Supermodels these days have a lot more to think about than their nineties big sisters did. In Cindy and Naomi’s times, working – and indeed networking - meant doing a show and swilling a bit of champagne at the after party, with maybe just a portrait or two for Vanity Fair snapped in the process. There was none of this social media schtick that the girls have to think of now – the needing to be “on” 24/7, photographing and commentating their lives with witty captions of 140 characters or less. Coco Rocha is a prime example of this next wave of ubermodel. Not only is the 27-year-old Canadian both social-media savvy and digitally adept, she is conscious of having a point of view and personality behind her pictures. In addition to walking and posing for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel and Balenciaga she also loyally shares her experiences – and her personal life - with over 16 million followers across her various social media networks (including Chinese facebook – Weibo). Even her seven month old baby, Ioni has a hefty Instagram following.
When she was in Australia for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the intelligent and intriguing Coco, who spoke honestly about her experiences with social media, how she deals with the haters and the story behind her popular book, 1000 Poses. (I even got to meet her charming husband, artist James Conran and their delicious bub, Ioni.) I found Coco’s approach refreshing and love that she often does all her own makeup. As you’ll discover, there’s a lot to love about Coco Rocha…
"My life has changed in the best of ways since becoming a mum’
I mean I’m still working. You think back and you think, ‘Wow, what was life like before?’ You’re definitely a lot more organized. At the beginning when you’re pregnant you read everything about being pregnant, and then you realize this happens all the time, you’re fine. I mean you learn as you go. Ioni comes everywhere with us when we travel. I mean she gets a little cranky, but she sleeps through most things. At home we get 10 hours a night, so we’re very lucky.
My bottle-feeding was scrutinized on social media’
We knew when we were posting it [on Instagram], that it would probably happen a little bit, but when it does happen, it’s hard. I hadn’t explained that I wasn’t able to breastfeed, but if I did decide to bottle-feed her from day one that shouldn’t be judged. The fact that I wish I could feed her and I cant, that’s even more upsetting because someone is judging me and telling me that I’m doing it wrong. Daddy [James] gets upset when I’m being attacked, and especially Ioni- it isn’t fair. Especially when we share so much, you would assume your followers would be… not appreciative, I mean they don’t have to follow you, but [that they would] get excited, and [that they] wont attack you or judge you.
If you say something nasty on social media, you will be blocked’
People that write nasty things, they immediately get blocked, [so] I don’t have to wait and see if next time they don’t. You delete their comments, you block them and then you never need to see them again. I mean if you’re nasty, you’re nasty. And you know, I do believe in good criticism. If it comes to my work or things you might be like ‘oh I don’t really like it’ that’s okay. I’m not going to be like delete, block, never again. But when it came to that [breastfeeding vs bottle feeding] I think it was fair to say I don’t need your opinion.
The reason we made an Instagram for Ioni was the theory that if we share photos of her then there’s enough so that no one will push for more...
When celebrities don’t share - and that’s totally fine I know why they do it - there are people who get very aggressive and want pictures of their children. So we thought well, firstly, we want to show her. Like every proud human being we want to share our little baby to the world and say, 'Isn’t she the cutest!?' But on the other hand it was to share so much that no one would bother to get more. We also own those photos. We’re the ones who are supplying them and we know exactly what’s out there. It's not some random photo of me getting coffee and a baby in a pram. I’m not a Brittney or a Beyonce, but when it comes to your kids… for those who don’t share, they definitely [get] hounded more.
As a model, I do a variety of posing
This was how the book “Study of Pose: 1000 poses by Coco Rocha” came about. When I spoke to Stephen Serbing, who shot the book, I thought why don’t we make this happen. It’s black and white, there is no style. I want people in 50 years to look at it and see that it really is about the study of the body and movement. 100 cameras were used for each shot to capture the image in 360 degrees. I knew that it captured everything. You know the tricks to make yourself look good at the front, but the back was just not looking cute! But I’m just the type of person who just really doesn’t care how you capture me. Ugly, pretty anything! It wasn’t always meant to look beautiful. You just have to be comfortable with yourself, which over the years I’ve realized, that’s my job.
I wake up in the morning and I do another cleanse of what I already cleaned off the night before
Right now I have Clearasil in the three-step program. I remove my make up with Bioderma Crealine Micellar Water, and I do the Clearasil three-step program. I use any sunscreen that’s over 30+. I’m not one to stay in the sun, I have Celtic skin, but I do like vacations on the beach. I think it’s important to cover up and take care of my skin. For Ioni and me it’s under the umbrella. And again drinking tonnes of water, sleeping as much as you possibly can, everything your mum has taught you is what you should be doing.
I do my own makeup...
I know my face. When I’m on photo shoots I’m totally fine with a team because I’m not playing myself. But being yourself you kind of get this attitude where you’re like ‘oh I don’t really like this’. I have a tonne of Burberry from shadows to eyebrow and cover up. The mascara I’ve been using is Marc Jacobs. It’s very good to take off but stays on very nicely. I have MAC eyeliner; I’m all about an eye. And then for lipstick it depends, I have a variety from Mary Kay to Mac, I like my bold colours and MAC actually has very nice bright, vibrant, bold colours. I go orange, red, pink, the only thing I don’t really wear much of now is red, it’s obvious.
I don’t do yoga, I’m actually not that limber
Once baby came I went to the gym a few times, but you realize, holding her is a workout! When I was pregnant I really was up for working out. It was also motivation thinking I’m going to do this for this little person, you know keep them strong and healthy and do it for them. While pregnant, I could do everything except lift too-heavy weights. There was cardio up to a point, but you just feel it all in your body. I was walking up until the last few weeks as well. But then everyone is different, so check with your doctor."
Story by Sigourney Cantelo; Arranged by Emily Algar.