Name: Giulia Baldini
Agency: EMG Models
Claim to Fame: Baldini has been featured in campaigns for Beauty Strike. She also appeared in New York Fashion Week and wrote a memoir about her time in the fashion industry called Fashion On The Beat.
When Giulia Baldini was binge-watching Audrey Hepburn movies and dreaming of life in America, she didn’t see herself as a fashion model. She actually started in the business as a goof. “It all began as a game, as a joke,” she told HelloBeautiful.
Growing up in Florence, Italy her peers were all obsessed with Facebook and she began posing for pictures as a way to help aspiring photographers in her social circle build up their books. “They were trying to build the portfolios and the posts,” she said. “You know, social media way back then, Facebook was the thing rather than Instagram. So in Italy, especially, we were mostly focused on Facebook and that was a big deal. And I started just literally modeling for fun.” At 19 she was encouraged to take it a tad more seriously. “Everything changed when I came to the United States and New York,” she added. She traveled to the states to study, fulfilling a goal her parents prepared her for by allowing her to take additional lessons. “ I also went to an American Institute to learn English. So I had the extra courses in English,” she said. “My parents, they always wanted, they always had this cosmopolitan view and they always wanted to send me or experience the word however, and how much I could.”
Baldini planned on becoming a screenwriter, so the supplementary information held unique value. “I have a big passion for writing. I actually came to the United States for screenwriting,” she said. “My dream was, and still is, to be a screenwriter, work for TV. I wanted to go actually before New York, I wanted to go to LA, but then my parents and my family, I’m a first generation, in my whole family, both eating Italian and Brazilian to go and study abroad and living abroad. We didn’t have any connections or nobody. We knew nobody from here. So New York seemed most well connected to both of our worlds.” She found she didn’t “click” with the TV department at Hofstra. “But I didn’t want to give up my passion for writing. I just wanted to find my niche. I wanted to find my voice,” she said. “How can I translate my stories, my opinions, my views, without giving up writing,” she asked herself. The answer was journalism. “I wanted to explore myself and it was thanks to journalism and, especially fashion journalism that helped me a lot to understand who I am. And what is my mission.”
Baldini spoke English thanks to a school requirement but she hadn’t grown up in the culture. She stuck close to her campus at Hofstra University. “The first period that I was here, it was kind of tranquil and dormant also because I was in an environment as a college campus. That was very diverse. So I was not, I didn’t see America how it is until my sophomore year,” she said. She soon learned that the great melting pot had as many issues as its European cousins.
“I had this idea that, well definitely I thought that me being a biracial person with a Black mom and a white dad in Italy, I lived a very tough situation when it comes to racism,” said Baldini. “I never had the dramatic episodes on me per se, but I witnessed it for other people that were Brazilian or, you know, Black Italians, peers of mine. And, you know, it, it was rough. I thought before coming here to United States, I thought, yeah, in the U S this kind of problems, they don’t exist anymore, or it’s not as heavy as in Europe. That’s what I thought.”
“Dealing also with being Afro-Latina,” she added. “I tried to connect with Italians, but I was not enough Italian for them, not enough Brazilian for other people.”
The classic movies and outdated pop tracks she took in as a teenager didn’t leave her ready for what was to come.
The New York that existed outside of common rooms and class discussions introduced her to the reality of American flavored microaggressions. “That’s the year also where I started getting into more fashion, the industry, per se, when I started getting into New York fashion week castings and all the bureaucratic stuff.” Baldini learned a variety of lessons by balancing her studies with her creative pursuits. “I understood a lot of things, how the world works for you. And also, you know, being again in a creative environment as fashion, and also maintaining my academic work, I was able to put all these things together and see how, you know, also discover how, who I am and how I’m perceived to other people. Like, regardless of where I am, my color of my skin, the color of my skin is going to have an impact, no matter what my heritage, my accent, sometimes everything. So definitely that was the cultural shock,” she said.
Her coursework and cultural education in the city assisted her in developing digital assets.
“I took a class in digital journalism, and we needed to create a blog for the class and the blog could have been shut down, but I decided to keep it. And that’s actually how I built all my portfolios until now, visual and editorial.” Her portfolio helped her create the connections that would eventually lead her to an agency. “I got officially signed this year with the EMG models.”
“It was emotional because me walking in New York Fashion Week and being in college still, it was amazing,” she said. “Fashion was the only industry that it was able to put together all my passions that I had for writing and for creativity.”
On photoshoots and behind the scenes at shows she saw how professionals in the fashion industry were storytellers in their own way. Through brush strokes and styling they brought the same passion she brought to the page. “I find it funny being on camera, but behind the scenes is my thing, because it reminds me a lot of screenwriting actually, because if you think about it, um, the actors are still are the ones who are on camera, but the ones who write the story and who make the film a film are the writers. And you never see them, like even in the credits that their names are little tiny names. The architects of the stories that are the runways are the makeup artists, the creative directors, the agents also. And I just love the effort and the work that was behind the scenes,” she said. “There are a lot of women, especially that are trying to make, you know, to secure a bag, to be there for themselves and their communities. And, I was simply inspired by that, because again, it was something that I never had never had the chance to see and have a role model back home, except my mom.”
She worked to weave their stories into a tapestry of musically inspired experiences in her debut memoir Fashion On The Beat, where she talks all things style, and sonics. Baldini chronicled her personal experiences in the work as well insights about the industry and American and Italian cultures.
“I have one goal to represent the underrepresented, something that I missed a lot back home,” she said.