I was snuggled up on the couch this weekend with my goddaughter and a pile of books. I picked up the one at the top and her mother rolled her eyes, "I know! But it's better than you think," she insisted. It was Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel, By Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Illustrated by Ana Albero. What could have come across as really pretentious was actually such a sweet story that celebrated a girl who was different and the steadfastness of the women she became, who didn't give in to tradition, formality or social pressure and changed the fashion world forever. I'd been in Paris that week working with the Chanel Team for the SS2017 campaign. Right there on the couch, the reality of that set in.
I got the message from my agent that Chanel had confirmed at the end of a luncheon with friends last summer. I said out loud, "Oh great! Chanel confirmed me!" I was kind of shocked by their reaction. They were absolutely delighted, enthusiastic, ordered champagne and teased me viscously for being so casual about it. We clanged glasses and I let it sink in that this was BIG.
As a model, if you learn early that detachment is pretty vital, you're going to be able to stand the rejection better. Each time you book or confirm as an option, there are probably a dozen that didn't come to fruition and this can become really disheartening, because it's often easy to wonder what it was about yourself that they chose not to go with. To combat this, it's important to invest little of yourself in the casting agents' answer. The downside of this is that when something amazing comes along, it's easy to sweep over it a little.
Arriving on a shoot, it's common for everyone to launch straight into logistics briefings and what our schedule for the day is going to be as someone on sweeps me with makeup and pins up my hair, in order to get as many shots done and make it as productive as possible. If we are racing for light or someone needs to be on a plane in a half hour, it is easy to forget why we are all standing there. We are all there because some one had a vision; had a moment of creativity and purpose. I have to remind myself that being part of this process is a unique gift.
Reading the story of Coco Chanel humanised, but also encapsulated the legend. It made me even more proud and amazed to be working with this brand. How lucky I am that this is my job. Working with people like Carine Roitfeld, Karl Lagerfeld, Sam McKnight and Tom Pecheux, I am aware that I am very much standing on the shoulders of giants who are creative and visionary and remind us that being different is strength. Merci, Coco and everyone at Chanel.