Updated: Apr 2, 2020
CA: What made you want to get into modeling?
EB: Where I grew up I was considered very different and I wasn’t really appreciated for my beauty. I said relating to other people who felt that way. I actually had a couple of offers when I came to America and people were starting to appreciate me for being different. When I started opening up and speaking, I started making connections with people who felt the same way. I kind of wanted to represent that. To be strong enough to spread that message about fashion and modeling is not about one type of woman. It is about all of us and we should all be represented. We should all be displayed as examples and not the emphasis on what a model should be instead what a model actually is.
CA: Express your challenges to living in the states since you originally lived in France? EB: One of the hardest things when I moved here was how to stay healthy. I had to learn a lot from the American culture in regards to the food. I grew up on a farm so we had everything natural (laughs). I never had to question anything because it was just there. My mother, brother, and myself were always healthy because that was what we had. You come here and tend to buy junk food and so many cultures. I am a curious person by nature and it is not like I go around saying I shouldn’t try this because it is weird. I’m more the type of person who goes “oh my god, I need to try this food and try that”. Come to find out there are certain types of things your body doesn’t want or accept. It shows. Food was definitely one of the big things to deal with.
Another culture shock is more about how friendship and family works here. I definitely had to learn and research from each community from the people I connect with. I had to learn how the Asian friends are here in comparison to my Asian friends in France. The French culture is different than the American culture. My Hispanic friends in France are different from the ones who grew up here. It is not in a bad or good way. Certain habits like how they hang out, music they listen to, how they build relationships people, and it is a lot going on. It takes a while to learn it and I got here four years ago to New York. The first two years was a lot of learning especially when it came to the Caribbean community. What I knew from the Caribbean community was very little. I knew about the music but learning the people and how they stick together. Definitely learning from the cultural side and the food side.
CA: How long have you been modeling in total? EB: The first time I modeled was in France. It was a bad experience that turned out to be a good experience. In my high school, all the people majoring in Fashion Design would host a fashion show. I decided to do the fashion show along with my friend who was from French Guyana. Come to find out when the make up artist and hair stylist came, they didn’t have foundation for us which matched our skin color. They also didn’t have any hair stylists who worked with us. I guess they didn’t expect any brown skinned women to model for the show. It taught me a lot and made me strong. It gave me a reason to want to do modeling and I had to take the challenge. When I got here, I was a fashion design major and I started doing it. Once I arrived in New York, I was doing beauty pageant, training for shows, work on my public speaking, and a lot of practice. I attended more school fashion shows and met more designers and did more fashion shows. And that is how it went.
CA: What is your background? EB: My mom is Colombian and my dad is Italian.
CA: Which models do you idolize right now?
EB: I love and admire Naomi Campbell even though people have a diverse opinion on her. As a society, we tend to judge other people and I think people in general go through a lot. I think she came out in a time where no one was doing what she was doing. There was no black model who would get the best clothes and best fashion shows in the industry. She was in every single fashion show for 20 plus years. Her career spans 28 years! For a model that is tough. She actually has an organization which calls up fashion houses who do not use women of color for a certain time to address the faults in that. I also was able to see her last month and she still looks amazing. I also love Heidi Klum. I love Gisele Bundchen a lot because how she stresses the importance of being healthy in modeling.
CA: What direction do you see yourself going in regards to your career? EB: I want to try out for fitness modeling. I am a big dreamer and I’m also down to earth. I want to be the best at what I can be. I love work now, I love dancing, and being active. I am not the kind of person who stays home. I am active in general and I would love for it to show. I think fitness modeling is a good opportunity because it is closer to what I really am. It would be a strong message to women in my community who still struggle with fitness.
CA: How do you go about choosing shoots/shows to do? EB: I tend to be picky about my shoots. It has to be worth it for who I am doing it for and for myself. I sometimes I do it for people who have done great things for me because I feel like you always have to give back. If it is an upcoming designer, I will definitely support it if I am notified ahead of time. I won’t be in every fashion show all the time especially if my body and my state of mind isn’t there. It wouldn’t represent me well. The reason I can’t be in every show because of time. Time is priceless and the show has to be worth your time to do it.
CA: Do you have process for getting ready to do a shoot/show? EB: I usually go from one hour workouts to three hour workouts. I need three to four weeks to get in shape for a shoot or show. I do more cardio like running because it gives me peace. A lot of swimming because it is good for your back and abs. My diet gets stricter and I will lower the carbs a lot. More green tea with lemon along with more sleep. I will switch my coffee to a dark coffee with a little bit of creamer (I don’t really like it laughs). I reduce everything and add more vegetables and fruits to my face look better.
CA: How do you describe working with a photographer? EB: I usually like to speak with the person for 20 minutes. I don’t like to rush into it because I feel human interactions is important. The connection sets the mood for the shoot. When we start shooting, I tell the photographer not to be scared to tell me to pose. I tend to be more comfortable and it gives off the appearance I know what I’m doing. At the end of the day, the photographer is the photographer and they know what they are doing. Let me know how you feel about this pose and the message I want to convey is said with the shoots.
CA: Outside of modeling, what are your interests? EB: I love music. Since I was a kid, I would sing about it and be passionate about it. I think music saves us from whatever is happening, it is going to help. Through music, we get to convey messages to a lot of people. I have a thing for art and crafting. I love dancing as well. Fashion design with the creative aspect is interesting for me. I am in the studios on the weekends and work on projects myself. I love business when I’m interacting with people. It shows how something can start from the bottom and work its way to the top.
CA: Which fashion magazines, websites, blogs, and catalogs do you read the most? EB: I am more of an old school person with print subscriptions. I go to my door and get my copy of Vogue, Elle, and Essence. Definitely, my magazines and style.com because it has all the updates on what is going on in fashion. I also check my emails for the highlights of the magazines because I can’t carry my magazines around me all the time. Instagram is another good source for fashion pages to keep up with locally and internationally.
CA: How would you classify your style in your leisure time? EB: I’m more like a 90’s New Yorker look from the show Friends. I like being comfy and having solid accessories.
CA: Where do you generally shop? EB: I love Urban Outfitters, Buffalo Exchange (a thrift store), H&M, Zara (more in Europe), Forever 21, and whatever is in SOHO. Sometimes I might see something in the store window which catches my attention.
CA: I hear you are a fashion designer and stylist. Tell me how that makes you look at outfits and material on people? EB: The thing about being a stylist is knowing the person and how they are about their appearance. If I’m styling my mom, I know what she likes. If I’m styling my friends for a party, I know how they want to party and what they like to wear for those events. My friends are always pulling me into styling them. Styling is not only about knowing the person but also looking for something new to push that person’s style a bit.
CA: Who is your male celebrity crush? EB: Shemar Moore, Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Enrique Iglesias, and Tyrese Gibson.
CA: Who is your female celebrity crush? EB: Scarlett Johannson, Julia Roberts, Kerry Washington, and Gisele Bundchen
CA: What is fun and rewarding about modeling for you? EB: The walk. The walk because it feels like I’m there and not there at the same time. It is an amazing feeling. They know what you represent and what you stand for. You represent the clothes for the designer and it really feels like hardwork pays off. I am the type of person who can’t walk if I don’t feel confident.
CA: Where do you see yourself five years from now? EB: I see myself having a lot of endorsements. I want love to have Nike. I would like to be on magazines and products. I definitely plan on being on tour with my group and writing my own songs. And of course my own fashion line.
CA: What do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for? EB: No give up. It doesn’t matter what you look and how you feel today. We all have good days and bad days. Don’t stop because today is a bad day. I want people to be inspired by my story, you can do it. We are all small when we start, we are all beginners. You weren’t born knowing how to model, to sing, or working for a bank. Never give up, keep working.
CA: What is the best advice you would give someone to start working towards modeling? EB: Dreaming. Keep dreaming. Some people stop dreaming because they are not a kid anymore. So many people would say I used to want to be this when I was a kid. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I think when you are a kid, you dream more because you are not afraid. You just want to be a singer or a firefighter because that is what your heart beats for. When you are a kid, you are not aware of what is going on in society. You think it is going to be easy. I think people should still dream and understand it will be hard. They need to not think of it being hard. Just to stay focused and stay on the vision. Keep dreaming, it is not only for kids!
Follow Eleonore on @ele_artista