‘Don’t be a dickhead’: Lili Sumner on her fears, ambitions, and one favor she’d like to ask

Kicking off a new series for Document, photographer Christian Brylle gets existential with fashion's favorite gap-toothed cool girl

In this series, photographer Christian Brylle captures models in their most natural states of being, revealing professional chameleons as their idiosyncratic selves. “These pictures are acts of pure portraiture—capturing the individual’s personality using light and shadow, movement and gesticulation,” Brylle says. “No interference. No distractions.” He sees the photographer’s task as capturing “the moments when the subject’s spirit reveals itself,” transcending the physical and withstanding time.

Lili Sumner, originally from New Zealand, is one of the industry’s top models, appearing on countless magazines and starring in major campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, and Céline—all while preserving her down-to-earth ethos and famous gap-toothed smile. Below, Sumner tells Document about her biggest fear, her greatest adventure, and the one person she admires most in the world.

Who am I: I’m Lili.

Person I would like to switch places with: Honestly no one. My own experience is enough for now.

Person I admire the most: A stranger I once spoke to who gave me some very good clues.

Events I wish I’d witnessed: My own birth and my past death…could be interesting.

My idea of happiness: Listening and hearing something back.

My biggest fear: Emptiness.

Games I play: I try not to play games, with myself or others…for quiet times there’s Scrabble.

My greatest adventure: BEING BORN.

Something I’d like to change: Unconsciousness.

Things I’ll be remembered by: Not identified yet.

One thing I’d like to forget: I don’t see much virtue in forgetting.

Something I’d like to accomplish: Sharing what I make.

Things that inspire me: Questions that are seemingly unanswerable.

Questions I can’t answer: WHY.

One last favor I’d like to ask: Don’t be a dickhead.

Who I’d like to be: I’m scared to say anyone in case it happens and I regret it.

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