THE ROAD FROM THE COVERS OF INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINES TO GEN Y BLOG WITH GENERATION Y SHOES
It’s hard to believe but a very handsome Marcus Zierke (Germany) from the covers of international magazines such as Men’s Health, GQ, Esquire and more, that debuted with Tommy Hilfiger, became a model by accident. Modeling was his additional job during his Business, Engineering, Administration studies and canoeing in Berlin. A guy like him couldn’t pass unnoticed. His life completely changed with the major model agency M4.
Constantly traveling and meeting new people, not only helped him to find love but also understand what he would have liked to do in the future. With his business partner, Matthias Götz, aka Jesus, 2 years ago, founded two on-line activities: GENERATION Y SHOP, where he sells men’s shoes in the name of sustainable, responsible and affordable fashion that also offers a high quality standard, and GEN Y blog, with advice on style, thoughts on what’s going on in the world and funny stories.
Interviewed on-line, long distance from Mexico, for JL Interviews magazine, Marcus talks about his every day fashion style, his “beautiful” work and dangerous sport experiences such as the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, beloved canoeing and freeletics that help him maintain such a perfect fit. He also greatly criticizes our generation of wealth and consumption, and expresses his concerns regarding the political situation in Europe and the world. “I am sure something big is going to happen. It’s kind of a circle of life, but I am positive”.
You work with M4 model agency. Is modeling the job of your life or was it more a job by accident?
It definitely came by accident. I moved to Berlin in late 2005 to study business engineering and administration but I needed a job to pay my bills. The problem was that I was doing professional canoeing, so I needed something that’s not fixed, no required schedule. I started as an extra because there is a city called Potsdam, which is very close to Berlin, where they do a lot of movies (they call it the Hollywood of the 20’s). It was very convenient because it involved a lot of time which I used to study and I could agree on a job a day before. Soon a photographer saw me online, wanted to do a test shoot with me but I rejected him for almost half a year. Now I can say that this guy started everything and that I owe him a lot because maybe I wouldn’t have been where I am right now without him. So thanks, Phil. He introduced me to agencies and in 2009 I went on to M4 where have been ever since.
Before we talk about your new activity, tell me how modeling changed your life?
I was the luckiest student ever because I could travel and get paid for it. On top of it I worked 2, 3 times a month (or more) and made more money that all of my student friends. So I could focus entirely on my studies and sport. It was a blessing – that’s for sure. Due to my work (that I love!) I was able to see the most beautiful spots in the world, and I could travel, I met a lot of interesting people, so in that sense it did change my life, yes.
Did you work with the most famous people of the fashion world?
That’s hard to answer. With photographers? Not the most famous but known ones, yes. Models? Not really because I work mostly alone. Magazines? A few, GQ USA and GER, Men’s Health cover in GER / UK, Esquire etc.
Which photographic session was your the best?
I can’t really pick any because there was always something special and you can’t really compare them. I just shot a campaign here in Mexico in one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life. I shot another one years ago where I met a girl that became my girlfriend – 6 years later. My first job was for Tommy Hilfiger – so obviously that was special. Those are just a few examples but for me “best” means the ones you have the best memories with.
As a stylish man, tell me what can’t miss in your wardrobe? What is Marcus’s private look?
I have a very simple style. Black, grey and white are my favorite colors. I try to not buy too much stuff. I can’t remember when I have been to Zara or H&M the last time. We live in a world where people consume way too much anyways and to have 14 collections a year, which Zara has for example, is just unnecessary. I try to get sustainable stuff and buy responsibly, because I travel a lot I have to make sure that the stuff I take with me matches with as much stuff possible. I think a good fitted blue jeans and a white T-Shirt should be part of every means wardrobe, that’s harder to find than it sounds and, please, no comic underwear. I keep it simple, and if possible in a one- or two-colour-way.
You traveled a lot and you met lots of interesting people. Which meeting (with whom and where) do you recall today with a smile?
Probably the shooting I mentioned before where I met my girlfriend. Although we are not together anymore, it was something I connect with positive, good memories.
Which sports helps you to be in good shape? Do you like risky, dangerous activities?
After canoeing I got into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) which is always a nightmare for my agency when I tell them that I have a competition coming up. I broke a rib, destroyed my ankles countless times, black eyes and broke ligaments – there is just little left I did not injure. I enjoy it and I can’t go to the gym and just work out. That would be way to boring for me, so BJJ and freeletics is the perfect combination for me to stay in shape. Freeletics is actually unbeatable when you are travelling a lot, because you can basically perform it in your hotel room.
As you mentioned before, modelling and sport are not the only activities in your life. What is/are your new project/s about?
I started an online shop for men shoes with my partner Matthias, aka Jesus, about 2 years ago which is called GENERATION Y SHOP that follows the same principles I mentioned earlier: sustainable, responsible and affordable fashion that also offers a high quality standard. Due to his work as an architect we found a label in Chile that produces simple but elegant shoes of very high quality of which we own the rights to selling them in Europe. We have a feeling that in times of H&M, Primark and Zara people seem to appreciate good quality more and more and they also don’t want to support all the bad things that come with mass production such as child labour, bad working conditions, health problems both for workers and the customer due to chemical usage, climate change, logistics of the goods etc.
What is GEN Y blog? What exactly do you offer there to men?
It certainly doesn’t address only men. It is basically just our view on things which we share with the world and whoever is interested in reading about it. It’s a mix of fashion‚ advice, thoughts on what’s going on in the world and funny stories we experienced and we think are worth sharing as well. The name kind of says it all: it’s more or less about GENERATION Y, about their concerns, thoughts, feelings, emotions and what’s important to them. We are a generation that had everything – and more. Our grand-parents were living in times of war and fear, our parents had to make sure that there was food on the table and if they were lucky they could put some money aside. We never had to experience those things so our problems are of a different nature. There is a reason why everybody is looking for fullfillment, trying to find a job he is happy with, why burnout became such a phenomenon etc. We pick up on those things and share our thoughts about our generation with people.
You were born in Germany. After many years of living abroad, how do you find now your country? Has it changed, in your opinion, or is still the same?
When I was young I couldn’t wait to get out of Germany. I also wanted to live abroad, California was my dream. But now that I have seen so many different countries and cities I have to admit that whenever I come back I appreciate Germany more and more. It’s a wealthy country compared to a lot of other countries in the world. Wealthy in many ways: the health insurance is very good, the social system works, cost of living is surprisingly low, unemployment rate is ok, we have everything from sea to plains and mountains. It is a very safe country and in the heart of Europe so where ever you want to travel it doesn’t take you more than 3 hours by plane. It could definitely be worse.
After Brexit, Migration Issue growing every day and Trump winning in US presidential elections, how do you think European market and whole world will change?
The political situation worries me a bit – not only in Germany: in Europe in general. Actually worldwide. Brexit was a huge thing. I was in London that day for work and I remember that everybody was just sitting in front of the TV completely silent and in shock because no-one understood what was going on. Then the Trump thing a few weeks later. The world got a bit side-tracked lately. The Internet gives everybody the chance to state their opinion and that’s not necessarily a good thing because there is no such thing (yet) like an Internet police that makes sure that rules are followed. It feels like there is a lot of hate in the world right now which is a bit sad, to be honest. I am pretty sure that something big is going to happen anytime soon that will affect all of us. It’s kind of a circle of life. But I am sure that people learned from their mistakes in the past and that they won’t repeat them. So I am positive that it will all end well. People should be aware that, especially in Europe, must of us are very lucky. I understand that some have a hard time and probably struggle a bit at the moment. But it’s the longest period ever that there are no wars going on in Europe, we all have health insurance and in most countries the social system is ok, too. It is always a question of: what side you are looking at it from, isn’t it?
Interview by Joanna Longawa
PHOTO GALLERY: The photographes were obtained from GEN Y BLOG by Zierke&Götz and from Model Agencies such as M4Models, MetropolitanModels, ViewManagement, Wilhelmina, GHManagement