More than just a pretty face

Dutch Vogue interviewed Anna de Rijk about her work as an artist. English translation below.

Anna de Rijk (28) is a model, draws en creates videos and performances. “Creating stuff is rather usual in my family. My mum is an illustrator and sews, my dad is a writer and me as a kid, I was always working on some creative project. My sister creates cartoons, my brother makes jewelles and knives from bones and rocks. I ended up studying at the art academy of Gent. Some people have to fight their parents in order to be able to follow their heart and do something creative. Not me, luckily; my parents understand the urge to be free and create, and have always let me make my own decisions.”

“I did notice my parents were starting to get a little nervous when they saw I kept modelling for a rather long time. They were proud of me of course, but just didn’t think it was a very useful thing to do with your time on the long run. Subconsciously I’ve always felt the same. It was fun for a while, but it was always meant to be a temporarily thing. By now I’ve started to look at it differently; I now see that modelling is something I can do besides everything else I do, instead of the other way around. That’s why I decided to start modelling again after I graduated – I had an amazing comeback at Prada.”

“I haven’t always wanted to go to the art academy. When I was in high school I was thinking of studying anthropology. At the time I was living in Haarlem (Holland). I was rebelling against my parents and everything they stand for. I was a bit of a difficult teenager I guess. Really wasn’t into anything creative for a while. It took a while for me to really understand myself. Modelling absolutely helped me with that. My world all of a sudden got way bigger and I got to see how many different people are out there. On set I felt free, and that’s how I discovered I really like to perform.”

“Eventually I decided to go to the academy because I wanted to discover myself in a way that modelling wouldn’t allow me to. I studied autonomous art in Gent, at the KASK. That study allows you to practically do whatever you want – you don’t have to focus on just one medium. I drew, performed and made installations. You really learn to think about stuff and question everything you create. It’s an amazing bubble to live in, but also gets to be quite confronting from time to time. I had to learn how to build my own framework, and decide what and how I wanted to communicate to my audience. After having worked on my new house very intensely for about a year, I’m now in the process of re-orientating. For a while I thought I would have to focus on one medium, but I now realise that just isn’t necessary – I’m just gonna keep going where I left of in Gent.”

Read the Dutch interview in Vogue Nederland, March 2017