Name: Kelly Moreira
Agency: Elite Paris/ Elite New York/ Munich Models/ Elite Models/ We Are Models
Claim to Fame: Moreira was the fan favorite in the 2009 Elite Model Management Myspace search.
There was no turmoil or indecision about Kelly Moreira’s entry into the world of modeling. There was no sneaking into fashion shows or financing years worth of photoshoots. The then teenager had an interest in the profession but she was also clear about and what she was and wasn’t willing to sacrifice for a turn in front of the spotlight. In an exclusive interview with HelloBeautiful she discussed her appreciation for travel, love for interior design, and what actually made her entire the contest that changed her life.
“Since I was younger, people around me would always tell me, ‘Oh, you should try modeling.’ So that’s something that I had that I always had in mind. I was in high school I was like, when I’m going to turn 18, I’m going to give it a try. If it works good, if it doesn’t work, that’s final,” said Moreira.
She made the attempt by entering the 2009 Elite modeling contest on Myspace. She might not have been married to the idea of a successful outcome but those voting in and reporting on the contest were immediately taken with her. And while she did not walk away with the prize her putting herself out there definitely worked. She ended up getting signed to Ford Models, a major player in the industry and being named one of the top ten models to watch by New York Magazine’s The Cut.
Later she was eventually signed to Elite who recognized their blunder in not scooping her up sooner.
The French model had an instant advantage as someone who was familiar with a variety of languages and cultures. She took the European equivalent of enriched ESL classes in high school learning not only English and Italian, but obtaining a sense of the cultures that contributed to the development of those tongues. “I just love languages. I always loved it and I was good at it. That’s cool. So it just feels natural. I definitely love to, to watch foreign movies and listen to, you know, different like music from all around the world. Every time I go to a beautiful location, you know, when it makes me go to a country I’ve never been or a town I’ve ever been. That’s something that I really enjoy.”
Moreira had no idea that she would take so easily to jetsetting. “I learned that I’m more adventurous than I thought when I started, I learned that I was also stronger than what I thought.”
Strength was a requirement she learned to appreciate as her charmed entry into the business lead way into the rougher aspects it is notorious for. “It’s a job where you have to be really strong mentally, you get a lot of no’s. That’s a daily thing: you go to go-sees regularly and you get a lot of no’s. So you have to be strong mentally. And I did, I wasn’t aware that I was, you know, strong enough to take it, but turns out I am. So that’s something I learned, learned about myself.”
That sense of adventure has been useful during the hours alone in airports and strange cities, finding her way to meeting, shoots, and other engagements. “Even, you know, after all these years and even some of my friends don’t realize it’s that this job is not about just glamour and fancy life, there’s almost some sacrifice that you have to make. It’s definitely not the worst job and I’m super lucky and everything, but it’s also some sacrifice that you have to make and you were alone a lot of time. And like I say, you have to be ready to be told no. So yeah, it’s like definitely harder than what people think.”
The difficulties were worth the excitement.
“First of all, it’s never the same thing. You know, it’s always the different shoots, different teams, sometimes different location. So it’s never routine. And I liked the fact that when you shoot, you kind of have to play a new character, you know, either like you have to be more badass than you are or you have to be so super bubbly. It’s always like kind of if you’re acting. So that’s, yeah, quite exciting. And that’s what I enjoy playing like a different character in every photo shoot.”
She learned what goes into a photoshoot and developed a deep respect for the people who helped create the images that centered on her beauty. “I learned that it’s way more complex than what people think. It’s like a, a photo shoot is like a long process and there’s a lot of people involved and people don’t see like the, you know, behind the scenes, they don’t realize how much work and all the details and older people that aren’t meaningful for one single picture.”
As she evolved from internet novelty to seasoned veteran she nabbed major campaigns including Jean Paul Gaultier, Uniqlo, and strutted across runways for designers including Tracy Reese, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, and Kenzo. She also appeared in a variety of Vogue’s across continents.
She attributes her ten years at the top of her game to a genuine love for the experiences her career affords her. “I guess as long as you still like it, people can feel it. I enjoy my job and when I wake up, I’m happy to do it. So I guess if you’re still motivated to do it, people can sense it, and your agent too, you know, it’s like a good thing that they can feel that you’re enjoying it and that you’re willing to do this job. So I guess that helps. And then the thing, if you still look young, you can keep going. There’s no limits.”
Moreira continues to look young by incorporating a simple beauty routine. “I keep it really minimal. I’m trying to be really natural and minimal. So, you know, less chemical like product that has shorter ingredients. Least that’s really what I’m doing right now. Less.”
Her commitment to keeping things as natural as possible shows up in more than her medicine cabinet. She often turns to vintage clothing and is constantly pouring over vintage references as an interior design student.
She noted that sustainability, “can be used in a creative way,” and hopes to take that approach in starting her own business.
“What I would love is to meet my style with vintage stuff and show people that you can have modern decoration without using new material.”
”People are becoming more and more aware,” she continued. “So it’s really refreshing to find some brand like reformations like my favorite brands, because they’re really trying to be more eco friendly and sustainable and anti-coal. So I can definitely see the change, the turning since I started 10 years ago and it’s, it’s good and it’s really important to me too. Fashion is always like a circle anyway, like trends come back.”