Belgian Model Hannelore Knuts


After the photoshoot, Hannelore sat down to remove her makeup. With each brush of makeup removal, she turned younger and lighter. Her smile started to show more and more, a clear juxtaposition from the penetrating gaze she reserves for the camera. She laughs a lot and is truly a joy to talk to. It’s endearing how she creates sound effects as she elaborates on an idea. Very cute, and unfortunately, not printable.

You were “discovered” while you were studying photography; is that something you’ve continued to pursue?
I remember the first day at school, the professor said that even if you don’t finish school, and you don’t become a photographer, the one thing you will learn is how to look at things. And to this day I’m like, “Yeah, you were right.” You see the things that are out there, and you don’t take things for granted. I look at the world in a rectangular shape, and as a model I find it very useful that I can read a picture. I understand composition and my part in the picture taking process.

I took a look at your blog (, and was happy to see that other side of you, the photographer side.
I started that blog because I was taking pictures, and after a while, the computer gets full and you have to buy another hard drive, and I asked myself, why am I taking these pictures? Nobody sees them. And you kinda lose interest. And then the blog started, and that’s cool because now my pictures have a place to go, and also because I keep snapping at myself: take a picture! keep your eye trained! You get your own language going. I mean, the blog is very innocent.

Just this morning you posted the picture of the egg.
Yeah, we came back from this Easter Brunch, and on the floor was this egg and a bunny. I didn’t put them there.

It looked almost staged.
Yeah, I was like shit, should I write something? This really was on the street!

So what’s on your mind today? Any strong opinions on anything?
You wanna talk about Belgian politics? (Laughs). I do have opinions. (Laughs). Well, Photoshop. You see on Facebook these articles comparing how a picture looks with and without Photoshop, and I’m like, come on, stop it. Fashion is fiction. And okay, they sometimes do push it, but you as a viewer need to know that. If you watch a horror movie, you also know that that animal isn’t really eating the head of a baby, or whatever. That’s why you watch a horror movie, cause it’s over the top. And also Fashion, it needs the dream. Of course they’re gonna make everything look perfect, why wouldn’t they if they can now?

Hannelore Knuts Belgian Top Model

Why do you think that discussion over Photoshop is a recurring theme now?
Maybe we need to get used to the technology we have available now. Maybe we’re a little bit in shock with it. I haven’t formed the perfect opinion, but I think they can do the Photoshop thing to a limit, because if you do it too much it just looks ugly. It’s like cosmetic surgery, after a certain point it becomes ugly. You need to find the right balance. In my family pictures I don’t look amazing. It’s our job to do these fashion pictures and make them look amazing, and Photoshop can help. I’m fucking grateful for Photoshop! (Laughs)

What’s your opinion on banning low body mass indexes for modeling, like they’ve done in Israel?
I don’t see anything wrong with that. I do think some girls lose it a little, and maybe they don’t have the support of an adult. I don’t see the harm in that. I sometimes do think that some girls are too skinny. Though it’s not necessarily that they’re all anorexic. It’s a physical job, so whatever you eat, you burn. Also, we go to the gym. I really focus on what I eat. And then sometimes people are like: you must be anorexic. And well, no. It’s my job. I’m skinny for everyday life, but for modeling, it’s not about skinny, it’s about being toned, and being in shape, and being healthy. It’s like being a top athlete. It’s our Olympics. You can jump this high and get a silver medal, but we’re going for gold. But I do think that the body mass ban is a good thing. It’s a good level.

You are so lively and fun in real life, so what is it about modeling that there’s not a lot of smiling going on?
I don’t know, you gotta look cool I guess. I’ve thought of that question before. Maybe it’s part of that fantasy distant world that fashion wants to create. You know, the untouchable. It’s not only about skinny, it’s also about being cool. Like Zoolander. (Laughs)

Who’s your favorite fictional character?
Daisy from “The Great Gatsby.” It’s all in the Roaring Twenties, and if ever I could choose to go back to an era, that would be it.

So I’m guessing you loved “Midnight in Paris”?
No. Hated it. (Laughs) I loved that you go back to those times, but I was very disappointed in the storyline. And then Owen Wilson trying to pretend he’s Woody Allen just gets on my nerves.

What is your WILD Wish?
Paragliding. Maybe it’s not really that wild. (Laughs) I think I would love to do that. But you know what’s really wild for me? To sit on a beach and do nothing. It’s been years, years, years. I don’t think I ever did a real holiday, like somewhere tropical, where the only thing you think about... the only reason why you watch the clock is to see if it’s time for aperitif yet, and what cocktail will I drink? (Laughs) That’s the wildest fantasy that doesn’t seem to come to true.

You work a lot?
I work a lot. And then I live here (in NY) and whenever I have a holiday I just go to Belgium to visit family and friends. And I enjoy it, but there is no beach and palm trees. So, for some reason, you never go to that empty island to sip cocktails. And especially now, my brother has a beautiful daughter and I’m the godmother, and she’s growing way too fast! I’m not gonna sit on an island! I need to go play with her! She thinks I live on the computer, cause I’m on skype, and then all of a sudden I’m in her living room and she looks at the computer and I guess she thinks: you just jumped out, right? (Laughs)

Photographer : Tetsuharu Kubota
Stylist : Guillaume Boulez
Hair Stylist : Dennis Gots @ Jed Root Inc.
Make Up artist : Aya Komatsu using MAC Cosmetics
Set designer : David Davis
Model : Hannelore Knuts @ Ford Models
Photo assistant : Yoshiyuki Matsumura
Stylist’s assistant : Lia Hallie

text by: Joseph Isho Levinson

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