Swiss Cashmere by Michel Comte
Shooting Swiss Cashmere, my First Fragrance Campaign
It’s out!!! Last year I shot a fragrance campaign called “Noble Simplicity” for Swiss Cashmere by Michel Comte. This was my first fragrance campaign and it was an absolute honor and joy to be there. Michel and I had just shot a story for Vogue Italia, and a few months later I was booked on this job. As a model, it’s jobs like these that are the most coveted. Fragrance and makeup campaigns not only provide great exposure, but they are also the big-money jobs (and can sometimes take a year to see daylight) . It is an extreme blessing to be booked on one, and so . . . I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity.
Backstage photos & story:
It was a beautiful day. We were shooting at Milk Studios, inside of a big, airy, light-filled studio. Because Michel tends to book the same people on his sets (from what I have observed), everyone already knew each other and it felt like one big family. Robin Black ( a special creative go-getter woman whom I’ve known for years!) was on makeup along with Megumi. Sheridan Ward twisted my hair into a beautiful avatar-like braided chignon, and Michel’s wife Ayako (she is one of the most special, warm people) dressed me, while Nettie (also a wonderful person) took care of the nails. I feel extremely blessed as I type this, because I am recalling all of the love that I have for each of these people. They are so special and I always feel genuinely loved when I am near them. I remember after hair & makeup being over with, it was time to go into wardrobe. Ayako would pull out a few dresses, with Michel approving them or not. Unfortunately, some if not most of the dresses didn’t fit – to my surprise Ayako & Michel did not make one single huff. They showed respect and love, making me feel like the most beautiful woman. I remember slipping on the last dress, turning to Michel & wondering what he’d think. I was a little nervous because It was tight on me, and I knew I wasn’t the size of a “regular” runway model. In fact, I was 50 pounds heavier than I am now. And you know what he kept saying? “BEAUTIFUL! DOESN’T SHE LOOK MAGNIFICENT? SHE’S A GREEK GODDESS!”
I wanted to cry. Of joy. Of gratitude. In an industry where people typically aren’t afraid to proclaim their thoughts (even if those thoughts are not-so-nice), in this moment I was appreciated for being who I was and it was a huge relief. (I used to arrive to these shoots confident in my ability, but always dreading the remarks or disappointments pre-shooting. I say pre-shooting, because once the camera started clicking, my weight never seemed to be an issue. I knew my angles and how to make a picture look good. The trick was getting past the fitting phase and onto set.) Michel and the team appreciated me as a person, with a heart, personality, freckles, hips, curves – I was there for a reason. Typically on a shoot, especially back then, I was booked certainly for my face, energy, personality, skill, but body probably came much lower on the list, unless you were seeking a very 1950’s womanly body (thank you Old Navy for being one of the few. “We just loved your butt!!!!!” they’d say). Which, by the way, I love. I loved my body, and I still love that I can represent (hopefully) health and beauty in an attainable way. It’s just that sometimes, it’s not for everyone. Not every brand is looking for that, and that’s fine. Thankfully this brand was.
As we shot, the selects were one by one being put onto the board
It was a great day. I remember as a young model passing by Daria Werbowy in her Lancome ads. She looked absolutely beautiful, in a dream of lavender haze, whilst delicately holding the bottle of perfume. I remember thinking “I want to do that, how wonderful would that be. I think that I’ll do that someday”. Here I was, a few years later, being shot by Michel Comte & delicately posing with my perfume bottle close to my face. A dream!
All in all it was a great privilege to have been able to work on this job. I left with a bouquet of wild flowers and a happy heart. Thank you to Michel, Ayako, Robin, and all that were a part of the team.