SHE’S SMART AND TALENTED, WITH ONE OF THE FIERCEST WALKS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY. WE GET UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH THE UNIQUE-LOOKING BEAUTY (SHE’S PART AFRICAN, SPANISH, TAINO INDIAN AND IRISH), JOAN SMALLS, OUR GIRL CRUSH OF THE MONTH.
Puerto Rican beauty Joan Smalls talks about her collab with Moschino for the new Gold Fresh scent.
It’s been eight years since this leggy beauty made her official debut on Givenchy’s Spring/Summer Haute Couture runway and throughout that period, we’ve seen her accomplish a lot. She’s the first Latina model to front an Estēe Lauder campaign, she’s walked the annual Victoria’s Secret runway year after year (from 2011 to 2016), and she’s currently one of the highest-paid models around. Here, this Puerto Rican tells us about diversity, selflessness and being the new face of the latest Moschino fragrance, Gold Fresh Couture.
You’re listed among the ‘New Supers’ as well as in the ‘Money’ rank by models.com. What makes you happier: status or money?
“I think being able to have status is just a reminder that your hard work pays off and people give you credit for it, and that is extremely flattering. Money is always a plus – it definitely helps and I’m extremely grateful for it. But it’s not why I love doing what I do.”
When did you realise that you had the potential to go far?
“My character is hard to satisfy, therefore I’m always searching for more; more out of life and more out my career. A constant growth is my drive.” What does Puerto Rico mean to you? “Puerto Rico is home. It’s where my roots are. No matter where I travel to, it’s always in my heart.”
You’ve become a spokesperson for diversity. Have you been refused for jobs because of the colour of your skin?
“Yes, I’ve been refused opportunities for the colour of my skin and that’s unfortunate and very narrow-minded. But I never let that hold me down. I’ve surrounded myself with creative individuals who see beauty for what it is. Your race, color or creed is what’s beautiful and being inclusive of all. It’s an uphill battle that people dom’t see behind closed doors, emails and when brands just think of filling a stereotype or using a model as a convenient marketing strategy. It’s about pushing through all the negative noise.”
Do you prefer to be described as cute or sexy?
“I’d say I’m a good combination of both. I think being cute is sexy. And having a little edge and mystery keeps people wanting more.”
You are now the face of Moschino Gold Fresh Couture perfume. How did you click with Jeremy Scott (Creative Director at Moschino)?
“Jeremy is a genuine, talented and real individual. I admire how he expresses himself so lively in his designs. It’s very unique. And it never feels like work – he puts some fun in everything he does!”
How would you describe the woman who wears Gold Fresh Couture? “Daring and willing to have fun at the same time.”
What is the fragrance like? Is it spicy and outspoken like you? “Absolutely! Being Puerto Rican and black, you get a good mixture of spiciness and passion. I was raised to speak up for myself in any situation, and that it’s okay to ask questions. If you can’t stand up for yourself, then no one else will.”
You studied psychology and graduated in two years instead of four. If you weren’t modeling, what would you be doing instead?
“I would have continued and gotten my Doctorate in Psychology. I love getting to know individuals and what drives them, and how you can understand the human psyche and aid in helping. Being empathetic and openminded is something not everyone can do. My mother is a social worker and she has inspired me to want to help and give attention to others; that’s the most selfless thing to do.”
MOSCHINO GOLD FRESH COUTURE EDP 100ML, RM400