INTERVIEW with Jim November 2020 / Live online interwiew with Dolores Airey from London
2015 was a good year for me as I managed to get some really big gigs. It was my second year and I profited from working as an `extra` in the advertising world and the theatre work that I had been doing in the past two years. I had shootings in many parts of Switzerland and Germany and even in Barcelona. My face was new in the scene and the demand was big, and it went on from there.
Q-Last month you enjoyed your 83rd birthday. Congratulations!! Did you celebrate?
Yes a little! I opened a bottle of Champagne and drank it with my wife. Alone in our penthouse flat near to Zurich. The Champers was a present from a friend. We have more or less isolated
ourselves as things are difficult at the moment because of Corona.
Q-Tell me a little bit about yourself. Were you brought up in the UK?
I was born in London and grew up there. Even as a little boy I was very active and very keen on sport. Played football and cricket in County school teams, became County hurdles champion at 15 and so on! With 15 I started to learn to play the clarinet, I taught myself . I got a band together and we played traditional jazz, we even played in the intervals in several well known London Trad Jazz clubs. As a teen ager I had several jobs, in a laboratory and factories. It was important for me to earn money and to help support my Mum and Dad a little. A career was not possible . With 18 I had to join the RAF and so I volunteered to become a musician, this was a great decision as I was then able to study music at a high level. I served in the Middle East Band for 2.5 years in Cyprus. Living in a tent! We flew all over giving concerts to the troops, playing in parades and even funerals. Tripoli, Nairobi, Malta, Baghdad etc, we got around a lot.
After five years I left the RAF and gave up music. I was a profi and played everything from Jazz to Classical but it wasn`t the life I wanted. I decided to study accountancy, and to my surprise i discovered that having played music for so many years this helped me as an accountant. Same way of thinking, always counting!
From there I went into the advertising world, working for a leading graphic designer, and then for Sir.Terence Conran (Habitat) as Sales Manager of his textile branch.
But in 1972 things changed in the UK and it was time to leave. I got a job on the island of Corfu, on a new golf course there. My Swiss girlfriend (and that`s another story) joined me there and as it happens we`ve been together 47 years now!!
We went back for another year and I became the manager of a very big Hotel Discoteque. Then at the end of the season we went to Munich where I worked as a window cleaner, sometimes in a gondel 35 floors above the streets, we got married there and then went to my wife's hometown in Switzerland.
We raised a family here, two daughters, and Iorked as an accountant for 21 years in the same Company. My sport life began again and I organised a club in the Company and sometimes trained others.
I used to run 10 to 20 kilometers everyday and thanks to that survived three serious operations and am still fit today.
I learnt Spanish when I was 62, just after I retired. I lived near to Barcelona for two years. Trouble was it was in Catalan and there they speak only dialekt. German I learnt from my wife and by working and Swiss German the same way.
Q- You are very talented, photogenic and known as a Best Ager. How would you define a Best Ager, please?
An older person with character, facially and physically. Today there is no limit to the types that are needed in advertising. Everybody has a chance.
Q-There are a number of impressive things that you do, as a Best Ager, Commercial Photo, Video, Fashion Model, Actor and more, all of which are quite diverse.
How and when did it all start?
2012 with performances in theaters in Zurich, Basel and Berlin. Then as a photomodel, and by chance I posed in a HP commercial and it was then discovered that I am photogene.
Q- How many years have you worked in the industry?
As a pro just 6 years.
Q-Was it your goal to diversify or was it organic as time progressed?
Things just happen in life and very few things develop as you dream. In my lifetime I have for some reason or another moved on every five years or thereabouts. I have always profited from my
knowledge and this you only get by being dive
Q-Out of all the things that you do, which one do you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoy working as a photomodel more than anything else. Working in a film is a challenge but the shooting process is boring, repeating 20/25 time til everything sits is not so enjoyable. Photo shooting is a challenge because one has to portray something in one shot. It requires imagination and talent and this is something I seem to have. Actually we as artists are only reproducing the feelings and emotions that are shown in other human beings. As a good observer I am able to call up my memories and so produce what the producer requires.
Q What are the values and benefits you personally gain from the profession?
Overcoming the challenges that face me every time in a shooting are my reward for doing this work. I have developed my character even further thanks to all the contacts I have made, the challenges met and the travelling.
Q-You look healthy and younger than 83 years old. What do you do to stay fit?
Today not too much, I walk or march a lot. Sometimes three time as a week and up to 2/ 3 hours. Fresh air is good for me! I try to look after my skin although my wife tells me I don`t do enough! I eat well and good, my wife is a good cook. I enjoy my two glasses of wine everyday, white or red.
The rest is just a question of genes.
Q- In what ways has modelling impacted your life, positively and negatively?
Modelling has never had a negative effect on me except when I have had to work with a best ager woman model that `talks too much`. This happens quite often! And why - because they are often lonely women that have taken up this profession so that they can meet people and chat
My intention is always to perform according to the wishes of the producer, and so to work as a professional. This is not a hobby, it is a job and one worth doing financially and otherwise.
Q-Your work takes you around Europe. Have you worked outside of Europe?
Once I worked in Miami, a short fashion shooting but otherwise Germany, Switzerland, Latvia, Spain, Holland and London
Q-Which single location do you like the most for work and for relaxation?
GREECE for relaxing - I love the Greek people.
Germany for shooting because of their efficiency and great creative ideas.
Q Some people tend to live in the UK during the Spring and Summer months and, when it’s Winter, they fly off to sunnier climates for a few months to live in their second homes.
Where would you like to live permanently or, do you enjoy flitting between locations?
I live permanently in Switzerland, near to Zurich. But usually travel a lot to warmer countries for holidays. There is always the thought about living somewhere else but this is part of my character as I always want to move on and do something different. But being older I now have the knowledge and experience which tells me that I am well off where I am, and so this is where I stay.
Q-Are there any projects that you plan to get involved with or any other goals?
After the Covit is finished I intend to continue working as a model, this fulfills my life to such an extent that it doesn't leave room or desires for something else. I would love to do fashion modelling for Best Agers as this is one thing that is not being done and there is a huge market waiting out there. Retired people have time for shopping and money but doen`t know what to buy! The industry should help them…………….
Q-Would you know, are there many Best Agers in the industry and is there room for more?
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to enter the industry as a Best Ager?
First I would tell them how hard it is to do. Getting the work takes time and luck is needed. Marketing yourself is not everybody's wish, and many hours working on the PC is all part of success. There is always room for another but a professional approach is needed to be successful.
Q-Tell me, when you are not working, what do you love doing?
What do you do to relax?
Q-What’s next for you?
Staying Safe and using my patience for the covit to go by.
Q-What are your social media sites for people who would like to follow you?
Instagram - jimsullivanmodel
Website - jimsullivanmodel.com
Linkedin - jim sullivan
Interviewer - I hope the interview has proven to be of much inspiration to people out there to Live a purpose!
Conclude – Jim Sullivan
It been a great pleasure for me also and I hope your readers have enjoyed my stories.
Here are two further stories which may interest them, `A Models Life in `One Day`