At 6”3, all blond hair and sparkling blue eyes, 17-year old Lucky Blue Smith is being hailed as the Justin Bieber of the fashion industry. And it’s not hard to see why. Screaming fans wait for him outside catwalk shows, young girls mob him in the streets and his loyal Instagram followers (or ‘Lucky Charms’, as they call themselves)- of which there are 1.3 million, no less- regularly track his movements. Yep, Lucky already boasts a bigger following on social media than the world’s highest paid male models, Sean O’Pry and David Gandy, who both have less than 500,00 followers. Not bad for a teenager. Lucky by name…
But Lucky has been wowing the fashion world for longer than you may have realised. He was photographed by Hedi Slimane (creative director of Saint Laurent) when he was just 12, which quickly led to campaigns for Levi’s and GAP before his 15th birthday. In fact, his three sisters- Starlie Cheyenne, Daisy Clementine and Pyper America- starred in the GAP ads with him, as they’re all signed to the same agency, Next Models. Raised as Mormons in Utah, the Smith siblings not only share supermodel genes, they also have a band- The Atomics- in which Lucky is the drummer.
But Lucky is most definitely dominating the fashion scene right now, and since dying his hair platinum blond, fashion’s power players have come calling. The likes of Versace, Balmain, Bottega Veneta and Etro all recruited the American teen to strut his stuff on their catwalks at the most recent menswear shows, and if that wasn’t enough, he’s currently the face of Tom Ford’s AW15 campaign and poster boy for high street hot spot, Zara.
That’s not all. Online shopping haven Zalando has just recruited Lucky- along with a slew of other celebs- to front its brand new Share Your Style campaign, celebrating personal style across all ages, shapes and sizes. The German brand is encouraging us all to share our favourite outfits, with the likes of Christina Hendricks, Caroline de Maigret, supermodel Binx Walton and Lucky Blue all spilling their own style secrets to inspire us.
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To celebrate the campaign, we caught up with Lucky Blue in Berlin to find out exactly what it’s like to be mobbed by screaming teenage girls and who his style icon is. He even chatted to us about the pay gap, and how modelling plays a role in that debate…
Things seem to have gone crazy for you recently, what’s it been like with all the attention you’ve been getting? Can you go anywhere without being recognized at the moment?
It’s not got to that level yet. I mean, really crowded places… like I went to this one café in LA on a Friday night so all the teenagers and kids were out and I got a lot of attention. It’s starting to get that way but that’s never going to stop me from going somewhere. It has been really crazy lately and totally insane. It’s awesome.
You’ve been modelling since you were much younger so it’s nothing new for you. How do you think it’s suddenly exploded in the way that it has?
My agency has really been smart with what I’ve been doing and they’ve made sure that everything I’ve done is really cool and stuff people respect. When I was 15 I did a Levi’s campaign and then I did a GAP holiday campaign with my sisters. So them making that happen has just kind of moulded this cool thing, you know.
Tell us a bit about the Zalando Share Your Style campaign…
So the campaign came through my agency and I shot it in London, and I just really like the idea of sharing your style.
How would you describe your own style?
My own style is like some classic black skinny jeans and maybe a t-shirt and just a cool jacket. I like basic stuff.
Whose style do you most admire?
Yeah, I like James Dean and David Beckham. But it doesn’t have to be some specific person. If I see someone on the street walking and I think they look cool, I would look up to them and think that’s an awesome jacket maybe if they’re wearing it in a different way.
So do you look at it as an aesthetic rather than one particular person?
Yeah, yeah that’s true.
You’ve mentioned your sisters, who are also models, and aren’t you all in a band together?
Yes, we are.
That’s amazing- how do you find the time to do everything?
Well we started playing music when I was really young- I got drums when I was seven years old, and then we all got instruments for Christmas one year. So we all started playing music together, and then did that for a while and played local shows in my old hometown- car shows, on the library steps, and then we got into this modeling thing so we’re just doing it right now. It’s really crazy schedule-wise for me but whenever I’m in LA I try to play music with them. We’re all trying to work as a team to get it all done.
Do you get to see them much?
Yeah, I mean I’ll go to LA and whenever I’m there I’ll see them and hang out with them and a couple of times my sisters have travelled with me and done jobs with me so that’s really nice.
How do your parents feel about you all being in the industry?
My parents think it’s crazy, they think it’s really cool and a really awesome opportunity.
Your Instagram followers just seem to keep growing- do you think it’s something that’s key to being successful in modeling these days?
I think it helps for sure, and it’s totally helped me out but before I got this following I booked a couple of really cool campaigns that… well, like Levi’s- not a lot of models would maybe book Levi’s so it’s for sure something that helps and people are starting to get to know how Instagram can help their company and their campaign. So having a following does help but it’s not the deal breaker I don’t think.
How do you deal with your female fans? We’ve heard that they track you down on social media…
The only time it was scary, I was in Amsterdam for a job and on Instagram you can show your location on the map… I didn’t know that so I didn’t turn it off and posted a photo and then a couple of girls figured out where I was and showed up to my hotel and I had no announcements whatsoever or anything like that. So I was like ‘how did you guys find me, this is really weird but hi, nice to meet you.’ But then when they told me [about Instagram] I fixed that right away. But I’m never really scared or weirded out by it- they want to meet you and I like meeting them.
Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram?
There’s a lot. I mean, my friend- his name is Luka Sabbat. He’s really cool with style and he lives in New York, so he’s really cool to follow.
Is he a model as well?
Yeah, he just has really cool style, he’s a super cool kid.
What’s been the most amazing moment for you so far would you say?
I was doing a show in Milan and I came outside, there was a bunch of fans there, and I go out for a few seconds and then everyone swarms- I wanna say 1000 people, because it was a lot of people, maybe 700 or something but it was a lot of people- but they swarmed and it was really crazy and the security there didn’t expect it so they all kind of came over to me and my sister and we had to go inside and regroup. At that time I was like ‘what is happening? This is really crazy, I love this.’
So it’s something you enjoy, you’re not annoyed by it?
Are there any male models you see as an inspiration?
I mean, there’s some cool shoots that other male models have done, um and I respect what they’re doing but I’m not really trying to be and do exactly what they want. You know what I mean?
Yeah, you’re doing your own thing.
Yeah, but it’s like… I dunno, Zoolander is really funny and it’s really cool to make fun of yourself and the industry and I’ll take a joke but not really. I’m not trying to follow everyone’s exact path and do the shoots they’re doing. I’m just trying to do my own cool thing and do some cool projects.
You mention Zoolander- I feel that male models in the past have had a bit of a bad rap in the industry. All the focus tends to be on female models and they’re often taken more seriously. Do you think that’s something that’s starting to change now?
I think it’s getting more positive, but honestly this is the only time that women have made more than men, money-wise and stuff like that. So I think it’s really sick and cool. But, I think women should be able to make as much money in some job as some other guy, not modeling. Something totally different and be totally equal. But still, it’s super cool that [female models] are working and doing the same thing and making more than us so I don’t really have a problem with that at all but I think equally getting paid in every job you do is cool. It could be changing slowly, I hope to be a part of that change if it ever happens…
It certainly seems that male models have more of a presence on social media at the moment.
Yeah, I mean a lot of teenagers like pretty guys [laughs].
Describe a day in the life of Lucky Blue for us.
There’s probably a few different situations. I’m either running to the airport to get on a plane to go to New York or Europe or China or something and that day will be quite boring because I’m on a plane. Then, I’ll either be in LA writing music with my sisters and hanging out with some friends or in New York on a casting or on a shoot so it just depends on the day and what I’m doing.
Do you ever get any time to chill out?
Yeah, yeah I do get some time. I really like this so it’s not like ‘oh I’m so tired, I just want to get some rest’ or whatever.
Which designer would be your dream to work for?
Um… well I have had the opportunity to work with some really amazing designers already in my life, but I like working with up and coming designers and… there’s not really one specific one that I would really want to work with it’s like, I dunno, whatever comes through my agency and what I can do is cool, y’know? But I would love to work with the people I’ve worked with again. They were really awesome.
You’ve spoken about wanting to get into acting- is there anyone in particular you’d love to work with?
I mean, acting is something that I really do want to get into and start doing more often and it’s kind of like the same thing. If I got the opportunity to be in a movie with, like, Brad Pitt- which would be really rad- um, then that would be awesome. But if I got a small role in some other movie, that would be awesome as well. I’m not really trying to get… it’s not really a competition to me, I’m just trying to do some cool stuff. But I’m for sure getting more into that.
Can you tell us something about you that might surprise us?
Well, I think there’s… I’m really open to people in the public and stuff but I think there are things to keep to myself. I dunno, if anyone finds out, then they find out so I’ll keep it a secret!
If you weren’t modelling (or acting or playing music) what do you think you’d be doing?
I couldn’t picture anything else really. When I was little, I really loved surfing. I used to live in Orange County and that’s what all the kids do there, so I wanted to be a surfer as a little kid and a firefighter or a cop or whatever, but I think when I got to the age when I started realizing what could happen so music and acting and modeling- that’s what I want to do.
To #ShareYourStyle, head to Zalando.co.uk, or visit the brand’s Style Hub, where you can share your daily outfits as well as vote for what other people should wear. You can even shop the looks of the campaign stars, giving you supermodel style in an instant.
Suddenly, AW15 is looking up…