VMAN 44 Cover Star Parker Van Noord: The New Masculinity
Son of late model and artist Andre Van Noord, this rising male muse carries on a legacy of enlightened masculinity.
Amid our ongoing stasis, the world needs a refresher. In fashion, one palette cleanser comes in the form of Dutch model Parker Van Noord. The son of the ’90s male supermodel Andre Van Noord, Parker is the heir to his strong-jawed good looks. More notable is his sensitivity, challenging the long-held “real-men-don’t-cry” ethos among male idols. Beyond his boho appearance, Parker’s emotional interior manifests in his films. His debut short, which hits VMAN.com in tandem with this story, is a tribute to his late father, evoking life’s ephemerality in its nostalgic, mumblecore style.
While sensitivity in men has often been conflated with weakness, it is the very quality that elevates Parker to a role-model status. After this year’s unprecedented social conditions, it has become clear that those who express emotions fare better than those who cannot. Parker operates in that vein of guileless honesty, whether on the runway or (as this reporter knows firsthand) at coffee with a stranger in Paris. Shot here in Cartier jewelry, Parker is somewhere at the crossroads of old and new, strong and soft. He is following in his father’s footsteps, even as the industry beneath his feet continues to evolve into something different, and better, than before.
This article appears in VMAN44 which is now available for pre-order.
VMAN (3/26/20, 1 pm ET) Hi, Parker! Where are you?
PARKER VAN NOORD (3/26/20, 7 pm CET) I’m in Amsterdam.
VMAN What does it look like over there?
PVN It’s semi-locked down. They are trying to [slow the rate of infections], but people are still working. I’m even helping my friends, who are building this new café.
VMAN What part of Amsterdam are you in?
PVN I live just outside of Amsterdam. So it’s more like the countryside. People are still in the
streets, doing their walks and everything.
VMAN Does your family still live there?
PVN Yeah, I grew up in Amsterdam. When I was a little bit older, we moved to the countryside, which is only 20 minutes outside of the city.
VMAN More and more people seem to be moving to Amsterdam. I hear it’s the new Berlin.
PVN It’s getting so international. It’s kind of comparable to Brooklyn: There’s new construction everywhere. It’s a mix between new and old. The culture is cool, and the people are really nice.
VMAN How do you feel about the changes to the city?
PVN It’s only making it more of a cultural hub. The only shitty thing is the [new construction]. We used to have this huge piece of land wrapping around the back of our house, completely filled with trees. And they’re deconstructing everything right now to build houses.
VMAN Did a lot of your plans get canceled because of COVID?
PVN I had some things lined up, and then everything got canceled. But I try to be very positive. So I’m like, “Okay, well, this is my time off.” There are things I can still work on for myself. For example, I bought an old car, and it needs a lot of work. So I’m trying to learn [new ways of] making things with my hands. Or even working as a carpenter, just to learn the trade.
VMAN Can you describe your childhood?
PVN The countryside, where we moved when I was seven, is a very idyllic place with loads of nature and horses. My mom and dad really loved each other, and I feel fortunate to have grown up in a loving family. I have two siblings, and our family [dynamic] is very open. I have always had a lot of freedom to experience things on my own. My mom is an artist and my father was a model and artist, so he’d be traveling most of the time. But when he got home, everything was a big adventure. He had this passion for old Mercedes-Benz cars. We would spend time together by loading the car up and driving to places like the South of France.
VMAN I know you like to make videos as a hobby. Are you gravitating to that right now? To document the strange times we’re in?
PVN No, not really to be honest. I just feel like I’ve been away from home for so long, and I need to settle down before I start doing other things. Right now, for me, it’s just about organizing myself. I don’t know how long this will last, either. So I’m trying to stretch it as far as I can. For me, that really means being calmer, being more physically present, and spending time outdoors.
VMAN When did you start making videos?
PVN In 2018, my father got really sick. That was a major influence on how I perceived things. I found [filmmaking] to be a good tool to express that. In a way, these movies are like a diary for my father.
VMAN Is video something you’d like to explore more?
PVN I didn’t really think about it [that way]. For me, it’s just a visualization of my memories. But it’s fun. It’s a start. Maybe it will evolve into something completely different, but I feel like, as a model, it’s very important to have a certain experience in…not necessarily story[telling], but maybe [cultivating] a cool aesthetic. Making movies is part of my aesthetic, I guess.
VMAN Have you read anything worth sharing during the past few months?
PVN I read a lot about Elon Musk’s Neuralink and how more technology ought to be implemented in daily life. Technology is innovating at a rapid pace and all the heavy lobbying done by companies such as Google and Facebook makes it extremely tough to form any legislation around these causes. For me, this year really shows the global unity we can form with demonstrations and manifestations that pressurize governmental infrastructure. I hope we retain this powerful unity in the future, and that we can make a mark [through] legislations.
VMAN What were some of your first impressions of modeling?
PVN As an outsider, one may say that modeling makes for an easy living. But my first impressions were that it is not easy, and that you have to be very focused.
VMAN When did you start modeling?
PVN I started when I was like 14, but was never full time. My father was always like, “Yeah, you go to university before you go full time.”
VMAN When did you understand what your dad did for a living?
PVN I knew he was a model, but I could never really imagine anything about his profession. I guess I only really understood it when we started working together, around the age of 14 or 15. I don’t know how it is nowadays, but I got loads of laughs in primary school for his profession…
VMAN Was he happy that you pursued the same career as his?
PVN I wouldn’t necessarily say he was happy about me pursuing the same career, but he thought it was a good tool for me to experience the world. So that made him really happy.
VMAN What have been your top three shoots thus far?
PVN I really liked the shoot we did for VMAN43, up in Hollywood. And the Calvin Klein productions are always a lot of fun.[Another memorable shoot] was this past year, with Inez and Vinoodh. They brought a photo of my dad from 1986. He had dyed his hair platinum blond and was wearing clothing that belonged to Vinoodh. He must have been the same age as I am now; I recognized something of myself in him. It’s just so beautiful to find all these images and untold stories from all the people that he knew and admired, and to continue those relationships [myself].
VMAN What are some of your goals outside of modeling?
PVN I really like working on my films, and I would be very happy to exhibit them someday.
VMAN Do you see yourself modeling for a long time?
PVN I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do it for a few years. I don’t think I’ll do it for 32 years, [like my dad]. I really want to develop other things as well. So, I don’t think [I’ll do it forever].
VMAN Are you still studying?
PVN After my father passed away, during my fourth year, I quit university. I was doing an internship and my work was also really starting to pick up, so it was just too much to deal with in the moment. But I’m thinking about maybe pursuing it [in the future]. Next year, or the year after, or the year after [laughs].
VMAN What had you been studying?
PVN It’s a funny story…I had no idea what I was going to study, so I picked the same course as my best friend: International Business and Management. I never really liked it much. Both of my parents are super artistic—everything was always a big mess in our house. So it’s nice to have that organizational structure. Knowing how to do your own accounting and your finances, for instance.
VMAN Do you feel that you’re getting an education of sorts as a model?
PVN For me, the great thing about being at a university was just having time and space to really conduct a certain relationship with myself. That personal development just helps with life [in general].
In terms of learning from modeling…When I was 14 and at my very first shoot, I remember my father telling me, “There are two faces in modeling. You’re either saying, “Fuck me,” or “Fuck you.” I was like, “Dad, why are you even telling me this?” I had no clue how to pull it off. But I think I can by now! So that’s my progression.
VMAN This pandemic is going to have unimaginable and lasting effects. Can you think of ways that the world might be changing for the better?
PVN Now, people have time to spend together. And for me, that’s a little bit different, because my father has passed away. But this period is about spending time with the family that are still with us—and not only by watching television, because you can’t do that all day. People are really connecting again.
See below to view Van Noord’s debut film “Big Smile For My Family”: