A 10-year veteran of the fashion industry, Coco Rocha got her start in the modeling world when Jean Paul Gaultier tapped the then-Irish step dancer to skip and hop her way down his runway. Since then, she’s appeared in every major magazine under the sun, fronted countless designer campaigns and—perhaps most impressively—become the world’s most-followed supermodel on social media (she has a presence on over 10 different platforms, and was the first fashion model to have over a million followers on Google+).
During her style conversation with our own Eva this afternoon, Coco confessed that her entrée into the social media sphere came when she started blogging as a side hobby. Soon after, when the supermodel was majorly misquoted in a scathing newspaper piece— “There was this big picture of me, and it said, ‘Is This Model Too Fat For The Runway?’” Coco remembered—she realized she could use her blog to address the issue and take a stand, immediately recognizing the reach digital platforms could provide.
In addition to fighting for herself, though, Coco’s equally devoted to standing up for other models—particularly those who are underage and just starting out. Last October, she helped the Model Alliance, the nonprofit organization founded by Sara Ziff, pass a New York law protecting the rights of under-18 catwalkers. As a model who was first discovered at age 14, Coco’s very familiar with the struggles up-and-coming girls in the business can face. “There are girls who are being sexually abused, girls who aren’t being paid,” she explains. “At the peak of my career, I personally was $20,000 in debt to various people within the industry. And I’m not the only one.”
Coco and Eva’s discussion really lit up the room, however, when the supermodel admitted that she loathes selfies (look at her Instagram—she rarely self-photographs). Our editor in chief, an obvious selfie supporter, was shocked—until Coco shared her reasoning. “Instead of going into a bathroom by yourself, putting on your best duckface and taking a selfie, why not ask someone, ‘Hey—I love me, would you mind taking my picture?’” she joked. “If you have enough guts to take a selfie and post it, you can ask a stranger to take a picture of you!” (Fittingly, the moment the floor was opened up for questions, a guest in the audience immediately raised her hand and asked if she could take a “selfie” with the super—and promptly handed her camera to a nearby guest so she could snap it.)
Just before Coco’s chat with Eva, I sat down with the supermodel to discuss—what else?—social media, something at which she’s undeniably an expert. Read on!
Lucky: What’s the best thing about the rise of social media in the fashion world?
Coco Rocha: From a model’s standpoint, I think it’s great in that it gives us a voice. Before, we were just known for our cheekbones—now, we’re equally known for our personality.
Are there any negatives?
I will say that the industry is oversaturated with social media at this point. You especially see it at fashion week; like, if you’re sitting at a show and you’re there to do a job, you should just focus on doing that job. Don’t worry about getting the next photo that’s going viral, the next video—you’re there to see the clothes. Backstage, people are taking photos while models are changing—people don’t think sometimes. That’s why I’d like social media to…slow down a bit, I’d say. Not go away, of course, but just slow down!
You were one of the first major models to chop her hair super-short. Would you ever go long again?
Right now I’m actually trying to get it to bob length! I’m almost there, but I sort of look like a little page boy at this point [laughs]. But I’m one of those people who loves change—so now I want a bob, next I’ll want bangs, then I’ll probably want long hair again, and then I’ll chop it off again.
What’s the one best gift you’ve ever gotten from a designer?
My wedding dress from Zac Posen. My husband James, prior to managing my career, used to be a muralist, a painter—and Zac asked James on the side to make a motif for him, some lines and abstract shapes, and they cut it into my dress, into the fabric. It was so subtle you wouldn’t know it was there if I didn’t point it out, but it was just so romantic and I didn’t even know he’d asked James to do it. I am eternally indebted to Zac for that.