Model Coco Rocha: Social media star
Coco Rocha — the Canadian supermodel who’s worked with Versace, D&G, Lanvin and many more — has more than 1 million followers on Google Plus, Twitter and Instagram combined. Here, the 23-year-old tells us what’s behind all that sharing — and who she’s excited to see during Fashion Week.
What designers are you most excited about this season?
A good friend of mine is Zac Posen, so I’m always in love with his work. Then there’s Jason Wu, Helmut Lang, McQueen, Balmain, Jean Paul Gaultier and Chanel.
What do you look for in an item of clothing or an outfit?
The outfit needs to be either really crazy or really couture. Unless I’m shopping for your average tee, I like one-of-a-kind sort of things. I love vintage because each piece of clothing is unique and has its own story. I got the chance to go to Elizabeth Taylor’s auction and buy one of her outfits that I wore to the Met Ball. It was the perfect statement dress. I tweeted how there was a wine stain on the dress and asked my followers to spot it. On the red carpet, people were like, “Show us the wine stain!”
Why do you think fashion matters?
It’s funny to me when people pretend to not care about fashion. I’m not one to say “fashion is the future.” We’re not curing cancer, but I do believe in the industry. People might say, “It’s nothing, don’t worry about fashion, it’s just clothes,” but clothes is exactly how you’re portrayed. We’re all about image in this world. If you want to be taken in a certain way, it’s down to the way you look. As much as people would like to think fashion is nothing, it plays a huge part in how people dictate who you are.
The fashion industry is competitive, but you’ve maintained a sense of humor.
Most people think models are competitive, but with the girls of my caliber, the ones I grew up with, we’re not like that. We’re close friends; it’s kind of like fashion high school. I try and not take myself too seriously. I’m not a model who thinks she’s saving the world, but some girls and boys look up to me, so I want to be a good role model.
People tend to love or hate social media. Why did you decide to make it yours?
At the beginning of my career, there was no social media. I never had the chance to speak on my behalf. You’d see a photo of me, but who was that person? If I did an interview, it was up to the interviewer to decide how I’d sound. When social media came out, I started a blog. I knew that if this “blog” thing became something, I could use this platform to stand up for myself.
So why do you feel the need to share personal moments with your Instagram followers?
My job is to show photos of myself, but that’s not always the reality. I go to work and play Coco the model, but that’s not Coco. I don’t have those cheekbones! I really am a plain girl, too. It’s funny how interested people are of a model’s normal life. I think a picture of me watching TV is pretty boring, but apparently it’s the most fabulous thing.
What do you think about the use of Photoshop on magazine covers — absolutely necessary or totally useless?
It’s fine to remove a blemish or some fuzzies in your hair. But when you remove my arm or my waist and tell people, “This is who she is,” you’re playing with fire. Guess what? That’s not how I look. It’s almost telling me, the model, I still wasn’t good enough. When Elle Brazil ignored my contract that stipulated no nudity and used Photoshop to remove my body suit, I felt violated. I looked pretty much topless. It’s like if I went up to a woman and took her top off in front of the whole world.
You’ve been called the “queen of posing.” What’s in a pose other than face angles and hip jutting?
It’s about confidence. No joke — most models are the quirky, dorky girl from school put in a situation where she’s supposedly very beautiful and unique and she’s like, “What am I doing?”
Coco’s tips for becoming a social media superstar
1. Make friends. Follow certain people related to your industry and communicate with them. In return, when they communicate with you, you’ll build up your audience because their followers will be like, “Who is she talking to and why?”
2. Give original information. I try not to re-blog or re-post other people’s comments unless it was so amazing and hilarious. I give information that is mine so that it goes out to the public and then back to me.
3. Be visual. Make your site look beautiful. Don’t just put up a photo of you hanging out in the bathroom.
4. Be responsible. Your workmates are going to see this, not just your friends. In the end, your bosses can see it.
5. Express yourself. I take about 15 [pictures] of the same thing until I’ve got the perfect photo, then play with it and see how it looks, and only then do I publish it.