Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Matter of Time

Normally when I'm at the gym working out, I become so engrossed in my training that nothing distracts me. Monday however was an exception as I diverted my attention to CNN's coverage of New York Fashion Week and more specifically the rise of Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls. CNN's Alina Cho interviewed Smalls about her ascent through the ranks from catalogue model to high fashion darling. For Smalls, the turning point in her career came three years ago when she switched representation to IMG Model Management. Under the guidance of IMG manager Kyle Hagler, Smalls changed her approach at castings opting to trade in her standard attire of combat boots for high heels with Hagler cajoling Smalls to, "Show of those legs, show off that great body of yours."

Stopping Traffic - Ms Joan Smalls
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

The directive paid off with Smalls landing her first big break in January 2010 in the form of a Givenchy Haute Couture exclusive courtesy of head designer Riccardo Tisci. When quizzed by Cho if she realised the significance of the occasion, Smalls recollects "Yeah, I think you kind of feel it that when you want something so bad and when something great happens, I think it's instinct that you say that this is the moment that is gonna change everything." What followed was a deluge of editorial bookings including Vogue Italia with Steven Meisel, American Vogue with Peter Lindbergh, Paris Vogue with Mario Sorrenti, Interview with Mikael Jansson, and W with Daniele Duella & Iango Henzi.

The Unstoppable Joan Smalls
W Magazine - March 2012
Photographer - Mario Sorrenti
Source - thefashionspot.com

POP - S/S 2012
Photographer - Daniel Sannwald
Illustration - Anslem Reyle
Source - models.com

Small's blue chip status is most evident on the runway where she is lauded by designers including Derek Lam "She's Like a seasoned actress", Jason Wu "What's not to love? You know, I just believe in her" and Prabal Gurung, "She represents that girl that I feel like I design for. The girl who never gives up." With such accolades to her credit, Smalls advertorial options soared with campaign berths for Gucci, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein Jeans and Chanel. For Smalls though, the pinnacle of her achievements was bestowed when Estée Lauder signed her to multi-year million dollar contract to represent the cosmetics giant. Smalls recalls in an interview with US Vogue, "When I found out, I was in my hotel room in Milan. I started jumping on the bed like a little girl."

The many sides of Joan Smalls
Photographer -  Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Elegance in Combat Boots
Photographer - Wayne Tippetts
Source - thefashionspot.com

Leg Work
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

As illuminating as her looks and presence are on the runway and in print, for me it is Smalls' endearing personality, grace and humility that are her strongest assets. In an interview with mrblasberg.com, Smalls is quizzed about her favourite designers, to which she responds insightfully, "My favourite designers are those I've had the privilege of working with. Their creations have encouraged me to respect and admire their individuality, and praise their craft. I consider myself fortunate to be in the presence of Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Frida Giannini and Tom Ford. And as for Riccardo Tisci, he has simply been a blessing in my life."

Beauty, Humility & Grace
Photographer - Rachel Chandler
Source - industrie.nowmanifest.com

Over the past twelve months, Smalls has added a coveted spot in the Victoria's Secret runway extravaganza as well as an appearance in the Pirelli calendar lensed by Mario Sorrenti to her burgeoning resumé. Next on Smalls' list is the holy grail of modelling - a solo American Vogue cover. Speaking again with CNN's Cho, Smalls states resolutely, "I always want the greater and the bigger, like I came here with a purpose and you know to finally achieve it and to also be an inspiration to others." Of the current generation of budding supermodels, Joan Smalls is perhaps one of the few genuine contenders. Quite simply put, she possess that rarest mix of stunning physicality, personality and charisma that is cover-worthy. 

Joan Smalls
Paris Vogue - February 2011
Photographer - Mario Sorrenti
Source - models.com

Love Magazine - S/S 2012
Photographer - Daniel Jackson
Source - thefashionspot.com

The last Magazine - F/W 2011
Photographer - Karim Sadli
Source - models.com

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