MODEL VOICES: 'In Quarantine' with Joel Wolfe
By TADHI COULTER
As the world dealt with the ramifications of COVID-19, many industries had to make adjustments. The economics of Fashion were able to be sustained in certain respects, but some models - the clearest casualty of an abruptly halted ecosystem - have had to be a little more resourceful during this time of recovery. We catch up with a few from multiple agencies for their perspectives and experiences during such a strange time.
TC. What has been your greatest “in quarantine” life lesson since the COVID-19 pandemic?
Joel Wolfe. This past year has been one of the most pivotal points in my adolescence, and I think it has been for a lot of people. One of the greatest lessons I learned was what and who is important to me. I left the city last March, and I have spent the majority of my time with my close family and old friends whom I rarely got to see over the past several years. I feel relief from being out of the city and the pressure it held over me to never fall behind. The bubble of New York is so consuming, that I felt I needed to be reminded of my identity aside from being a city boy or a model. My relationships and the lessons I’ve learned from them will always remain the most important to me, aside from any career or success.
TC. How has your modeling been impacted "in quarantine"?
Joel Wolfe. It has become less time and self-image consuming since the pandemic started. I forgot how easy direct bookings were compared to running to several go-sees in a day on top of working full-time. I have more security in my daily plans, without the worry that I will get a last minute casting to run to uptown. Updated digitals can be as easy as taking a quick selfie now. I will say, I miss the excitement surrounding fashion week and the exhilaration of being on a runway.
TC. Has the fashion calendar being affected by the pandemic changed the way you think about booking runway shows, higher-paying campaigns or projects?
Joel Wolfe. I feel bad for the young designers, stylists, models, etcetera, who have not had their time to show their work pre-pandemic. Some creatives have been waiting years for visas or money or other means to make their debuts [in the industry], and have now had their dreams postponed or taken from them. I am lucky to have connections and a reputation built in the industry for my career to outlive a pandemic. I am thankful for every job I book regardless of the pandemic because you never know when the industry will keep moving on without you.
TC. How has tech such as Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Duo, etcetera played a role in your daily life or casting experiences "in quarantine"?
Joel Wolfe. Technology has become fundamental in daily life during the pandemic, but digitals and self tapes--defining the new casting experience--have become less authentic. There’s not a feeling of ‘Oh! I killed it!’ after sending in a measly video I took in my living room with no live reaction from a client. ‘How are they going to remember me without meeting me?’ I typically step into character with confidence that I portray in fashion, and that’s harder to achieve from home. At least I didn’t have to walk into a casting dripping sweat...hair blown amuck from riding the sticky subway last summer.
TC. What have been some of your favorite go-to items to wear and groom yourself "in quarantine"?
Joel Wolfe. My go-to everyday grooming product is sunscreen. Shortly after leaving the city and moving to the beach, I realized the blessing and curse that the sun can be. I use tinted sunscreen that evens out my skin tone...it gives me a natural glow and protects me from harmful sun rays. I've also been using a palm or two full of the tried and true göt2b® hair gel to achieve my greaser style. Aside from that, I haven’t found much use for even a shirt most days, just some gold chains around my neck.