Chris Baris (@chris_baris) grew up in Luxembourg and is one of Luxembourg’s biggest and most famous influencers, living his dream in Los Angeles. The model and actor shares his story and what he misses the most about living in Luxembourg in our exclusive interview.
Thanks for having you Chris, tell us who you are!
My name is Chris Baris and I am a Social Media Influencer, actor and model living in LA. I grew up in Luxembourg and finished high school at Lycée Nic Biver in Dudelange before moving to LA in order to grow my business!
To start off, living in LA must be amazing. What do you miss the most about Luxembourg though?
What I miss the most about Luxembourg are obviously my friends, my family, people I used to hang out with, but right now, I am very happy in Los Angeles. The weather is good, my business is based here, you know, everything that I am working on as an influencer, actor and model. If I do come back in the future the first thing I’m going to do is seeing my family and friends.
Most of the time, my parents come to visit me, for Christmas or during summer for example. Then we just enjoy ourselves and hang out at the beach.
How did you become such a popular public figure? Was this a long-term plan you had in mind?
When I was 16 years old, I was in school and I didn’t really know what to do. My sister came up to me one day and asked me « What do you want to do in life? » At that time my sister owned a production company called in Luxembourg and she was a producer for movies and films. When she worked, I often sat backstage and watch her doing her job or helped her out by holding a camera or the lights. I always had a passion for it, but I never thought that I could turn this into a career. So when she asked me what I want to do in my life and I told her that I didn’t know at all, she became really angry and we started to argue a whole week!
At that time, all I wanted to do was to hang out with my girlfriend, playing video games, you know… I didn’t waste a thought about my professional life, I expected to work a standard 9-5 job and that would be it. My sister told me that I should be more ambitious in life and try to turn a dream of mine into a job!
After a while, I said to myself that deep down inside myself, I always had this desire to become an actor and to be on a big screen. Here in Luxembourg, I quickly realized that there were no possibilities whatsoever to make that work, so me and my sister decided to move to LA! She told me that there, I would have the possibility to go to auditions and to meet with agencies that could support me.
My sister is my manager right now and manages everything related to agencies, social media etc. Also, she still works as a producer and works on a clothing line. It’s important for me to trust the people I work with, and with my sister as my manager, I am assured that she gives 100% to see me succeed. The business stays in the family! (laughs)
Tell us more about the transition from Luxembourg to LA? Must have been a huge difference!
The first thing I realized when I got here was that Los Angeles is a huge city! You can’t compare it to Luxembourg at all, everything is just different; the people, the weather, the mindset.
What I did to finance my journeys to LA in the beginning was saving money I earned through any job I could get my hands on during holidays, mostly in a bank in Kirchberg where my mother works. I worked on weekends and holidays, and once me and my sister had enough money, we traveled to LA.
My sister can be considered the person that kicked off my career, but the real motivation behind this came when I worked during the holidays and realized that this is in fact not at all the life I want to live in the future. I became frustrated thinking about it, and when my sister told me to man up and follow my dream, the whole journey started.
After I finished high school in Luxembourg, I started university in Los Angeles. My mother is American and my father a Turkish German. I have the double citizenship of Luxembourg and the United States, so I didn’t have any problems with getting a visa and traveling between the two countries.
Once we arrived in Los Angeles, we had time to focus on my career. In the first month, I auditioned for Abercrombie&Fitch. I thought to myself: « There is no way I am going to get this job. » After two weeks, I got a call from them and they confirmed that they wanted me to model for them! I was shocked and excited at the same time because I never thought I would be able to work for such a brand right from the beginning!
After I modeled 6 months for Abercrombie&Fitch, my contract ended and I started to focus more on social media, as I saw that you can increase your chances massively by promoting yourself on these networks and get discovered. I started VLOGing on my YouTube channel, where I have 10.000 subscribers right now. Before I shot my first commercial, my sister told me to take my camera with me and just VLOG everything that happens behind the scenes.
I did that and there were a lot of people that looked at it. Also, there were agencies that started to contact me via e-mail and social media and offered me contracts with them. I signed with small agencies at the beginning and worked myself up the scale to the point where I am right now!
How would you define 2018 in terms of business? Quite a successful year, isn’t it?
I featured on the cover of the Obvious magazine, and you can also see me in a movie for the first time in 2019! I will play in a movie called “I’m Not Afraid” which is a horror-drama thriller.
I reached a lot in 2018 and I’m blessed that I have such a great family and entourage that helps me to reach my goals. I have collaborations going on with Adidas, New Balance etc; it was an all-around great year for me. I can’t imagine how it’s going to be next year!