“Creativity is expressed in so many different ways,” says Lily Aldridge, who — along with being a model and mother of two — expresses her creative side “through fashion, art and cooking… I like to bring it out in everything I’m doing” she beams. Writing in her journal on a daily basis (“it really helps my creativity flow!”), Aldridge is currently mid-way through reading Julia Cameron’s seminal self-help book ‘The Artist’s Way’, which encourages journaling as a means to overcoming creative blocks.
For Dilone, creativity means exploring the playfulness of acting, which she says allows her “to step into a new world and be someone different”, “I take myself and life too seriously at times,” she confesses. Encouraged to explore acting by Bruce Weber, who introduced her to Allan Mindel — her now-manager and former producer of ‘My Own Private Idaho’ — Dilone describes her foray into acting as “very humbling” adding “it brings out those beginner insecurities like wondering if I’m actually good enough to do this. It’s a little scary but I love being in this place of not knowing what’s going to happen next. I feel like a fresh sponge soaking up all these new things to learn… and I have a lot to learn. “
Binx Walton @ Next. Printed silk dress with sequin detailing, earring.
Fellow model-turned-actor Lulu Tenney says “Modeling is about finding a mood and honing in on it, acting can be similar in that it’s about enveloping yourself in the mood of the character, but the main difference is that it’s scripted”. Having studied acting under Harry Shifman — the teacher responsible for Timothée Chalamet — at LaGuardia, Tenney recounts the beginning of her career: “They both overlapped. I would be at school doing acting classes for three or four hours, then go straight to a shoot downtown, or walk in one of Raf’s Calvin Klein shows “. But her aspirations go further than being in-front of the camera, “I want to create my own work as well!” she enthuses, “whether that be making films, writing, directing or anything else creative.”
After a successful stint as a model in New York, actress Tao Okamoto landed in Hollywood. Having starred alongside Hugh Jackman in ‘Wolverine’, Okamoto — who is now based in California — became increasingly conscious of the fragility of the environment after leaving the city. The result? ‘Emerald Practices’, a social media platform and podcast by Okamoto that raises awareness of the climate crisis and animal rights. “I realized how much mother nature has always given us and how badly we have been treating her,” she says, emphasizing the importance of ‘Abode of Snow’ (the sustainable clothing line Okamoto launched with her husband in late October), which serves as a reflection of the timeliness of creative solutions.
Adut Akech @ The Society. Jersey dress with silk and sequin detailing.
“Honestly I just wish I could do more” says model and emergency medic technician Julia Nobis “But with my current immigration status in the US I’m only allowed to work as a model, so I’ve tried to help out [during the pandemic] in other ways. ” A long-time volunteer at the New York Cares, Nobis spends her downtime “delivering boxes of food to families facing food insecurity.”
Hanne Gaby, who is an outspoken intersex visibility activist says, “After 15 years, I’m happy to use my platform”. As a person who was born intersex, and a survivor of intersex genital mutilation, Gaby has dedicated her voice and platform to fight for intersex rights. Attesting her time spent modeling as something that “definitely helped my self acceptance and confidence” Gaby proclaims: “Intersex is beautiful. We are not invisible. ”
For models Toni Smith and Jessie Li, music has been a lifeline during the pandemic. “My songwriting is inspired by personal feelings that are hard to put into words. I challenge myself to put exactly what I mean into a song instead, because I’ve never been very verbally expressive ”says Smith, who describes her sound as“ soft rock ”.
“Piano has shaped my entire life,” Li says, having played the piano competitively since she was six-years-old, “Music allowed me to look at modeling from a perspective that might be considered unusual to others” she says, “it can be performance art too. It’s drawing from the same emotions you would get from singing a song or performing a contemporary dance or piano piece. “
Tao Okamoto @ The Society. Long cotton trench coat over silk dress with print and sequin detailing. Yellow gold rings, LV Volt.
All garments and accessories are Louis Vuitton.
Photography: Craig McDean.
Styling: Carlos Nazario.
Main photo: Saskia de Brauw @ Dna. Wool jacket with mesh sleeves, jersey top, linen-wool mix pants, leather pumps.