“I like to think of models as silent actors in a play”…Modeltypeface Meets COCO ROCHA!
I’ll be honest with you. When Coco Rocha said that she’d answer a few questions for Modeltypeface, I ran around in circles for 5 minutes, called my boyfriend and spoke in excited, monosyllabic utterances and then sat silently at a blank screen, panicking at what to ask. I decided to go with what I thought I might ask Coco while we washed our hands, were I to bump into her in the ladies.
As I said yesterday, I’m a big Coco fan, having followed her modelling progression and admired the way in which she has seized control of her image and career. I’ve also been enormously enjoying owning her book, A Study of Pose, in which she totally nails 1000 (just to clarify…ONE THOUSAND!) poses in a book shot in 360 by photographer Stephen Sebring. I can’t recommend the book enough for new models seeking education as well as established ones like me looking for a bit of reinvigoration and inspiration.
The 360 app means that you can take one of the images, like this:
And view it from 360! Not only is it clever, but it’s beautiful – with natural make up, hair in a bun and wearing a plain leotard, Coco’s dynamic poses on the page come to life.
…It’s almost like looking at a Muybridge.
WIth no further ado, let me introduce the Modeltypeface interview with COCO ROCHA!
R: Hello Coco – thank you for agreeing to do questions for Modeltypeface – it really is an honour! The Study of Pose is a book of art – it reminds me of a Muybridge, and every model should have it.
C: Thats so amazing you mentioned that! Very few have noticed the correlation between this and Eadweard Muybridge work in the 1800’s but, especially with the 360 app, I definitely see that this is a logical next step of a study started over 100 years ago. Some people ask me why I didn’t call it ‘The Study Of Pose’ and the reason is, because the study isn’t over, this was just my own study of pose. Others like Muybridge have taken on the task before and many will again I’m sure.
R: You seem so fearless in your posing! Looking back on your first shoots, were you like that as a New Face? Trying out such bold moves can feel scary when you’re in front of a team of people staring at you – so how can my new faces learn to be as uninhibited?
C: I think my dance background helped. Not so much for movement, as Irish dance is very stiff up top, but in feeling comfortable being on stage and losing some of that natural inhibition all young girls feel. I went into modeling completely novice and naive. I had no aspirations to be in the fashion industry, I was scouted and plucked out of relative obscurity and thrown into the mix without giving it much thought. When I met people who were titans of the industry, I had no idea who they were, so there was no fear really. I went in completely blind, which was probably a blessing at the time.
R: Looking through the book and watching videos like these…
…It seems as though posing is effortless for you (despite some of the contortions you manage!). Are you consciously thinking of the next pose, or do you slip into ‘supermodel auto-zone’?
C: I keep bringing it back to dance but, it really is related. You know when you’re having a great night out, and you’re on the dance floor with all your friends and your favorite song comes on? You’re not really thinking about your next moves, you’re just enjoying the moment. For me posing is similar. I’m channeling some character or emotion and not over thinking it too much. I think there is a real danger in over thinking modeling, it becomes calculated and unnatural.
R: These days, you’re not just fearless in posing – you aren’t afraid to tackle problems with the industry from within. You name the clients that treat you badly, and you’re actively helping young models. That’s brave – doing this can really risk a model’s career. What gave you the confidence to speak out?
C: I first spoke out publicly when Anna Wintour the editor in chief of Vogue magazine asked me to do so. At first I was very nervous, there had not really been a model speaking on these sorts of subject for a long time. But I knew with her blessing, it would be for the greater good. After I did so I had a lot of girls come up to me to thank me for saying what I did. Learning to speak out for myself was a valuable lesson that I’m thankful I learned early in my career. If you don’t respect or stand up for yourself, no one else will.
R: Do you think that meaningful changes are now being made that will really help models? I ask because I often feel as though issues surrounding modelling are met with an eye roll and a ‘how bad can such a glamorous job be?’ when in fact, many models are incredibly young and vulnerable.
C: There is definitely a form of prejudice out there and you see it more from the anonymous commenters hiding behind their computer screens than you do from individuals out in the real world. When I spoke out about Elle Brazil digitally removing my top (which was both against my wishes and my contract) I saw so many hateful anonymous commenters tell me to shut up and be thankful I’m even on a cover.
Basically the idea was, “You’re someone the world considers beautiful, therefore you forfeit the normal rights of human dignity and respect which should be assigned to every other person on Earth”. If a model speaks up about anything, that’s usually the first response she gets “Just be happy that you’re tall and beautiful” which is surprising to me because we all have sisters, mothers and daughters.
Getting back to your question, there have been issues with how the industry is run for a long, but I think its getting better. Will we ever solve the problems once and for all? I wish I could say yes but probably not.
R: If you could give my New Faces one piece of advice when embarking on a modelling career, what would it be?
C: I think good model must be professional and willing to work hard. Too many girls think modeling is a lifestyle, not a job. A good model should know her basics like angles, poses and lighting, and be there to inspire the photographer. Just as importantly she should also know who she is and what her values are. A lot of pressure can be placed on a model to compromise but I find integrity is usually rewarded. At the same time a model also needs to have thick skin because today’s culture is definitely one of criticism. When hearing, “You’re too fat” or “too skinny” at castings and on social media, a model has to try not to take it personally – even though, when you think about it, it really is pretty personal!
R: Finally, indulge me! If I could have had one job, it would be to walk for Gaultier. What on earth is it like to be part a show for the ultimate French maestro?!
He is amazing. Gaultier and Zac Posen are two shows that I will drop everything to do. What I love about Jean Paul is he always has some lavish extravagant back story behind the show. I like to think of models as silent actors in a play and he gives us great material to work with. I remember one year he was explaining that I was a chic old lady going out for a walk, not caring what anyone thought of me. Playing characters like that are so fun.
Amazing!!! That was a very exciting moment for Modeltypeface, and I hope you enjoyed reading Coco’s responses as much as I did. A big huge thank you to Coco and her husband, James, for sorting it out.
I’d love to celebrate Modeltypeface’s Coco interview with you by offering one lucky reader a chance to win some purple-hued Chanel lipgloss in Audace, worth £26
Which was inspired the purple lips that Coco’s sported, which Naomi took a dislike to on The Face…
As well as a ‘Coco Mademoiselle’ Eau de Toilette (worth £63.50)
You have to be 18 or over and from the UK to enter. All you have to do to win?! Comment below telling me why YOU’RE a Coco Rocha fan!
Terms and conditions at the bottom of the page.
Do check out A Study of Pose: www.harpercollins.com/9780062328144/study-of-pose
Winner receives 1x Chanel Rouge Allure lip gloss and 1 x Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Toilette. Competition open to over 18s only. Competition open to residents of the UK only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before new winner is selected. Competition starts 05/12/2014 and ends 12/05/2014. To enter comment below on why you love Coco Rocha. Prizes distributed by Rebecca Pearson. Winner will be selected at random within 28 days of giveaway ending.The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.