Agency: VNY Model Management
Since being discovered in a store in Amsterdam at 17, Jeroen Smits has taken the men’s modeling business by storm, walking the runways for everyone from Gucci to Canali. But he’s more than just a striking face; he’s a deft conversationalist as well, reminiscing about his time as a professional cyclist, making it in New York City, and his current obsession — becoming a chef.
How were you discovered?
I was walking with my mom and my sister in Amsterdam, doing a little shopping, and then suddenly [the man who is] my mother agent now tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Do you want to become a model?”
How old were you?
I was about to turn 17, but I didn’t do anything for about three years, because I was still in school. I used to be a professional cyclist; I didn’t have enough time.
What was your first modeling job?
A student fashion show in Holland, for the graduating class. They had a whole collection, and I did that to get some experience and exposure.
What was your first big runway experience?
In my first season, I only did the Milan shows. The first one was Jil Sander, followed by Gucci. It was a good starting point.
Do you have any favorite designers?
This is always a hard one for me. Personally, I really like Canali, partly because I have done the show for five or six seasons in a row, the team is extremely nice, and the material and the quality of the clothing is, in my eyes, extremely well crafted. For a more casual feel, I really like J. Crew a lot.
What do you do to stay in shape?
Cycling from time to time — I try to go to the gym at least three times a week — running, playing basketball and a lot of outdoor activities are mainly the best way to stay in shape. If you don’t enjoy working out, then you have a very big problem as a model.
If you weren’t a model, what would you like to be doing?
I want to open my own restaurant in the future somewhere. I’m actually studying to be a chef right now.