Warm Winds


In an evening when the art world had its eye looking to the Armory’s Gala Benefit; Hauser & Wirth Gallery managed to attract a very selective crowd to the opening of Bharti Kher’s exhibition entitled “The Hot Winds that Blow from the West” where five new pieces by the admired London-born, Delhi-based artist are now in view.

Welcomed by “A View of the Forest” a beautiful multi green-toned piece composed by Kher’s now famous bindis, we are ushered through the hallway to meet “A line through space and time”; a staircase in an empty room that leads up to nowhere, a remarkable piece of work covered by sperm-shaped bindis and that could be an invitation to a more fertile time in life, or perhaps the opposite, we wonder. The bindis, more than a fashion accessory in the Indian culture and constantly present in Kher’s work since 1995 are as she explains “meant to represent a third eye – one that forges a link between the real and the spiritual-conceptual worlds.”

The heavy weight radiator-composed piece in the back room gives name to the exhibition and could probably benefit from a larger space, but it is an astonishing work of art none the less. For this piece the artist sourced 131 radiators from the United States, the west, over the course of six years and shipped them to India, the east, where it was assembled.

The title of this work references The Loo, a fiercely hot and occasionally fatal summer afternoon wind that blows across North India and Pakistan. “We think of winds as harbinger of change, carrying voices of transformation”, Kher has said. “From where I sit, the winds blowing nowadays from the west – from the places that were the seats of power and authority throughout the 20th century – are no longer as strong or reliable as they were.” Traveling east these radiators, symbol of domestic comfort in the west, lost its purpose and the artist continues to offer explanation; “I suppose I am sending them back to the West as messenger and, perhaps, warnings. Other voices are changing the landscape now and political uncertainties have put the world in flux.”.

On the second floor however comes the most brilliant and breathtaking piece, shown last spring at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, “Reveal the secrets that you seek” throws us in a room of wonders composed by 27 shattered mirrors covered by bindis, this entire room feels warm and inviting, and the broken mirrors, which to general belief would symbolize bad luck, in this case are binded by the bindis that call out just the opposite and show us that even when shattered to pieces it is possible to find beauty and reconciliation.

The last piece, “The messenger”, shines on it’s own, in a striking yoga position, balanced by it’s own weight, as a yogi would, this fiber glass sculpture is described by Kher as “an urban witch, a woman of both mythology and everyday life, a hybrid” and the effect is haunting. This sculpture is the most recent in a series of figurative works in which Kher has presented hybrid beings that conjoin contradictions of gender, species, race and role. For this work the artist has drawn upon the attributes of the Hindu goddess Dakini, who is considered the manifestation of energy in female form, which in this case is also partly animal.

An astonishing accomplishment for Hauser & Wirth, this show is overall a breathtaking display of Bharti Kher’s brilliance.

The Multitasking Supermodel

Many years and many models have gone by, but not many remain as active and inspiring as the lovely Ms. Claudia Mason, whom I had the pleasure of representing during my time working at Elite Models.

Claudia doesn’t settle down, she writes, produces plays, directs, wins awards, shoots movies, dances and in whatever time she has left, she models. It’s breathtaking.

Allow yourself to be taken out of breath too in this week’s model musing column, just follow THIS link!


Model Musing: Claudia Mason

With a passion for the arts, Claudia Mason is one of those girls that rose to stardom in the supermodel era, alongside names like Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell; Claudia had her brand established in the fashion industry right from the start. Discovered in a music store at the age of 13 she was attending New York’s prestigious School of American Ballet and was a very serious student. It wasn’t until she was 15 years old that things became really serious, and from that moment on she didn’t stop. Claudia’s first booking was for Vogue, and from there on Elle, Wand Bazaar followed, always shot by names like Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Arthur Elgort, Patrick Demarchellier and Steven Meisel, to name a few.
Long and languid, Claudia was a queen of the runways, and soon also became a must-book for top campaigns. One of Gianni Versace’s favorite models and repeatedly used in his campaigns, she also modeled for Fendi, Valentino, Christian Lacroix and many others.
Claudia then went on to host MTV’s Fashionably Loud, starred in an Enrique Iglesias music video and caught Hollywood’s attention. The pursuit of the acting career lasted a few years in Los Angeles until fashion took her attention once more. In the same year she was receiving awards for her theater production of Tennesse Williams’s Orpheus Descending and superstar stylist Katie Grand repeatedly booked Claudia for Love Magazine and Vogue Russia.
Here, Claudia reminds us that acting, producing and writing are still the leading roles in her life nowadays. Duly noted.
Why do you love this picture?
I love this picture because it’s old school movie star glam! It is from a LoveMagazine spread last year, and it’s one of my favorite recent pictures of myself.
Who took it?
David Hughes was the photographer and Phoebe Arnold was the stylist! Great team!
How was the shoot like?
It was a one day shoot in London, and it was freezing cold and snowing outside! December 2010 I was relieved to be shooting inside, with heaters around.
What were you thinking  as you were shooting this?
I was thinking how uncomfortable I was in that position, as my neck was ‘resting’ on a concrete sharp edge. Ah fashion!
Did you receive any direction from the photographer?
The photographer wanted ‘relaxed glam’.
Were there any wardrobe malfunctions?
My nipple popped out a couple of times – nothing major.
What was the theme for this shoot?
It was a jewelry story, so it needed to have an expensive air to it. Relaxed decadence.
What was your biggest challenge as a model?
Biggest challenge as a model is to not take my career for granted, as it has been so good to me.
Are there any regrets?
I would have liked to have had more fun when I started modeling.
Was there a modeling job that was so incredible that looking back it almost feels like a dream?
I’ve had so many great modeling jobs, but one that stands out is when I shot an Anne Klein campaign with Steven Klein, and there was an elephant in the studio! 
What is your dream modeling job?
My dream modeling job would be to have a cosmetics contract. Also the Bulgari campaign. I love that they use actresses such as Rachel Weisz and Julianne Moore.
What have been your most recent dreams?
I currently have nightmares only! But, a current dream would be to work with Woody Allen or Alexander Payne. Also, to be performing my one woman show that I’m currently writing.
What was your love at first experience; modeling, acting or dancing?
I fell in love with ballet as a little girl. But then again I fell in love with being in front of the camera and on stage as well. I used to perform at home in front of the mirror as a child.
You can follow Claudia Mason on TWITTER @ClaudiaMason1


Very rarely I come across people that are truly inspiring. It takes a lot to wow me nowadays, i don’t know if it is the kind of work I do and the amount of impressive people I meet constantly, but I find myself being inspired by little things and certain characteristics rather than the entire “body of work” of a person. Eileen Ford had that quality, that “body of work”; her life story was a true lesson. Her passion and the way she carried her life and her business alongside her husband Jerry were truly moving.

When I spoke to her for this article I wrote for Look Books I was truly moved and completely humbled, here it was, a true legend of the fashion industry, a woman that broke the standards and set brand new ones for all those who followed. Eileen Ford had a dream and a passion, she believed in them and never gave up, building a family business that is now larger than life.

Have a read at the full article in THIS link – it’s long, I warn you, but it’s totally worth it!

Iconography: Eileen & Jerry Ford

In fashion there is much talk about the legacy left by designers, photographers and magazines, but not many people look at a vital piece of the industry that connects all the dots: the modeling agency. Eileen and Jerry Ford, as you can probably tell by their name, were pioneers, founders of the Ford Model Agency, now simply known as Ford Models. One of the most established and recognizable brands in the world with offices spread throughout the continents, Ford is also the oldest and longest running modeling agency in the world, a true landmark of the fashion industry. For many people, the names Eileen and Jerry Ford won’t mean much, but in the small world of fashion, they are synonymous with royalty.
Eileen Otte met Gerard W. Ford in 1944 outside a drugstore near Columbia University, where he attended school for midshipman as part of his service with the United States Navy. The couple fell in love and got married later in that same year in San Francisco while Gerard, also simply known as Jerry, awaited to be shipped out to sea for the World War II.
With Jerry’s departure, Eileen returned to New York where she started working as a secretary for a photographer, as well as a stylist and a fashion reporter for the Tobe Report. While working in the photography studio, Mrs. Ford would constantly meet models and from those relationships, soon enough she also started working as a secretary to some of those girls who felt their agency wasn’t efficient enough in taking care of their bookings, therefore, having their own secretary would guarantee that their clients would get the attention they needed and the girls wouldn’t lose any jobs to other models.
Upon Jerry’s return from the war, he resumed his studies at Columbia University, for Business/Administration, while Eileen continued to work for the models out of her father’s apartment. As business grew and Eileen acquired more models, she and Jerry came to the conclusion it was time to expand business and make a more serious investment towards it. Jerry saw how much passion Eileen had for her new found career but above all he saw great potential in it, as her success was increasing continuously. Jerry and Eileen then sold their car and moved their business into their own location at 949 Second Avenue, in Manhattan, above a woodwork shop. The location wasn’t the most glamorous, but it was their own and  it would give them room to grow and expand their business. At this point Eileen was about to give birth to her first daughter Jamie and would have to step out to take care of her baby, that’s when Jerry decided to step in to help, and what was supposed to be a temporary thing turned out to become a passion for him too.
With a great reputation for honesty and efficiency the Fords attracted a high volume of models and guaranteed the return of a huge clientele. There was no such thing as delayed payments and missed calls with the Fords, and even working out of a small office the couple managed to become one of the three most successful agencies in the country, grossing an average $250,000 in a year. Threatened to be put out of business by their main competitor, the agency Huntington Hartford, who said they would implement a weekly payment system through the use of vouchers, an innovation at the time, Jerry and Eileen  made yet another investment and pulled some money together to quickly implement the system in their own agency, which at the end turned out to be the best decision.
Representing talents like Jean Patchett, considered by Eileen the best model she has ever seen, the couple’s careful managing skills attracted the attention of the iconic model Dorian Leigh, who by then also owned her own agency and was dissatisfied by the management her younger sister, Suzy Parker was getting from her managers at Huntington Hartford. In a smart and excited move, Eileen and Jerry signed on a pregnant Dorian Leigh and her young sister Suzy, without having even met the girl. Suzy was the opposite of her sister, tall and red-haired, she was different from any other girl available in the industry and went on to become the most famous and recognizable fashion model of the 1950’s, breaking boundaries and becoming the first model to achieve superstar status, headlining fashion magazines and making appearances in Hollywood films; Suzy Parker was a sensation and one of Ford’s biggest triumphs.
The Ford Model Agency had become the biggest in the world, working closely with Dorian Leigh’s agency in Paris they formed a successful network that guaranteed a rewarding career to the models they represented. With a keen eye for innovation, the Fords never limited themselves or their models. Dovima, one of the most iconic models of all time and known for Richard Avedon’s image “Dovima with Elephants” went on to become the highest paid model in the industry and earned the nickname of the “Dollar a Minute Girl” making an average $60 an hour. Following her modeling success, Dovima was given a speaking role in 1957’s Paramount movie Funny Face.Dovima showed great comedic talents in that role and her part in that movie opened the doors to other models, like the then famous Suzy Parker, to develop careers in the movie industry too.
Yves Saint Laurent once said that “a good model can advance fashion ten years”, but a good modeling agency and managing skills have proven to advance an entire industry. 
By 1974, The Fords were at the top of their game and had no competition, they had invented the contract for models, in which a model would exclusively represent a specific brand, securing higher fees and better exposure. Jean Shrimpton’s contract with Yardley of London was the first one and Lauren Hutton and Evelyn Kuhn are said to be the first models to ever have exclusive contracts with Revlon, which then became and still remains one of the most sought after contracts in the industry.
With names like Candice Bergen, Ali MacGraw, Jerry Hall, Christie Brinkley and Rene Russo in their roster, they were unbeatable and were billing an average of $100k per week, as told by Mr. Ford to the The New York Times at the time. Even after the opening of the french powerhouse Elite Models’s office in New York, the Fords remained strong and ahead of the game. Always competing head to head and starting the “model wars”, in which models would switch agencies constantly according to who would make the better offer.
The Ford business remained strong and innovative, always together, Eileen and Jerry continued to pull through with passion and belief in what they were building. In the eighties the ever creative couple started the Ford Supermodel of the World contest, that remains to this day one of the largest modeling competitions in the world, moving hundreds of thousands of submissions yearly and from which talents like Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima have emerged.
In 1995, after 50 years in charge of the business, Eileen and Jerry stepped out into the spotlight for one last time to celebrate their agencies’ 50th anniversary and allow for its empire to then be led by their daughter Katie Ford, who at that point was already a part of the booking team and modeling industry for quite some time.
Eileen and Jerry remained married, successful in business and in their personal life,  with a family that includes four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. In a recent phone conversation, Eileen told me she turns 90 years old in March of this year and is excited to celebrate this iconic date with a lunch organized by her children. Jerry however won’t be there to celebrate, as he passed away at the age of 83 on august 24, 2008 and left behind a loving wife and a legacy that will be remembered throughout the times to come.Their work together in fashion was a labor of love that broke boundaries and revolutionized an entire industry, they have established philosophies of work that are still followed by most agencies around the world and they have set the standards really high for everyone that followed them.
The Ford family brings the family into the expression “Family Business”, in aspects never before seen in the fashion industry, from housing some of their models in their own homes to making sure that their models were cared for in every aspect, they gave their talent every tool they needed to succeed, from financial to emotional support, it wasn’t just about the profit, but mostly about the relationships created within the modeling agency.
Nowadays, Ford Models is no longer in the hands of the Ford family, but it remains one of the biggest and most powerful agencies in the industry representing established names like Emma Balfour, Ana Claudia Michels, Rose Cordero, Karmen Pedaru and Sigrid Agren; as well as rising new talent like Tao, Julia Nobis and Kate King. The interesting part however, is to think that some of this young talent represented by Ford Models, walks those hallways completely unaware of the history behind them, that this multi million dollar business once started in a small office on second avenue and was solely responsible to set an entire industry in motion.
To see Ford Models’ website go to www.fordmodels.com 

Supermodel Blogger

Here is a new post in my Model Musing column at lookbooks.com – this week with supermodel blogger Emily Sandberg, you can check out her blog at www.supermodelblogger.com !

Model Musing: Emily Sandberg

What does a mime, a life guard, a minister, a mother and a blogger have in common? They are all one person: the iconic supermodel Emily Sandberg. With a long list of abilities, Emily has wowed the world with her modeling skills, which shot her to stardom.
Gracing the covers of  the Italian, French and Japanese editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle and having shot with some of the most renowned photographers in the industry, like Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino and Craig McDean, among others for campaigns such as Versace, Fendi and DKNY, Emily has become a household name and makes use of her expertise in her now famous – and infamous – blogSupermodel Blogger in which she shares her experiences as a model, actress and mother with whoever is interested, and the following is huge.
Why do you love this picture?
It’s a portrait of me.  It’s very rare that a photographer is interested in capturing the person or personality of a model.  Most often – and it goes without saying that this is the basic job description of a model – she must project an image to be captured. It was refreshing to sit in front of a camera and just be me. 
Who took it? Were you excited to work with this photographer?
I’d never worked with Annie Leibovitz before and wasn’t sure what to expect. Knowing that they were shooting numerous portraits that day, I expected a factory atmosphere and distracted photographer just doing another job.  I was surprised at how present she was and the second I realized that she was “there” I felt thrilled to be seen and captured by her. I respect Annie and have been a fan of her images for quite some time.  
How long did this shoot last?
I was in hair and makeup for an hour and then I sat for Annie for an hour.  All in, from door to door, it took four hours out of my day. I’d say it was worth every second. 
Anything curious about location, environment, weather, etc? 
I’ve never seen such an archive. When Annie came over to shake my hand and introduce herself, she had with her a folder containing all of the strongest images from my career.  I was sort of shocked and asked her about it.  She told me she has a team who keeps a file on most models and actresses for reference materials.  Wow. 
Who else was in the crew?
Julien D’ys did hair.  Nicoletta Santoro styled. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who did makeup.  
What were you thinking when it was taken?
I cleared my mind. But in between takes, I was thinking “I hope this is going good for everyone”.
What direction did the photographer give you?
She told me to sit and be comfortable. Interestingly, the photographers I’ve worked with like Steven Meisel and Peter Lindbergh, who are able to capture the strongest images of me, simply ask me to be comfortable.  
How was working with Nicoletta Santoro?
She tends to dress me in masculine clothing with clean lines.  I love working with her, she’s always been protective of me and progressively definitive of my image with each shoot and each runway show we worked on together. 
What were you wearing?
I wore an Ann Taylor blouse and my own necklace. 
What was the theme of the shoot?
Ann Taylor was celebrating the golden 50th anniversary as a brand.  They chose to do a special campaign capturing portraits of supermodels past, present and future. 
Is there anything about the modeling career that you would change if you could?
 I would have hired a team of professionals, nutritionists, trainers, doctors, accountants and lawyers right away.  I would also have reached out to models that were ahead of me in the process for mentoring.  
 I learned a lot through trial and error.  There wasn’t any strategic planning happening in my career or in the careers of the girls around me.  Most were simply trying to survive and figure out what this crazy world was they had happened upon.  And then, it was “over”. Everyone, agents, photographers, designers, stylists, editors were all moving so fast, I don’t think anyone really has a sense of the larger picture of a model’s arc of career or how to sustain it or even what to do with a girl after her first cycle through the upper echelons of fashion.   
 If I could do it again, I wouldn’t try to keep up with the pace, I would set my own. 
You can follow Emily Sandberg on twitter (@Emmalish) and on her blog:www.supermodelblogger.com 
Emily Sandberg is represented by Trump Models.

Hot Like Fire

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is out and I have taken the opportunity to speak to the Brazilian bombshell Cintia Dicker for Modelinia – Have a read HERE!

One on One with Cintia Dicker
Brazilian redhead Cintia Dicker just doesn’t seem to stop, in between photo shoots, fashion shows and shoots for TV commercials she has another important task to add to her schedule this week: the launch of the Sports Illustrated 2012 Swimsuit Edition, in which she is featured for the third year in a row.
Cintia’s shoot took place in the middle of the African desert, in front of a huffing and puffing rhinoceros and on top of an elephant under the melting sun. “The rhinoceros must have been the scariest experience I have ever been through, he was grunting so loud that I could not contain my tears, we shot really quickly and moved on to the elephant, which was much nicer, the elephant was actually super cute!”
Cintia felt inspired and ended up buying a few of the pieces she wore, “I loved everything I wore, there were a lot of animal prints and those are always my top choices when it comes to bikinis; it went really well with the location, I am really excited about these pictures, I think they’ll look beautiful.”
She also had a couple of funny stories to tell us: “One of the girls in the crew left her bag unattended at the location and next thing you know there is a monkey going through her bag. The minute she saw that she thought to try and grab her bag back but was advised otherwise, so she just waited in awe, and the monkey then grabbed her cell phone and walked away. Everyone was stunned, it was really funny. On every day we would go from one location to another riding elephants. So, on the first day, (of course) I had to stop right behind the elephant and it was by nearly and inch, but the elephant kicked back, like a horse would, and nearly hit me! I started laughing, but in reality I was terrified, can you imagine getting kicked from an elephant? Ouch!

You Got the Love

It’s Valentine’s Day and I have posted this feature on cute model-couple Daniela Lopes and Diego Querzoli on Look Books for the Model Musing column of this week. Check it out HERE !

Model Musing: Valentine’s Day Edition

Married for two years, Brazilian models Daniela Lopes and Diego Querzoli are one of those couples who set standards for many others, particularly in the modeling industry. It’s not rare to find models meeting and going into relationships, but the crazy routine, busy schedules and extensive traveling tend to break the relationships with time, so to find a couple like Daniela and Diego, who have been together for eight years, is a rarity.
The couple have been represented by the same agency in Brazil since the beginning of their careers, and when they started their relationship, they decided to keep things in the hush-hush until they felt they really had something strong going between them. In the first few weeks together, Diego got called in for a job inspired by the movie “Blow Up” – the model that was originally meant to shoot with him got the pink eye and couldn’t go, so the crew had to find a replacement model in a rush and Diego overheard them mentioning Daniela’s name a few times so he immediately called Daniela in secrecy so she would call the agency to check in and see if there was “anything” going on. The agency immediately confirmed her on that booking and they had to work all day together “pretending” to be a couple, when in fact that was exactly what they were. The fun and excitement of keeping the secret from friends, agents and clients made it all even more interesting and when the news broke that they were together everyone was happy and excited for the both of them.
After many experiences together Daniela and Diego tell us why they like this image so much and share some of their knowledge on being a couple in the modeling industry.
Why do you love this image?
Because it’s just the two of us relaxing and enjoying ourselves, it didn’t feel like we were working at all.
How did the two of you meet?
Daniela: We met at a dinner party that our agency had put together after the shows, but we didn’t really talk, there were many people there, we really met at a job a month later.
Diego: Yes, I remember I was crossing the street to get to the location and I saw this beautiful girl walking towards the studio and I thought: “I am so lucky, I will spend the entire weekend shooting with that beautiful girl!”.
Was it love at first sight?
Daniela: Yes it was! Love at first sight, first talk, first date!
Diego: I suppose it was, but it didn’t really hit me until later on, because I called my agent later on, after the job had passed and I asked her about Daniela, and she told me that Daniela had made a comment about me too, so I guess it was meant to be?
Is it difficult to work as models and still maintain a well rounded relationship?
Not really, it’s just a job like any other, only with a lot more traveling and no routine.
Do clients prefer to work with you because you are a real couple?
Yes, usually when the clients are working on a project that requires a couple they prefer to shoot with real life couples, there’s more synergy and connection. (Diego) well I am sure they like working with her cause she is beautiful and an amazing model!
Do you prefer to work couple jobs together or are you open to shooting with other people too?
Well, it’s definitely easier to work together, but we are open to working with other people too, I mean, it’s just a job. We used to do “couple” jobs before we were together, with other people I mean, and it was never an issue, as long as it remains very professional everything is fine!
Any advices for the young couples in the modeling industry?
Don’t try to limit your partner.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for each other?
The only thing we can think of is traveling for miles and miles to only be together for a very short amount of time!
Daniela Lopes and Diego Querzoli are both represented by Way Models in Brazil.

Melt your Heart

Check out my Model Musing column on Look Books to find out why the beauty Hannah Holman loves the picture below and how she will melt your heart away.

Model Musing: Hannah Holman

With a face that resembles a very young Kim Basinger, circa 9 1/2 Weeks, and a personality that will make even the hardest of hearts melt, the blonde beauty Hannah Holman has established herself as one of the most successful models in a very competitive industry. Out of the mountains of Utah, Hannah started modeling at the very young age of 13, but it wasn’t until the agent Doll Wright spotted her, years later, that Hannah really had her break. Doll believed in Hannah’s talents, promoted her to the top clients in the industry and landed her in the Fall/Winter 2010 Miu Miu campaign as well as an exclusive for that season in Paris. 
Since then Hannah has become a familiar face to the fashion crowd and has graced the pages of magazines like Vogue USA, as well as covers for French,Russh and Citizen K and a wide range of editorials from W and to 10and I-D. Even at the height of 5’8, Hannah walked the runways for heavy weights like Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Chanel among others; and shot campaigns for Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloe, Moschino Cheap & Chic and landed a  fat contract for the fragrance, Daisy by Marc Jacobs.

Read on to hear why Holman finds this picutre a favorite.
Why do you love this picture?   
I was fairly new to the game so I didn’t know what I was capable of .  When I saw how beautiful the photo was, I was proud and excited for my future in modeling.
Who took it?
An Australian photographer, Andrew O’Toole
How long did this shoot last? 
The shoot  was longer in the end than planned.  We were all having so much fun and couldn’t stop.  We were greedy for more shots I suppose. 
Anything curious about the location, environment, weather, etc? 
I was in Australia in a hair salon, as it was a hair story for Harper’s Bazaar Australia.   
Who else was in the crew? 
It was a small set up, especially towards the end when we stayed overtime. Hair was by Mathew Webb, who was the owner of the salon.
What were you thinking when it was taken? 
I was probably thinking too much!  
What direction did the photographer give you? 
He would let me move as I wished, which I love. It’s very freeing and it clears the head.    
What was the theme of the shoot? 
Back then I didn’t realize there were themes!  
What’s your biggest challenge as a model?  
Balancing your real life with work.  Time fly’s by so quickly and its impossible to plan a holiday, because you’ll most likely land a good job during that time. Murphy’s law! 
Is there anything about the modeling career that you would change if you could? 
No more last minute/holiday spoiler/ confirmed night before jobs, because of thaplanning anything is a pain. 
Hannah Holman is represented by Ford Models and is also on TWITTER @HannahHol

An Affair with Fashion


With a smart eye for fashion and aesthetic,  Brazilian artist Andre Azevedo has explored all different avenues of artistic work. From video making, to painting and art installations, he has dipped his toe in all kinds of waters and in each of those showed absolute control of his talent and imaginationby creating a body of work that travels through the most inventive to the most high maintenance crowds, all of which have their attention caught by the edgy look of whatever it is that Mr. Azevedo has created. Wether it’s a window for a fashion brand, a TV commercial, a painting or illustrations for a fashion magazine, Andre shows no fear in his work and with his work he conquers the minds of thousands.

With a background in graphic design,  Andre Azevedo saw his artistic career turn into a hobby for the ten years he worked as a model manager for one of Sao Paulo’s most prominent modeling agencies. In 2007, 

on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Andre realized he needed to slow down and reacess his life; he quit his successful career in Sao Paulo, packed up his bags and paintings and moved back home to Curitiba, a quaint city with the best quality of life in the Brazil, but also a city that thrives on art and culture. 

The move to Curitiba was meant to be a hiatus, time that the model manager needed to find his true calling; and that’s where Andre Azevedo, the model manager, became Andre Azevedo, the artist. Making use of his connections in fashion, Andre went on to do freelance work in styling and fashion production in order to make a living while  in his free time he could pour his passion into canvases, screens and sheets of paper. It was clear from the beginning that his work had a strong link with the fashion images that were a part of his day to day life in Sao Paulo and that the human eastethic played an important role as a source of inspiration, and as he explains, 

“the human being is still the focus of my vision”. But if the human connection is so important, then why completely abandon such a successful career? Couldn’t it be a great source of inspiration as well as an ally? Andre explains that,“

in the beginning the proximity with the fashion universe and the amount of interesteing people I would meet was exciting and extremely stimulating, it made me more interested in fashion, but with time it also became really boring, that’s why I had to leave, but those subjects are still present in my work.” In Curitiba, Mr. Azevedo also discovered a passion for the use of the internet and social media, and through them he also found a great tool to show his work and his ideas to the world. By spreading his work on his blog, Andre started seeing an overflow of followers and admirers, ranging from fashion editors to celebrities like Kanye West, who even posted a link to Andre’s work.

The internet was the biggest art dealer Mr. Azevedo could have asked for, all of a sudden he was receiving requests from other artists for contributions as well as commercial clients like Alfa Romeo and MTV to use his work in their new and creative advertising strategies. With much dedication, Mr. Azevedo took his time  making the right decisions. Calls from magazines such as Tank and  Made in Brazil started coming in and his collaborations started spreading out into the fashion industry. The Brazilian super-brand Forum asked Mr. Azevedo to develop a set of prints for a limited edition of t-shirts that were sold out and the classic brand Lacoste brought Andre in to participate in a project that culminated in a fashion show, a week of exhibitions and a limited edition book launched in Paris in 2011. Andre’s pannel produced for that exhibition in Rio de Janeiro was so well received that later it was also picked to be used in the windows of the Lacoste stores in Rio de Janeiro.

Publishing mega-house Taschen saw his talent and asked him to submit his work to their infamous catalog of the best illustrators in the world: Illustration Now! – for which he was then included in it’s fourth edition. Following Illustration Now! – Vol. 4, Mr. Azevedo has also been included in Taschen’s The Bigger Book of Fahsion Illustration due out this year.

When the subject of the commercial use of art is brought up, Mr. Azevedo has a very firm stand point: “I believe that the dream of most artists is to be able to stay in their studios and produce the work they feel the most inspired by for days and days, without any concerns of where its place in the art market or the price point, but for the most part I don’t believe that is a possibility. Even though many don’t see the commercial use of art in a good light, I don’t believe it makes less of my work as an artist, to me it’s a great compliment when I am asked to contribute to a fashion label or a major established brand like Lacoste or Alfa Romeo. In general my artistic freedom is never compromised, as I am usually given a theme or subject to work with and I am free to create on top of that.”. And so, after exploring so many different environments all there is left to wonder is; what else is there to do? “ well, photography is still very intriguing to me, it demands a lot more discipline and it’s the only thing that never came naturally to me, like painting or drawing.”

We look forward to seeing Andre explore this new realm and we hope his photos are as seductive as his illustrations!

Visit  Andre Azevedo’s blog here.

Walk the Walk

Here is a link to an interview with runway coach Connie Fleming on lookbooks.com !


Walk the Walk: An interview with runway coach Connie Fleming

As New York Fashion Week approaches, hundreds of new faces roam through the streets of Manhattan, girls fighting for their own space under the spotlights of the runways; for many, one booking is the golden opportunity and key to a long and successful career, so getting the job isn’t enough, the performance is all that matters. But how do these girls prepare for the dreaded castings? And ultimately, how do they know what to do when they are asked to walk the walk?
Connie Fleming is the answer to many of those young faces, who sometimes have learned “how to walk”  in their home countries or even at home, watching videos on YouTube, and need to perfect the techniques and many many times need to relearn from scratch.
Connie was catapulted into the fashion world in the 80’s in the midst of the downtown fashion and performance art scene. She caught the attention of designers like Patricia Field and Andre Walker who booked her to model their collections and shortly after she fell into graces with the likes Thierry Mugler and Vivienne Westwood. Connie’s career as a model was established and photographers like Steven Klein and Steven Meisel confirmed she was a must-book.
Having dabbled a little bit in the art scene and in production and casting for her long time friend Patricia Field, Connie gained enough experience and know how to then move on to a new realm and explore a career as a runway coach. 
With names like Arlenis Sosa, Hanne Gabby Odiele, Erin Heatherton and Brooklyn Decker on her resume, Connie has a brilliant array of experience to share with the young girls:  
What do you like about teaching these young girls to walk the runways?
Helping them to build their confidence and watching them grow and adapt to the creative process.
One would think that all they have to do is put on their outfit, a good face and walk; but if there is the need for a runway coach I am assuming there is a lot more to it?
Yes there’s attitude, feeling, pace, connecting with the eyes. Being in the moment and part of the overall statement.
What is the most important thing for these girls to learn?
To be aware of the clients direction and style, the importance of creating a line or shape, and again being comfortable in their bodies.
Do the model’s agents give you directions of something that they are looking for or interfere with your work in any way?
It’s different for each girl and what she needs at the time. It might be a certain style for a specific show or to help ease them out of their shell.  I really haven’t experienced an interfering vibe and ultimately the agent knows the model best.  More importantly they get feedback from casting directors and clients so it’s more like everyone coming together to make the process work.
Is there anything that frustrates you as a runway coach?
Time, when there isn’t enough of it to prepare a girl fully for show week.
Are you proud to see the girls you coached glowing in campaigns, editorials and fashion shows?
Naturally. It’s great to see them utilize techniques we’ve practiced in class.
Do you still have a relationship with them?
We run into each other from time to time but they’re off making fashion and i couldn’t be happier for them.
What is the most important advice you would give to the young girls who aspire to become models?
Familiarize yourself with the business,  the designers, the labels, the websites  and magazines. And realize it’s a tough business that can be quite harsh; it requires a thick skin to not take it all too personally.  
What do you still aim to achieve in this industry?
There are many avenues of the business that i would like to pursue.  I ‘m working on several projects such as my illustrations which i’ve been working on for years and plan to exhibit soon.

Splashing Back

Here is a little piece I wrote for Modelina.com about Lisa Cant’s return into the fashion world!

Lisa Cant Splashes Back into the Fashion Scene

Dolce & Gabbana favorite Lisa Cant recently took some time off from the fashion world to attend Columbia University, but the blue eyed beauty is back and looking better than ever! Along with wrapping up her final semester at Columbia this year, Lisa just shot an editorial for Vogue US with Steven Klein, and is planning to walk the runways in the upcoming Fashion Weeks.  Trump Models included Lisa in their show package, which they send out to casting directors and designers, and having walked some of the top runways in the past – including Chanel and Marc Jacobs – we have a feeling she’ll be one of the most booked models this season.

Letters to Haiti

Culture: Letters to Haiti

In an evening of relentless rain, New York City’s most die hard charity fans  showed up for Haiti. The event led by supermodel 

Coco Rocha

 entitled “Letters to Haiti” came to show that when you mix, fashion, art and humanitarian causes you can’t go wrong. In it’s third fund raiser, the non profit organization 

Lakay Pam

, founded by Cedrick Roche and his wife,

Carolina Bittencourt-Roche 

– moved locations, leaving the grungy Opera Gallery in Chelsea and Mr. Brainwash’s colorful installations behind to inhabit a more minimalist spot.

The gallery at Milk Studios included works by Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo, Greg Kadel, Enrique Badulescu and Ben Watts, among others; all up for auction to help raise money for the charity that supports orphanages and schools in Port Au Prince

 But the main event of the evening was 

James Conran

‘s documentary screening which also gave name to the event – “Letters to Haiti” – in which Mr. Conran depicts  the efforts of Coco and Behati along with a couple of friends in bringing letters and donations from around the world to the children of Haiti. As some of you may know, James Conran is Coco Rocha’s husband, a talented designer and now also a filmmaker.

Coco’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed and she managed to bring out her buddies Karlie Kloss and Hillary Rhoda as well as long time friend Mr. Zac Posen who made sure Rocha had a fresh-off the runway look to wear for the evening. Before the film started. We heard the warm laughter of Lauren Santo-Domingo trading impressions of Ms. Prinsloo’s pictures with make up artist Joe Hubrich and Carolina Bittencourt-Roche discussing blogging with her friend Luciana Curtis.

After the screening of the documentary was finished, Coco reminded everyone that the silent auction was about to begin, but – and said, “If you can’t bid or donate, then maybe you can spread the word and help us raise awareness, Haiti still needs you”.

The message was received, and it seemed that the guests were in pretty good holiday spirits as most of the photographs were sold with no fuss; well, except for one very colorful photography by Ben Watts; generating a bidding war that culminated with the designer Ana Lerario-Geller having to outbid an unknown gentleman by a hundred dollars in the last minute before the bidding closed. Merry Christmas Robert Geller!

All in all it was a fun night out on a very boring rainy New York evening where the holiday spirit could be felt in full force.

Gabriel Ruas Santos-Rocha, to see mroe of his writing click 


All photos courtesy of  Josh Wong Photography



Annie Leibovitz Goes on a Pilgrimage with New Exhibit

West Chelsea saw a true fashion pilgrimage last night when fashionistas like Tory BurchMarina Muñoz and Jamie Johnson flocked down twenty second street making their way through a shoot for the TV show Damages that made traffic through the street impossible. But nothing could stop them as they had a mission: to attend Annie Leibovitz’s “Pilgrimage” exhibition opening at The Pace Gallery – hosted by none other than Anna Wintour, the fierce editor in chief of Vogue.

The expectations surrounding this event were huge. This was Mrs. Leibovitz’s first purely digital project and the subject of her portraits this time were not the famous faces we are used to seeing in the pages of Vanity Fair or Vogue, but places and objects that are special to the photographer and also represent a special place in the world’s history.

Among pictures of Emily Dickinson’s last remaining dress, Elvis Presley’s television, Sigmund Freud’s couch and Abraham Lincoln’s hat, photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank told stories about her first book project set to come out next year while It girl Lily Kwong giggled about having to find a party dress on a budget for a story she was working on for Vogue.com –- “Give me 200 bucks and I’ll make it work!” Coco Rocha made a quick appearance with her husband James Conran on their way to a friend’s dinner. The couple is also getting ready for their own event next week, the fundraiser for the non-profit organization Lakay Pam that helps to improve the quality of life for children in Haiti. Coco will be hosting her third fundraiser for this organization, but this time they will also be premiering the documentary Letters to Haiti as well as showing an exhibition of pictures shot by her friend, Victoria’s Secret Angel Behati Prinsloo, during a visit they made to the country last year.

In an evening where art seemed to be the guest among a fashion crowd, Chuck Close’s presence was a great reminder of the goal of the evening: to celebrate art and history. Mr. Close seemed to be impressed by Mrs. Leibovitz’s work: “It’s interesting to see an artist like her stepping out of her comfort zone to shoot inanimate objects like these. The result is beautiful. I have never been a person who takes pictures, in fact I don’t think I have ever taken a picture during a vacation or anything like that. I like to keep those moments in my head, so it’s interesting to see these pictures displayed like this.”

The evening went smoothly in the warm environment of the gallery, among glasses of white wine and canapés, Karen ElsonNarciso Rodriguez and Prabal Gurung mingled in perfect harmony with Catherine Newell-HansonEugenia Gonzalez and Michelle Harper. Mrs. Leibovitz signed books to her friends and when the clock ticked 8pm there was barely anyone left — as it would be expected from the kind of in-crowd that filled the guest list.

Photographs from Pilgrimage will be exhibited in New York at The Pace Gallery on December 1, 2 and 3 and next year at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C., from January 20 to May 20, 2012. The book Pilgrimage has been published by Random House and is available now.

Naomi Preizler

HERE is a link to something I wrote on one of my favorite new models for LookBooks.com – have a read! 🙂

Agent Provocateur: Elite’s Gabriel Rocha on Naomi Preizler

Naomi Preizler (Elite) is much more than just a pretty face and a great runway girl. She is a true artist who paints and draws likes nobody’s business, and has a great understanding of art and fashion, which to me is an extremely important factor in a model’s career.

Unquestionably a rising talent in our industry, just the other week Naomi shot single-girl editorials for Vogue Russia and L’Officiel in different parts of the world. Her previous bookings include  a cover of Vogue Italia Gioiello; editorials for V SpainVInterviewMuseDazed & ConfusedWonderland, and Zoo; and features in i-D and Metal.

Naomi was also featured on the cover of the first issue of Harper’s Bazaar Argentina, her native country, where she is also currently working on a line of t-shirts with prints from her paintings.

Naomi has walked the runways of GivenchyChanelSonia RykielJean Paul GaultierRichard ChaiRag & BoneMissoniVivienne WestwoodHouse of Holland, among many others; and has been shot by photographers like Mario Sorrenti,Sharif Hamza and Vicky Trombetta (2DM).

For more on Naomi and Gabriel: Naomi’s Twitter | Gabriel’s Twitter — Blog

A Kick from Mother Nature

I have recently been to Haiti on a mission: to get to know the country and their people in order to help their children with the non-profit organization Lakay Pam. Upon my return, Modelinia.com asked me to write an essay about my experience there, and I wanna share it HERE with you.


A Kick from Mother Nature

While the world has kept Haiti on their minds and in their hearts ever since the tragic experience, only a select few individuals have had the opportunity to visit the country and see the tragedy while lending a helping hand. Elite agent Gabriel Ruas shared his experience in Haiti with Modelina, just in time for the Lakay Pam event, hosted by Coco Rocha tonight – to which you’re all invited!
I have been working with NGO Lakay Pam (”My House” in Creole) for a little over three years. The organization, started by one of the models I manage, Carolina Bittencourt, has touched me from the beginning. Carolina, who traveled the world through her modeling career had always felt the need to help, but never believed that simply giving money away was the right way to do it. It was only when she met Haitian entrepreneur Cedrick Roche that she finally came accross her mission. With Cedrick by her side she set off to Haiti to learn all about this tiny country in the Caribbean, so close from the modern world but so far from everyone’s memories.
Carolina and Cedrick set sights in one particular orphanage and the goal was to help the children of Haiti, many abandoned by their parents, many unable to afford education, many without even a grain of rice to eat at the end of the day. Today, Lakay Pam helps to provide shelter, education, health care and food for over 700 children in Haiti, but the number of the ones in need is much bigger and it grows on a daily basis.
After the earthquake in January of this year, I decided I would finally make my way to the emerald shores of Haiti and put my hands to work. Through the invitation of Lakay Pam and their local supporters I ended up in Port Au Prince, and I couldn’t be more excited and panicked at the same time; the thought of what I was going to run into was unclear and blurry in my head. After the easy and comfortable 3 hour flight from New York, arriving at the airport was simple, but the effects of the destruction were already visible; military helicopters and airplanes parked in the partially destroyed airport and very minor organization on the way in were nothing more than the expected.
After I settled in and reorganized myself, I hopped in the car and went to downtown Port Au Prince. Everywhere I looked around me, I found destruction, from small houses to tall buildings, most of the city crashed down to the ground, 6 floors of construction layered on top of each other, like a sandwich of death. As the car got closer to the core of the city it got worse, and some of the buildings that are still standing show signs of instability, keeping their residents outside, living in improvised tents.
The tents are an entirely new chapter. Tents are spread all over the city where there used to be beautiful squares and monuments, in the hills that border the town, everywhere you look you can see them, alongside tons of debris and trash. It’s heart breaking and disappointing to see that in the modern age we still are subject to such cruelty.
But not all is lost, and every single Haitian citizen and visitor, like myself, will tell you that. The people in that island share something very special, that is their will to survive and their positivity. Haitians have been ruled by brutal, corrupt and selfish presidents; disrespectful and near useless police force, and they have always managed to keep on living, why shouldn’t they now?
The art is spread all over the country, their local artisans show their skills in mosaics, stone sculptures and unimaginable things made of straw. And all that work is done without ever attending a class to teach them the things that many design students from the developed world would take a life time to figure out.
The help that is coming from all sides is being allocated to their respective places, but at this point the damage is so extensive and so lost in the middle of the politics that it has become easier to do as we are doing, going down there and assessing what you can do for yourself. If it’s cribs, xray machines, mattresses, bricks or cement that they need, let’s buy it, let’s do what we can. In a country where the vast majority of people have no running water or electricity, even one hundred dollars can go a long way.
But let me tell you now, what you can do, that would be even easier and surprisingly pleasant: next time you have to take a vacation, instead of going to every other packed destination in the Caribbean, go to Haiti. Yes dear reader, that’s what I said, go to Haiti. With some of the most astonishing beaches in the world, Haiti was once the top destination for vacation, even Elizabeth Taylor had a house there! Well, Haiti’s beaches are still the same and nature has never looked better! Places like Ile à Vache, Port Salut and Cap Haitian have outstanding resorts surrounded by culture and history, not to mention a much different scenario than the one you will run into at Port au Prince. I’ll also tell you a little secret: If you ever went on a cruise through the Caribbean, you have probably already bathed in Haitian waters and walked in one of their beaches; the reason why you don’t know about it is because they won’t tell you, simply because of the bad reputation the country had for many years.
And how will vacationing in Haiti help the country? Well, the more people go there, more money will be injected into the country and more the hotels will be busy and with that more jobs will be generated and more the economy will get back into place. It’s not a rare and unknown formula, it has happened in many cities of Africa, South America, and Asia, which now solely depend on tourism. It may seem like a long shot, but at least you are trying and will have an amazing experience while doing so!

I would even take the chance to say that if you got to the end of this long writing, than you already are on the right track! Help in any way you can, but help no matter what, don’t let this destruction go unresolved don’t let this disaster be forgotten, don’t let Haiti go once again into that dusty place that lives in your end every bodies brains. Only together we can help this nation struck by some bad luck and a lot of bad political decisions.

They Rocked the Ball

Vogue follows two top models to the Met Ball 2010 and reveals the backstage of the party; the biggest night of the fashion industry. By Gabriel Ruas

In the two weeks before the Costume Institute Gala – also known as Met Ball, for the intimates – New York sizzles. The ball which takes place annually at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is co-produced by American Vogue, and is to the fashion world what the Oscar is for Hollywood – when it comes to red carpet, of course. The difference is that, instead of actors and directors, the target here are models and designers. Before anything, being invited is no easy feat. You’re either very influential and was invited by someone who bought a table, or you have deep pockets. The coveted tickets sell at an average of $7500 for a personal, single invitation or $250k for a table, all in order to preserve the museum’s collection. A bargain if you consider that multi-million dollar deals can be sealed in this party and that the “who is who” of fashion will be there. They all want to walk down the most fashionable red carpet on the planet.

I am an agent in the division of top models at Elite Model Management in New York, and among our clients are Alessandra Ambrosio and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, engaged to the musician Sean Lennon. Therefore, I follow all of this fashion meltdown from very close. The models who are invited by designers to sit with them at their tables are the luckiest: they are dressed by the designers themselves and don’t have to put out a single penny. The phone at the agency won’t stop ringing with calls from couturiers, hair stylists and makeup artists offering their services. Once the partnership between model and designer is defined, the team gets together for briefing. Everything is decided based on the theme of each years event. This year, the theme was “American Woman – Fashioning an Identity”, name of the exhibition that stays open until August 15th. Looks are compiled, shown and analyzed according with the body type of the girl to wear them, with the colors of the season, as well as influences of the current or upcoming season. This is not an evening to exercise creativity, but to exude elegance.

A week prior to the ball, photos of dresses, shoes, jewelry and make up colors are exchanged via hundreds of emails between the team. Many replies later the amount of wardrobe pieces is reduced to about ten dresses and twenty pairs of shoes. The weekend before the party arrives and with it also arrive the models, back from their endless work trips, tired, with only a few ours of sleep and with no time to lose. Saturday morning (the event takes place on Monday evenings), there are three looks left – most likely the guest will pick the one that’s too big or too long, as it happened with Michelle Alves last year (the model was pregnant and we had to make adjustments all over), and it’s an enormous challenge to deal with the issue on a sunday, even in New York! Dramas aside, it’s time to coordinate jewelry and shoes.

On the D day, the pressure is immense, the publicists of the models know it better than anyone: they are the ones who define times for hair and makeup, schedule car pick ups and coordinate the exact arrival time of the models at the red carpet, where they will work their magic to attract the attention of the media to their clients. The amount of flashes however will depend on endless variables. To arrive at the same time as that hot Hollywood couple is not a good choice. However, to pose with other colleagues of the industry is a guarantee of success: those are the pictures that will be bought by newspapers and magazines around the globe. As for the rest, it’s important to stay connected to every smile, every hug, and every glance. Everything there is captured and turns into news. The perfect look with the right attitude automatically elevates the hype of a model. A spot in the best dressed list is incomparable. At the very least it will guarantee an invitation to next year’s party.

Article originally featured in Vogue Brazil, June 2010

Begin Again

Married to a Haitian and responsible for an orphanage-school for more than 400 children in the island, the model Carolina Bittencourt will never forget January 12: while she was giving birth to her daughter, her husband’s homeland crumbled to pieces.

By Gabriel Ruas Santos Rocha

Carolina Bittencourt knew that January 12, 2010 would not be a day like any other, since at 2pm she would enter the delivery room at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to give birth to little Olivia, fruit of her union of two years with Haitian businessman Cedrick Roche. What Carolina couldn’t imagine was that this day would be twice unforgettable. When she was taken back to her room, finally awaken and split between the joy of her newborn daughter and the postpartum pain, she started receiving a series of unexpected text messages. These messages congratulated her on the birth of her child but ended with well wishes to Haiti and often inquired whether Cedrick’s family was safe, which at that moment made absolutely no sense. Carolina, who had founded an NGO which maintains an orphanage-school and a dental clinic in the small Caribbean island three years ago, thought this sudden interest was strange. When she turned on the television, it was all made clear. She stared at Cedric perplex, and happiness gave room to despair facing the images of devastation and chaos.

The country was in ruins, thousands of lives were lost, not to mention the anguish of not knowing what was the real situation of their family. Journalists still weren’t able to properly report the extent of the damages, Cedrick relentlessly called his parents, with no luck. Until connection was finally established with an uncle. The relief of knowing that at least one of his family members was alive and safe was indescribable, and the news his uncle brought were even better: Cedrick’s parents were also alive and well. Cedrick, who comes from a privileged family, owners of a chain of supermarkets and resident of an area with better infra-structure, could breathe only partially relieved, since now the main concern of this couple was to find out the whereabouts of the children of the orphanage and what was the current condition of the NGO Lakay Pam. Cedrick made hundreds of calls, but didn’t get anywhere. The brief phone connection he had with his uncle before was lost, and the sun set with no possibility of new communications. Now more than ever, it was necessary to pray and hope for the best.

The television in the bedroom remained turned on, non-stop. Olivia, the new member of the family, seemed just as nervous as her parents and didn’t sleep for more than an hour. Carolina could not set aside the happiness about her daughter, but the possibility that all those children in Haiti, not just the 400 of her orphanage, could be dead, hurt or without shelter, repeatedly broke her heart. Even today she finds it hard to put into words what was going through her head in those first few hours. The Brazilian model had always been very close with the children of the orphanage, saw the arrival of many of them still very young, at that institution, she saw up close how they grew and developed, and she was also very close with some of the parents of the children who attended school at Lakay Pam.

On the morning following the earthquake, phone connections were reestablished for a few minutes. Cedrick was able to speak to his family, and they still had no news about the orphanage, since all access was blocked by rumble and despair. The supermarkets had been partially destroyed, but luckily his brother in law was spared with only some bruises underneath the building. After a brief bulletin, the connection was once again lost, and for several hours would not be re-established. At this point North American news outlets had already set up camp in order to bring more precise information about the conditions of the country – after all, New York has the largest Haitian community outside of Haiti – and several nations started deploying help. Seeing the global mobilization, Cedrick and Carolina felt a certain relief. Even knowing that the human and material support would have immense difficulty getting to its destination, they had an intuition that it had finally come the time for Haiti to receive the attention it had needed for so long. Three hours away from New York city by plane, that is the poorest country in the Americas, for years with no potable water and four daily hours of electric power. It also holds one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. These are not data to be proud of, and Carolina started her work exactly because of that. The few NGO’s that extensively work daily to bring change faced enormous difficulties – from corruption and government bureaucracy to gang related violence and threats. Haiti has been in a state of civil war and continues to suffer the consequences.

Exhausted for the lack of sleep and long hours of crying, Carolina and Cedrick knew that there was no time to rest. They pondered that the earthquake might have been a way of Mother Nature to show the world that this is the time for action, not in five minutes, not tomorrow. Therefore, still in the hospital, they began to work. Between a nap and some time with their daughter, Carolina sent off emails to her friends in fashion. The answers poured in like a flood. Top models Raquel Zimmerman, Coco Rocha, Natasha Poly and Alessandra Ambrosio were the first ones to offer help, as were the fashion designers Narciso Rodriguez and Richard Chai. This was the beginning of another journey, of reconstruction. For Carolina, it’s an opportunity to help this country grow the right way, of replanting trees and irrigating the land so that it’s fertile. It is necessary to rebuild the headquarters of their NGO, reestablish lost connections with the orphans and families of their students, reassemble the dental clinic, which was put together with the help of the Brazilian NGO Turma do Bem. The efforts were elevated to the highest potency, and actions which were delayed with the birth of Olivia were now back to being a priority. On the 12th of last month, a fund raising event organized by the couple in an art gallery in the Meatpacking District in New York gathered the elite of the fashion industry to benefit Haiti. Olivia was a month old. Carolina hopes that the birth of her daughter is also a sign for Haiti’s rebirth.

Originally featured as a cover story in Vogue Brazil #379 – March 2010

Wonder Woman

Top model Alessandra Ambrosio splits her time between motherhood and a modeling career. On her time off, she takes care of her body with outdoor workouts. by Gabriel Ruas

Even though she has three homes – in Los Angeles, New York and Florianopolis – Alessandra Ambrosio spends most of her time at location shoots and photography studios. The 5’9 top model has perfect curves and is one of the most important models in the world. Alessandra has been appointed several times by renowned news outlets as the sexiest or more desired woman in the planet. All that fame didn’t happen overnight.

When she started modeling, Alessandra heard repeatedly that she wasn’t tall enough for the runway but, determined, she worked hard until she stepped on the catwalk of heavy weights like Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Kenzo and Vivienne Westwood. Currently, she is one of the ‘Angels‘ under contract with the brand Victoria’s Secret, holding the longest running contract and one of the fattest pay checks of the industry, a fact evidenced by Forbes Magazine.

Known for her great personality, the girl from Erechim, Brazil is not only the face of hyped brands. She is currently developing a bikini line, stars in TV commercials and still finds time to dedicate to philanthropy. Not only that: she completely changed her routine in order to adjust to the biggest and more audacious life project, her daughter Anja. Since the birth of the little girl Ale, as she’s known by close friends, prioritizes jobs with her favorite clients in order to make more time for her family.

Victoria’s Secret, Next UK and Giorgio Armani are some of the lucky brands for which the top model will always make time for. As she likes to put it, they’re friends, almost part of the family. So much so that during those bookings she has freedom to control the music selection – Led Zeppelin, Faith No More, INXS, Pearl Jam and Nirvana are always among her choices – and during the break, between a click and another, she ties in a lively chat with the crew.

This lightness, Alessandra cultivates and cares for with special attention. She knows that the career she chose is tough and it’s necessary to believe in herself to accomplish and manage her success. That’s why, whenever she has the chance to chat with new faces, she doesn’t hesitate in sharing her recipe: Patience and always remaining professional.

Passionate about sports, Alessandra Ambrosio maintains her curvy body through practicing surfing, windsurf, running and playing volleyball. Last year, three months after giving birth to Anja, she walked down the Victoria’s Secret catwalk exhibiting perfect shape, leaving the fashion world in astonishment. What’s her secret for getting back in shape so quickly? The new routine with the baby is responsible for a great portion of these results, but the model confesses that combining healthy eating habits and workouts was the main factor that brought her perfect body back.

From here on, Alessandra intends to live every moment to its fullest. The focal point remains her family and work and, with the certainty that only a few successful people have, she is not afraid of what the future holds. Her modeling career is what fascinates her and what she desires to do for many more years to come. Even though she has considered adding acting to her resume, she gave up when she realized that she would be type-cast in that industry. After all, an ‘Angel’ knows perfectly well the mechanisms which maintain her life in motion and can manage the explosive combination of fame + power + beauty with tranquility. She is not someone who walks within pre-determined standards; she prefers to create her own paths.

Article originally featured as a cover story on L’Officiel Brazil # 33 July 2009