A 24 year-old American alternative model, MANZIN is probably one of the most Marilyn Manson-influenced artists, which afflicted him with irreversible consequences, both mental and physical. Indeed, MANZIN is featured on numerous photographic works in the spirit of his legendary homonym (earning him the title 'look-alike' or doppelgänger), but also appears in more personal shots and alternative work for several photographers, magazines and websites.
When did you start photography, I mean as a model?
My first photoshoots took place somewhere around 2003-2004 with a local photographer whose work I appreciated. He did a lot of gritty and beautiful shots and was prolific in the local S&M scene so we ran with the same crowd. I liked the shots he'd taken of some of my friends and when he approached me to shoot I took him up on it. These were just regular photos, though. I didn't shoot Manson-styled anything with another photographer until later on and I still prefer to do my MM photos on my own only because I'm more confident that they'll feel and look more true to life because I understand all the aspects of it better than another photographer who is probably not as big a fan as I am. Bob Mussell being the exception to that rule, he can shoot me as Manson anytime.
How would you describe yourself ? A model? A Marilyn Manson lookalike? A combination of the two?
I'd describe myself as an alternative/dark model with heavy Marilyn Manson influences. I can easily style myself as Manson if that's what the photographer wants but I'm more than just a clone. Right now the majority of the shoots that I do aren't Manson shoots. I haven't shot as Manson in a few months, lately since Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland came out, I've been cast as the Mad Hatter quite a bit, including one fashion spread in Devolution Magazine due to hit shelves in mid-May. I'm very proud of that one. The magazine liked it so much that they're giving away posters of me as the Mad Hatter to the first 100 preorders of that issue.
I heard you never give your real name to people who ask, you just answer "Manzin" or invent another name. Is it a way to preserve yourself, or to affirm yourself as an artist?
If you go to Manson's MySpace, you will invariably find some misguided fan referring to Manson as Brian in an attempt to pass themselves off as being close to him, or a show of one-upsmanship trying to compete with other fans to see who knows the most about Manson, or just to try to look cool. Manson doesn't respond to Brian, nobody close to Manson calls him Brian. First off, it's not what he prefers, and it's rude to call him Brian when he introduces himself as Manson. Secondly, it's disrespectful to Manson as an artist. His music, his writing, his painting, his acting, directing, modeling, photography, all of that was done under the name Marilyn Manson. The name is a giant part of personal recognition. There's magic in names. The name "Marilyn Manson" was designed from the beginning to attract attention. It's a symbol of his empire, everything he's built rests on the name Marilyn Manson. He IS Marilyn Manson, the same as I am Manzin. Not to say that my photos wouldn't be as good if the person in them was named George or Percival or Henry or Joseph. But there's no mystery to legal names. There's nothing very special about them. They're plain, ordinary. What my parents decided I would be decades ago is not what I've become and my name reflects that. It's a claim of power, a statement of intent. My life is an art project. I have grown beyond the bounds of what can be accomplished with a simple everyday name and when I reinvented myself, I needed a name that mirrored that transformation.
Why did you choose "Manzin"? What is the meaning behind it ?
I chose Manzin largely because it looks and sounds like Manson, but it isn't. Very similar, yet separate. Its own entity. The name mirrored what I was doing at the time and, to some extent, what I still do. Manzin and Manson have much in common, yet they aren't identical. Non-identical twins. Plus when you write my name in all capital letters, there are no curved lines, just straight ones. It looks nice, it feels balanced. It's good to have a nice-looking autograph.
You're working as a model now, how would you describe your current activities?
Primarily the modeling I do is simply as a hobby. I haven't made any money on the shoots I've done because I've been building a portfolio and a name. I've been published on websites and in magazines both in the US and internationally, I've worked with photographers on both the east and west coast of the US and in London, I've been able to shoot in (and sometimes keep) the clothes of several excellent designers in the goth/fetish world, last summer I had a small role in Strip Club Slashers, a horror movie filmed in Minneapolis, MN. At some point soon I'm going to shift over to more exclusive paid work, mostly because traveling does become expensive and right now my portfolio doesn't need much else to it. When I'm not shooting myself or being photographed by someone else, I have a part time job as an inventory auditor. I also spend a lot of time being active on social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter for promotional reasons. I research ideas for new shoots I'd like to do, I reconstruct clothes to be used in shoots, I talk to my friends, I listen to a lot of music. Sometimes I read, every now and then I'll write something but not too often. I like movies. Mostly when I'm not traveling I keep to myself.
Would you like to work all your entire life as a model? Or work in another art?
Most models have a limited shelf life, especially agency models who make their living in photos. As it is only a hobby for me I can continue to model as long as I want, but that doesn't solve my money problems. It's very good for me to be able to express myself through my photos, I don't think I'll ever stop shooting. Eventually I may get tired of taking photos of myself and start taking photos of other people. In this line of work I get the chance to interact with many artists, other models and photographers, magicians, painters, tattoo artists, graphic designers, fashion designers. There are always new things to learn, new people to meet, new opportunities coming and going. I want to learn all I can about everything that interests me so that I can continue to grow. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to do something I want to do because I don't know how.
I do remember a video of you shooting a video for "This Is The New Shit", but I could be wrong. What happened?
I did record some video during a photo shoot in 2004. I'm very motivated by music and it's difficult for me to work without it, so we had "This Is The New Shit" playing very loudly at the shoot and it ended up on film as well. I didn't set out specifically to recreate that video, that's probably what you remember. I haven't exactly recreated any of Manson's videos yet. I did have vague plans on redoing "(s)AINT" but I haven't found the right girls yet. So if you know a hot blonde and a brunette with nice tits who live in LA/NYC, have some acting ability and wouldn't mind me tying them up and eating them out on film, let me know.
Interview by: MaryWhore
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