Text by Kathryn Hudson; Photography by John van der Shilden
Four years ago, Herieth Paul was standing in front of an open refrigerator in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, trying to keep cool in the shimmering summer heat. Today, she’s slouched on a lounger on the rooftop of the swank Thompson Toronto hotel during her ELLE Canada cover shoot. The Ottawa-based model is new to the fashion game, but she is already on a firstname basis with industry power brokers like Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Meisel.
Despite the hype she is generating, Paul seems endearingly unaffected. It’s the same attitude she had when she moved to Ottawa with her diplomat mother in 2007. “It was a culture shock, but I was young, so it was a fun adventure,” explains Paul. Besides, there was a silver lining. “The culture back in Tanzania was very traditional,” she says. “I used to buy my own clothes and then hide them from my mom. Now, I can wear my H&M dresses and Topshop platforms any time I want.”
That new sartorial freedom gave her modelling aspirations room to grow. “Being a model was my destiny,” she jokes, explaining that she has always wanted to work in fashion. While her mother was at work, Paul researched local agencies. Angie’s Models & Talent International didn’t hesitate when the lithe stunner walked through the door in 2009. “When I signed with them, I didn’t know that it was going to be a whole other world out there,” she says with a smile. Paul was signed last June by the famed NYC Women Direct Agency to walk in both the Lacoste and 3.1 Phillip Lim spring/summer 2011 shows. But the magnitude of what was happening still hadn’t sunk in. “I closed the Lacoste show and I was mad because I thought they put me last,” says Paul. “My agency was like, ‘No, you closed the show—that’s different!’”
It seemed like there was only one roadblock to superstardom: mom. “It took a lot of convincing for her to let me make a real go of modelling— and a lot of phone calls from my aunts,” says Paul. “She was afraid that I’d fall in with a bad crowd.” Paul’s mother finally relented, chaperoning her youngest daughter to Milan’s fall/winter 2011 fashion week to watch her stomp down some of the hottest runways in town: Emilio Pucci and Ermanno Scervino.
Paul also landed an enviable big-budget CK One commercial shot by star maker Steven Meisel. (The second ad airs this month.) In a resumé-making coup, Meisel requested Paul for an editorial in the January edition of Vogue Italia. He has long been an advocate of diversity in the industry, acting as the creative force behind Vogue Italia’s 2008 all-black issue.
As she talks about crushes (she loves Lil’ Wayne, even though he curses too much) and tomorrow’s trigonometry test, Paul seems like a typical teen— until she gets a text from her NYC booker telling her that she has landed Alexander Wang’s next spring/summer campaign. She knows she’s having a moment, but she’s looking ahead to the future. “I’ve heard there’s a thing called a ‘buzz,’” she says. “Once that’s gone, you’re out. But if Naomi can be famous for 30 years, why can’t I?”
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Text by Jaclyn Tersigni; Photography by Greg Swales for Ford Models
Hometown Oshawa, Ont.
Runway stomps “Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa.” Defining moment “I sent a cellphone picture of myself to the Ford Agency and they called me the next day.” Fave accessory “My mom has an old pair of blue vintage glasses from high school. I wear them as sunglasses now.” Exotic excursion “I shot in Greece on a really hot day, wearing lots of heavy knits. It was an arduous day, but we were at the very top of a hill and you could see down to the beautiful city.” Travel buddy “My stuffed animal named Doogie.” Holiday hit list “My family and I have been to Disneyland about 20 times—it’s kind of crazy.” Global style “Being around people of different cultures really gives me the confidence to try something new, like clashing prints.” Global education “It sounds trivial, but when you go somewhere as breathtaking as Greece, you just take a step back and you can see the beauty in everything.” Last splurge “A Louis Vuitton purse when I was in Athens.” Foodie moment “Fresh octopus right out of the ocean in Santorini, Greece.” Biggest vice “Peanut butter. I search for the kind I like when I’m travelling.”
Text by Ava Baccari; Photography by Renata Kevah
Hometown Lloydminster, Sask.
Runway stomps “Denis Gagnon, Joeffer Caoc.” Signature style “Elegant grandma meets grunge hobo.” Travel tip “Don’t forget a pen for the New York Times crossword puzzles.” Best gig “I love working in Germany.” Ultimate souvenir “My travels always end up expanding my already-bursting closet.” City crush “Montreal. I love the beautiful neighbourhoods, open-minded people and amazing food. It’s always a great place to come home to.” Secret skill “I love the precision required to be a baker and the chemistry involved in putting it all together.” Biggest vice “Men with interesting noses.” Hidden gem “In Milan, my only shopping stop is a store called Ennji.” Travel fuel “I normally carry cashews and chocolate—and plenty to share with the person beside me, as a peace offering after I’ve fallen asleep on them.” Foodie moment “My friend’s mother made us a four-course lunch at their home in France with ingredients from her backyard, followed by champagne and freshly picked plums and figs.”
Text by Barbora Simek; Photography by Sky Parrott
Runway stomps “Marc Jacobs, Rachel Roy.” City crush “Toronto has been good to me, but I really enjoy working in New York—it’s just so creative there.” Travel gear “A comfortable pair of jeans and my Dr. Martens.” Exotic excursion “I went to PEI on a shoot where I wore crazy wedding dresses. The East Coast’s huge green grassy fields were just so beautiful.” Ultimate souvenir “YSL stiletto boots from a vintage store in New York.” Travel buddy “My mom. Her trademark is making chocolate cookies for shoots.” Global style “Being in New York, I’ve learned to wear a lot more black.” Secret skill “I’m really artsy; I like to paint and do collages.” Foodie moment “When I was first in Italy for Milan Fashion Week, we went on a hunt for thin-crust pizza and finally found a place on a cobblestoned street close to our hotel.”
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Text by Amanda Wenek; Photography by Marton Perlaki for Citizen K Magazine
Hometown Ivrysur- le-Lac, Que.
Runway stomps “Marc Jacobs, Dries van Noten.” Signature style “Colourful.” Craziest shoot “I went to Australia for a week with a Japanese team and it was really fun. One day we were shooting in a zoo and the next in a museum. I was sightseeing at the same time as working.” Exotic excursion “I went to Mexico in April for a shoot. We were in this beautiful little hut on a beach.” City crush “New York, because I just got an apartment there.” Travel buddy “I used to have a teddy bear that my grandparents got me when I was born, but the cleaning lady at the last apartment I was staying in threw it out by accident. It’s really sad.” Strangest sighting “I did a campaign in Montreal and I was all over the metro—it was strange to see my big face staring back at me.” Summer sipper “I don’t drink cocktails, but I love gin.” Foodie moment “I love avocados on anything and everything!” Biggest vice “I like to crack my knuckles—it feels so good.” Secret skill “I can juggle fruit.”
Text by Jaclyn Tersigni; Photography courtesy of Push Agency
Hometown Mississauga, Ont.
Runway stomps “Vena Cava, Malandrino.” Go-to outfit “When I’m at home, I usually wear sweats.” Craziest schedule “I lived in Germany for a while and went to Marrakesh, South Africa and Mexico—all in one month.” Craziest shoot “In the Swiss Alps. It was warm for me because I’m from Canada, but I wore a summer dress outside in the middle of the mountains.” Exotic excursion “Bali was really cool because we shared a house together. When we woke up, a Komodo dragon was swimming in the pool. There were always snakes and geckos crawling around.” City crush “Sayulita, Mexico. I would live there in a second. At night, when we went for dinner, the village got together in the square and danced and sang.” Holiday hit list “Trinidad, where my parents are from. It’s dangerous, but if you’re a local, you won’t get into too much trouble.” Ultimate souvenir “Passport stamps.”
Text by Amanda Wenek; Photography by Greg Kadel
Hometown Terrebonne, Que.
Runway stomps “Giambattista Valli, Miu Miu.” Shoe fetish “I wear flats; I don’t understand girls who wear heels when they’re not working because they’re really painful.” Excess baggage “My dream suitcase is a small one. My real luggage is very big and heavy, though.” Travel tip “Always roll your clothes—I’m a pro now.” Signature style “Feminine and classic.” Exotic excursion “Costa Rica—it was almost a vacation. We shot in the jungle and then on the beach. The food was great and the people were nice.” City crush “Paris. It’s so beautiful, and it helps that I speak French.” Taste of home “I always travel with maple-syrup candies.” Holiday hit list “When I’m able to just spend time at home with my family and friends.” Global style “Anytime I go to a city, I try to get that look. Italians are really sporty, Parisians are really chic and New Yorkers are trendy and cool.” Global education “I learned how to be much more social. Now I just love to meet new people constantly.” Strangest sighting “In Japan, outside of the subway there was a big poster of me for a campaign. I had a wig on and it looked very weird because I was 15 years old.” Summer sipper “An Amarula Sunset. I first had one in Montreal.”
We round out our list with 3 more of our favourite models on the next page...
Text by Jaclyn Tersigni; Photography by IMAXTREE.com
Hometown Scotland, Ont.
Runway stomps “Chanel, Sonia Rykiel.” Defining moment “When I was 13, my father was in a really bad accident that left him paralyzed. He had to go to rehab in Toronto and ended up rooming with an art director from ELLE Canada who told me I could be a model and gave me an agency’s phone number.” Go-to outfit “Bangles, wedges and a band T-shirt. I was definitely brought up in a town built on rock ’n’ roll.” City crush “My heart is definitely in Tokyo. The city is a mix of metropolis and nature: Zen gardens and 1,000 people crossing the street every minute.” Craziest shoot “The last shoot I did was really rock ’n’ roll and I really got out of my shell. I’ve been reading Keith Richards’ book and he inspires me.” Global style “Being from a small town, it seems like everyone follows the same trend, but I’ve learned that it’s okay to be yourself.” Hidden gem “I’ve been to a lot of vintage shops around the world, but nothing is like my favourite Toronto shop, I Miss You—incredible designer selection and prices.” Model hangout “Raspoutine in Paris.” Foodie moment “Eating scorpion.” Secret skill “I have a good singing voice, like all the women in my family.”
Text by Amanda Wenek; Photography by IMAXTREE.com
Runway stomps “Céline, Richard Chai Love.” Signature style “Less is more.” Down time “It’s so funny; I don’t like to be in the spotlight, even though I’m a model.” Cozy style “I have a big red fleece Snuggie that I take on planes.” Scaredy-cat “I never watch scary movies. I can’t scare myself because I have nowhere to run.” Foodie moment “My first trip to Paris. I had so many Nutella coconut crepes and chocolate croissants.” Top shop “I really like going to Union Square. There’s a huge market there almost every day, with people selling food, homemade jams and paintings.” Ultimate gift “My fiancé wrote me 52 notes for the entire upcoming year to read every Sunday. I take the letters with me everywhere.” Secret skill “I played university volleyball for a year and my high-school team won two national titles.”
Text by Barbora Simek; Photography by Nelson Simoneau
Hometown Quebec City
Runway stomps “Céline.” Defining moment “Working with Céline was huge for me because I was only 16 when we did the presentation in Paris.” Ultimate souvenir “I like to bring gifts back for my family, especially my little sister. She always wants a snow globe from each place I go— I’ve gotten her ones from Milan, Paris and Nuremberg.” Excess baggage “The first time I went to Paris, my sister and I bought so many things. We had so much luggage and had to pay so much money to get the luggage on the plane. My sister had more, though!” Global education “I’ve learned how important family is. By travelling, you learn the best way to be yourself—but learn the best from other cultures.” Favourite track “Eminem’s ‘I Need a Doctor.’” Foodie moment “I love Italian food, and I found this place called Da Nico in Little Italy in New York. I liked it so much that I brought my friends and my dad to eat there.” Fave designer “Denis Gagnon. I work with him all the time and I really like him.”