Elsa Baldaia @ Da Banda

You could say that there's something exotic about her, because of her Angolan roots, but we felt that this exotic feeling had much more to do with her attitude when facing the camera. Owner of a very calm and smooth character, Elsa transforms herself into a strong and elegant woman, that knows exactly what to do when she assumes the model role.

We've noticed you don't use social media a lot...

I'm not on Facebook anymore because I forgot my password! I use Instagram, although not frequently. I go there to see fashion profiles, magazines... I don't update mine a lot but I follow other profiles regularly.

What do you follow?

International designers, top models, fashionistas. I like to keep up.

Who are your main references?

Joan (Smalls), Karlie Kloss, Candice (Swanepoel) and Sara Sampaio.

It's curious because nowadays every model is constantly on social media, and the industry also promotes it. Do you think this affects you?

I think it does, yes, because there are always clients that want to know a bit more about our work or that doesn't contact the agency immediately and prefers to check our social media first. I don't have much on social media, which doesn't benefit me. But I intend to change that soon!

Ok, starting from the beginning: how did you get into fashion?

I took part on the Elite Model Look Angola. I won and then went to Shanghai to represent Angola in Elite Model Look International. I managed to stay on the Top15 and had the opportunity of signing with Elite Paris.

And before the contest, did you have any previous modelling experience?

No, nothing. They usually cast in Angola's villages. I moved on to the final and then I had a two week workshop with the other models in the final.

So you won the contest and went on to do what most models dream about: going to Paris!

Yes, I did!

How was it to start in Paris with no previous experience?

It was unforgettable. I didn't speak French or English! On my first day I went to the agency and all I could say was "Yes. Yes". They gave me the city map and I stared at it and thought "I don't know Paris, how am I going to be able to get to the castings?". It wasn't easy, but I learnt a lot, heard lots of "no's" and was strong.

How old were you when you went there?

17.

How long were you in Paris for?

Only three months. Then I went to South Africa. Then United States, China, Spain and Germany.

Impressive! You can work in any market!

Yes! In South Africa I worked every day for example.

An now you've been in Portugal for... how long?

One year and a few months. I've started studying here now, so I'll stay in Europe.

What are you studying?

Management. 

How do you balance being a student and a model?

It's not easy. I was already studying in Angola. The same course. But there school isn't as demanding. Here, you miss classes for a few days and you feel lost. But I'm managing to do it.

What do you love the most about fashion?

I like traveling and having new experiences, having the opportunity of meeting other cultures and learn more.

Is there a work you've done that was absolutely unforgettable for you?

My first job, in Paris. I walked for Etam. It was spectacular!

People have many ideas and preconceptions regarding fashion. Is there one in particular you would like to adress?

Yes! People say models are associated with drugs and prostitution. I've never seen anything like that. Parents think it's true and... it's not easy!

You have been working for 5 years now and have been in many countries. You probably did so many castings... how did you deal with the "no"s?

At the begining, in Paris, I got sad. With time I got used to it. It's just the way it is. It is a tough world and you just need to give your best. I dealt with it well. Never got depressed or anything. I've always been strong!

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Out of everything you've learnt, is there any important tip you can have for someone who wants to be a professional model?

It's all about having strength and perseverance, because this is not an easy job.

What about your modelling goals? Do you have any?

Victoria's Secret!

production  KAEOT

photography  Gonçalo M. Catarino

styling  Catarina F. Pinto

make up & hair  Tiago Figueiredo

model  Elsa Baldaia @ Da Banda Model Management

Goncalo Catarino