LOUIS VUITTON, JACKET, SHOP NOW
CREATIVE DIRECTION: DANÉ STOJANOVIC
PHOTOGRAPHY: JEREMY CHOH
STYLIST: ALEKSANDRA MARKOVIC
FASHION ASSISTANT: LAUREN SMITH
HAIR: EROL KARADAG
MAKEUP: ELSA MORGAN
CASTING DIRECTION: JEAN JARVIS / AREA1202
WORDS: JESSICA BAILEY
NEW YORK CITY: Coco Rocha is jolting. Shooting GRAZIA’s cover inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the 31-year-old supermodel is bending, twisting and almost shape-shifting into a non-descript creature-like silhouette with every frame. Yes, she’s known for her eccentric poses and theatrical expressions, but to see Rocha’s nimble, feline-esque body move with fluidity into the next frame and the next frame – to see that in the flesh – is actually astonishing and certainly something that could not be written into the next season of Ryan Murphy’s Pose.
“As models, we really only have our face and bodies to tell an entire story, often in one moment. Because we can’t rely on words or sounds, I think we are sort of like silent movie stars,” explains Rocha, a couple of weeks later from her hotel in Paris. “On the runway or in shoots, I love it when a photographer or designer gives me as much information as possible on the person they want me to portray so that I can really get into character. If they don’t give me any background, I make one up. I know some models just show up and look pretty, but I was never so lucky.
“I really try to take my profession seriously, and channelling different characters and emotions is something I work hard at.”
It’s not surprising in the least that an actual encyclopaedia of Rocha posing exists. Photographed across three days – and from 360- degree angles – by American photographer Steven Sebring, the resulting book of 1000 poses, The Study Of Pose, was published in 2014. “The book really was my answer to the cynical question of ‘What do models do?’” explains Rocha. “It contains 1000 poses inspired by everything and everyone from Picasso to David Bowie. I think people should be inspired by what we do as models, just like actors, singers and other performers.”
But keeping that palpable energy up on set – bookended by a gruelling schedule – is hard work for the mother-of-two. (Editor’s note: she does take four sugars in her coffee.) “It’s not always easy, to be honest,” the Canadian-born model admits. “Mums have to pull the energy from thin air sometimes, especially when you’ve had a sleepless night with a sick baby and then you have to muster the energy for a full day, it’s tough. But being around my children is inspiring and refreshing to me, even if it is a lot of work. It’s not always easy to juggle it all, but I love being around them all the time.”
Taking an ownership stake in US-based modelling agency Nomad MGMT, Rocha is the brand director and works closely with the models as a mentor and career advisor. “When I first started out, I didn’t feel like I had someone helping me along. Most of what I learnt was through trial and error,” she says. “Last year, I started Coco Rocha Model Camp in New York as a way to reach even more models than I could even with Nomad. We’ve hosted more than 400 models now at our retreats and we go over everything from pose to runway to dealing with contacts, accounts and branding. Diversity is so important to me and I try to make the camp a little microcosm of what I’d like the industry to be. Being a mentor and big sister to these girls is something I really enjoy.”