NYJSM interview with one of the most recognizable names and faces in the industry right now. Elite Model, Coco Rocha Conran needs no introduction.
Dr. Vasey: How do you balance health and fitness while working in the industry?
Coco: Well no matter what is “in or out” in the industry, for me its very important to be fit, healthy and ultimately, to be happy. If my look isn’t what someone wants for a job, its fine, I know through experience that there’s always someone else in line who’ll like my look.
Dr. Vasey: Has health and fitness played a significant role in your life from the start of your career or something that evolved over the years?
Coco: I started out in this industry at 15 - I was young and knew little about what constituted a healthy diet and routine. There were those who tried to steer me into negative habits but there were also those who taught me good body image and positive healthy living. I think its important that kids today have positive influences to counteract the negative, that’s one of the reasons I’m teaming up with Seventeen magazine to be part of their Body Peace Council.
Dr. Vasey: What is your typical daily diet?
Coco: I love breakfast, that’s a must! I usually try to have a “healthy” lunch and a good solid dinner. I try not to snack too much but I’m not a fanatical about making any daily rules on anything.
Dr. Vasey: What is your typical daily and/or weekly exercise regimen?
Coco: I used to work out all the time, I ran miles upon miles. I found I built up a lot of muscle from doing that, which isn’t always the right look in modeling. Now I just walk everywhere. If I have a shoot all the way across town I’ll leave 45 minutes earlier just so I can walk there. I love it, I hate being stuck in the subway.
Dr. Vasey: Are there health related foundations causes/foundations that you are particularly fond of?
Coco: Right now I’m working with Seventeen Magazine on a project called “Body Peace”. I’m writing a few monthly blogs for them along with Serena Williams and Whitney Port. Mainly we’re trying to help young girls find a positive self image. I think in general that there’s a severe lack of good examples for girls in the media. I’ve always tried to be a good role model and I’m still looking for more ways I can do that. I have plans to try to reach out to a lot of girls in Canada in 2011 and those details should be coming out soon.
Dr. Vasey: How does media attention to health in the United States industry compare to other countries you have worked?
Coco: I would say that the states has always been driven by scandals - that goes for the fashion industry too. When a topic arises it always hits the media and is sensationalized. I found that to be the case through my own personal experience when the whole "is coco too big for the runway?" story broke. I don’t see that happening in other countries quite as much. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t really know.
Dr. Vasey: What is your advice for young women embarking or hoping to embark in a career in industry?
Coco: Don’t get into this career unless you feel secure in yourself and who you are. Its not a place for the weak or easily manipulated. Once you do find yourself a working model, stick to your values, stick to what makes you, you. Work and make decisions with the goal of being able to leave this industry the same girl as you walked in.
Dr. Vasey: What is one of your most memorable moments in your career thus far?
Coco: There’s been a lot! Working with Steven Meisel was a big one. Still to this day I get butterflies when I hear I have a shoot with him. Dancing down the runway at Jean Paul Gaultier was a special moment that I’ll never forget.
Dr. Vasey: What is a common means for models to obtain health insurance in the industry?
Coco: There is no industry standard and we don’t have unions that provide such things. Being from Canada I always had great national health care. When I moved to the US I had to find my own insurance provider. For other models out there I think a girls agent should be able to advise her on a good company to go with.
Dr. Vasey: Are there psychological support structures in place for models to easily access given the mental strain the industry can exude?
Coco: Not specifically but again a good agency will help a model find the right coaches, trainers, doctors and people that she needs to give her a healthy and happy career. For girls underage its imperative that their parents take an active roll and not leave it up to other people. Everyone needs to take up a level of responsibility.
Dr. Vasey: How have you learned to handle casting call “rejection” in the industry?
Coco: In the beginning its hard, but you realize you cant dance every dance.
Dr. Vasey: Thank you for taking time out of your undoubtedly busy schedule to share your perspective with NYJSM. You are truly a class act.