Editorial favorite, Frances Coombe has carved out her niche in the fashion industry with spreads in Italian Vogue, Numero and ELLE as well as making Models.com’s Hot List. She’s walked for Marc Jacobs, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren, Marchesa, John Galliano and Saint Laurent, to name a few. With an ability to inhabit various guises, Frances has shown staying power in an industry predicated on change. I spoke with the Toronto native about growing up in Canada and so much more.
Tell us about your childhood growing up in Canada.
Growing up in Canada was great. I grew up on the cusp of Scarborough and The Beaches and enjoyed having a city life. I was always academic but had a passion for the arts; dance, mixed media, photography, painting, drawing, drama and music. My parents always encouraged us, my brother and sister, to create.
Tell us about how you were discovered.
I was scouted in my tenth grade career class by a booker named Alison MacGillivray. I had braces at the time so I waited until they came off that summer to start testing. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I moved to New York full-time after I left high school.
What were your misconceptions about modeling before entering the industry?
I don’t think I really had any misconceptions with modeling before I entered the industry. I sort of had an idea in my mind of what it was and it has somewhat stayed true to that. Maybe it is a little harder work than I had imagined in terms of travel and dealing with large egos.
What’s on your radar at the moment?
At the moment I think fashion is headed in a better place than it has been in the past. It has always been a way of making statements. Politically and socially the industry is reaching to use that to address discrimination, racism, feminism, but there is a long way to go. I am just happy to see more inclusion of people, after all we are all equal souls with different packaging. We all should be entitled to fair treatment and representation.
How did you feel when you made Models.com’s Hot List?
When I made the Hot List it was a pretty cool feeling to have known that I was recognized for all of my and my booker’s hard work. It was sort of like a trophy, encouragement to keep going and produce even more great work and collaborate with more amazing, talented and creative people.
What’s been your most memorable moment so far?
My most memorable moment was when Hedi Slimane gave me a custom necklace one season after the shows were over. He hadn’t said anything about it so when I opened it at my apartment I was genuinely surprised and just felt the love. He encourages the men and women he works with to be themselves, which I admire.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
People would be surprised to learn that I decided to become a vegetarian at the ripe age of five.
If you weren’t modeling, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t modeling I would still be in fashion. There was a Fashion Communication course at a university in Toronto that I would have applied to if I hadn’t moved to New York that summer and also if I had finished high school.
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