an exclusive in January. I didn’t really know that I was opening and closing the show until the day of the show because I’d never done anything like that before, so even though my look said look number one, I didn’t know that meant that I was the first look. I thought they would organize it later on. When I found out about that, I realized this was a massive thing and it was really exciting and pretty nerve-wracking as well, but just one of the most amazing experiences.

Favorite modeling experience so far?
Possibly that, that was just incredible for someone who’d never done anything like that before to then be walking in front of I’m not sure how many people. That was a big thing, but I’ve had some other good experiences too. I think I’m really lucky in that way, because that was my first experience of runway and my first experience of editorial was for Louis Vuitton, which was shot in Cambodia for Another Man magazine. That was an amazing experience as well, because it was the first time I’d been taken far away to this new place that I’d never visited before for my work, which I just thought was amazing. I got to see things that I most likely would never have seen otherwise in my life and without having to pay anything as well. I’ve always had the travel bug and it’s so difficult for young people to travel because of the costs involved, so to have this opportunity is just so lucky.

Which brand would you really love to model for?
I’m not sure in terms of who I’d most like to model for now. I’m hoping that Burberry still like me and that I keep on working with them because I really like the team that I get to work with there, but a brand that I haven’t worked for before that I’d like to work with is Alexander McQueen because I just really like their stuff. I guess I’ve not done anything for some of the commercial companies that are less high fashion, so maybe something like that would be quite cool, but I’m not sure which one really.

Place you would love to visit:
I have so many on my list. To name a few, I really want to go to India and Iceland. Iceland’s quite near, relatively, so I’m hoping to be able to do that quite soon, and then some really faraway, exotic places as well. I’ve never been to South America, so that’s another one on my list, and also the West Coast of America. I’ve only ever been to New York once when I was 15, so it’d be nice to look further into the US.

What’s the best thing about your hometown?
I come from a village and it’s kind of like the land that time forgot. I suppose that’s the best thing, because it’s so intense running around all the time for fashion week or doing shoots and things like this, and then you get back to Little Addington and everything’s so quiet and sleepy. It’s quite a pretty little home county. It’s just really nice.

What are you currently obsessed with?
That’s a difficult one. “Obsessed” is quite a strong term to use. I guess I’m kind of obsessed with shoes. My dad is the managing director of George Cox footwear, which is our family business, so I’m always looking at footwear. I’ve found myself taking pictures of shoes everywhere I go and especially for fashion week, because everyone walks around wearing really nice clothing, so I’m walking around taking pictures of people’s shoes and trying to expand my collection. I go up to people and say, “Where are your shoes from?” and they kind of give me a strange look, but I guess I’m obsessed with shoes at the moment.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t take yourself too seriously, because it’s very easy to get yourself down and worry about everything, but something comes along. There’s no guarantee of when it will happen, but there always seems to be something that you can salvage out of any situation, so getting stressed and worrying about it isn’t really worthwhile.