Monday, October 14, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Devon Windsor

Nineteen year old Devon Windsor leads a unique collective of newcomers who are redefining cookie-cutter concepts of American beauty. The statuesque 180 cm St. Louis native is a study in contrasts having recently undergone a remarkable transformation from an All-American tanned beach babe to an icy blonde chameleon armed with an alluring androgyny and tough street chic that high fashion dreams are made of. Windsor's 360 degree physical metamorphosis paid major dividends during the Spring/Summer 2014 season, with a succession of captivating appearances at Helmut Lang, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Emilio Pucci, Bottega Veneta, Céline, and Chanel to name but a few. Windsor turned heads with her sensual androgyny and one of the most provocative runway death stares to be seen in eons.

It is Windsor's imposing runway presence and effortless chic which has influential casting director Angus Munro singling her out as his tip for supermodel greatness. Windsor's rough-around-the-edges beauty and compelling runway insouciance are a testament to her management team at IMG Models and to her willingness to be pushed beyond typical notions of pristine model beauty. Above all, it is Windsor's process of evolution and her step-by-step ascent through modelling's ranks which will ensure her true longevity in an industry inundated by fast-tracked one season wonders. IMA caught up with Windsor following the Spring/Summer 2014 collections for a debriefing on the fashion month that was, her aspirational take on the original 90's supers, and the restorative benefits of baking.

Devon Windsor
Photographer - Piczo
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Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Devon, congratulations on a phenomenal Spring/Summer 2014 season. You were one of IMA's favourite newcomers! How are you feeling in the aftermath of the month long fashion marathon and were you taken aback by the deluge of blue chip bookings that came your way?
DW: I could not be happier with the outcome of my first season! It was definitely a crazy ride and much more intense than I could ever have imagined but I am very proud I was able to stick through it and finish well! Of course it is every new model's dream to book big shows during Fashion Week in order to get their face out there; but honestly I tried to hold no expectations because the competition, and the amount of models, are fierce! I was ecstatic when I started to book shows because it meant that my hard work was paying off and that I was beginning to get noticed! I feel very blessed and overjoyed with the outcome of my season.

IMA: You're not exactly a newcomer, having first entered modelling's fray in 2009. Would you mind sharing your backstory?
DW: I technically signed with my first agency in my hometown, St. Louis Missouri, when I was fourteen. A stylist and photographer for a local magazine saw me and asked me to do an editorial for them and then after that I met with the different agencies in St. Louis. It was not until I was 18, and graduated high school that I started to model full-time with IMG. Obviously full-time modelling is quite different than anything I had ever experienced in Missouri. It was really important to IMG - and me - that I travel a bit, develop, and build my book before I was thrown into my first show season. Currently I am 19 and living in New York.

IMA: You have undergone a dramatic transformation since those early modelling days. What was involved in the process and did you experience a bit of an identity crisis going from an All-American girl-next-door look to the industry's edgiest 'it' girl?
DW: It was definitely a culture shock going from a sporty, tan, preppy Missouri girl into being expected to dress in the fashions of the season while still holding your own personality. I cannot say I did it alone, IMG helped a lot with showing me the items to buy and then slowly I was able to find my own style while still following current trends. A big part of my development, aside from personal style, would be all the travelling and experience I had before Fashion Week. I lived in Milan and London, which allowed me to learn to travel, work, and live in these cities at my own pace before I was thrown into the madness of Fashion Week. I am not saying that I didn't have my mental breakdowns here and there during the chaos, but I felt more prepared having some experience already under my belt.

Prada - S/S 2014
Photographer - Monica Feudi
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Alexander McQueen - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Bottega Veneta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
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IMA: This past season you logged runway mileage at Prada, Emilio Pucci, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Céline, Stella McCartney, Trussardi, and Chanel! What were your most memorable or poignant recollections of the past Spring/Summer 2014 season?
DW: Honestly the entire experience was a whirlwind! I have to say being a new face, it was always exciting to meet with the designers face-to-face and to be able to be a part of their collection that season. It is so exciting when you work so hard - and are so emotionally drained - to then get that confirmation that you booked the show, that is the best feeling in the world! Finally being able to walk in such amazing shows gives you the adrenaline to keep pushing through and reminds you why you go through all the chaos to get to the fun part!

IMA: Having made such a favourable impression at castings this season, what do you feel are the prerequisites for standing out from the pack and wowing casting directors?
DW: Being a newcomer, where no one knows who you are, is a little daunting knowing you have about 45 seconds to get someone's attention. I know it sounds cheesy but you just have to be yourself and act like you are the most confident person in the world, even though you may be peeing your pants. It is also important that you mix a bit of your own style into the casting outfits otherwise it is very easy to blend in.

IMA: How has your exposure to the fashion industry impacted on your sense of style and which three designers best reflect your street style?
DW: Since modelling my style in general has changed completely, and since Fashion Week I feel it has changed even more! Just with one season under my belt I already feel like I have the hang of what to wear and what I like. My style changes depending on what I am feeling that day but my top three designers that I think envelop my style would be Alexander Wang, Saint Laurent, and Opening Ceremony.

IMA: The role of sound management can make or break an aspiring model's career. What is the most sage advice that you have received from your agent and what advice would you impart to young girls wishing to pursue a career in modelling?
DW: A big one that my agents, friends, and mom tell me, is to not take anything personally in this career. Any young model I would probably tell the same. Also to not expect too much or you will feel like you are always losing. Expect nothing, lose nothing, and whatever you get will be a plus!

Photographer - Piczo
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Pure Blonde
Punkt Magazine
Photographer - Unknown
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Love Moschino - F/W 2013
Photographer - Stefano Galuzzi
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IMA: Interest in models as public figures appears to be on the upswing with the recent success stories of Kate Upton, Cara Delevingne, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss. Do you feel that the supermodel phenomenon of the early 90s can be rekindled?
DW: I always say I think I would have fit in with the 90s supermodels! I love the idea of a strong, confident, sexy woman that other women actually aspire to be like, and who young women look up to. I think that season by season the industry is starting to bring back models and they are turning into celebrities in their own right. To me a supermodel is someone who other people look up to or want to be like. To me, that is the important thing so sure I hope we can bring that decade back! Although nowadays who you are has a lot to do with social networking. You can become famous just through the Internet!

IMA: Nowadays looks will only get you so far in modelling. Models are encouraged to develop other skills and interests to add to their allure. What are your interests and passion beyond modelling and fashion?
DW: I have always loved cooking and baking. When I am super stressed it has been a good 'out' for me. I love food and I love being able to take recipes that may not be so healthy and come up with a healthier version! Hopefully when I get more time I plan to start going to professional cooking classes.

IMA: What do you find most gratifying about your profession and if there was one aspect of the industry that you could alter, what would that be?
DW: To me it is always gratifying to see the work you do finally pay off or come out. Like when you do a shoot and you have to wait for it to finally come out, that is like candy when you see it for the first time! On the downside modelling, I think that some models that are really young shouldn't have to experience some to the things we go through. It is a hard industry and when you are young and naive, it's harder to deal with what's thrown at you.

IMA: In an industry where models are subjected to continual assessment based on face value, how do you manage to maintain a clear self-perspective?
DW: I try to brush things off to the best of my abilities, but just like other young women I get self-conscious. Being judged 24/7 does not help with that but like I said, you have to remember not to take things personally. Having a family, friends, and boyfriend who are there to constantly remind me of the good things when I need a boost is essential.

Photographer - William Lords
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Creem Magazine
Photographer - Barrett Sweger
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Photographer - Unidentified
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IMA: What aspects of the modelling industry have you found most surprising and are there any misconceptions that you would like to shed light on?
DW: The industry is actually much smaller than you realise. At first glance, it seems so big and then you start working and travelling, and seeing the same people over and over again! Everybody talks so impressions are very important ;-). A big misconception about the industry would be that it is not as glamorous as the shows and pictures make it out to be. And a big misconception about models; most of us eat more than you think!

IMA: A model's career trajectory doesn't happen without careful strategic planning and also a degree of luck ;-). Do you have any particular modelling goals in sight and what would you most like to get out of your chosen career path?
DW: I like to keep things in check and not expect too much to avoid disappointment. I have honestly no idea what to expect or what will come within my future but I am excited to see ;-), and making a lot of money wouldn't be too bad either!

IMA: You ran the full gamut of the four fashion capitals for the Spring/Summer 2014 season. Was there a particular city that you felt a closer connection or affinity for?
DW: Being I had previously lived in Milan for a bit, the familiarity of the city was nice when I arrived! I definitely feel I got the majority of my momentum there!

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
DW: That is a hard question... I am still figuring that out ;-). I hope that it would be my personality and ability to make friends quickly!

Devon Windsor
Photographer - Piczo
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Special thanks to Bradley Davis at IMG Model Management. For more information on IMG Model Management, please log onto

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