From leaving University at 21 with a bachelor's degree in Film Studies, Barney Banks turned over a new page into his life: from dancing to modelling, and even presenting...What’s next for Barney?
After saying farewell to his education, Barney set into the skies from England to Los Angeles for three months to enhance his training as a dancer. Despite working hard with 5 classes a day, Barney returned to London. Barney was given the opportunity to dance on Britain’s Got Talent, X-Factor and even for Little Mix at the Brit Awards in 2017.
Barney also worked with Katy Perry for her featured H&M advertisement at Christmas 2017 and her music video, “Unconditionally”. Unfortunately, Barney retired as a dancer at 26 due to a back injury.
Nevertheless, alongside dancing, Barney was scouted as a model during his gig with X-Factor. Banks and his dancing peers worked for UNIQLO, a japanese clothing retailer. This was the start for Barney’s career in modelling.
Barney doesn’t have any individuals that inspired him into modelling, but appreciates current and past models for what they’ve done in the industry: “I didn’t have anyone who inspired me when I realised I could model alongside my other career paths, it was almost an extra thing; a string to my bow.”
Barney explained his modelling debut, “I signed with a small modelling agency, and they said they had an audition lined up with Lucozade. I turned up for the casting call where they wanted me to pull some funny faces as it was going to be a wacky campaign.”
“Five minutes before we left, they asked if they could put a real hollowed out watermelon on my head. Next thing I knew, I got the job.” (He didn’t wear a real watermelon for the official shoot, unfortunately)
Barney’s favourite modelling shoot was another fun-filled opportunity; flying to Cape Town for Mentos, his modelling peers were on surfboards and underwater whilst Barney held up the product at the end. “It was 2 seconds of footage that took around a week to film...getting to travel whilst you work is always a highlight.”
He spent two weeks on a cruise ship from Miami to The Bahamas courtesy of Jaguar Landrover, where he modelled clothing and presented shows on the ship, alongside the reveal of the company’s Formula E car.
Flying over to Cuba, Barney explored the Cuban heights for 12 days for a shoot with former airline, Thomas Cook.
In Bulgaria, Barney worked alongside UNIQLO. The production for “London Has Fallen”, part of the Has Fallen trilogy had recently finished filming, and left the props, “They had built Trafalgar Square out of styrofoam.”
Filmed at Warner Bros Studio, Barney worked with H&M, where he was selected to work with Katy Perry on their Christmas advertisement in 2017. He has worked with other notable companies such as Asos, Gieves and Hawkes, Ted Baker and QuikFit.
With Barney’s future with modelling still bright, he would like to work with Adidas and surf apparel brands such as Quiksilver or Oakley. From esports fashion, he would like to be a part of 100 Thieves’ campaign.
Barney also has created his own clothing brand called “Mr Banks”.
Speaking on the evolution of fashion over the years, “The core values and structure remains the same, but I think the web that it weaves is expanded. There are niches forming in the industry and ultimately, if you’re following that thread, it always comes back to the same place.”
“People’s love for fashion hasn’t changed; it evolves culturally and over time, for example Burberry will always stay the same - they set a standard and others will follow suit...I believe the industry has become more accessible, from initially being closed off to now having the ability to create your own clothing brands.
Barney explained to us his go to on creating an outfit: “Simple block colours and everything goes together and then add a statement piece. It could be a belt, shoes or even a shirt. I’m not really a high-end designer person.” Barney tends to wear unique brands such as Studio Nicholson, Aimee Leon Dore and A-COLD-WALL*.
Following his modelling journey after a back injury saw Barney retire from dance, Barney started networking with his peers to see if any radio stations had availability. “I used to create my own showreels - I would go to Call of Duty events and film and present content: interview the crowd and (hopefully) speak to a pro player. I rented out the Belong arena in Oxford Street with my friends and we filmed a huge Fortnite tournament together.” Barney joined Hoxton Radio, based in Shoreditch. Barney had his own show and acknowledged the growth of esports. “I thought they must have presenters for these events and sure enough, I started researching. Rather than contacting the companies, I decided to make my radio show about gaming and esports; my links in between songs would be 30 seconds to a minute and I would talk about what’s the latest in the gaming community, what games are coming out soon and trends.”
“I started inviting people from the esports industry onto my show such as Lottie Van-Praag and Julia Hardy...I then felt comfortable reaching out to companies.” Barney was given an opportunity for a trial run with Clash of Clans esports as a desk host in Poland. He went on to host the World Championship the following year.
Barney has since progressed to other opportunities such as the ESL Mobile Open: including games such as PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, Clash of Clans and Brawl Stars.
Outside of the esports sector, Barney has presented snippets for entertainment companies such as E! Entertainment, Kiss FM. “I never found a true enjoyment for radio or TV, being involved in the esports industry clicked for me.”
When speaking about joining Esports Fashion Week, “I was extremely honoured to be asked. To give a point of reference to an ever-growing sector to the esports industry, fashion is really blooming. You look at the brands who are currently setting the standard, so it will be great for there to be an area pointing at this reference.”