In Conversation with Prim ~ F-Word Magazine
Prim Patnasiri at Nevs is an example of the potential modeling holds today. Growing up in Thailand she leveraged her acting talents and natural beauty to build a platform where her true passions could flourish while moving to London in the process. Her social media boasts upwards of 86k followers who are actively supporting her journey through the world of art, fashion, and photography. Having just shot for British based label Charlie Cohen, Sam Richards sits down with her on set to discuss her past, present, and future.
Sam Richards: Hey Prim, how are you today?
Prim Patnasiri: Great, thank you.
S.R: Has anything exciting happened for you recently?
P.P: Today actually, I went to a Louis Vuitton breakfast event.
S.R: Wow. That sounds really fun. How did it go?
P.P: Yeah. I was my first time, they were doing a preview of a collection with Grace Coddington. It was so good.
S.R: Amazing, and was she there?
P.P: Unfortunately not, but the collection was of her and her cats so it was actually quite cute. After that, I went to Uni.
S.R: It says in your Instagram bio that you are from Thailand and London. Where were you born and raised?
P.P: I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, and just moved to London two years ago.
S.R: Could you share an interesting story about growing up in Bangkok?
P.P: Sure! [Laughs] In Thailand, everyone starts drinking at a very young age, like 14. I remember one time when I snuck out of my room and jumped over a gate and broke my foot and still went partying anyway.
S.R: Do you have any siblings?
P.P: I have an older brother. He’s like the opposite of me, a businessman. He’s into art as well but he is not into the creative industry that much. He is like those people who admire and enjoy art but doesn't get caught up in the industry itself. He also used to study in the UK but he went back to Thailand because I wanted to come and study here and we thought it would nice to have someone at home to take care of our parents. They would probably feel sad if someone wasn’t home.
S.R: And what is the fashion industry like in Thailand? Are there any obvious differences to London?
P.P: Yes. I don’t want to sound bad, but I guess it is not as open as the fashion industry here. Thailand just recently started getting into streetwear, before that, everything was very feminine with one certain look. Quite glamorous, quite pretty, quite cute. When it comes to modeling,
here in London people hire you for your personality and who you are as well. In Thailand, it is all about beauty.
S.R: So, would you say the industry in Thailand takes a more traditional approach?
P.P: Yes. But it is currently changing. After I left they started to become more aware of street culture and the brands began to do more street castings as they wanted to find real people who are still beautiful but in a different or unique way and whose beauty doesn't necessarily fall into the conventional beauty standards. People are open to new interpretations of modeling, beauty, and art which is really nice to see happening.
S.R: It is widely understood now that beauty can be interpreted in other ways and has to reflect the designers, stylists or the creatives intentions rather than traditional beauty accepted by society. So were you interested in fashion and that led into modeling or the other way around?
P.P: Hmm, I guess I have always liked to dress up when I was younger but never took it that seriously until I entered the fashion industry and realised there is a whole new world within it.
S.R: How did you come about being a model?
P.P: When I was 14 I was tall like much taller than any students in my class. I remember hunching myself just to be the same height as the other students. Then I got scouted and they asked me to join an agency. I told them that I didn’t just want to walk on catwalks which I thought was ridiculous but I tried it anyway and from that, I went into acting in Thailand.
S.R: So to clarify; you went into acting from modeling?
P.P: Yes. I did really well and agencies from abroad would try to contact me, so I thought "well, I am going to go study anyway, why don’t I enter a more international industry?" By that time I had already experienced what the industry was like in Thailand and there was this great opportunity presenting itself to me. Not everyone can leave their country and the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to do so and to work abroad is something I am happy to have had. And I think it was good for me to branch out into different areas as well.
S.R: So apart from the opportunities to travel; what do you like about modeling?
P.P: Well, since I really like the art and creative industries and am a creative myself, through modeling I met a lot of people and places who inspired me to do other things beyond modeling. For example, photography, styling, creative direction. I guess modeling has opened the doors of possibilities and of imagination all at once and that leads me to want to do more.
S.R: Despite the benefits, is there anything you don't particularly like about modeling?
P.P: Even though I do enjoy the industry and the opportunities it has given me, I don’t particularly like the idea of getting paid just because of the way you look. Honestly, there is this element of superficiality in it that can be quite sad. Modeling is a very public industry because the work you do will end up in commercials, magazines, ads, and billboards. Every day I sit and I wear clothes while posing for photographs to be taken of me. When that hits the broad consumer, there is the danger of people constantly judging me for my high or low weight or if my skin is bad or even if I don’t fit in this our that outfit. It becomes all about how you look and people's perspective of you are based on images created to make a product interesting to the consumer. It is kind of tiring to always be judged upon appearance rather than what you can offer. That’s why I think that by trying to creating I have more value and not just for everyone else but value for myself. I am not just a mannequin.
S.R: I would like to talk about what you get up to outside of modeling. As I saw your recent work for Charlie Cohen; how long have you been interested in photography?
P.P: I have been interested in photography since high school. I guess because I was judged for my looks since then I never thought that people would be interested in what I could do until I moved to London and realized that there are a lot of models who don’t just model but do things beyond. I have friends who are designing clothes and I have friends who are making music. Because I moved into a more open environment it has inspired me to work on my art and develop my creativity.
S.R: You’ve mentioned that you spend time outside of modeling creating art and photography. Is there anything else that you do for pure leisure, such as sports?
P.P: I used to play tough rugby and volleyball [laughs], but that was back in Thailand. Here in London, I do quite a lot outside modeling. Reading is one of the things that I seem to do the most and I really enjoy it.
S.R: I’m interested to know; do you have a favorite book?
P.P: It’s called "The End Of Loneliness", by Benedict Wells – good to do some research and share with readers.
S.R: What genre is it or could you describe it?
P.P: It’s a fiction book, quite poetic. It’s about family and love and tragedy but the beauty in it and what can then be learned from that tragedy. It just came out actually and it is my new favorite book.
S.R: Non-fiction explains something to you literally but the extended metaphors of fiction can provide subjective lessons of profound meaning. Would you say that you learn more from fiction or non-fiction?
P.P: Definitely fiction. I like the idea of hidden meanings in books.
S.R: I believe fiction being open to interpretation results in offering universally applicable teaching; would you agree?
S.R: You have amassed quite a social following; how do you feel about social media?
P.P: Social media definitely affects my life in a way where sometimes I go on Instagram unconsciously without even realizing that I am on it and I just scroll through the same images. Then the reason I guess I am doing this interview right now and getting these photo shoots is that of my social media. So I try to view it as a business but sometimes it can be overwhelming having to see other people’s success be shown through social media. Occasionally, I feel like I have to deactivate it for a few days to detach myself, just to remind myself that it is not my life. I tell a lot of people that my Instagram and the ream "me" is a completely different person. [Laughs] As I’ve been told that I look really mean and really bitchy on my profile and I am not really like that in real life.
S.R: I completely understand you. I was so strongly against social media and smartphones that I gave my iPhone away.
P.P: Do you know what is crazy? All my friends were at me saying “can you please go back on it? I need to talk to you about work” I can’t even get away from it. On the other hand, this shows how dependent of social media our generation has become, to the point that to communicate with one another we have to have social media.
S.R: What sort of music are you into?
P.P: Oh, I love Techno, I love it. Actually, you know what’s a funny story? When I first moved to London I didn’t know what grime was. Until I went to a club and was like, what the hell is this music? Is this a kind of hip-hop?
S.R: So do you like Grime?
P.P: NO! Not at all.
S.R: Not even one single artist or song?
P.P: I mean, Skepta is fine but the other artists I don’t really like. I’m more into Jazz, Soul, Progressive House, Techno, Old School HipHop.
S.R: Could you name a song that reflects how you’ve been feeling recently?
P.P: Woah, Um can I just name one song that has been like my favorite song for the past five years? It’s called "Oh Honey" by Delegation. When I listen to it, I feel happy.
S.R: Is it a techno song?
P.P: No. It is jazz which is more chilled but if I had to pick a techno song it would be "Ross and Friends".
S.R: If you could live in any era; when would It be and why?
P.P: Probably the 70’s. I feel like at that time people were starting to become more confident in being who they are and thriving to be that person despite all the differences.
S.R: Do you have a favorite spot in London?
P.P: That’s a really hard question to answer. I really like the Westminster bridge. The Stoke Newington area I live in, I really like right now.
S.R: Oh I also spend a lot of time there,
P.P: Yeah. It’s so nice. Everyone is so chill. Packham Rye is also really nice, the park I mean. I don’t really like Dalston that much, no offense. I find that area quite intense as it is the "party road".
S.R: At school did you have a favorite and least favorite subject?
P.P: At High School? I really, really didn’t like chemistry. I just didn’t understand it. I liked design technology, I could choose to make a product and I made a cat table for me and my cat. Everyone was making chairs but I thought I’d make a table for my cat and something that would still be useful for myself.
S.R: Is there any artists or creatives whose work you particularly admire?
P.P: There’s a photographer, I found him on Instagram. His name is @chogiseok and his photography is really, really, really nice. It’s fashion photography, but he intertwines it with fine art.
S.R: Do you have any specific plans for the future?
P.P: Yeah! (Takes a pause). Right now, I am in the process of trying to find my real passion. Even though I love photography I feel it is just a gateway to what I could do in the future. I want people to recognize me more for my art so I guess for the future I want to be seen as an artist and have people collaborate with me for my ideas. That’s my plan and maybe I’ll have a business of my own. Who knows?
S.R: Last but not least; what is your favorite F Word?
P.P: That’s hard. Recently I’ve been saying “for fuck’s sake” a lot but I don’t want to use that for an interview for a magazine. So I’ll pick "Ferocious."
Follow Prim on Instagram: @primpatnasiri