Model Joan Smalls is the heroic star of the new Mercedes-Benz Fashion Key Visual Spring/Summer 2013, causing a buzz on set with her strong and spell binding presence.
the international fashion scene.
The list of designers, photographers and magazines Joan Smalls has already worked with reads like the creme of the international fashion scene. Only last season, the Puerto Rican graced the catwalks of close to 40 shows by elite brands like Chanel and Dior or hip labels like Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant. On set for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Key Visual Spring/Summer 2013, the model’s day starts at 8am sharp with make-up and styling. Despite the fast-paced schedule, the 24-year-old comes across as incredibly relaxed and good-humoured. Open and friendly, the model uses brief breaks to chat with the team.
It just seems fitting that Smalls enjoys Twitter ( twitter.com/joansmalls ) for its personal contact and for sharing her ideas and thoughts with the world – without having to resort to an interview.
commanding everyone’s attention.
Finally, it is time: the lighting is perfect. The mysterious set, with its wrapped and ostensibly precious objects, occupies the huge storage facility and the white Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake takes centre stage in this glamorous set-up. Enter Smalls from the backstage area, clad in a skin-tight black catsuit, sporting an edgy mohawk and commanding everyone’s immediate attention: The moment she steps on set all staff members find themselves mesmerised by her presence. “Doesn’t she look amazing”, Mario Testino’s exclamation sounds more like a statement than a question. The team concurs.
“You have to surprise people”, explains French hair stylist Juilen d’Ys, who developed her look together with Mario Testino and make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury. And it worked.
On-set impressions with Joan Smalls.Watch Film
Joan Smalls behind the scenes
strength and self-confidence.
In a truly heroic pose reminiscent of Grace Jones and with impeccable body control Smalls switches on the protagonist’s strength and self-confidence to free herself – and the car – from the cocoon with such energy and willpower that even a photographer like Mario Testino is reduced to a simple, awestruck “wow”.
After the shoot, we meet Joan Smalls backstage to ask the live wire about her approach to style, missing home and self-criticism.
Starting at the beginning. How did you become a model? I participated in a few model competitions in Puerto Rico, which I lost, and then I went to New York for open call castings. I was chosen by an agency eventually.
You were born and raised in Puerto Rico and are now living in NY. What do you miss most about home?
Family and the weather. I think Puerto Rico has so many beautiful sunny days and I actually miss being able to access close beaches and smelling the ocean.
What’s on your mind when you walk down the catwalk?
“Get out of my way” basically… [laughs]. Always in a positive way… it’s my time to shine and I’m coming through so people can see my presence. Make sure you are not in the middle of that [laughs].
Do you review your pictures/videos sometimes and are you mostly pleased with yourself or are you rather self-critical?
Of course I review my pictures/videos sometimes [laughs]. As with any other job, you need to determine what your strongest and weakest points are and how you can make yourself better.
I’m not overly self-critical of myself, but I do tweak myself here and there.
Whose style do you admire?
I don’t admire anybody’s specific style, because I think you can take a little bit from everyone. Everyone has their own individuality and I admire that. I appreciate people’s creativity, so I can’t say I have one style muse.
What route would you take for a dream road trip in your Mercedes-Benz?
Scenic routes. I really like the country and just sightseeing. I love seeing different towns for what they have to offer and just seeing the flora and the fauna. I just think it’s beautiful to breathe fresh air, with the car windows rolled down, and to just take in the whole experience.