Thursday, January 30, 2014

Exclusive Interview - Nadja Giramata

Rwandan-born French newcomer Nadja Giramata stood out amongst the gaggle of 200 plus models in attendance at the Natalie Joos Casting during the Spring/Summer 2014 collections. With her swan-like repose, felinesque eyes, and magnificently sculpted cheekbones, Giramata was the very picture of understated French chic dressed in black skinny jeans, a leather and lace sleeveless lattice top, and skyscraper high heels. The statuesque 179 cm former English Literature student was discovered only two years ago in Manchester while returning home following class. Represented by Trump Model Management in New York, Giramata displays an intriguing worldliness, a gentle softly-spoken voice, and a graceful composure that had IMA spellbound at 'hello'.

Giramata's sophisticated womanly elegance has not gone unnoticed, with designers Tom Ford and Carolina Herrera amongst others, selecting her to showcase their designs at Fashion Week. During her first full show season for Spring/Summer 2014, Giramata made an indelible mark appearing in fourteen shows including Band of Outsiders, ICB by Prabal Gurung, Richard Chai Love, Daks, Suno, and Philipp Plein. Giramata's editorial prowess has been in full force in the pages of German Vogue, Pop, Garage, Vogue Italia, Metal, Dedicate, and Used Magazine, in addition to high profile campaigns for Top Shop Unique and Philipp Plein. Giramata caught up with IMA exclusively while en-route from an assignment in Trinidad and Tobago to New York just in time for the Fall/Winter 2014 collections, to chat about the thrill of collaborating with Tom Ford and Carolina Herrera, the qualities beyond the physical which she holds in high esteem, and the side benefits of hanging out at Whole Foods.

Nadja Giramata
Image courtesy of Trump Models


Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Nadja, thank you for chatting with IMA! You were one of IMA's favourite faces (and personalities) at the Natalie Joos Casting during the Spring/Summer 2014 season. What were your expectations going into your first full show season and were you pleased with how events took shape?
Nadja Giramata (NG): Thank you! It's my pleasure. This season was my first time in New York! I was super excited but nervous as I didn't know what to expect. I ended up quite happy and grateful with the way Fashion Week went and with the people I met.

IMA: As a relatively new face to modelling, would you mind sharing your backstory with IMA?
NG: I am twenty-two years old and was born in Rwanda. I left there at the age of five to go to France, where I grew up. At age 20, I moved to England where I was scouted when I was on my way back home from college. To be honest I consider myself a world citizen as everywhere I have been felt like home, and I hope it will stay that way...

IMA: Do you have many memories of your childhood in Rwanda, and have you had the opportunity to go back to reconnect with your cultural roots?
NG: I left Rwanda at a very young age but yes I do have memories. Unfortunately, I never returned but for sure I want to go when I feel ready to reconnect with my roots and to know a bit more for myself about the "new" Rwanda.

IMA: Fashion Week is like a United Nations Modelling Summit with models from all over the world converging on the fashion capitals. Has your multi-lingual ability helped you in communicating with some of the other girls and were there any models in particular that you connected with this past season?
NG: Languages definitely helped my in this industry because I don't really have to face the language barrier that most of the girls encounter. And I can even say that Fashion helps me to practice my languages. I love being a sociable person so I like meeting girls, knowing their stories and where they're from... it's funny because we all have different stories and backgrounds but fashion brings us together on the same path... and this makes it an amazing experience.
This season I particularly connected with Amy Drayton, we were going to most of the castings together, we have the same humour... So we are quite funny to see together because we are laughing all the time wherever we are ;-)

Tom Ford - F/W 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source - style.com

Carolina Herrera - S/S 2014
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source - style.com

Richard Chai Love - S/S 2014
Photographer - Alessandro Garofalo
Source - style.com


IMA: You are building a strong reputation for your runway prowess having walked for Tomp Ford, Carolina Herrera, Richard Chai Love, Band of Outsiders, Daks, and ICB. What do you enjoy most about the runway component of modelling and did you get the opportunity to meet Carolina Herrera and Tom Ford while walking in their shows?
NG: What I like most about runway is the excitement you feel before walking out onto the runway. This feeling that you are representing a brand, a new trend is just so incredible! Yes, I got the opportunity to meet Tom Ford and Carolina Herrera, it was just amazing for me, I couldn't believe it! What touched me most is that these people are both really normal and genuinely nice and respectful toward everyone. And for both of them, you can feel the passion they have for their job, their creations, and seeing that just made me understand why they are so successful in what they do.

IMA: This past Fashion Week was your first time in New York. Did you enjoy your time in Manhattan and what were your fondest recollections of the city?
NG: Oh yes I loved being in New York... actually everything was the way I used to picture it. It's an incredible city... you just feel so small in every way in this city! My best memories of New York are in Whole Foods where Amy Drayton and I would go at the end of our castings, and just laugh about our funny experiences!

IMA: You resumé is burgeoning with editorial appearances for Vogue Italia, i-D, German Vogue, Pop, Garage, and the Dutch edition of Elle. Is there a particular shoot which hold particular significance for you and what is you favourite published image of yourself?
NG: Oh that's a hard question to answer because I have been really fortunate to work with good, nice, and professional people until now. For me, every job was such a good experience and memory. That's also why I don't know if there's a particular image I love of myself... as every image is the representation of a hard job (options, castings, shooting days, giving 100% of yourself), of a new experience, and also of meeting a new team. Maybe when I stop modelling I'll be able to look back and properly respond to this question. But for the moment I am just grateful to have been able to look back and feel happy with everything that has happened to me so far.

Style Switzerland - May 2012
Photographer - Andoni & Arantxa
Source - thefashionspot.com

Sunday Telegraph - March 2013
Photographer - Rory Payne
Source - models.com

Pop - F/W 2013
Photographer - Paul Wetherell
Source - thefashionspot.com

Philipp Plein - S/S 2014
Photographer - Francesco Carrozzini
Source - thefashionspot.com


IMA: At the Natalie Joos Casting in New York, you were one of the most immaculately turned out newcomers. How would you describe your sense of style, and which three designers best reflect your fashion aesthetic?
NG: I don't really know how to describe my style as when I go shopping I don't really look for a particular style but rather for what attracts my eye. And after I just mix everything! It's true that I love feeling an being elegant because for me elegance and femininity go hand in hand, so for sure anything that looks elegant to me will end up in my basket! My favourite designers are Saint Laurent, Dior, and Tom Ford, but I only discovered Carolina Herrera this season and I have to say that I was touched by the high elegance and refinement she embodies and which you can see in all of her creations.

IMA: Beauty is only part of a model's overall package. What other attributes do you feel are important for achieving success in modelling?
NG: I agree, beauty plays a big part in modelling but I think that the behaviour and the attitude your project towards people whoever they are, plays an even bigger part. In my opinion, to show a bit of education and genuine good behaviour can only help.

IMA: The role of sound management plays a vital role in a model's career trajectory. How has Trump Models been instrumental in guiding your career path and what is the most sage advice that your agents have imparted to you?
NG: Trump Models has been truly amazing from the beginning. They worked in good co-ordination with my other agency Elite London and really pushed for me and encouraged me to feel comfortable in this new American market. The best advice has been "Don't worry, don't stress out, everything is going well."

Used Magazine - Issue 5
Photographer - Jeff Hahn
Source - models.com

Top Shop - F/W 2012
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - models.com

Nadja Giramata
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - thefashionspot.com


IMA: Models are encouraged to utilise social media and networking to raise their profiles and fan base. With your literary background, have you considered putting pen to paper and starting your own blog?
NG: I've seen and admired a lot of good blogs about fashion and other subjects but I seriously don't see myself starting one. And for the only reason that I don't think I would be as good as other bloggers in expressing myself and how I feel. Even with Twitter, I never have super ideas for tweets that would make people laugh or "favourite" it. Let's face it... I'm bad with social media use ;-)

IMA: Imagine for a second that you are being photographed for British Vogue in a 2014 version of the classic Peter Lindbergh "Famous Five" cover. If you could play casting director for a day, which four newcomers would you most like to be photographed alongside?
NG: Hmmm, good question... I would love to be photographed alongside Malaika Firth, Anita Lijic, Binx Walton, Marina Nery, and Maggie Jablonski. They're all beautiful and all represent a very different type of beauty.

IMA: What are your long-term modelling goals and what career path would you fall back on as an alternative to modelling?
NG: For modelling I'd like to continue for as long as it goes. After I would love to use my languages to travel even more, discover, meet and exchange... let's see ;-)

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
NG: Hmmm... I have no idea. I would love to know as well! People usually tell me that I am graceful so it's the first thing they think about when they hear my name.

Nadja Giramata
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Image property of Inoubliable Model Army


Special thanks to Gabriel Ruas Santos-Rocha at Trump Models. For more information on Trump Model Management, please log onto www.trumpmodels.com

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