Models from elsewhere: Genesis Vallejo

A little portrait shoot I did a couple of weeks ago with photographer Flora Deborah. We were interested in the idea of models from elsewhere. Models have a transient life as they generally don’t stay put for long before they’re off travelling somewhere else. We started with these portraits of 19-year-old Genesis Vallejo from Select who is from the Dominican Republic and had been in London for 3 months. Her plan is to model for 3-4 years before taking up her place at university to study medicine. In just a year of modelling she has already walked for Alexander McQueen, Ohne Titel, Mark Fast and Issa. “It’s magnificent, I love it!” she says of her turns on the catwalk. “Once my shoe broke but the trick is not to look… just carry on!”

Genesis lives in a family house in Acton and her room is tiny and tidy with an en suite bathroom and a skylight bathing her room in lovely natural light. Our initial idea was to style the model in a mix of their own clothes and things I had brought but in the end, the things I had brought worked better. I put Genesis in bStore’s AW12 fringed silk shirt and sporty suede navy top plus a pair of amazing Liberty-print skorts. But I wanted her to wear something of her own too so we stacked together two of her favourite rings.

In London, Genesis doesn’t have a huge amount of possessions; when you travel a lot, you tend to pack light. She keeps up with friends on Facebook so is welded to her laptop. Does it get lonely zipping across continents every few weeks? “Noooo, I just make new friends. I’m very happy!” This girl has the most infectious upbeat energy. She even loves learning English and is charmed by the London froideur. “I like London, it’s relaxed and easy and the people are nice. My agency are great, actually they’re crazy!”

We tried a couple of shots in the garden where Leutton Postle‘s primary-coloured pom pom top seemed the natural choice against the greenery, along with jeans by Citizens of Humanity, Pollini‘s wonderful chunky shoes and a friendship bracelet from Lucy Folk. I also used Lucy Folk’s necklaces in the other shots, I love the pinks and greens together…

I mustn’t forget to thank Michelle Dacillo whose light touch created this natural, luminescent make-up for Genesis. The products she used are below:

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in shade 17
BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal* on the eyelids and as a highlighter (I think I need to buy some of this)
Lancome Hyponose mascara in Black
Mac Mixing Medium in Shine as a lip balm
Stila Convertible Colour in Poppy on the cheeks
The Body Shop clear brow gel

*Hmmph, this shade seems to be out of stock everywhere