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It's time again for a new Central Station Blog! A blog where Studentflex speaks to interesting companies, initiatives and people with an inspiring story. In this edition of the Central Station Blog I speak with Anouk Torsing (26). During my interview with Anouk it turns out that she has followed everything but the 'standard' student life.  

From International Model to Freelance Sustainability Consultant

Central Station blog

It’s time again for a new Central Station Blog! A blog where Studentflex speaks to interesting companies, initiatives and people with an inspiring story. In this edition  I speak with Anouk Torsing (26): international model, former colleague of Studentflex and an ambitious woman full of beautiful and sustainable goals to make the world a better place. As soon as Anouk starts talking, it turns out that she has followed everything but the ‘standard’ student life.


TAKE OPPORTUNITIES

When I ask Anouk (26) to tell me something about her about the journey of her modelling career, it immediately shows her extreme enthusiasm. On the age of thirteen Anouk was scouted for the first time on Dam Square in Amsterdam while shopping with her aunt and sister. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all easy. ‘My parents thought I was too young to enter the modelling industry and were afraid I wasn’t going to finish my Gymnasium.’ 

‘Nevertheless, my ambition to become a model began to grow day by day. I was also scouted more and more, which made it clear that there was potential. After high school there were no more reasons not to take advantage of this opportunity; two days after my final exams I went abroad to work as an International Model.’

A dream come true

‘After building up my portfolio in Singapore, my modeling assignments started. I got work in Milan, London and did my first Fashion Week in Paris.’ The model decided to follow her big dream and left for New York. ‘Through my successful Fashion Week in Paris, I was told by my agent that I could do a big campaign for the brand Valentino. It was one of the best moments ever: get a call in the car from JFK and get this news, while I saw the skyline of the city of my dreams come up.’

A nice tip Anouk would like to give is: ‘Don’t let yourself be influenced by what your surroundings do or find. Just stare blindly at your own dreams and just go for it. You will have to persevere, but I believe that if you really want something, it will happen by itself.

MORE INTELLECTUAL CHALLENGE 

Anouk explains also that there were less fun aspects of modelling. ‘I was working a lot, saw little of friends and never went to parties. Besides the fact that I sometimes felt lonely in cities like Paris, I also wanted more intellectual challenge. After 2.5 years of working fulltime I started studying International Communication and Media at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. After that I started doing the master Global Business Sustainability. I also wanted to do the student life completely.’ 

A BETTER WORLD

href=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/anouktorsing/”>Anouk doesn’t sit still. She made a big change from standing behind the camera to focusing on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Through her board position at AIESEC, she found out that she wanted to do more and more for a better world.

‘During my bachelor I started working at AIESEC. The first year as Marketing Manager and later as Vice President Outgoing Global Talent. AIESEC provides students with international experience and focuses on developing leadership qualities for a better world.’

‘Through my work for AIESEC I began to become even more passionate about sustainable development, and specifically about making business more sustainable. Through my graduation internship at UN Global Compact, I was able to deepen my knowledge in this area… For example, for my master’s thesis I did research on how SMEs and multinationals can cooperate in the value chain for a better implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.’

LEARNING MOMENTS  

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all moonlight and roses. Anouk got a burn-out during her bachelor at the age of 22. ‘Next to my studies, I did modelling, worked 20-30 hours a week for AIESEC, was an active member of a student association and organised a family reunion for 80 people that year. Far too much; I didn’t have a moment to myself anymore.’

Anouk describes her burn-out as the best thing that ever happened to her. It’s my most important learning moment. I never thought: ‘If only I hadn’t done so much.’ It was necessary to break through certain patterns and discover what I needed. Not a mistake, but an essential lesson. This is how I approach most situations that others might characterize as mistakes. In fact, they are the most important learning moments in your life, you don’t want to miss them, do you?’

As a result of the burnout, Anouk had a slight delay and fewer study commitments. In addition, she had a foot injury at the time, which made modelling wasn’t no longer an option. This resulted in more free time and so she started working at Studentflex. People around me brought me into contact with Studentflex. By working at Studentflex I gained more practical experience. I was Flexer for Ayden and Bever. Anouk describes her time at Studentflex as a great time with very nice colleagues: ‘I laughed so much there at the office!’

AND THEN COVID-19..

At the end of December, after her master exchange in Madrid, Anouk had finished her studies well. ‘I wanted to start my modelling career again and felt like visiting new cities and meeting new people and clients. Unfortunately, this soon came to an end because of Covid 19.’

Anouk could do little modelling, but she decided not to get stuck with the arrival of Covid 19. ‘During the first corona wave, I did a sustainability assignment for an architectural firm. I made an analysis of the extent to which the operational management and the projects were in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It was an enjoyable and above all instructive assignment to do, which Covid-19 enabled me to put all my energy into. In the end, this assignment led to me becoming a Freelance Sustainability Consultant – actually unintentionally. Anouk indicates that she definitely wants to expand this. I notice that I am most happy making an impact for a better world.’

Anouk is currently working on a new assignment for two entrepreneurs. In my new position, I am investigating the possibility for two entrepreneurs. I am investigating the possibility for two entrepreneurs to set up a foundation aimed at improving the living and working conditions of waste collectors in developing countries. To this end, I am researching different solutions.

INTERNATIONAL MODEL OR SUSTAINABILITY CONSULTANT?

During the interview it seems that Anouk as had turbulent years, but sometimes looks back. I ask her the question: Rather international model or Freelance Sustainability Consultant?

At the moment she prefers an international model. ‘It’s so nice to be creative and not know where you’re going to be every week. The unexpected things that come at you during modelling are really an adventure. I’m happy to make an impact for a better world and to be creative. During modelling I also have time to set up my own business. The best thing is of course to combine fashion and sustainability.’

For now, the 26-year-old mainly does things that make her happy. ‘You see more and more that students making faster choices and finished earlier. Try things out and fail a couple of times. That way you can really find out what you want and save yourself a lot of misery later on. You’re only young once.’

CRITICAL, ENTERPRISING, CONNECTING AND CONTEMPORARY

According to Anouk, it is especially important to be critical: As a Freelance Sustainability Consultant you have to have a critical view. During my work I am constantly researching and analysing. I help companies become more sustainable by analysing what they are currently doing to promote the UN’s sustainability goals and how they can improve their contribution’. The entrepreneurial side also speaks for itself with Anouk’s background: ‘I am always looking for different ways and opportunities to make the world a bit more beautiful. Looking at my career as a model, I have dared to take big steps. Because of my entrepreneurial qualities, I have been able to make my big dream of living in New York come true. I find it more difficult not to take action than to take action’. Connecting is an important factor for Anouk. In my new work I am working towards a better world; working together and finding the right partners is essential. You don’t create a better world on your own.’ And finally, contemporary. I am very involved with my surroundings. I keep myself busy with the latest developments and research, especially in the field of sustainability. Fortunately, the attention for sustainability is growing more and more.’

We like to help you further develop yourself, gain experience and find out what you like about a side job that really suits you at Studentflex.

 


 

ABOUT Anouk Torsing

 

Anouk Torsing
Born:  Amsterdam
Study: International Communication and Media en de master Global Business Sustainability
Interest: Photography, sports and electronic music

 

(Foto 1: Bron Tom Newton, Foto 2: Bron Anouk Torsing, Foto 3: Bron Marie Claire NL)

Written by Farah Evers

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