V125 NEXT GEN: Rianne Van Rompaey
“My summers are spent reading big books. I still need to finish The Second Sex by Simon de Beauvoir, and The Power Broker by Robert Caro, which [male model] Jonas Glöer gave to me!”
A new generation of supermodels is here. They’re on the world’s runways, magazine covers, music videos and iPhone screens. They are everywhere in our connected world. As summer rolls in, they prepare for some well-deserved rest and relaxation — even in the face of COVID-19.
Starting off Friday right, we spotlight the muse, Rianne Van Rompaey, lensed by Inez and Vinoodh and styled by George Cortina. She has walked her way to the top of the modeling industry since her entrance in 2014. Named ‘Model of the Year’ for 4 consecutive years in a row since 2015, her face full of warm freckles and distinguishable red hair now graces the covers of V125. Van Rompaey reminisces about summer memories, reveals her hidden talents, and her new outlook on life since the public health crisis, with V. Want to see more from Rianne? Pre-order your own copy of V125, here.
Read the full interview, below.
V Where are you from?
RIANNE VON ROMPAEY I’m from a small town in The Netherlands.
V What is the ultimate summer song?
RVR You could fill a whole summer with all the versions of ‘Summertime’, so I think that’s the ultimate summer song.
V What is on your summer reading list?
RVR I like to read my big books during summer; I feel like there is more space for them there. I started Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir last summer, which I still need to finish. And Jonas Gloer gave me The Power Broker by Robert Caro, so I am obliged to say I will read that very soon haha!
V What is your favorite summer memory?
RVR My favorite summer memory is one of those memories you can’t really place, but they pop up in your senses now and then. It’s this feeling of endless summers as a child, where you are not bothered by what’s happening tomorrow or next week, or what happened yesterday. It feels like there is no time. The heat hangs around you like a blanket and the only thing you hear are crickets. And you smell the grass. The grass smells so good. That’s my happy place.
V When you’re not modeling, what are you up to? Do you have a hidden talent? What would people be surprised to hear?
RVR Modeling is a full time job, with intense days on set and a lot of travelling through different time zones. I spend a lot of time trying to get myself together haha! Through meditation, yoga, osteopathy, therapy, friends, good food and wine I try to keep myself strong on my two feet. At the moment I am renovating a house from top to bottom, which is an incredible project on the side. Oh and I freaking love going to the cinema. Preferably I watch two movies back to back. [One of my hidden talents is] acting! [People would be surprised to hear] I lived in Amsterdam throughout my entire career.
V How would you describe the current wave of models/generation?
RVR I think at this moment uniqueness and personality is what the fashion industry is most inspired by. Historically you had periods of the same looking girls; the Russians had their moment, the Brazilians. It’s starting to get more inclusive now which creates a very powerful group of women from all over the world.
V How do you feel in front of the camera?
RVR I feel exposed and vulnerable. When I started it took me a while to learn how to use this in my advantage. Now I can see how much power there is in vulnerability and how it creates space for creativity to flow freely.
V What do you hope for this year?
RVR I hope for some stability, in my life and in the world. When your life constantly moves around you and nothing is ever the same, you have to create stability within, which is something I want to work on this year. I feel like 2019 has been quite the whirlwind for our planet and we need to stabilize the situation to keep things from getting worse. I hope the people in power have been awakened and are finally going to live up to their responsibility to do everything they can to safe this planet from the climate crisis.
V How did the onset of this year’s public health crisis change your outlook on life and/or work?
RVR It showed me how vulnerable we are, as people and as a society. How all the things I take for granted and see as normal (from going for a coffee with a friend to flying for my job) are extreme privileges, that can disappear in front of your eyes, just like that.
V What have you learned (or what do you think people can learn) while in solitude / practicing social distancing?
RVR I think it’s a great time to turn inwards and try to learn about your own rhythm, reflect on your life and what is most important to you. Normally I am running around, feeding myself with pressure from myself and society to be better, do more. But do we really need to? Do we really need to live the way we have been living? treating our planet the way we do? This is a chance to make a change. Don’t take me wrong, I feel very grateful for all the great trips and beautiful moments with friends and family I have got to experience in my life so far. Those memories fill me with light in darker days. But are there ways to live a fulfilling life without leaving such a big footprint on this planet?
V Many people are reevaluating travel plans… If you were to be in one place for most of the summer, where would that be?
RVR Last summer I stayed in a house in the middle of nowhere in Italy for 3 weeks and it was heaven. Surrounded by flowing hills and greenery, I spend my days cooking, laughing and reading by the pool. Thinking back on those days makes me warm inside and helps me through difficult moments in isolation.
V The public healthy climate has shaped many people’s reading/viewing habits—what are some reading or viewing material you’ve sought out in this time?
RVR I’m trying to stay away from the binge watching, as it doesn’t really lift my spirit. Because of the isolation and stillness of my life at the moment, I found more space in my mind for reading. This gives me a chance to read books I have been wanting to read for a long time. I just finished Normal People by Sally Rooney and are now getting started in To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Fiction can be a great way to give your brain some outside world when it’s stuck inside.
V How have you “given back” in light of the public health climate?
RVR I have been trying to spread some positivity through my social media, regularly check in with the people surrounding me and I am donating money to local organisations that support the fight against Covid-19.
This summer, I’d like to do some more hands on work for the people in my community that are hit hardest by the crisis.