Yasmin Geurts will have you hooked at hello. True story. She’s a great storyteller who emits a comforting, come-closer vibe. It’s the kind of aura that will easily result in you wanting to be her friend.
Saying the buzzed-about model has the “It Factor” would be absolutely acceptable. The story goes that Geurts took a trip to Central America a few years ago, where she found herself broke and wanting to re-evaluate what she wanted to do with her life. She considered studying holistic healing and sidestepping the material world to stay in Central America, but an Instagram selfie changed those plans. She was scouted on the social media app, booked a few campaigns, and flew back to New York, where she’d ultimately sign to Muse Model Management.
Geurts’ unpredictable entry to modeling led to a kaleidoscopic career that continues to burn brightly. The Midwestern native has her fair share of campaigns and spreads in major titles, including Dazed, Allure, V, Love, Office, and Jalouse, among others. A highlight: Geurts, who’s considered a plus-size model, was featured alongside Cardi B, Paris Jackson, Grace Elizabeth, Ashley Graham, and more in a Vogue video, in which the women wear the magazine’s top looks from New York Fashion Week Fall 2018 and rock out to Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.” In the clip—Vogue’s first to feature plus-size models—Geurts dances and lip-syncs to the feminist anthem with the gravitas of a supermodel, a label that comes to mind when predicting her future.
Below, we sat down with the striking model to talk about her love of comic books (especially The Invisibles), her not-so-fashion-y upbringing, and her filter-free thoughts on those ‘plus-size model’ labels. If we had to label Geurts, it would undoubtedly be Renaissance woman. And you’re about to understand why.
Where did your interest in fashion come from? Did you always want to be a model?
“I’ve gravitated towards performance mediums like modeling, acting, and dancing for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I wanted to be the girl holding baby bunnies in the Target catalog, but I also wanted to live out my rebellious teen fantasy as Rachel Evan Woods’ character in Thirteen. But, I actually never really had an interest in fashion trends or whatever. I grew up in the Midwest and my dad is a handyman, so style for me was wearing his giant soccer jerseys and a pair of overalls. I think I had my first introduction to designers when I was going to school in San Francisco and my roommate was like, ‘I’m gonna take you to the store and we’re gonna get you a big girl purse.’ He took me to Marc Jacobs, and I ended up falling in love with the quality. I guess I’m really practical.”
How did you get signed to Muse Model Management?
“I was in this weird place in my life where I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a model or an actor. I had taken this trip to Central America and I was literally down to my last five dollars. I was getting ready to give up on the material gains and study holistic healing, and I thought I should just stay there. I posted one of my first selfies while I was on the trip, and I ended up getting scouted. It was this series of events: I got scouted by someone who was casting a couple of campaigns, then I ended up flying back and doing them. One of the photographers said I should really sign with someone. He asked if he could submit photos of me to agencies, and I said yeah, of course, why not? I’m down for this ride. And that’s how I got signed.”
How do you feel about “plus-size model” and other similar labels? Do you think the modeling industry still has a long way to go when it comes to fully embracing all shapes and sizes?
“I’m kind of indifferent about the labels. I love getting into conversations with people who aren’t involved in fashion. For example: talking to a cool 70-year-old woman on a plane. Sometimes I have to use words like ‘plus-size model’ with them because they don’t know what I’m talking about otherwise. And it’s just a generational thing. I try not to judge because this industry is a bubble. There’s a lot of stuff outside of it and so many people you can learn from. But yeah, like I said, I’m indifferent about labels. You could call me a hot potato. I get people wanting to just say model, because, hello, we are modeling. It should just be that—just models—and someday soon it will be. All this stuff takes time and it’s cool to watch it progress and be part of that growth.”
Now that you’re well-known, do you feel pressure to speak out about issues like this? Are you naturally outgoing?
“I’m shy. Some people don’t believe me when I say it. I’m an extroverted introvert, and a big part of my nature is to be an awkward only child instead of being a social butterfly. I secretly like writing and making art and being by myself or being with the people I love. Sometimes it’s hard for me to even feel like I even have the right to speak for a huge group of people. It’s like, who am I to say anything for anyone when all I have is myself and my own journey?”
Are you into astrology? What sign are you?
“I always say I don’t even care about astrology or I don’t believe in it, but, for some reason, I know so much about it. I’m a Gemini with an Aquarius rising and an Aquarius moon, which makes me like an airhead, I guess. I live in a castle in the sky!”
Who are some designers that you respect the most?
“I look up to people who take a stand on eco-conscious work. I’ve been blessed to work with some designers who care about this, like Mara Hoffman and Zero + Maria Cornejo. I’ve also always loved Vivienne Westwood. She gives me happy chills.”
Do you have any dream photographers you really want to work with?
“There’s so many. I’ve been obsessing over Charlotte Wales—her photography is so dreamy and cinematic. I’ve been taking acting classes, and there’s also a lot of filmmakers I’d like to work with. I’m obsessed with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films and books. He’s so on another planet, and everything he does has something to do with the spiritual realm. It really resonates with me.”
Let’s talk about skincare. What are some of your favorite brands?
“I’ve always gravitated away from brands that don’t use natural projects. I love science-y products that still stay close to the Earth, like Kiehl’s and Tata Harper. I’ve actually been really feeling The Ordinary too, especially because I’ve recently joined the cult of Gua sha, so I do face massages every morning. The Ordinary’s products are cheap and they’re the perfect, non-irritant skincare brand to use to do face massages and stuff to finish up your routine. I struggle with inflammation and lupus rashes—they’re called butterfly rashes. I’ll blush really easily, or I’ll get a rash from the sun. That’s why I make jokes sometimes that I’m a vampire. But since I’ve been doing Gua sha, the redness has gone down like 70%. It’s wonderful. I love skincare and pampering and foot baths. I also like pimple popping! I’ve noticed that I’m only into popping pimples on people that I love. I’m gross! But if I love someone, I will do it.”
Describe your style in a few words.
“I have two: Private school dropout (in the winter), and little goth on the prairie (in the summer).”
If you could sit down with any group of individuals, what would you do and who would they be?
“I would love to have a high tea seance with Aleister Crowley, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Frida Kahlo, and Hilma af Klint. They’d be the perfect group to do it with.”
Outside of modeling, are there any projects you’re working on or want to work on in the future?
“I’m working on making a comic book. I’ve been bringing comic books to set with me for the past year.”
Who are your favorite comic book characters?
“I relate to X-Men’s Phoenix and her super intense emotions, and Rogue, because she’s a little standoffish too. Also, I fucking love Lord Fanny. She’s in The Invisibles and she’s a trans shaman who channels demons, and she’s also a sex worker. She should be an anti-hero of our time. I’m always like, ‘Everybody should read The Invisibles!’ I love it! It was written in the early ‘90s, so a little bit of the language is dated. I try to warn people who haven’t read it yet about that, but it’s also very much LGBTQ+ positive. It’s so, so good.”
The fashion industry seems like it can get pretty intense. Do you have a wellness routine? Are you a must-meditate type?
“People are always like ‘I bet you meditate,’ but I’m terrible at it. I live under a bridge and it’s so loud. My thoughts are also really loud. I try go to the gym to relieve stress and take random dance classes to get in touch with my body. I also go to therapy, which helps so much—I’m turning into that annoying person who’s like ‘My therapist said this, my therapist said that,’ but it’s expensive so why not? It’s like having a Birkin bag for my emotions.”
Can you offer any advice to young girls who want to follow in your footsteps?
“Be like a lion; lay patiently in the grass until opportunities come to you, and know when to strike.”