Rebuilding a modeling portfolio is a process, especially after 15 years of success as a “brunette” brand.

Photography by editorial visionary Roberto Ligresti.
Hair and makeup by the Internationally-renowned Livio Angileri.

Tyra Banks Smizing

Models work hard to perfect their camera gaze. Photographers often instruct “Give me more.” But what’s more to give?

Tyra Banks coined the phrase “smizing”, when a model smiles with their eyes. Here’s a quick tutorial; now grab a mirror and start practicing.

“Fight like you’re right. Listen like you’re wrong.”  – Former CEO of Intel and Silicon Valley legend Andy Grove

Photo Credit: Eroteme.co.uk  celebrity social network pictures

Photo Credit: Eroteme.co.uk celebrity social network pictures

As I dragged myself out of bed this morning I felt pretty accomplished, mentally listing my tasks for the day (morning production meeting for client website updates, confirm details of upcoming photoshoot with agent, afternoon casting at Hearst Magazines, prepare for tech client meeting on Friday, send pitch deck to prospective investors, stop by UPS, buy shrimp for dinner...).

I pulled up my usual NYPost.com Page Six news and grabbed a double espresso… And there it was *smack*! A photo of Gisele, Supermodel Mom in hair and makeup being prepped for a photoshoot while breast feeding her daughter. Cue ego deflation.

In a world where Moms write satirical blogs like “People I Want To Punch In The Throat” there was surely exasperation at breakfast tables everywhere. Moms already have a lot on their plates running their household and putting elves on shelves. Do they really need to see an apparently-staged photo like this that makes them feel inferior, like they should be parenting in a ball gown? 

I’d feel the same frustration if I hadn’t met Gisele. She’s the real deal.

It’s hard to feel hatred and jealousy when you know someone is successful as a result of hard work. When I modeled with Gisele in the Louis Vuitton campaign this scene was real. After her routine 5am meditation she attended to her newborn and reported to set for an 8am call time, newborn in tow. She was vibrant. Outgoing. The brightest light in the room.

There was no personal assistant. There was no entourage, just a quiet family nanny who only took baby Vivian Lake from her mama to allow the styling team space to prep their model for the day’s shoot. There were no special riders to her contract or diva attitudes. Gisele was as kind to the caterer as she was to Steven Meisel and Marc Jacobs. She was as grounded as any yogi mom I’ve ever met.

Careful not to exploit her children on social media, I’ve noticed that Gisele’s Instagram contains only carefully-obstructed photos of her family moments. That’s good parenting. While she’s working she’s making travel arrangements for her family, making sure they travel together and aren’t victims of success. She’s juggling kids, husband, supermodeldom and – did you know this? – the businesses she’s invested in. Yes, this #SuperModelMom also owns legit businesses like Unreal Candy. She took the time to make a healthy-alternative candy for the rest of us, including your children. Side note: the Peanut Butter Cups are ammmmazing, and I obsessed over them without knowing she created them.

The saying goes “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” Don’t hate success, either.

My point to this story: Women come in all shapes and abilities, and we juggle the responsibilities of the life path we’ve forged. It’s never easy, just different. Some of us have taken on more than others, and we need to celebrate those women that are boldly setting a successful SuperMom standard. 

What do I see in this photo, really? I see a mom in her bathrobe, caring for her child while juggling her job. Just like everyone else.

 

Modern Mom tweet

“Use whatever tools you have to create something you are proud of and get the job done.”  –  Tim Gunn

lagerfeld-my-pony

You’re made into a My Little Pony!  

Or in this case, My Little Lagerfeld created by artist Mari Kasurinen.

Loves it!  Next up… a Lagerfeld Chia Pet?

A hilarious parody!!!  Working with rent-a-babies is no laughing matter though, it’s tough!

We’re starting to see some photos from the new Steven Meisel for Louis Vuitton campaign in the UK Vogue & Harpers August issues, and in Vanity Fair and W Mag in the USA. Stay tuned… 

 

john casablancas collage

His reputation had its ups and its downs, but nobody can deny that John Casablancas was an icon in the fashion modeling world.

In the late 1970s, when John founded Elite Models, the big players were Wilhelmina Cooper and Eileen Ford, both of whom acted motherly towards their models, chaperoning them around the city and making sure they didn’t get into trouble. John Casablancas encouraged models to live glamorous public lives in the fast lane.

Wilhelmina and Ford groomed some great models, but Casablancas created star personalities and big names. He created Supermodels.

When John sold his share of Elite Models in 2000 the agency had 500 models on four continents with bookings of over $100 million per year. Models had become commodities and modeling a big business, in large part to his marketing vision.

Read More: NY Times Obituary – John Casablancas, modeling visionary, dies at 70.

Carmen Dell'Orefice in the Rouge F/W12 Campaign

Carmen Dell’Orefice in the Rouge F/W12 Campaign

Carmen is ah-maze-ing! At 81 years old she came out of retirement when her savings was lost to Bernie Madoff, but no boo-hooing from her. She went straight to work on the Armani campaign. She’s been modeling since the age of 13, steadily employed the entire time. Six Vogue covers. More runways than we can count. Oozing class and sophistication from every tiny pore. Here is an insightful, recent interview by Pip Cummings on Daily Life website. Did you know she was often dropped into foster care? That she grew up in Depression-era New York in 1931? Modeled topless for Salvador Dali? Can you imagine!
Carmen believes “in an energy world – we’re all energy. Thoughts are held in the energy world. Energy goes to energy. Nothing is lost. Nothing is gained. It only changes shape and form.”
I love how genuine and candid Carmen is. There’s a lesson to be learned, that vibrancy and spirit on the inside are picked up by the camera on the outside.
Helen Gurley Brown
HGB, the woman who needed no more than an acronym, died today. She was an icon, a force in magazine publishing, women’s liberties and a restorer of self confidence. It’s because of Helen Gurley Brown that books like 50 Shades of Grey can go mainstream in our market and Carrie Bradshaw is a single, successful, sexy city gal. Prior to the voice HGB gave women in the media, we were all emptionally-suppressed housewives living in Post-WWII conservatism chiefly concerned with ironing our husband’s underpants and minding our dinner party etiquette.

Read Sex & The Single Girlby Helen Gurley Brown

The longtime editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine who invited millions of women to join the sexual revolution died at age 90.  She was a trailblazer, one of the most influential 20th century feminists. Her book is a compelling look into how far we’ve come in our feminine liberties, and as Brown went on to become editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan Magazine she put women in touch with themselves thanks to articles like “10 Ways To Turn Down The Boss”. If the book is too much of a time investment, at least click through to order the movie. At the beginning of her media career, which began with the 1962 book “Sex and the Single Girl”, HGB said that her aim was to tell a reader “how to get everything out of life — the money, recognition, success, men, prestige, authority, dignity — whatever she is looking at through the glass her nose is pressed against.” RIP HGB, you left an indelible mark on the world… and a big smudge on the glass.    
I’m not one to get involved in the plus size – straight size debate. My mantra is Live Healthy In Mind, Body and Spirit, and I was fortunate to be bestowed with that knowledge at a youthful age so that I haven’t needed to diet, deprive myself or use Spanx to squeeze into a size 6. I do believe in positive body image and Ashley Graham radiates positivity from every pore of her glowing skin. Selected as the Model of the Year at Full Figured Fashion Week, she gives a few pointers and insights here that can help you put your best stiletto forward – no matter your size. In this special episode of Marie Claire’s Big Girl in a Skinny World, Marcy Guevara interviews Ford Model Ashley Graham on the set of a Lane Bryant photo shoot.

A Google search for “Vogue Lady In Red” can bring you up to speed on the conspiracy theories surrounding my inclusion in this otherwise-übercool editorial featuring Daria Strokous and Caroline Trentini.
 
Has Steven Meisel lost his mind? No, I’m pretty sure he’s just exercising his sense of humor!

I find this editorial to be brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed. Working with Steven Meisel was an honor; I love that he allowed me to be myself without trying to “cool me up” and I am proud to have a role in the creation of his art.

Re: The Story:
The women who patronize teleshopping channels save up for that $300 gold pleather jacket payable in 3 Easy-Pay installments because for them, it is their Christian Lacroix. Teleshopping carries everything from frumpy knits to “designer” goods, making the higher priced designer items the equivalent of a middle-America Chanel.
 
Fashion is subjective; your cool may not be my cool. Real women from Texas to Tuscany covet clothing that they can wear in their everyday lives, inspired by haute couture runways but made wearable by mass market designers. It’s the trickle-down effect from runway to ready-to-wear to private label.

Re: The Casting:
I think Steven again makes a statement. Watching Joan Rivers on QVC, she overshadows her guests, the models and the merchandise. It’s the Joan Show and the customers call  Keep Reading »

Listen up model wannabes and parents of potential models:  If you want to understand the process that happens from the time you get approached in the mall with a scout’s business card to going to NYC as a signed model, this show will give you a glimpse into the fast track. No, not all models have it this easy – most get rejected once they do that first test in NYC and they need to shoot more, practice more, attend open calls at agencies, send in polaroids, and work work work their way to getting signed. But in a perfect world, if a model truly has what it takes to become a Superstar, this is how it’d play out. Spend the $3, buy it on iTunes and take the time to really understand the process as well as enjoy the show. Below, my iTunes review. icon icon
Skipping the overhyped drama of “other” model shows, Scouted is the authentic process that model wannabes experience to go from potential to possible to signed-or-not.  I’ve worked with Beri – we’re both represented by Ford Models NY – and she is the 100% real deal. A superstar known for her DKNY campaigns, designer catwalks and ability to work in just about every market, she is exactly the type of model mentor that would bring out potential if these girls have it. Charles I’ve known for many years, and he has the type of inherent talent that can’t be learned in a beauty school; his eye for edgy-but-beautiful is unparalleled. And of course, Michael Flutie, Scott Lipps and the rest of the cast have reputations for creating countless model stars. So happy they kept this about the models’ opportunity and left the drama to the other shows. Bought my season pass and watched the first 4 shows back-to-back to catch up! 

Curves for Change

Congratulations to my model friends for putting together a press-filled & celebrity-studded launch party for the new Curves For Change  non-profit organization! You are all beautiful inside and out.

Founded by Supermodel/Supermom Kate Dillon and now helmed by models Bernadett Vajda + Julie Henderson, these models use their beauty and visibility to make a positive impact on women’s causes like ending human trafficking. As a member of the Board Of Directors, I contribute by creating the C4C website and we all aim to be positive role models.

Major props to whomever won those $25,000 Victoria’s Secret Runway Show tickets at the C4C silent auction- WOOT!
Looking forward to the next event…

You can donate @ curvesforchange.com.  Get involved and make a difference!