ERDEM x H&M: Meet Neels Visser
The 19-year-old dreamboat is young, hungry, and chased by hoards of screaming girls.
2.5 million followers can't be wrong. At the tender age of 19, Neels Visser has already started and sold companies, launched a successful modelling career, produced music and built a massive social media following. However, the young American refuses to be called an influencer, and instead credits good timing – and coincidence – for making him one of the most popular kids on the Internet. We trust his stellar good looks and winning personality has played a role as well.
With high ambitions, a creative mind-set and a squad consisting of the most sought-after male models on the planet (read: Presley Gerber, Anwar Hadid and Lucky Blue Smith), Neels' future looks nothing but bright. In an exclusive interview, we caught up with him right after he'd returned from filming the ERDEM x H&M campaign film with legendary director Baz Luhrmann.
The silk pyjama set is my favourite piece for sure. It's beautiful.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHERE YOU GREW UP.
"I was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but moved to Newport Beach, California, with my family when I was 15. I started modelling in Phoenix, and around the same time, I started an online retail store and began accumulating a social media following. In the last few months I've launched a YouTube channel to give my audience a more in-depth look of what my life is like."
WHAT ELSE ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
"I still model, apparently, but music has been my main focus for the last year. I'm in production school so I study and produce progressive house music, which takes basically all of my free time."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH ERDEM AND BAZ LUHRMANN?
"I'm a huge fan of Baz Luhrmann's work so it was really exciting to be on set with him. He's very funny, very direct and, of course, he really knows what he's doing. It was inspiring to work with him, and – although I'm not an actor – it was fascinating to get a glimpse into that world. Erdem was really funny as well, and he ended up being in the film."
WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE COLLECTION?
"It's really elegant, and I love the floral patterns. I'm a huge fan of the blue clothes, and lots of pieces are in different shades of it, which will fit my wardrobe well. The silk pyjama set is my favourite piece for sure. It's beautiful."
I've had some strange encounters! Once, a girl gave me quail eggs in Hong Kong.
HOW IMPORTANT IS FASHION TO YOU?
"It's really important! I grew up in an area where fashion wasn't really relevant, so since I got into the scene it's become really inspiring for me to become a part of something that engages so many and that pushes so much creativity."
DO YOU HAVE A STYLE ICON?
YOU'RE QUITE POPULAR. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FANS.
"In the past, I used to arrange meet-and-greets all over the world. I had to stop a while back because they got too hectic and claustrophobic, often ending up as a screaming mess that was impossible for me to control."
WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU'VE EVER GOTTEN FROM A FAN?
"I've had some strange encounters! Once, a girl gave me quail eggs in Hong Kong, which I in turn gave to my dad, who cooked and ate them."
YOU UPLOAD A LOT ON INSTAGRAM EVERY DAY. DO YOU EVER THINK YOU’RE OVER-USING?
"No [laughs]! Social media is about posting what you authentically think is cool. If I think something is funny, I'm going to post it. I'm not trying to portray my life in a way that's not authentic. I'm just young and hungry, and if someone doesn't like me I don't care. What I care about is business, music and fashion."
HOW MANY INDECENT PROPOSALS DO YOU GET ON INSTAGRAM DM EVERY DAY?
"Hundreds, or honestly I have no idea because I rarely open them."
I'm jealous of my parents, growing up in a world without social media and entertainment as such monumental parts of business.
AND SOME FUN QUESTIONS…
WHERE WOULD YOU TELEPORT TO RIGHT NOW IF YOU HAD THE ABILITY?
"Bali. Because my girlfriend is from there and we always want to go there but never have the time."
IF YOU HAD TO PICK THREE PEOPLE TO INVITE FOR DINNER, WHO WOULD THEY BE?
"Elon Musk, Russell Brand and Rihanna."
IF YOU ONLY GOT TO LISTEN TO ONE SONG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE – WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
"Strobe by DeadMau5."
WHAT SONG GETS YOU IMMEDIATELY ON THE DANCELOOR?
"Raf my Asap Mob."
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE WHICH ERA YOU WERE BORN IN, WHEN WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
"The '60s. I'm jealous of my parents, growing up in a world without social media and entertainment as such monumental parts of business. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and would have loved to try the old-school way of doing business."
WHAT’S YOUR WEIRDEST HABIT?
"Probably that I love candles. I love buying candles and trying new ones in my apartment. I love testing out different scents."
The Erdem x H&M collection is sold in selected stores and online starting 2 November.
DOES: Model, music producer, entrepreneur
LIVES IN: New York