Eva Shaw’s seemingly endless legs stretch out from a banquette in the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Three days ago, the Dutch-Canadian model- turned-DJ released her new track “Space Jungle,” a progressive electro-house jam that’s climbing the charts. “It had 100,000 plays on YouTube in a few hours,” the 24-year-old says through full, slightly chapped lips, her electric blue-green eyes blazing.
Just a few years ago, Shaw never would have pictured herself in this position. She started DJing for fun, something to do when she wasn’t modeling for publications like GQ and Purple or shooting campaigns for Neiman Marcus and Aveda. It was a hobby, not a way to make bank. And she was shy, wearing a baseball cap during her DJ sets as a way to hide from the audience. Shaw took the moniker DJ Bambi at the suggestion of her then-boyfriend, who thought her reserved nature and bewildered, doe-eyed look mirrored that of the Disney deer.
Despite her reservations, she quickly gained a following, jumping from small venues to 10,000-person clubs. Shaw was a girl in the boys’ world of club DJs, which came as a mixed blessing. “It was hard at first, but I think I got certain things because I was a female,” she says. “Obviously, if I sucked they wouldn’t have me back.” She didn’t, and weekend bookings at clubs like Marquee in New York and a residency at Las Vegas’ Hakkasan followed.
Shaw dropped DJ Bambi and now plays under her own name. She also gave up her Ford modeling contract when she started to make as much money spinning as she was modeling, and although she’ll do an occasional campaign now, her second career is her primary focus. She’s played festivals in Switzerland and Prague, and recently toured China. (“It’s totally different,” she says of the scene in the Far East. “I could go on about that for an hour.”)
Shaw is producing, too, finding time wherever she can between gigs and flights. She has a small studio in her Manhattan apartment but can mix on her laptop when it’s necessary. “Space Jungle” came out of that effort, and she was stoked to work with Showtek on the edit that was released. Shaw plans to drop a new song at least every three months. “I want to collab with some old- school rappers. Do you remember Khia?” she asks. “Something like that would be so cool.” Either way, Bambi turned out just fine on her own.
By Noah Davis. Photograph by Silja Magg.