The WILD Life of Bradley Soileau
by: Teena Kang
photography by: Magda Wosinska
June 28, 2012
We were curious to know a little more about this years most intriguing fashion darling, model Bradley Soileau, so over a cup of coffee at a local Hollywood joint, we picked his brain on all the WILD things in his life.
Hi Bradley Soileau, what brings you out to L.A. the West Coast?
I got married in March. My wife lives out here so I moved out here to be with her. We were going to do a month here, a month there but we’re married and it would be really stressful. So I decided to move to L.A. I go back to N.Y.; my agency flies me back for work.
Soileau is a very exotic name, what’s your true background?
French, German and Spanish.
And how do you pronounce your last name?
So how did your modeling career get started?
I had done a few things before, in 09 for spring and summer look books for a street wear brand. Then I got casted on the street to do a shoot with Ryan McGinley, and then I got casted to do a campaign for this brand called Silver Star casting. They casted me off the street for that and that was my first paying modeling gig. I’ve been stopped on the street for a couple of other things, like Ink magazine, so I’d done a little bit and people were like you should model you have a good face. I weighed a little more then so I had to work out and lose a little weight but I had lost that weight just from being broke in New York trying to figure out what I wanted to do. One day I was walking down the street in the summer, my agent only saw my silhouette from the back, a tall and skinny kid. He stopped me, I turned around and he saw my face and he was like “whoa, the tattoos, word, you want to be a model“? I didn’t know much about the industry and it was kind of weird that I was stopped on the street. He didn’t have a card but I was like sure. I went in the next week, I was at a go sees. My first magazine shoot was with Vogue Homme that was styled by Nicola Formichetti with Zombie boy. I got lucky, that was a big shoot and then the pinnacle was the Lana Del Rey Video. That was like when everybody started knowing me. After that, a bunch of work, I worked on a lot of editorials.
What is the best experience you had through modeling?
Going to Europe, traveling. I’ve never been able to go to Europe. Being able to go to Milan, Paris, Barcelona, and really cool experiences. I wouldn’t have been able to pay for myself. And that experience opened me up to other cultures.
As a kid what were your wildest dreams?
I wanted to be an archeologist, forever. My parents got me this like professional archeology kit and I’d grid off our yard. I was super into dinosaurs. Only in childhood, once I grew up I knew that was not something I wanted to do. It was up until 8-9 then I got a skateboard and started skate boarding.
How old where you when you got your first tattoo-and which one is it?
I was sixteen and I got three X s tattooed on my arm, but I got it covered up. I used to be straight edge, that’s no drugs, no promiscuous sex, and no alcohol. The symbol for straight edge is XXX.
Was that because the kids you were rolling with?
I was into the hardcore scene; it’s like what punk kind of became, bands who branched off of punk. Like Black Flag was one of the first hardcore bands.
What bands were the most influential to you then, especially during that time since it seemed like such a pivotal time for you, from archeology to skateboarding?
Earth crisis (vegan straight edge band), Suicide File, No Innocent Victim, Carry on, Cold World, Kids Like Us and Down To Nothing, those are bands I remember still and still listen to. Those were the most influential bands for that period of my life.
What does your tattoo on your forward head exactly say?
Ok, the tattoo on my forehead says, “War inside my head”. It’s a Suicidal Tendencies song, there like an 80’s thrash band from California. They were so influential to metal; the bassist is in Metallica now. They were just this big band, kind of like a Mega Death, they were like huge, the hat pulled forward that’s a trend now, and they did that.
What made you get it on your forehead?
I don’t care about much; I just go through life, like what ever happens, happens. There’s stuff that I do care about but I’m just kind of riding the waves. I like getting tattooed so I was like, why not? I’ll do what ever I want to do regardless. I got it on my head because I feel like everyone has a battle between good and evil inside their head, everyone has that, it’s a conscious. It’s symbolic to that war I had going on in my head esp. at that time I was in Louisiana not doing much and in a bad relationship. I planned it out for months, too. It wasn’t like spare of the moment, I planned it out for months and then I did it.
It’s almost like an artistic expression for you.
Tattoos are artistic expressions. Yeah it’s like buying a Warhol for your wall but your buying a Warhol on your arm. Tattoo artist can paint and draw, your just buying a painting for your skin; it’s a way to show who you are. I was very specific on how I wanted it.
Most interesting and I love the placement is the one around your ear, what’s that one?
It’s right in front of my ear, goes from my temple down below my ear. I really like religious tattoos, the praying hands but I don’t believe in God. So why would I have a religious tattoo, something that symbolizes something I don’t stand for. So instead I got praying hands but they are zombie praying hands and then the bones to the wrist turns into a needle on a record because I DJ.
Favorite place on earth and why?
I think New York is my favorite place on earth. I guess cause I found myself in New York and I got into modeling. Modeling I don’t really necessary care about but the experiences that I got from it has been great. I met a lot of really cool people, got to do a lot of cool things, and I got into Fashion. I was never into clothes but now I kind of feel like it’s my calling. From having to always go to New York, I have a sense of what I want to do with life. For that reason I love New York and is my favorite place on earth.
What was one of the wildest situations you’ve ever been in?
Off the top of my head, before when I was in New York I was selling weed and I was selling a lot of weed. I was living in Spanish Harlem I was making a lot of money, buying a lot of flashy clothes. You can’t live in the hood where people live there whole lives, who are born and die there and them not notice you. I got robbed, 2 guys with guns broke into my house while I was there and they robbed me. They tied me up; beat me up robbed me of my money and weed. I never sold drugs and never knew anything about drugs when I was in Louisiana. It changed my life. I thought to myself- I’m not going to die living out some rap fantasy, it was crazy. After that, I quit and cut off a lot of people. You blow money when you make money like that. You just blow it.
What do you want to do with your life?
I want to produce and DJ. Do like TSO or VT. Produce and DJ but I also want to start my own Fashion clothing line.
Who would you most want to produce?
There really isn’t anyone in the pop industry that I’d want to produce for where I’m like in awe. My wife’s music (Porcelain Black) is really cool; I’d like to do something for her. Eventually, if I got to that level of production, cause she does industrial rock n’ roll type music, really heavy synth stuff… it’s really good. I grew up on rock so I feel like its something I’d be involved in. But if I had to just pick an artist to produce for, it’d be Kanye West. He’s my favorite artist, because he’s so versatile. He makes good rap music but he can also make whatever else, like “808s & heartbreak”, it’s kind of like an indie album, he’s just a talented person. So that’s someone I’d like to work for or work with.
Who are you biggest inspirations and what inspires you most?
Kanye West. Riccardo Tischi, Thome Brown, Siki Im, and Dominic Louis these are all people who are very talented they all inspire me. They are designers but it’s not just about clothes but they inspire me in life. Its not just about clothes, it’s a lifestyle, they are not just making clothes. I’ve worked with Siki Im, that was one of my first jobs. It’s the passion that these people have, he styles his shoots he does it all he has total creative control, the passion he has for it. It’s just crazy how much passion these people have, how can you not look up to someone like that. I’m inspired by there passion; those are the types of people who inspire me. Kanye West musically, George Clooney and Denzel Washington, I think they’re both very talented actors, they’ve been doing it for so long and what have they put out that’s been bad. I don’t know any movie that I’ve seen by them that was bad. Those are 2 very talented people. People who do whatever they do and they do it better than everyone else. It doesn’t have to be a musician to inspire me in music. Its just someone who has such a fire who inspires me or to be inspired.
What do you think about the situation of our country now?
I don’t follow this stuff, I don’t care, I’m a convicted felon so I can’t vote, so why should I care. But at the same time I’ve looked into a little bit of it and currently, I’m scared to be here. I’m scared to see what’s going to happen soon in the future. I don’t think it’s going in a good direction. If you look at in the past how much money the country had, how many jobs were available and the quality of everything, but now. For example, the MTA, it used to be a quarter to take the subway and now it’s $2.50 per ride. It used to run smooth and now it runs like shit. It used to be all these people working for it but now there’s barely anybody working for it but why does it cost more? So now the people in power are getting so greedy and your pushing all these people out of jobs, your giving people poor quality and your charging more. Cause you got greedy? Its like the whole world, keeps getting greedier and greedier. They have more money, less jobs and everything cost more. What’s going on? It’s just going to keep getting worse and worse and the American dollar is already so weak. It used to be one of the strongest.
What upsets you the most ever?
When things don’t go my way, it’s really regular, my whole life things didn’t go my way. Now that things kind of do go my way it really distresses me when things don’t go my way. That and also the way people treat people really upsets me. I’m one that can be blamed for, I don’t treat people correctly, I used to do it, not anymore but I used to like say the craziest shit to people. It was all humor to me but humor on someone else, making fun of people. I was bullied my whole life so I don’t see a point in it all anymore. I kind of just grew out of it. I was kind of an asshole to a lot of people for a while but nobody likes an asshole. It does upset me when people treat people fowl.
I regret being that asshole a lot. I regret the way I’ve treated a lot of people. I’ve heard I’ve been a terrible person to be around and lately its been really upsetting me. I regret not thinking first and not caring as much as I should. I’m no better than anyone else. Initially when I started modeling, I had a little chip on my shoulder and when I thought about it I thought I’m not a talented person, people don’t know me because of my talent, you know me because the pictures that I take. Anyone can look like me and take a picture. I didn’t do anything different, I was just at the right place at the right time and it just happened to be the time where the kid with the face tattoo gets to shine for a bit in the fashion industry. I’m just a dude that gets my picture taken. I got married and I have this great woman in my corner and I haven’t really had people in my corner, its nice to know that there is someone in my corner. I used to be angry, with everybody. I’ve just been angry up until recently, there’s more to the world then hate and anger. Getting married and moving in with someone, that changes a lot of things. Living with someone who cares about you, really cares about you. Makes you look at life like, life’s not all that bad. I’ve dealt with some shit before, its cool, shit can turn around. If I’m going to be negative and pessimistic I’m never going to live my dreams out because negativity only brings out negativity. If I start taking a more positive outlook on life and start caring, Karma works its Karma for a reason. What you do to other people happens to you. I can tell the more positivity that’s around me; the more positive things go on around me. So I just kind of like had to change.
What is your WILD wish?
I just wish that everything I’m working on pans out. That I don’t have this buzz then it dies. I hope I actually do capitalize on it. I hope all this does work out.
All photos by Magdalena Wosinska