28th November 2006, 22:27
Name : Charisse Verhaert
Age : 20
Birthday : 27/08/1982
Nationality : Belgian
Height : 1m80 (us: 5'10)
Bust : 92 (us: 35)
Waist : 61 (us: 24)
Hips : 91 (us: 36)
Dress : 38 (us: 8)
Shoes : 39 (us: 8)
Hair : blond
Eyes : green
Interview with Charisse Verhaert - Ché - April 2001
"Because of my career I now have a totally different look on the world. If I encounter a girl of 18 years, I have to realize every time that I'm not living in their world of thoughts anymore. I have been through a lot and I've seen too much. It's a shame ..."
"Who are you going to visit? A queen?" The taxi driver, who drives us in a routined way through the many streets in Paris, is as all of his colleagues very curious."No, Charisse Verhaert, an eighteen year old Belgian model", I say. My taxi driver ticks on his steering wheel. "That was to be expected. Only the rich people have the luck to live in the neighborhood around the Broader. And you may interview that lady? Vous avez de la chance, monsieur!" Fifteen minutes later and a little accident with an imprudent motor driver, the taxi stops in La Route de la Tour, a small street where there's so many expensive cars parked, that I would believe I'm on a parking at Saint-Tropez.
"11 a clock, precisely on time!" Charisse Verhaert - her parental home is in Antwerp - leads me into her luxurious penthouse apartment (with home cinema). There is an extensive breakfast waiting for me. "I figured that you would be hungry after your trip", laughs Verhaert, who just had a photosession for Courage, the prestigious fashion brand that Brigitte Bardot also posed for. Slurping my cup of coffee I enjoy a moment of the breathtaking panorama. But I didn't come to look through the window, and also the young lady, appears to prefer to go over to some interviewing action.
Charisse Verhaert : This is my very first interview. I hope you'll have bit patience with me.
There's nothing that can go wrong. Just answer my questions, and if you don't want to answer, I'll ask you another one.
Verhaert : I know, but still I am anxious. I didn't sleep this night. And to be honest: I imagined a CHE-reporter totally different.
How should I have looked ?
Verhaert : Euh, a lot older, I thought.
Be happy I didn't wear my shorts! First question: Is this your apartment? If yes: how much rent to you have to pay a month?
Verhaert : (laughs) This is the apartment of my friend. As a starting model I wouldn't be able to permit myself such a luxe. Certainly not in this area.
Come on, when you're a model in Paris you can certainly afford yourself a nice apartment ?
Verhaert : Unfortunately not. Most models live with for or five together in small rooms: that way they hope to reduce the rental costs. However the modelingworld seems glamorous, models in Paris know better.
Why did you come over here then ?
Verhaert : That happened very accidentally actually. I started on my fifteen as a model. When I was busy for a while, I got offers to come work over here, and i did. Afterwards I got to know my friend, and I moved in with him.
Did your decision to move from Antwerp to Paris have a big influence on you ?
Verhaert : Oh yes, I've become more mature. Before I started to model, I couldn't miss my mother for a day. Nowadays I only see her a couple of days a month anymore. Because of my career I now have a totally different look on the world. If I encounter a girl of 18 years, I have to realize every time that I'm not living in their world of thoughts anymore. I have been through a lot and I've seen too much. A shame ...
How did your parents react when you wanted to explore the modelingworld as a fifteen year youngster ? Did they declare you insane ?
Verhaert : Not at least. That's probably because I didn't come with the idea myself. It all started with the talent scout who stopped me and spoke with me on the Keyserlei in Antwerp. Just like that, while I was walking from school to home. The lady introduced herself as somebody from a model agency and asked if I would like to take some test-photos I had to laugh at that moment. Me? Become a model?
Why that lady did choose you? Did you walk already as an experienced model at that age?
Verhaert : The lady said I had the looks, the appearance, and she added that those are the most important aspects a model needs. Just being pretty is not enough if you want to go far in the fashion world.
Weren't you suspicious?
Off course, how would you be? But still, after the first long talks with my mother I did participate at the test-photo shoot. "Try it" my mother said. "If it doesn't work out, we still have a couple of nice photos to put on the walls." I made an appointment, the photographers were very satisfied with the result, and the people of Network - a very tiny small model agency at Zwijndrecht - decided to give me a chance.
Yesterday a schoolgirl, today a model. It sounds like a fairy tale.
Verhaert : Hola, it didn't run that quick. To get some experience I was send out to as much possible castings, but according to some my face was still too childish. After all I can't disagree with them (laughing) at that time I still really had an innocent child face. The bookings came in slowly, but there were not more than one or two photosessions a month. After a while it did change though.
Didn't you have problems with work-inspection ? Doesn't modeling work fits under the name of child labor?
Verhaert : Strictly it is. Above that because of my missions I couldn't go regularly to school anymore. That is why my mother send me to a private-school. That way I only had three days a week lessons. They watched me from close range to make sure that I didn't work longer then eight hours a day.
What did they ask you for in that time then? Showing of child-fashion?
Verhaert : No, it usually was publicity. When the Inno or such needed a girl with a childish look for a catalogue I was hired.
From the Inno-catalogue to modeling work in Paris. Fantastic!
Verhaert : Indeed, but you may not forget that I only have achieve this by working with the right people. If I see how they work at my agency Madison with their models: always informing how we are doing, take care that we don't overwork ourselves ... Even when you have the flew they call you every day to ask how you are and if you are taking your medicine. If I compare that with the rest of the Paris modeling world! If you aren't strong, you're going down, guaranteed. You have to learn to come up for yourself, otherwise they treat you like dirt. Also on financial aspect you have to watch carefully. Before you realize it they abuse you. (Silence) Being a model in Belgium just seems to be an ennobled hobby , here you know what working means.
Does it cost that much effort to carry of an assignment?
Verhaert : Paris is full of pretty people. So you have to be above the mass, by presenting yourself as the friendliest, intelligent or most original. Who comes here, has to realize that his or her career can end at any moment. A model that is 'dans le vent' today can be ignored by everybody tomorrow. To those who are not prepared to this, it can be real hard.
You do relax yourself once in a while a little?
Verhaert : I travel back to Belgium on a regular base. This way life in Paris looks more like a vacation than work. I still see myself as a Belgian. When somebody asks me where I live, I will always answer 'Antwerp'. My home is where my mother and my brother live.
Was it difficult in the beginning to have the right contacts ?
Verhaert : Not at all. The Paris Metro is loaded with models. You just have to choose the prettiest and follow her. (laughs) That way you automatically end up on the right castings.
I'll take the metro a little later. Have you ever had to go through bad conditions ? Did you have to wash dishes / plates to survive ?
Verhaert : No, but that is probably because I only need a very little amount of money to survive. I don't have a family, or a friend that I have to support. My mother made me clear that I didn't have to be ashamed to move back in with her if I would be in financial problems. Luckily that never happened. Ah, most eighteen year old girls just come off school, they didn't make large amounts of money either.
Talking about school: don't you feel like pickup up again ?
Verhaert : I think that I also will go back to studying. All the traveling has stimulated my interest. I want to know more about the things I've seen. Maybe I'd study tourism or something like that, that appeals me. Although I think I will continue working in fashion world, even if I'm not a model anymore. Maybe I'll help in a Boutique in Paris as a saleswoman.
Or even better : run my own business. But with prêt-a-porter, and not such things that are nice on the catwalk but if you wear them daily life you walk around as a fool.
Your mother told me that your older brother also wants to go into the modeling.
Verhaert : Yes! Crazy, hè? I was rather surprised about that. I thought he always saw the modeling world as something only for girls.
What do you think of his decision?
Verhaert : I think it is wonderful. He told me recently he had contacts with a Belgian model agency. They were going to let him do some tests. I hope for him that he will get recruited. It would be incredible.
Manly colleagues will always work in the shadow of their female colleagues. Will he be able to accept it that he will never be as big as his little sister?
Verhaert : Men can earn a lot with photo shoots also you know. Besides men can keep working longer, because they're most beautiful between their twenty-fifth and thirty-fifth. Woman at that age are already finished a long time.
You may praise your brother. Maybe a bookings agent will read this interview.
Verhaert : Christophe is a handsome boy. Blue eyes, blond hairs, very cute. He is absolutely not a super muscular bodybuilding-type.
At the last Mister Belgium-election the majority of the candidates disposed of a big collection of tri, bi- and quadriceps though.
Verhaert : There were indeed a couple of those guys among, but believe me : that look is out.
By the way would you ever participate at a Miss Belgium-election?
Verhaert : No. The class that such competitions used to have, totally disappeared.
Verhaert : Singing, dancing and that all; do you need that to become Miss Belgium ? I have to laugh about it. Anyone who wants to build up a serious modeling career better doesn't take part at such competitions.
Your mother hammered on your dislike of lingerie-photos. Is it that bad to pose in underwear?
Verhaert : (laughing) Maybe that is because I'm still young and shy, but indeed: lingerie-photo's are not my thing. I never feel comfortable. I really hate the fact that I'm posing in lingerie in front of a group of unknown people. I think that after the Ché-photo's I will stop with lingerie, however I'm very pleased about the photos they aren't vulgar or such, I'm behind it 100%
There are a couple of guitars around the apartment here. Do you play music?
Verhaert : Those guitars are my friend's. He's a composer; he writes songs and texts for French singers. Patrick Bruel for example makes an appeal on him frequently
So if Bruel sings about a beautiful girl, he actually sings about you.
Verhaert : (astonished) I never thought about it. Euh, you are right, some texts are indeed about me. But not all you know.
What brings the close future ?
Verhaert : I don't know. I'm not completely convinced if I have to convince my friend to move to Belgium or if I have to make my mother that crazy to come live in Paris. In any case, there's something that has to happen, because I really have to divide my time. That is what I have to change in the future. I wouldn't have any problems to move back to Belgium for good. If I would miss the glamour life here? I don't think so. I enjoy just as much a visit to a hip club in Paris as a good talk in a calm café in Antwerp.
The lovers of extravaganza should be very satisfied in Belgium tough? If we may believe the Telefacts-documentary from a couple of weeks ago.
Verhaert : About those porno-acts ? I heard about it. Bizarre. In Paris people don't go to a club to see such things. Parisian people go there to be seen. They love it to be seen as cool. I don't think that they would appreciate it if there people having sex in the middle of the club. That is bad for their image.
Mother Verhaert owns a tavern. Is there a picture of Charisse behind the bar?
Verhaert : I don't know, but I think that my mother informs all the regulars about my activities. (Laughs) It's very funny, because I know most regulars from when I was still a little girl.
28th November 2006, 22:28