Interview with Willy van Rooy
MMM60s: First of all, we would like to thank you for sharing your photographs and stories with
us. It is not often one gets such an intimate glimpse into that vivid and wildly romantic era.
We understand that because of you visibility on MMM60s, you were recently contacted by Italian
Vogue to participate in a photo shoot.
Willy: Yes I got an email to ask if I would be available and interested to do a shoot for Italian Vogue
the 9th and 10th of June. The photographer would be Steven Meisel. I was a bit nervous and nothing
was for sure but I answered that I would be thrilled. I kept my fingers crossed. I have learned to not
make myself any illusions and I figured I would probably be an extra and appear in some picture in the
background... Still, I was excited about it and just to work with Meisel is already a trip.
I am only 5.7" and I do know now my measurements because I had to give them to Vogue, 35- 27-36.
Not as thin as I used to be, but carry the same weight always, somewhere between 116 and 122
They asked me for some recent snapshots.
MMM60s: We saw the test shots, they are really good. You look amazing! Who took the pictures?
Willy: I took them myself. You know I don't know why they came out so good, I was really surprised.
Make up makes a lot of difference. I really did only 12 pictures around the house. You know when you
do it yourself, you click the button but than have to run to your place and strike the pose and you have
no idea what it looks like. That's why I was surprised they came out so well, no Photoshopping, only the
levels to make them nice and light.
MMM60s: I'll say. You look incredible. Are you thinking of getting back into modeling?
Willy: I think if something is bound to happen it will. Of course I do all my best to keep my
mind lucid and free so things can happen. Anyway it is very important to know what one really
wants but once you know the doors will open by magic.
You know that just a few days before I got the email I was talking with my friend, Rory Flynn, who was a
model too in the 60's and 70's, and now is a head shot photographer, that we both should go back to
modeling and that we could have fun making a whole day of pictures of each other and then find an agent
(still with the illusion that they are really waiting for us).
And then out of the blue comes that email and I was working for Italian Vogue!
It is a sort of miracle. Of course, I realize that it would be totally impossible for me to be a
commercial model unless I would really be allowed to look like a grandmother, no glamour or
beauty, and only with the very best people. Then it becomes interesting because you know
they wanted you because they saw something that inspired them.
MMM60s: So how was the booking? How was it working with a fabulous photographer again?
Willy: To work with Steven was a great pleasure. You know you are going to look great because you
he wants to make a good picture and you also know he can. Everybody was very kind and what a
setup! There were at least 60 people and tents and dressing-room-cars and toilets and an incredible
catering and many people walking around doing something.
The make up was by Pat Mc Grath and her artists, and Jeffrey did mine. He was very funny!
All the hair was by Guido and his equipe and several young stylists supervised by KARL TEMPLER the
Vogue editor, I know he is one of the fans of your site. All this was done in a big cemetery and of course
all the clothes were black. Beautiful clothes, D&G, Chanel, Dior, YSL etc.
MMM60s: Wow, just like the kind of clothes you modeled in the Sixties and Seventies.
Were there any other models?
Willy: Linda Evangelista was there and she is very beautiful and very kind. There were three other girls,
one by the name of Karen and she is soooo beautiful, too. Wow! And two very young lovely models
named Iris and Guinevere as well as three handsome male models.
All together, on the first day, I did five pictures, two group shots and three by myself.! I think it went
well and it was a very nice day. They even came to pick me up in a beautiful car with chauffeur
who opens the door for you and in between shoots they immediately came running with a chair and a
bottle of water and you see the pictures straight away ( I never dare to look at mine) they have
enormous computerized machines, enfin unbelievable!
MMM60s: Did you work a second day?
Willy: I did work the second day too and all together I was in nine pictures ,of which three of them were
solo. It was fun to work with Linda, she is very kind and at a point even said to me that she it was an
honor to work with me! What do you know!? Some of the models are interested in seeing my jewelry
Now I realize, though, that it is not that easy to start modeling again, for me at least. Of course
to work with Steven Meisel or another very good photographer is OK, They can make you look good,
especially for magazines like Vogue and so on, which is fun but does not bring home the bacon and I
am afraid I am not commercial at all. The clothes fit me perfect though, really amazing and the
stylist even said they looked so elegant on me, that's why I thought of maybe returning to the
catwalk, but the heels.......We will see...
MMM60s: We think you are being too modest, Willy. You have not lost a thing. Well, we will certainly
look forward to the pictures in Italian Vogue when they come out in August. Once again, thanks for all
your very interesting input. You really brighten up the site.
Willy: My working for Vogue again is all because of MMM60s. They never would have found
me if not for this site. Many people on the set there read your website and some knew and
follow my story and told me it was fascinating, so funny! Thank you, Linda.
|Above: Some pictures from Vogue Italia
August 2008 by Steven Meisel
Below: Picture of Willy van Rooy signed by
Yves St Laurent
Click to Supersize