Model Yasmin Geurts wants more from the fashion industry
"There’s only a handful of models over a certain size booking covers. I want to see more demand for this. More beauty, more balance, and more responsibility."
Photos by Alex Hodor-Lee.
Yasmin Geurts has only been modeling for three years now, but after being discovered on Instagram in 2017, she's quickly become one of the most recognizable models in New York. She's walked the runways of Gauntlett Cheng, Lou Dallas, and Kim Shui, and booked gigs with the likes of Adam Selman and Diane Von Furstenberg — starring in the designer's first campaign to feature a model over size ten. It's no surprise she landed a major contract with Muse Model Management.
Originally from Minneapolis, Yasmin moved to New York City on a whim and never looked back. Though she still sometimes questions if modeling is the right career for her, she can’t imagine not being in front of the camera. Yasmin is an open book, an influencer, and an advocate. She's not afraid to open up and share her feelings on Instagram, and she wants the modeling industry to be more accountable when it comes to inclusivity.
"I think there needs to be more discussion around equal opportunities and responsible consumption. I want to hear the people behind the images pushing more for the industry to be conscious about everything," she says. "There are so many talented amazing people out there who can’t remotely see space for themselves on agency boards. There’s also only a tiny handful of models over a certain size booking covers. Like one out of 100 every month, if that. I want to see more demand for this. More beauty, more balance, and more responsibility."
i-D spent a day at The Met with Yasmin talking about how the industry has changed over the last few years, what work still needs to be done, and how taking baths is a super important part of any self-care routine.
Talk to us a little bit about your background and how you began modeling…
I recently got back from spending the holiday with my family in Minneapolis. I hadn’t seen them in three years. The trip definitely redefined how I feel about where I come from. Straight from the airport my dad took me to his best friend’s place -- he was dressed in a leather American flag-printed biker jacket with a matching bandana yelling about surviving leukemia.
I’ve been asking myself why I avoided [talking about] my background for so long. Maybe it’s because people sometimes use that lifestyle as an aesthetic, which gives me all types of feelings. I have some personal things that I have to work through as an adult, like the intensity of my job. The moment I was signed it was like ‘Yes, this is what I love this is what I need to be focusing all my energy on.’
Was this something you always wanted to do or did you fall into it?
Yes and no. I’ve always felt intuitively connected to the camera. When I was younger I would set up little fairy gardens and move around in them picturing everything from the third person. I am karmically drawn to many varying conduits of expression, especially modeling, but aside from that: theatre, poetry, and ‘potion’ making. All these practices have been hovering in my sphere and they’re completely unavoidable.
With inclusivity becoming a more common thing, do you think it’s made the industry a more inviting place?
Yeah of course! And like, in such a short amount of time. I’ve only been working since 2017 and I’ve seen it change so drastically since my first fashion week when people were like, ‘Whoa, crazy!’ when they saw me doing more underground shows like Gauntlett Cheng and Lou Dallas. Or working with DVF as their first model over size ten. These brands are endless pools of inspiration for the whole fashion community and the faces that create more exposure everyday. There’s still downsides like fetishism and inclusivity solely for profit, but eventually unsustainable behavior loses its energy source.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
Maybe the exposure. Exposure as in I’ve got to see the world and meet people I look up to. I never thought I would see Paris, but I’ve been multiple times now and I still get overwhelmed with gratitude. Imposter syndrome is real. Gratitude is grounding. I’ve grown a beautiful home in this community, and a special little family that I would do almost anything for.
What are some things you wish were talked about more in the industry?
I think there needs to be more discussion around equal opportunities and responsible consumption. I want to hear the people behind the images pushing more for the industry to be conscious about everything. I’ve met some amazing pioneers for this when working with Vogue and Target. I think that with time it’s getting better, but a lot of imbalance remains. There are so many talented amazing people out there who can’t remotely see space for themselves on agency boards. There’s also only a tiny handful of models over a certain size booking covers. Like one out of one hundred every month, if that. I want to see more demand for this. More beauty, more balance, and more responsibility.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be you or do what you do?
Try not to stare at your photos too long because who you are will start to lose meaning. It’s like if you say a word too many times.
You often talk about emotions and being tender on your social media, how does this affect who you are and what you do?
I enter a room feelings first. Sometimes it ends well, and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way I can’t not be open about stuff because it’s for my own survival. I can make believe and play pretend especially if there’s money involved, but with matters of the heart and soul I can’t play games with people. It’s just not possible for me. My face will turn red if I’m uncomfortable or overwhelmed. I might get quiet or tired if I’m not feeling something or myself. I think we all owe it to each other to not play games or manipulate. Sometimes, I get nervous that someone took something I said out of context or they think I’m too much. This gives me even more motivation to be honest and clear with people. Brutal vulnerability is about survival for me.
Talk to us about the other things you do, your passions/dreams etc…
I like baths and writing, being at home, seeing movies, acting classes, the occasional show… I’ve mentioned that I make tinctures. I think it’s an important skill for anyone to know, like building a fire. I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling so wholesome lately and I mostly just want to be a good role model. Maybe I’m corny, but I love a little corn, it’s honest and wholesome and wholesome is punk now so fight me.
What are you most excited about for 2020?
I met so many gorgeous humans at the end of 2019 and we are all looking for the same thing, on the same wavelength, and have similar dreams. I’m over the moon to do special projects with these people and hold each other up. Capitalist Individualism is dead and buried.