Cheyenne @ Central Models
Cheyenne is like a boost of energy in an already sunny day. A strong girl, and empowering woman with whom everyone can relate to. She's not afraid to talk about her struggles and imperfections, and that is what makes her so incredibly special. That, and the fact that she even shines brighter when the cameras start shooting. But about this part we don't need to write, as you can just see the pictures for yourself.
Classic question: how did you start?
My mom was a model, so I always had the thing about wanting to become a model. But I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem regarding my body and thought I couldn’t get into an agency… until I went with a friend to his agency and then he talked me into going to Central Models to try to get in. So I went to Central, I already knew Mi and Tó (the bookers) and Mi put me in what she calls “the greenhouse” as I was only 16.
What surprised you the most when you started? I mean, you already knew what this world was like…
Yes, I was used to it. I started working (small things) when I was young, with my mother, so I knew what this would be like. But what surprised me the most was the fact that you get to know so many amazing people in this business and you make so many friends. This is what keeps surprising me. From what my mom had told me, I thought you didn’t really make friends in the modelling industry. And I have made good friends.
Even when you’re working abroad?
It’s different. When you go to castings outside Portugal you can tell people are saying you’re beautiful in your face, but they are absolutely judging you and noticing your flaws. But, then again, it didn’t get into my skin. I didn’t really notice it right away, because I was lucky to be travelling abroad with a good friend of mine from Portugal. We are really good friends and would even get home and say stuff like “that girl was so sweet” and only afterwards would we realize she wasn’t really that sweet.
What were the first struggles you had to overcome in the beginning?
My body. To adapt to the body type this industry wants. That was the hardest part.
How did you deal with it?
I just focused on the fact that I really wanted this. It took me a year to reach this conclusion. But my body was changing by itself also with puberty. By the time I was 18 my body was naturally getting slimmer, so I took note of it and gave it a little extra help, by eating well and going to the gym.
Between campaigns, editorials, runway… what do you like the most?
Because there’s a story behind. The day in itself is amazing. You change clothes a lot of times and it’s a completely different kind of environment… different from runway, for example, that I really don’t like.
You just came from Greece. How was this experience?
I loved it. Best experience of my life. I’ve also been in Barcelona, but Greece was special. I fell in love with the country, and the people… everything. I was really sad to leave.
How do you think working abroad has changed you?
You always grow when you are away from home. It was also a good opportunity to get to know the international fashion scenario and understand how it works. It can be very mean and aggressive. It can tear you down and, being abroad by yourself… I had to be strong and leave my issues aside. I had to be a woman, and that’s the most important thing I’ve learnt. It’s hard to be abroad and many girls get lost in the process… You have to keep your mind focused.
Most people we’ve talked to mentioned that being alone was hard. You went with a friend, so I’m guessing you didn’t feel that way?
There is always time when you feel lonely, even if you’re with a friend… but I felt much lonelier in Barcelona that in Greece, and I went with many more people to Barcelona (Ana Cassian, Debora Sabbo, a few boys from my agency…).
Do you know why?
I don’t know… it was my first time abroad and away from my family, and I’m very attached to my family… I just wanted to come back home and was living in my own world, reading in my room… In Greece it would be impossible to do this because I wasn’t even alone in the room. And I loved the country and was already used to leaving home… Also, me and Debora got along so so well! It was an amazing surprise and I feel so lucky for it.
Which are the main differences when working in Barcelona and Greece?
Barcelona is mostly commercial. You have one or two editorial jobs, but not much. In Greece you do a lot of catalogs, but even a lookbook seems like and editorial. There’s such a quality in the photography, the styling, the production… they have a gift!
What about Portugal? How would you describe the Portuguese fashion market?
We could learn a lot from them. Portugal is lacking innovation. It’s changing! I mean, photographers are travelling more and learning more, so there’s already a big difference. There is something I say a lot: when I go abroad, I’m an international model. I’m not local. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll be on the cover of Vogue, or walk for every fashion show. Here in Portugal, if you’re an “on stay” model, you immediately book all the jobs. We undervalue Portuguese girls. And abroad it doesn’t happen! People value us, Portuguese, a lot! There are only a few of us and we’re very Mediterranean, we’re happy, we pass along good energy to people, when comparing to Russians, French… they are more of the stereotype of the model that is very quiet and still and is working to get the job done. We’re more involved! And our country doesn’t value us properly.
Do you think that could be related to the fact that the modelling industry in Portugal is so small that you keep seeing the same faces over and over again, and when an international model comes, it’s something fresh?
Absolutely! But that happens because of a problem… you have the “tops”. The top models that are working in an agency… and then you have all the others that end up being forgotten…
What would be the most important advice you’d give a young girl that wants to be a model?
Be sure that this is what you want and keep your head on your shoulders. This part is essential.
How would you explain a young girl she needs to be focused and keep their head on their shoulders?
That has a lot to do with the person… the education they’ve had. I never was the kind of girl that went out to party a lot, neither was I angry because my parents wouldn’t let me do it. I just think that when you really want something, and I see it in young girls like Maria Clara and Daniela Hanganu, you work for it. They, at 16, would say they really wanted this and that’s all they have in their mind. They are not thinking about going out to party, or doing drugs, or this and that. They are focused on being really good models. This comes from their own power of will and if you want something like them, you find a balance and a way to make it work, like they did!
I’m giving their example because you’ve asked me how to explain a young girl how to keep their head on their shoulders. I mean, I met Daniela when she was 16! And I’ve never met someone so focused! I wasn’t like that at 16!
How is social media important for a model nowadays?
Unfortunately, it’s very important. It’s another thing we have to do now. We already had to do “homework” like taking care of our skin, our body, going to the gym. Now I also have to manage social media and post at the right time so you get more likes and followers… I mean, I know it is important but I find it very unfair. Now we have these top models that are not that amazing, but have a huge social following… Calvin Klein talked about it recently and also complained about it, so…
Following Calvin Klein’s statement about “Instamodels”, what do you think is the main difference between an “Instamodel” and a true model? Between a girl that gets followers because of her work or one that gets work because of their followers?
It’s not an easy question. I mean, we (models) wake up thinking when our next casting is, our next job, our next campaign. They wake up thinking they want to show up and show off. They want to be famous and we want to do our job, become better models and make a name for ourselves in the fashion world. And we want to do it trough our work, which also includes our social media work nowadays, but not only. They want to be famous and we want to show we made it. We wanted this from the beginning, we struggled, got up and made it.
Can it be like the difference between being a successful professional that is know for their work and a socialite?
Exactly! You’ve put it perfectly!
What do you like doing when you’re not working?
I love reading. It’s my peaceful moment. I love reading romances since I was a young girl. My grandmother gives me a lot of her old books about reigns and princesses and history. Historical novels are my favorite. And being with my family. I love it. I always feel I don’t spend enough time with them. If I’m in Portugal for a month, I want to do it all. I want to be with my friends, my boyfriend, my family. And then I end up not being with everyone because you’ve had work, castings… Well, modelling life gets in the way sometimes. But I still love it. And everything related to it. Travelling, working out with “my” Sérgio…
Who is Sérgio?
My personal trainer. He’s awesome!
Do you think is important for a model to have a personal trainer?
How can you find a good one nowadays? There are so many people that are “personal trainers” … it’s becoming like the “instamodels”!
True! For me it was a very natural discovery. I was in the same gym for about 5 years and Sérgio was a trainer there. He would always talk to me and give me tips and advice. So, when I got tired of my gym routine and was going trough a period when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore and I asked him to be my personal trainer and help me change my body and evolve.
Tell us something about you that most people don’t know about!
I love Nutella!
What are your modelling goals?
To go to New York and do Sports Illustrated. And to do lingerie campaigns. I’d love to work for Intimissimi. Because it’s Italian (my roots are Italian). Of course, I have the cliché dream of working for Victoria’s Secret, but I want to make a name in the swimsuits and lingerie segment. I want to be an example of a model with curves that makes a name and works in fashion. Like Gigi Hadid, who has boobs and but, or Sara Sampaio, that is “short” for a model. They both made a name for themselves and worked in both commercial and High Fashion.
photography Gonçalo M. Catarino
styling Catarina F. Pinto
make up & hair Tiago Figueiredo
model Cheyenne @ Central Models