With Models in the Raw we have learned to let go and give the unexpected a chance. One day you’ll run into a student of philosophy, the next into a young woman with natural entertainer qualities, who had been savvily navigating herself through social media breaking the magic 10k Instagram mark with a pinch of self-irony. Her energy and humor got us, too. So we travelled all the way to her Austrian home town Graz for a personal guided tour and a very sincere talk about life, friendship and image on and off the internet. We hope you’ll enjoy this feature as much as we have been enjoying spending some time with Anna Francesca!
Thanks for taking us on a tour in Graz, Anna! What makes this city most special to you?
I don’t know, it’s the vibe. I’m feeling home here, safe and happy. Anywhere I go in this city I just feel like it’s mine, I know all the places I know all the people – it’s my little world. Even though many people say they hate that they know everyone and everything I kind of love it. Graz is a city that makes you feel home as soon as you get there. It’s like a friend. Always welcoming, always there for you.
Is there any other place in the world you would most like to be right now?
I could be anywhere as long as I’m with the people I love. It’s very important for me to feel safe, I could be on the most beautiful island, if I’m alone I won’t be as happy as I am sitting in the park with my best friends at 2am. So apparently I would most like to be on a beautiful island with the people I love. Kind of.
You started taking pictures with a friend when you were 14. Did you just take pictures of each other at first? And what did you make out of them?
She loved photography more than modeling so she took all the pictures of me actually. I liked that pretty much to be honest because I finally found somebody who wanted to photograph me instead of saying “oh my god, Anna stop, don’t annoy me, I already took three pictures of you a week ago”, as everybody else does. I didn’t have an Instagram account back then so I just changed my Facebook profile picture every week, haha, and I wanted to be a blogger so I put them on a blog. A few months later I was already too lazy to post so I quit. A year later I made my Instagram.
Has working as a model changed the way you relate to the medium? What is the most interesting part in the photographic process in your eyes now?
When I started taking photos with my friend we posed a lot. Now, after two years of modeling, I love natural photos much more. I always loved to photograph but only recently I discovered my love for photographing people in their natural habits and environment. Photos, in my opinion, should capture reality. And posing is not real. When I look at photos I want to see who these people are, what they feel. I don’t care about where their hands are and if their body forms an s curve. That’s why I often love the outtakes of a shooting the most. For sure, posing can look beautiful and it’s fun too, but when I take pictures of my friends for example, I find it much more exciting to capture the moment, because in the end it’s the story that counts, not the pose. That’s why I also love analogue photography, you can’t take a hundred pictures and retouch them afterwards. You can only take a bunch and it makes you think twice before you take a photo. Plus, it makes you super happy and excited to look at the pictures you already had forgotten about when you finally get the developed films.
Being naturally extremely tall and skinny is good for modeling, but you said it comes with a deal of body-shaming. You seem to have found a healthy way to deal with it and there is no way to please anyone, anyway. But don’t you find annoying, that a lot negativity comes from other women?
I never thought of it that way actually. But you are right, most of the time it’s women commenting rude things about my body. Some people will definitely hate on me again if I say this now but: I think it has lots to do with jealousy and them not feeling good in their own body. In general I don’t really care if somebody says “where are your boobs” under my picture because why should I? It just makes me so angry that people don’t understand that saying such things is just as rude as telling somebody that they are fat. I’m used to these comments because I get them all the time, almost every day. When I was younger I laughed them off and started joking around with the people who said things to me but I stopped. Because why should I be nice and maybe encourage them to keep doing it to other girls and boys? Only yesterday an old woman randomly told me that I was skin and bones and needed to eat more. I looked at her and said “no”. Because I’m okay the way I am. Would she have said “You are too fat stop eating!” if I’d have some kilos too much? No, she probably wouldn’t. But you know what, I am tired of these discussions. Like many girls my age I’m really struggling to love myself and feel good in my body and people telling me what they don’t like about me is not making it better. It’s my body and nobody else should give a frick about it because everybody has their own to care for.
Any other downsides of being tall and skinny, people can’t understand?
One thing: Saying “I know you probably hear that all the time BUT…” before you say “YOU ARE SO TALL HOW TALL ARE YOU I FEEL SO TINY WALKING BESIDE YOU” is not making it any less annoying. Fun fact: I literally hear things like that from every person I start talking to, it has come so far that if someone magically does NOT refer to my height and figure in any way in the process of getting to know me I start to develop romantic feelings for them. Just kidding I kind of understand why people want to know how tall I am, I mean you don’t see girls that tall every day. I myself also ask tall girls about their height because I just want to know. It’s really annoying but I’ll have to live with it, so why bother, it’s okay I guess.
Since you have been active on different social media channels for quite some time now, what has been most fun in creating an online persona? Anything you have learned through social media, that you can well use in the first world?
I don’t think I created anybody I would say I am very honest with my online appearance. I use my Instagram as a kind of diary for myself. When I scroll through I remember all the cool stuff I did, everything I’ve been through or what I was wearing on my 17th birthday. I mean, for sure I only post pictures I like, sometimes they are just snapshots but sometimes I try really hard to get the best selfie, taking 50 and not being happy with any of them. My followers often comment “you are so perfect” under my photos – no I’m not. I just took dozens of pictures until I had one that looked good, making sure that my bony chest is covered and my lips don’t look weird then I threw a filter onto it. I’m just a girl, I don’t know. By the way I love my followers very much, and I really want to thank them for always supporting me. It’s kind of overwhelming to get so much love from people you don’t even know.
And what about friends? Do you make a difference between online and offline friends? What are you looking for in friendship in general?
I’m not someone who has loads of online friends or something, I like to keep it real. Although I met some very lovely people online, the number of real friends I made online is small. In friendship the most important thing for me is trust. And that you are there for each other. When I was younger I only hung out with girls while today most of my closest friends are boys. I don’t know if it’s just imagination but I feel like being friends with boys is easier. They are keeping it simple. I feel bad, I text them, they pick me up half an hour later. They don’t ask tons of questions, they don’t judge. They are just there. If I want to talk about it, they listen, if I don’t they are okay with it. Another thing I love about my friends is that I we can fool and joke around for hours, but we can also sit and talk about politics, world peace and relationship issues a whole evening. I want to give you some advice. For friendship, if you feel good, if you are happy, it’s good. The people you hang with can be cool and stylish and popular, if you feel like you can’t be yourself or you have to be ashamed of things you say or do, leave. You can’t grow around them. Get yourself a squad you feel comfortable with and feel supported, and you will automatically become the best you can be.
People with more than 10k followers on Instagram are called influencers nowadays. If you could influence one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
Oh I didn’t know about that, to be honest I find it kind of scary. I have 12k followers at the moment and when I first heard “influencer” I was like okay stop I’m not influencing anybody, it’s just my Instagram. But then again, twelve thousand people is so so so many. Put them all into a hall, you couldn’t even find the ones you know. If I could influence anything in the world I would want to stop all the wars because they scare me too much. I am so worried about our world, we already have so many problems – the environment, the hunger, the economy. Why do we have to fight against each other? We need to stand up for each other instead. We need to rescue the world and not destroy it even more. Maybe I’m sounding naïve and childish but I’m just so scared, I just want it all to be okay.
If @superfertig was a brand, what would it sell?
It would definitely sell T-Shirts and sweaters. I love to design prints and make shirts myself. I always wanted to sell them but never really made the first step. They are cool though, maybe I should do it sometime.
And if you could buy yourself one talent, which one would you pick?
I’d love to be a good dancer. They just have so much elegance and strength. If there’s one thing I’m not, it is elegant. I don’t know, I’m very clumsy and my body shape doesn’t make trying to be elegant any better as my arms and legs are always flying around I don’t know. Oh and I want to be brave. I want to be able to do things and not always have to ask if somebody could do them for me. I guess I’m just too scared of failing. All the time.
Last but not least – what makes you most happy?
I literally thought about this question for three days. I could write so much beginning with beautiful sunrises, the sea, other nice things nature does, a good talk with a friend, generally being with my friends, seeing children having fun, waking up and feeling energetic and alive, but in the end, for the three days of thinking, there was one thing always on my mind. Do you know when there is one special person making you happy by just being there? It’s just, sometimes I start laughing without a reason just because being with them makes me so happy. Some people might call it being in love but I don’t know, who knows what love even is.