Exclusive Interview with Stephanie Rosa: The Supermodel and Author Expanding Beauty Standards
"Modeling is more than fashion, it's about inspiring and letting girls and women know that whatever you want to do you can do." -Stephanie Rosa
Stephanie Rosa, top model and author, is changing the fashion industry for the better. By representing varying body types, this Latina is taking over high fashion. Not only is she modeling global commercial brands like Old Navy, Rent the Runway, Target, and Lorac Cosmetics, but she is booking editorial fashion shoots in high-profile magazines like Allure, JEZ, Glassbook, and more! As if that isn't enough, she is also an author.
Rosa recently wrote the book, The Modeling Guide for Every Body, which is literally a guide to teach women and girls how to model, no matter their shape or size! The highly-anticipated book is out April 12 (get tickets to her NYC launch party here!), and is expected to sell big.
Unbelievably, just six years ago, she was homeless with a baby. "Your past does not equal your future. There were times when I didn't know if I was going to eat, and I had no one to help me. But what I've realized is that you have to be your own hero in life, fight for your dreams, and you literally can be whoever you want. Always be grateful for what you have even if it's not a lot its still something," Rosa intimately shared with us.
After getting back on her feet, with a mission to make fashion more inclusive for all, she has risen to the top. We recently interviewed the top model about her career thus far, where she dishes on the best and worst parts of modeling, shares advice to aspiring models, and also offers insights into her new book! Check out the full interview below.
You are representing curvy and "real" women everywhere as a successful fashion model, breaking stereotypes doing it all -- editorial, commercial, and catalog modeling! That is a huge deal for any model. What do you think about you resonates with fashion designers and their audiences?
"What resonates with me being chosen by designers and their audience is that I feel like I am filling in a gap of representation that is barely represented. To me it is liberating when I finally hear a yes after all this time. I represent Latinas and you don’t really see Latinas in high fashion especially plus size models. I’ve realized that, I’m representing a different kind of beauty its more then just taking photos and that representation really matters, so I do take my jobs seriously."
You were even on Project Runway! What was that experience like?
"Being on project Runway was a dream come true for me, I remember watching it when only straight size models were given opportunity and wanting to be up there too. So, when I was finally chosen I was ecstatic. The designers are so nice to work with and everyday was a good day on the show for me. I was able to build lasting friendships with the crew, models and designers. Most days we had to hurry up and wait so being in a room with 15 other models, your bond to make friends."
You’ve done some incredible photo shoots! What are some of your favorite fashion shoots that you’ve done so far?
"My favorite fashion shoots I’ve done? That’s a hard question because I do so much and I love them all and I work so much so sometimes I would do a shoot and then I’d forget that I did it until it comes out 3 months later. But there is one I’d never forget, an editorial shoot I did for JEZ magazine. It was so weird because they had put liquid foundation all over my arms and legs and I was surrounded by white mannequins. The spread was called Diverse Beauty. I remember thinking this reminds me of an America's Next Top Model photo shoot challenge, where you’re not suppose to get the mannequins dirty but still pose amazing."
What's your favorite part of a photo shoot day?
"My favorite part of the day is when the whole look is complete and I’m in front of the camera and the music is bumping and I pose to the music. To me part of my job is a performance in front of the camera and I love to perform whether it be acting, modeling, singing or dancing. I think its just in my nature. But the music definitely gives me energy and makes me happy."
What is one brand you would LOVE to model for that you haven't yet?
"I would love to model for Brandon Maxwell because not only is his clothing something id wear on a daily basis but he’s literally the funniest person I’ve ever met. I’m hoping that his next season includes curvier bodies."
What are the best & worst parts about modeling?
"I'll start with the best parts about modeling is that its just fun and I’m so grateful to my agents and all the people that I’ve worked with that I’m privileged to get to do this as a career. However, it took a very long time for people to see that I am a model who will profit a huge amount for my agency. In the beginning I was rejected left and right. Modeling is a hobby that just turned out to be something that I get paid for. Traveling is another thing that’s really cool about modeling because most of the times I can’t travel on vacation because I’m too busy working in New York city because that’s where most of the industry is at for me. But when a client shoots in Spain or on some beautiful island I take it as I’m on vacation and I’m doing what I love and I’m getting paid for it.
The Bad parts about modeling is the amount of rejection you have to go through to see the day you are actually chosen. Many people can’t wait for a yes and to be judged literally every day is exhausting and can trigger low self-esteem, constantly trying to please art directors so they will choose you and so you can work. As a model you can’t live for other peoples approval but that is exactly what models do, until one day I said, I really don’t care if they choose me or not I’m beautiful and if they cant see that then oh well, next! You just have to keep going and not care what other people think."
Not only do you model, but you inspire so many people! You just wrote a book, The Modeling Guide for Every Body, a guide in how women can become models no matter their body type. That's amazing! What has been your favorite part in writing & releasing this book?
"One of my favorite parts in writing the modeling guide for every body has been writing the short story chapter in the ending of the book Chapter 9. Those experiences has shaped who I am today and I hope another girl or women reads it and either she can relate and know that she isn’t alone or she can not make the same mistakes I’ve made breaking into the industry. Those stories are extremely personal and things id never forget in my life.
My favorite part about releasing the book is that I love to throw huge celebrations and the launch party is already ready to go April 12th 2020 in New York. So if anyone wants to stop by and take picture and dance with me, I’m ready!"
What's one piece of advice you want to give to any woman or girl trying to break into the fashion/modeling industry?
"If you want to break into the fashion and modeling world, do it because its fun and you love it. Don’t do it for validation that you are beautiful because someone chose you. Already know that you are beautiful, because you are. Validate yourself. The industry is really hard but nothing is impossible."
Follow Stephanie on social media and RSVP to the book launch party using the links below!