Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Amanda Wellsh

Brazilian stunner Amanda Wellsh is patent proof that good things do indeed come to those who wait courtesy of her stellar breakthrough moment at the Spring/Summer 2014 collections. The twenty-four year old Patos de Minas native drew collective gasps of appreciation from show goers with her powerful womanly strut as she opened and closed exclusively for Gucci's Spring/Summer 2014 show. Wellsh's striking 179 cm amazonian frame, hypnotic green eyes, and supreme runway composure were in evidence throughout the Spring/Summer 2014 season at Chanel, Balmain, Helmut Lang, Oscar de la Renta, DKNY, Dries Van Noten, and Anthony Vaccarello. IMA first encountered Wellsh at the Natalie Joos castings for Osklen, Karen Walker, and Charlotte Ronson in the lead up to New York Fashion Week, and was immediately struck by her serene confidence and genuine warmth amidst the gaggle of excitable runway rookies.

Wellsh's path to fashion's elite ranks has been painstakingly paved via years of industry and life experience garnered since her initial introduction to modelling at age fourteen. The academically inclined teen modelled part-time while competing her higher school education before relocating to Sao Paolo to pursue further University studies. Wellsh's full modelling potential remained largely untapped while appearing in a smattering of editorials for mainstream publications including French Glamour, Spanish Elle, Madison Magazine, and the British and American editions of Cosmopolitan. In 2011, Wellsh retreated from modelling to have her son and to devote herself to full-time parenting. Wellsh reemerged in September 2013 during New York Fashion Week with a clear focus, inner confidence, and steely determination backed by her intrepid management team at IMG Models. Armed with a slew of new test shots composed by her agent Luiz Mattos, Wellsh commanded the attention of casting directors and designers with her maturity, aspirational womanly beauty, and her make or break resolve. IMA caught up with Wellsh on the eve of her Pre-Fall 2014 appearances at Chanel and Gucci, to discuss her phenomenal breakthrough season, the importance of teamwork, and her current Gucci obsession.

Amanda Wellsh
Photographer - Luiz Mattos
Image courtesy of IMG Models

Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Amanda, congratulations on your spectacular Spring/Summer 2014 show season! How would you sum up your overall feelings following the month long frenzy of Fashion Week madness?
AW: I couldn't be happier. Being part of Fashion Week for the first time was a dream come true, I feel extremely honoured to have worked with such wonderful designers and casting directors.

IMA: You are IMG Model Management's latest cross-over success story, having modelled commercially from as early as 2005. Would you mind getting IMA's readership up to speed on your backstory?
AW: I've just turned 24 years old. At age 14, I was discovered by a local scout at Patos de Minas, my home town. As I was going to school, modelling was not a key priority and I'd only work when it wouldn't conflict with my studies. In 2008, I finished school and moved to Sao Paolo where I attended University and started modelling more consistently but still most of my international career was on a direct booking basis. In 2011, I fell pregnant and took 2 years off. When my son turned 7 months old, I decided it was finally time to get back to work and to fully invest in my career. I went to New York and signed with IMG and that's when everything really started for me.

IMA: When IMA ran into you at the castings for Natalie Joos and Oscar de la Renta, you were a standout because of your powerful womanly presence and serene inner confidence. What factors do you feel have most contributed to your recent breakthrough success on modelling's high fashion runways?
AW: Even though this was my first Fashion Week, I'm an experienced model and a grown woman. I have a strong sense of self, am fully aware of my strengths, and know how to use them to my advantage. Also, motherhood gave me more focus, determination, and discipline. My opportunity cost is quite high, so I don't play around. This is not just about me, but also about my family and my son's future.

Emanuel Ungaro - S/S 2014
Photographer - Fablo Iona
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Chanel - S/S 2014
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
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Chanel - Pre-Fall 2014
Photographer - Evans Caglage
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IMA: There appears to be a growing trend of models in their late 20s hitting their stride professionally at an age when models may have formerly been overlooked. Do you feel better equipped now than in your teens to handle the intense pressure and scrutiny that comes with success at modelling's elite level?
AW: Definitely yes. I don't feel my age is a hindrance. Quite the contrary in fact. Today I know more, I better understand the industry and I'm much more prepared for the pressure. I'm also able to give myself entirely in a photo shoot. Whereas when I was 16, I found it difficult to portray a powerful, sexy, and confident woman.

IMA: Your Spring/Summer 2014 season began with an opening slot at Peter Som, followed by a succession of blue chip appearances at Oscar de la Renta, Helmut Lang, DKNY, Balmain, Dries Van Noten, Chanel, and a Gucci exclusive in Milan. Looking back on the overall season, what were your most significant and poignant highlights?
AW: I live one day at a time, and every day of Fashion Week was marked by special moments. There was a constant feeling of butterflies in my stomach and each casting, fitting, sow or any other accomplishment was celebrated. I've always dreamt of working with these talented people in the fashion industry, so every experience was very special to me. Opening Peter Som was quite intense, as it was my first fashion show for the season. But of course nothing can be compared to opening and slowing Gucci - just the thought of it makes me want to go back in time.

IMA: Sound and professional management plays a pivotal role in a model's career trajectory. Having recently signed with IMG Models, was there a particular strategy of guidance on the part of your management team that you feel has attributed to your recent high fashion crossover?
AW: I believe teamwork conquers everything. IMG, along with my mother agency were fully supportive and I wouldn't be where I am without them. They are the first ones to get in touch with photographers, designers, casting directors, and they get to decide who I should be seeing and what teams I should be working with. Having the right management along with my own dedication, professionalism, and willpower make the perfect combination to achieve success.

Photographer - Barbara Anastacio
Image courtesy of IMG Models

Timing is Everything - Amanda Wellsh
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IMA: With so many newcomers descending on the fashion capitals during Fashion Week, what do you feel are the key components for making a positive and lasting impression at castings?
AW: Self-confidence and charisma!

IMA: What have been the most valuable life lessons that you have acquired as a result of your modelling experiences?
AW: To be patient, professional, and focused. I've also learned to put myself in other's shoes. Sometimes we need to step back and reassess a situation from someone else's perspective to fully understand it. But mostly, I've learned to just let go. I can only do my best and if something is supposed to be mine it will be.

IMA: The way a model presents in public has gained particular relevance with the rise of bloggers and street style photographers. How would you describe your own street style, and which three designers are you currently obsessing about?
AW: Well, I am a Gemini. Needless to say, I do not have a defined style. I dress according to my mood of the day - feeling comfortable and confident is what matters and in the end the most beautiful thing you can wear is your smile. You will find me wearing a T-shirt with a pair of cool sneakers, or a nice girly dress with heels, or in my boyfriend's clothes. Or also in all three mixed together ;-). Obsessing about? Gucci, Gucci, and Gucci!!!

Gucci - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Balmain - S/S 2014
Photographer - Monica Feudi
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IMA: Brazil has been in the modelling spotlight since the mid-nineties and continues to consistently produce incredible talent. Do you feel that there are certain qualities unique to Brazil's population and culture which allows for this amazing pool of modelling talent?
AW: I would say the beauty of cultural diversity and warmth of our country is inherent to its population.

IMA: What key advice would you impart to young girls considering career in modelling?
AW: It's not easy for anyone... There's a lot of competition - beautiful, tally, skinny girls out there wanting exactly the same as you do. So, for you to get to the top you must be focused and very connected with your agency. If this is what you want, the go for it - don't waste your time doing things that will make you take a step backwards. Don't let people get you down and don't take the NOs you get personally. Be determined and do your best, always.

IMA: Interest in models as public figures appears to be on the upswing with the rise of mega-model personalities including Cara Delevingne, Kate Upton, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss. Do you feel that the supermodel phenomenon of the early 90s can be rekindled?
AW: Definitely, and hoping for it!

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
AW: I'm very authentic. And always have a smile on my face.

Amanda Wellsh
Photographer - Luiz Mattos
Image courtesy of IMG Models

Special thanks to Luiz Mattos at IMG Model Management. For more information on IMG Models, please log onto

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