Joan Jump for

5 #8

Glamour (South Africa) - - Glamour Goddess -

ou don’t reach Joan Smalls’ lev­els of su­per­mod­el­dom by just show­ing up and hop­ing for the best. Ac­tu­ally, the Joan Smalls way is to set goals – big goals – and go for them.

“Even when I was hear­ing no, no, no… I wanted to prove them wrong,” the 28 year old re­calls of her early mod­el­ling days, when she felt stuck do­ing cat­a­logues. “I was maybe 20, 21, and re­ally frus­trated with how things were go­ing. I knew some­thing re­quired a change.”

So the Puerto Rico-born Joan sat down and wrote a de­tailed and fairly am­bi­tious to- do list: get shot by Mario Testino, walk in the Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret Fash­ion Show and be Estée Lauder’s first Latina spokes­woman. Check. Check. Check. And on her CV since then? She’s played muse to Givenchy’s Ric­cardo Tisci, be­come a reg­u­lar in the Bal­main army and made a par­tic­u­larly badass cameo in Bey­oncé’s ‘ Yoncé’ video.

How ex­actly does she make all of that hap­pen? Joan gives the back­story on her goals strat­egy.

GLAM­OUR You’re a doer. How did you jump-start your ca­reer? JOAN Ini­tially, that meant find­ing a new agent; I needed some­one who be­lieved in me like I be­lieved in my­self. I had a game plan: make sure to get an ex­clu­sive. Shoot with this pho­tog­ra­pher. Go to events. Be so­cial. But also be­ing black and His­panic, you have so much to prove to your­self and your fam­ily and ev­ery­body back home. I wanted to prove to peo­ple that it doesn’t mat­ter if you come from a small lit­tle is­land, you can still make it in this in­dus­try. Did you al­ways feel con­fi­dent, or did that come later? Back home, I had al­ways been com­fort­able around peo­ple. I was the trou­ble­maker, al­ways be­ing funny – that’s just who I am. I’m Latina; I’ve al­ways had that ex­tra lit­tle flavour. But when I came to New York, it be­came about be­ing com­fort­able with my­self in a place where I didn’t know many peo­ple, and that was the big chal­lenge. Ul­ti­mately, my per­son­al­ity helped me build re­la­tion­ships with the peo­ple I was work­ing with, and I was able to stand out. You’ve be­come pretty good at lin­ing up your ca­reer goals and mak­ing them hap­pen. Were there any you knew to pull the plug on early? I re­mem­ber one. When I first started out, I wanted to be the face of a box of hair colour. I thought that would be so cool. That kind of phased out. Stay­ing fo­cused has clearly paid off. Mod­ ranks you as one of the Money Girls (one of the in­dus­try’s high­est earn­ers). What feels most im­por­tant to you now? Break­ing bar­ri­ers when it comes to mod­el­ling. I think that there’s only so much run­way I can do, there are only so many cov­ers I can do – which I love – but it’s also about do­ing things that haven’t been done. Like what? I’d like to see more beauty cam­paigns for girls who are mixed Latina and black. And if I’m in them, that’s great, but over­all, there’s a scarcity there. Com­pa­nies need to be more mind­ful of the world we live in and who their con­sumer is.

Her height, mak­ing her taller than Naomi Camp­bell (1.75m). Amount of years she’s been with Estée Lauder as the first Latina signed to a world­wide cam­paign for the brand.

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