We are drinking Pompette. Pompette is a hard sparkling seltzer. It’s natural, It’s clean, it’s light, it’s delicious. You can drink it by itself on ice. You can make a mixed drink with it. Low calorie. It’s 48 calories per glass, 160 per bottle. It’s amazing … Fun fact, Pompette just means a little bit tipsy in French, so let’s do that.
As a model, you just show up to set and as long as you feel good and look good, you’re good to go. This requires a lot more behind-the-scenes work before you actually get into a meeting. It’s been really interesting very often being the only woman in a meeting and being put on the spot to give your spiel and talk about a product and really try to sell it. It’s been really interesting to challenge myself in new ways, but I also find it easy when it’s something that I actually believe in and I can just speak naturally from the heart, so it’s not like I have to memorize all these different facts. It’s really something that I know, so I’m happy to talk about it.
We are committing to next summer. I think we’re just going to hope for the best. A lot of my friends’ weddings have already been postponed or canceled from last summer and this summer, so I’m just praying that next summer feels like a solid time. A lot of my friends keep asking. Until we have the specific date and location, it’s very hard to do any of the other steps. I think there’s going to be an avalanche once I lock down the one moment, but we have some ideas. We’re very excited. I mean, you know me, I’ve created multiple mood boards on all of the vibes and playlists. That’s what I’ve really taken under my belt. Once we set those next steps, then we can try food or look into music or a DJ. Until you know a date, it’s a little bit hard.
Have you had any bridezilla moments or any little love spats over any particular detail of the wedding planning?
We’re weirdly very aligned on our decor vibe. We have a shared album of mood board ideas, and we’re very much on the same page. I would say he’s better at music. I told him that’s his assignment, that he needs to make the playlist and the “do not playlist,” which I think is actually a very interesting list.
Wedding size is what we’re trying to decide now, because you can’t have everyone and we love so many people in our lives. Where do you draw the line? I don’t want to draw a line between any of the people that I care about. It gets tough, do I just invite everyone? I don’t know. That’s where I’m having a little trouble.
You are a wellness expert in my book. When it comes to your diet, do you ever have a cheat meal?
It’s funny because I do get this question a lot. One of Kevin’s best friends is in town right now, and they keep trying to tempt me into a cheat meal. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a cheat meal. I do. But I think they get annoyed that my cheat meals are still healthy to some people. I don’t like really sugary things. I just don’t.
My cheat meal, for example, last night after dinner, my treat was I mashed up bananas, mixed with an egg and vanilla. It makes a banana pancake and then I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it on top with some almond butter, Abby’s almond butter. In fact, another brand I’m involved with, but very delicious. And some toasted almonds on top. It makes a nice little banana pancake chocolatey delicious treat. To me, that’s like I’m spoiling myself. But to them, they say, “Are you serious? We’re not just going to go to the ice cream truck? What’s wrong with you?”
It’s really about this relationship with food when you no longer desire putting that crap in your body. So, for cheating, it’s not even like a reward. It’s pain. Do you know what I mean?
Yes. That’s where I feel like the treat I just explained that I’ll eat, I’ll enjoy, and I have no problem with it. I’m still going to feel great tomorrow. Maybe it’s a higher calorie than I normally eat, but really, who cares? It’s fine.
I do find the times when I go off the rails, like on a vacation or at a friend’s house, I significantly notice how much worse I feel. Energy-wise, bags under my eyes, just feeling bloated or tired or sore. That to me, isn’t worth it. It doesn’t feel good.
And then I imagine so many people feel like that all the time. And you don’t even know how much better you could feel if you ate healthy foods.
You are on the board of Wellness in the Schools, a nonprofit that inspires healthy eating and fitness for kids in public schools. Why did you want to get involved?
I grew up eating really healthy. At the time I thought it was annoying. I used to think, “Ugh, I can’t wait to go to my friend’s house just so I can have Fruit Loops so I can cheat. ” I wanted to spoil myself. But really, now, I’m so grateful for it because I learned healthy eating habits young. I’m drawn to those foods because they’re not only good for me, but they also actually have a nostalgic feeling. If you learn young that those things are good and that they can be delicious, then they’re more what you’re drawn to.
I was looking for some way to get involved in that space. I literally Googled “Wellness in schools” and I found Wellness in the Schools, a New York City based charity that helps provide and teach parents with young kids who are underprivileged, healthy eating habits and different ways to make healthy foods on a low budget. They help provide school lunches for kids. They do workouts on YouTube. We created videos that you can do workouts with me, because during COVID, I wasn’t able to go into schools, of course, but we found a way to do it virtually.
It’s about teaching health and wellness to kids at a young age. I think that’s a tool that’s important for kids to have and to know and to learn how much better you really do feel when you eat clean and you move your body.
I’m certain that mindset has contributed to the level of success that you’ve had in your career. This brings me to… congratulations. Because, again, you were featured within the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. We’re pushing a decade of involvement.
How does it feel to walk by a newsstand and still see yourself in this iconic publication?
It’s amazing. The team that works there is a joy to work with. They’re wonderful people. At this point, I’m closing my ninth year. I got to make the decade. That’s my goal. The decade is kind of a big move. It’s a boss move.
I’m so much more comfortable on set. I can speak my mind if I like a swimsuit or don’t like it, or I feel uncomfortable, I just say exactly how I feel. I walk in there knowing I feel good. Maybe it was more of an anxious thing before when I shot and I’d have the pictures come back. Now it’s just exciting. I can’t wait to see my friends, and we get to travel the world together. It’s a pleasure, and I know the photographers. I’ve circled around and worked with most of them, so every time I’m shooting with someone that I know already. It feels super comfortable, and it’s more cracking stupid jokes all day than nervousness, which is great.
It’s like being an upperclassman. There’s a confidence that comes along with that.
You know the deal.
You’ve been around long enough to see the industry change a lot. What has it been like to be part of that transformation within the pages and within the industry as a whole?
What I noticed, which is interesting, is when we first started… we always do big launches for Sports Illustrated when it comes out. So we have multiple days in multiple cities, and we do autograph signings and events and all that sort of stuff. It used to be that you would have men in line. It was always funny because they’d say, “Oh, can you sign this? It’s for my wife.” And you’re like, “Okay, ah, cool.”
But now, you end up with lots of young girls who come up, and they’re crying because they feel like, “Finally someone in this issue looks like me, and I feel represented, and if you can do it, I can do it.” Everyone has someone to relate to. I think they’ve also done a really good job of showing more personality. They do these big, deep-dive interviews with us where they really ask you about your history and how you got here and your story. So people can get to know the girls more than just in a photo. I think people feel way more connected to the issue and to the girls, but it’s just really the audience change that I noticed. It used to always be men at the lineups, and now it’s younger girls, which is really cool. And they feel really impacted by it, so they’re doing something right.
Were you hoping for this shift in the modeling industry?
If you actually got in a room of models and could hear them talking, it really breeds insecurity. So many of these really beautiful women that people look up to or find aspirational have all these insecurities, because they’ve worked in an industry where people just pick you apart all the time.
With the industry changing and being open to different body types, different shapes… we don’t all have to be as skinny as we possibly can be and show our bones, which is what it was like when I started. I never felt like I could be skinny enough. I always felt like I can’t complain about this to anybody.
In reality, this is a ridiculous statement. But in my job, people everyday are telling me, “Can you just be a little skinnier? Can you just eat a little less? Can you just work out a little bit more?” That really messed with my head for a long time. In my early twenties and my late teens, when I first started, I would struggle so hard. I’d think, “It feels like I’m not eating anything. What more can I do to be skinny? I just don’t know.”
But now, I feel like I can walk into any set. I found a really good balance that works for me. I don’t feel like I deprive myself, and I do enjoy my treats, even if they’re funny, healthy treats that someone else might not think is a treat. But it works for me, and I feel good, and I don’t feel deprived at all. I drink plenty of wine and Pompette, and I enjoy myself.
I can walk into a set and feel confident, while when I first started, I’d worry, “Oh my God, are they going to think my arm is too big, or is my chest bone not showing enough? Oh my God, are they going to send me home?” Because they did. They would say that. They had sample sizes. In fashion shows people wear the sample sizes and then they hand those fashion show sample sizes out for editorial. So, if you don’t fit in the clothes, which is a double zero, then you can’t shoot it. You have to go home.
The humiliation that I felt from those moments, I don’t wish that on anyone else. That was really awful. Now that there are different body types and different women out there that show the spectrum of beauty, everyone feels like they can relate to someone and that’s really important.
Thank you for being so honest. That sounds like somebody would need a lot of therapy after going through that day after day. You know what I mean?
I say all the time I wouldn’t recommend modeling to anyone unless they have thick skin…if you are someone that would take stuff like that personally, which is very easy to do and I did for a long time. I somehow was able to not let it affect me too much, but it can tear you apart. Really having people measure you and look at you and just go, “Yeah, you’re not good enough,” literally. It’s messed up.
How did you rise above that? Because you always exude confidence and there’s a real empowerment about you. Where do you get that power and self-love from?
I honestly think that I was just really lucky to grow up with a family that fully supported me. I finished high school and I moved to Paris, to a foreign country that I’d never been to and walked into a world that I had never known before. I did a little bit of acting in Vancouver, Canada as a kid, but I didn’t know what high fashion was like in Paris.
I had such a good, supportive family and group of friends that I always knew I could go home and no one would care. If I wanted to quit, I could, and it wouldn’t actually affect anyone’s opinion of me. If I just told them what was going on and what it was like, they would still think of me exactly the same way.
And I wanted it so badly. I had the parts that I really struggled with, but I also loved being on set and loved being in character and loved taking on a role. Now when I do jobs, I bring inspiration and try to get into a character and create it with the team and give references so we can all be aligned. I really love being involved with the whole project.
I was so drawn to that that I wanted to figure it out … I felt like there was a way that it was going to work. I just needed to figure it out, and I needed to find the right balance for me. But, I went from eating at home and my mom cooking organic meals and playing every single sport to moving to a foreign country where I don’t recognize the grocery store. I don’t know what anything is. I don’t have any money.
I lived off of a very strict budget that I got loaned from the agency. I couldn’t afford to go to a gym, I didn’t play sports anymore and I had to cook for myself for the first time. It was a big learning curve. I think I just wanted it badly enough and was lucky to have really good friends that I met in model apartments, friends from home. And I have a ridiculous amount of cousins that I can always reach out to when I’m having a hard time. So, I think really having a supportive group of people around you makes all the difference.
Nobody is on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swim without confidence and strength. When do you feel your absolute strongest?
I do really enjoy being in the gym. I really enjoy feeling the rewards of my workout. When you know you’re sore because you did something that got you there. I just took up tennis. I’m not good at all, but I’m learning. So, when I do hit one that really is placed perfectly, that is amazing. I think it’s similar when I prepare for a meeting and it’s something I’m passionate about and something I care about and I can’t wait to share it and have my opportunity on the mic to do my presentation. I love that. I’m definitely someone who likes having the microphone and being in the spotlight because it feels good when you nail it.
How do you deal with feeling insecure?
I do think whatever you feel insecure about, you assume someone else has that thing, the way you want it and you think they have everything going for them. You don’t know that they struggle with something else and have something else going on at home or something else going on in their head. I think realizing that whatever my insecurity is, if you don’t have it, that doesn’t mean you’re perfect either.
Everyone has their own internal struggles and we’re not really being compared to one another. If she gets the job instead of me — which happens all the time because we’re put up for jobs every day — we learn rejection number one. When you do book something, it’s like, “Woohoo, I got one of all of these that I tried out for.” So, you just have to realize, you never know why someone got it before you, or why it was their time and not yours. It’s not because they’re better than you. Maybe they had a connection. Maybe they had already done it 10 times, I just don’t assume it’s because I wasn’t good enough. I assume it’s because it was their time.
I’m also dealing with the COVID bride situation. If you could get married anywhere in the world right now, COVID aside, where would it be?
Here. I’m in the Hamptons right now and it’s beautiful and I love it. It makes me very happy. It’s still warm. There’s a few brown leaves falling, but overall it’s like 75 and sunny. So it’s ideal. It’s that “Don’t sweat in your suit too much,” because I do worry about that for my fiancé.
Lastly, I have to ask, what is on that “do not play” list?
We’re not into techno vibes at all for the wedding. We’re going to go more Sinatra-inspired. We might also cut the, “We are family.” To me, those are like bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah songs, which is really cute and lovely, but like it’s not happening that night.