On a trip to Manila years back, supermodel Coco Rocha indulged us in a quick but meaningful chat on kindness and fashion over drinks that still resonates to this day.
“Who says it’s still just a man’s drink?” supermodel Coco Rocha asks as I quietly nurse my glass of Scotch whisky, neat. “It’s a drink for everybody, I believe,” she punctuates, face puckered up but thoroughly convinced.
We were of course getting right into the business of the moment, debating whether drinking scotch is solely just a brooding man’s thing. Historically, and as literature has seared into our impressionable minds, taking a swig of the blunt, but eventually warming spirit has been fenced off as an enclave of the masculine. Women on the other hand were relegated to mixes and stirred (or shaken) drinks often called as girly drinks, quote-unquote. But as she swears by her favorite blend of ginger ale with scotch, Coco Rocha makes us realize that as women continue to break down barriers and hit their strides on the daily, they will want to have a sip of fine liquor at the end of the day. You know, just to round things up after a long, hard day being a supermodel of the world.
“What a silly thing. I think fashion, it evolves. It keeps changing. And we keep changing our style, our taste in food, but then with alcohol, there’s only a certain way men drink it and a way women drink it. It’s such a silly, weird concept,” says the indefatigable model and tireless mentor on.
Loco For Coco
The world needs no introduction to the sheer brilliance that is Coco Rocha, one that has inevitably left this writer stumbling through his words and stammering at his list of meticulously prepared questions.
“You’re doing great,” she assures as I fumble through the phone’s voice recorder—momentarily and unexpectedly hitting stop before eventually recovering with no word lost, whew. As intimidating and precise as she is when she starts to move around in front of the camera, Coco Rocha is disarmingly warm, down-to-Earth, and gentle. She is fashion’s Queen of Pose after all, and for any wide-eyed fashion enthusiast, interfacing with her is as good as hitting the fashion jackpot.
Since breaking through mainstream fashion after opening for the Paris show of the eponymous Christian Lacroix and then signing with Steven Meisel soon after, she has since blazed through a host of international glossies such as Vogue Italia, W, i-D, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as fronting campaigns for Longchamp, Versace, and Chanel.
With her place cemented in the world of high fashion, jetting off to far-off locations and being photographed in fashion’s best, by the best, Coco Rocha confesses to missing the simple days. You know, when she was a young model trying to make a dent in the industry. “I kind of miss doing those test shoots,” she reveals as we wade through her experience on the reality TV show, The Face, where she was a mentor to her team of model hopefuls.
We then ask her what is that singular lesson she picked in the span of her illustrious and well-photographed career. “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice,” she says. “I think people should think and live by that, whatever industry they’re in.” Yes, you can good, or great even, but that doesn’t isn’t enough to make you worth remembering. As we have come to learn, what matters most is how you accord yourself while doing so. Coco Rocha may have posed her way to top of the fashion food chain, but it is a feat she is proud to have done without stepping on or inconveniencing anyone along the way. (Take notes, people.)
Would a young Coco Rocha listen to her now sage advice in fashion? “Of course! Or at least I hope so. If anything, I’ve always listened. I think that’s very important to carry yourself through in whatever you see yourself doing for the rest of your life,” she says.
In this day and age, everyone can lay claim to be a model but not everyone can dare call themselves a supermodel. By any qualifier and signifier, Coco Rocha is more than just that—she is a superwoman. Daring, steadfast, and most importantly, kind, Coco Rocha is enough reason to believe that fashion is not all fancy and fluff.
Once upon a time plucked out of obscurity from an Irish step dance competition and thrust into the often too judgmental world of fashion, Coco Rocha has since turned the industry on its head, with the rest of the world watching her every move in jaw-dropping awe? A woman of respect, substance, and character, she gives influence a good name. Now that is model behavior.