Monday, 25 April 2011


It may well be the most important aspect of model grooming. Having – and maintaining – a model’s physique is a subject often blighted by misinformation and controversy. How thin is too thin? Should you be striving for muscle tone or muscle definition? When it comes to toning up, do you gym it or go for something less high-impact?

The good news about being ‘model fit’ is that it’s a level playing field. Whether you’re naturally thin, or have to put in a couple of hours a week at the gym, everyone needs to do some form of exercise. Even the slimmest models need – and do – exercise, not as weight control, but to keep muscle tone at a premium.
Unworked muscles even on a slim body tend to show up on camera, especially so in sportswear / lingerie shoots. A well-toned body always looks better on camera regardless of its size or shape. Being fit also has the advantage of boosting stamina. Long hours, tough conditions and poses that would challenge a contortionist all take their toll. A good fitness routine, combining muscle toning with cardiovascular work is a win-win for most bodies.

To gym or not to gym

However, if you’re not someone for whom gym is a verb, there are alternatives that really work.

You may consider a pool as somewhere to soak up some sun, but swimming is a perfect means of working out if an hour on the treadmill fills you with horror. Swimming is excellent at building stamina and core strength, and forget the gym posers - the only person you’re competing against is yourself. There’s no excess pressure put on your joints, so injuries are put at a minimum.

However, if you consider yourself a fully-fledged gym bunny, there is still the matter of how much is too much? A lot of models are concerned with crossing the line from muscle tone to muscle definition. It’s a bit of an exercise myth that non-professional weight lifting can build muscles like Popeye. Unless you’re consistently lifting weights that are far too heavy for you (and your back will let you know if they are!), it’s impossible to build huge muscles from just doing a few reps each week.

Body and Mind

If you’re still worried about building bulk, one of the best ways to develop long, lean muscles (especially good for fashion and commercial modelling), is to try Pilates or Yoga.

Pilates often gets left in the shade by its older cousin, but if you’re the restless type and find yoga (even at its most active) a bit too much om and not enough sweat, Pilates could be just right for you.

Developed in the 1920’s, Pilates concentrates on developing the core muscles in your abdomen and back. Pilates works on core strength and realigning your neck, back and shoulders so your posture becomes text-book perfect. If done regularly over a period of time, even after a few weeks, you will notice your newly-worked core muscles will make you stand a little straighter. Your shoulders will be more evenly aligned, and you will find yourself becoming more flexible.

Done in both floor and standing exercises, Pilates can be challenging to start off with, but the benefits of evenly stretched and conditioned muscles will persuade you to carry on.

A much older practice, and beloved by celebrities, yoga has no problems in getting the word out about its numerous benefits. Generally viewed as a holistic form of exercise, yoga is a workout for the body and the mind. If you’re someone who could use some inner calm, this may be the option for you.

There are many different types of practice when it comes to yoga. Hatha, the most popular form in the West, combines a series of gentle breathing and stretching exercises with meditation. Ashtanga is a more active kind of yoga, where you move through a progression of postures. This type of yoga is designed to make you sweat, but if you’ve mastered the basics of yoga and really want a challenge, Bikram yoga is the toughest of all. Performed in a specially heated room, this offers a seriously intense workout. Favoured by Madonna, you won’t be surprised that Bikram is for the super-fit yoga addict only. If you want to start off, there are classes running throughout the country. You may be tempted to wing it with a workout DVD, but when learning the basics, working with a qualified instructor is best to ensure you’re getting the most out of it.

Yoga and Pilates remain a favourite with models simply because nothing else builds long, lean muscle quite like it. There is also the added bonus of building core strength which helps create a flawless posture. No matter what the season, or the designer, good posture is an essential for every model. If you think of yourself as a frame for whatever you’re being asked to wear, if the frame is unevenly supported, the clothes just won’t look their best.


Food and modelling have not always had the best relationship, but times have changed, and there’s no excuse for not being well-informed. Good nutrition (like exercise) is simple: get the basics right, and the rest falls into place.

The old idea that models survive on chewing gum and water is clearly ridiculous when you take a look at their schedules. Going from Milan, Paris and New York to London for Fashion Week and plane-hopping for editorials during the rest of the year isn’t suitable work for someone living on fresh air and little else. Common sense tells you it can’t be done. Like professional athletes, models need their bodies to be in peak condition to be able to perform at their best. Surviving on junk food, or at the other extreme, monitoring every mouthful, is not a suitable foundation to build a career on, and be extremely harmful.

The key to maintaining a model-perfect body isn’t an issue of control, it’s about balance. We all know the basics of a good diet: vegetables, fruit, plenty of fibre and a good mix of carbohydrates and protein. Aiming for 5-a-day is a good start, but considering other countries think 8-a-day is a minimum for your daily intake of fruit and veg, don’t feel bad about stocking up on the fresh stuff. Think creatively – a juice blended from vegetables and fruit still counts and can be an effective way of downing your greens if you’re out and about.

Good nutrition is about making consistent choices to eat well, rather than thinking about what’s lowest in calories. If you eat well 98% of the time, the occasional takeaway does absolutely no harm whatsoever. If you tell yourself that certain foods are off limits, those will be the foods you will end up craving. Enjoying the occasional self-indulgence is nothing to shy away from. Build it into your regular diet – schedule regular treats – once it’s on the menu, you will find that cravings take a nose-dive.

But if you find that eating healthily is a bit hit-and-miss, especially when you’re on the move, adding supplements to your diet may be a good idea. A decent multi-vitamin is a perfect all-rounder, filling any gaps in your diet. But if energy’s a problem, and you’re definitely getting in enough carbohydrates (especially rice and pasta), trying some co-enzyme Q10 is an excellent way of maintaining energy levels during the busy times.

The key to being model-perfect is acknowledging that you won’t be perfect all the time. You will miss work-outs, sometimes that bacon bap will take precedence over a bowl of cereal – it’s all part of being human. Once you’ve accepted that getting it right most of the time is better than striving for perfection, failing and embarking on a cycle of starvation and bingeing, the whole business of nutrition becomes that much easier. Being consistent, but realistic, will keep you happy, healthy and sane.


Sunday, 17 April 2011


What’s in a name? In fashion, it seems a great deal.

Having previously worked under her real name of Zoe, Muse’s fortunes took a turn for the miraculous when she appeared in the September 2010 Prada show. It was a booking that in no small way transformed her career.

Born in New Mexico on September 18th 1990, the re-named Arizona is now being heralded as the face of a generation. It is somewhat surprising, but Muse’s early career was something of a slow-burner. Signing with Next Models in 2008, her first credits included a beauty editorial with Allure and an appearance in the S/S issue of French Revue de Modes.

Arizona’s modelling plans went on pause in 2009 when she discovered she was pregnant. Taking a year-long break, Muse gave birth to son Nikko and returned to modelling the following year. Her agency suggested a fresh start and together they decided on a name change, swopping Zoe for Arizona (chosen because Muse was living in Tucson).

The name-switch had an extraordinary effect on Arizona’s career. It made her memorable with clients, but it wasn’t just the name that started getting her noticed. Her unusual look – short, softly-bobbed hair and heavy eyebrows – made her a stand out in a sea of new faces, lending her look character and depth.

In September 2010, Arizona finally got the breakthrough she needed. Chosen by Prada, she not only modelled in their runway show in the opening and closing spots, but did so as an exclusive. The effect of the Prada booking was immediate, catapulting Muse into the spotlight.

Having already launched the careers of newcomers Samantha Gradoville, Joan Smalls and Barbara Palvin, Prada was taking a gamble on the relatively untested Arizona, but not only did they put her in the main show, but they also had her headline the Miu Miu show, making her the face of the brand for that season.

In addition to this storming debut, Muse got to open shows for Kenzo and Rochas, and also walked for designers such as Marc Jacobs, Herve Leger, Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler. But it was the Prada show that got everybody talking. An appearance at Prada has serious star-making potential. As an unknown, getting to open and close this prestigious show is unheard of. Prada’s success rate in selecting new model talent is exemplary – some of today’s best models, such as Sigrid Agren and Ali Stephens, got their break walking for Prada.

Unsurprisingly, Arizona’s runway debut got her featured as a Top 10 Newcomer in and a face to watch by Arizona’s comeback had been, by any standard, a huge success. But if 2010 had marked her return to the fashion industry, four months into 2011, Arizona is already proving hard to ignore.

The year started with the news that Prada had selected Muse to be the face of their ad campaign, along with Mariacarla Boscono, Tatiana Cotliar and Kinga Rajzak. Bold, fun and a sartorial breath of fresh air, the Prada ad is the campaign of the season. Miuccia’s quirky symphony of no-nonsense stripes and baroque swirls has already become the defining look of Spring / Summer 2011: no rules, just fun.

The campaign bookings kept coming, with the announcement that Arizona was to replace Daria Werbowy as the face of YSL. Taking the campaigns for both beauty and fashion, Muse also filmed a campaign video directed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Shot in Marrakech, the video is coolly hypnotic and a terrific example of how campaigns could develop in the future.

In print, Muse’s presence was also felt loud and clear. Taking the January cover of Italian Vogue with Freja Beha, Dubbed ‘2011 Allure’, the vintage-inspired cover was coupled with a couture shoot photographed by Steven Meisel.

On the runway, Muse made her couture debut at Paris, walking for Chanel, Elie Saab and Valentino. The fashion world doesn’t tend to be shy about proclaiming its likes and dislikes. Arizona’s inclusion in this most exclusive of worlds, sent a message that, Prada effect or not, 2011 was going to belong to Muse.

February saw Muse appear in a huge amount of prime editorial work, switching from classics done the Vogue Italia way in ‘So Pure, So Modern’ to angular, awkward joy for Chinese Vogue in ‘Spring Blues’. Also appearing for British and American Vogue, it was the latter magazine that finally cemented Muse’s reputation as fashion’s next big thing.

In the February issue of the magazine, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour dedicated the subject of her editor’s letter to Arizona. Comparing her to Linda Evangelista and Natalia Vodianova, Wintour revered Muse as the model that would take the industry by storm, but the industry was catching on quick. Wintour’s letter made headlines around the world, and when it came to Fashion Week, Muse emerged as the major star of the season, appearing in 64 shows.

Walking for every major label including Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Valentino and Versace, this is a booking list that some models would take years to achieve, if they were lucky enough to reach that level in the first place. Anna Wintour’s championing of new talent isn’t just reserved for designers such as Thakoon. Wintour wants fashion to be the best it can be, and that includes giving credit – and opportunity – where it’s due.

Arizona was well on her way to becoming a success without the nod from Wintour, but for any doubters, she has more than proved that she is worthy of such accolades. There isn’t a lot of room (or patience) for mediocrity in the fashion world. Right now, in this economic climate, the fittest really do survive.

Muse’s ability to score bookings en masse was taken to another level in March, when she appeared for three major magazines. She worked with Raquel Zimmermann and Freja Beha in a street-punk themed shoot for American Vogue; a surrealist editorial (‘Audace Manifeste’) for French Vogue and couture elegance in black and white for Numero.

But further to this, Arizona also made the cover of British magazine ‘Dazed and Confused’. The magazine shot four separate cover tries and instead of selecting one, used them all, squeezing them onto one cover. Called ‘Birth of a Muse’, it was Arizona’s first solo cover (even if she was effectively sharing the limelight with herself).

April ’11 has seen Muse appear in two more editorials for Chinese Vogue, making her truly international in her appeal. What Arizona offers these clients is not just a memorable face. Her work this year highlights a model that is no novelty, but already equipped to excel. Muse’s range is extraordinary, but Google the YSL campaign video and you’ll see that her real gift is movement. Modelling on film is incredibly difficult. There are no kind angles, no spots where you can hide areas of weakness. Shot from every possible viewpoint, the YSL campaign film is almost merciless – but that is the point. Not every model could do it.

Muse’s ability to move well, whilst still modelling from head to toe, is remarkable and rare. Wintour’s comparison of Arizona to supermodel Linda Evangelista is accurate, but Arizona’s ability to create movement recalls models such as Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks – two models who transformed catwalk from perfunctory to performance. They may not have had campaign videos to worry about in the Nineties, but if they did, they would have seen Arizona as the one to beat. As fashion continues to work in tandem with technology, being able to master this new type of campaign will rapidly become a skill update for all new models.

What is unusual about the hype surrounding Arizona is that it’s justified. Her run of print work – an incredible 13 editorials so far this year – also picks up the strength Muse has when it comes to more traditional fashion media. Her already-impressive catalogue of work neatly illustrates why she’s such a catch for the fashion world. From her moving series of pioneer portraits for American Vogue, to her striking, Dali-esque shoot for French Vogue, Arizona is never the same woman twice. Her talent at transforming, taking her from Parisian couture to New York punk, is usually the calling-card of a model that’s been doing editorial for years. Muse’s relatively limited experience, prior to 2010, is what makes this comeback all the more incredible.

Arizona’s career trajectory, if the first few months of the year are any indication, will be nothing short of supersonic. It’s rare to see a model met with such fanfare –the excitement that Arizona has generated sets her apart as a phenomenon not seen since Kate Moss. There have been other fashion favourites since Moss – Bundchen, Stone, Pivovarova – to name a few, but Muse does appear to have that indefinable star quality. Match that with an almost-seasoned approach to editorial and runway, and this all makes for a model that seems destined to carve out a space for herself that is not so much top model, but supermodel.

Already revered in the mainstream press, and a hot topic in the blogosphere, the rising star of Arizona Muse seems an irresistible force as she gets ready to become the most prolific model of the year. It’s no mean achievement for a model that was barely known even by those in the fashion industry a year ago.

Muse’s story may read like pure inspiration, but it is her blend of skill across the board that will keep her from burning bright and fading out fast. As she begins to emerge as one of the year’s iconic faces, Arizona is set to become fashion’s latest – and most remarkable – Muse.



Born on 22nd March 1989 in Santa Catarina, Brazil, Aline comes from a country fiercely proud of its success in providing the fashion industry with some of its brightest stars. Aline’s start began in 2004 when she was featured as the Model of the Week by Aged 15, this was a huge honour for a model still considered a new face.

In 2005, she scored her first cover, appearing in the autumn special for British magazine ‘Dazed & Confused’. From 2006 to 2008, Weber built up a series of credits including a catwalk appearance for Comme des Garcons and editorials for Italian Elle and Brazilian Vogue. But, as with every success story, there came a moment when her career took her from ordinary model to industry player. For Aline, this moment was in February 2008. She did the rounds for the coveted runway spots in Fashion Week, and soon discovered that hers was the name everyone wanted. She got three opening spots – Daks, Requiem and Balenciaga – and appeared in a staggering roll-call of design talent including Burberry, Chloe, Dries Van Noten, Lanvin, Marc Jacobs and YSL. Making a massive impact across all the major shows, Aline was featured as a Top 10 Newcomer by both and

June ’08 saw Aline take another step forward with two editorials for French Vogue, both shot by Patrick Demarchelier. ‘Le Chant des Sirenes’ saw Aline modelling with Lara Stone. French Vogue is known for its love of the avant-garde side of fashion, but where the magazine excels is in making creative decisions that are not high-fashion for high-fashion’s sake. It marries editorial excellence with images that make you stop in your tracks. A high-fashion image can be dreamy, exhilarating or provocative, but it has to be arresting. This is a lot to ask any model, but google the images and it’s clear that Aline and Lara work together in perfect synchronicity.

Aline’s winning streak at scoring blue-chip bookings was cemented by her signing for a D&G campaign, plus editorials for Harper’s Bazaar, Chinese Vogue and Italian Vogue. In September, Weber’s runway profile soared with the news she would be the closer for the Marc Jacobs show. To appear in a Marc Jacobs show is a stellar moment in any model’s CV. To appear as the headliner, or even the last girl standing, is an indication that your look most closely matches the designer’s vision for that season. For Spring 2009, Aline was the Jacobs’ girl.

2009 started with Aline making her debut for the French Vogue calendar and featuring on the cover of Brazilian Vogue. Aline’s reputation as a Vogue favourite, continued with editorials for Japanese Vogue in March and April. Weber’s potential to be that classic, bookable model hit a high note in August when she appeared for American Vogue’s now-famous editorial, ‘After Hours: Fashion’s Night Out’. Like their 2007 cover naming their picks for future top models, this spread was a mega-model gathering, with every model of note asked to take part. It was an impressive logistical feat, but the emerging photos were a snapshot of fashion’s best new and established faces. The editorial charted talent from across the globe, with Aline one of many representing Brazil.

Modelling took a temporary hiatus when Aline’s career took an unusual turn in December ’09. Asked to make a cameo appearance in Tom Ford’s film ‘A Single Man’, Weber got a small role in Ford’s directorial debut. Starring Colin Firth, the film demanded restraint from every performer: any jarring note would have picked up immediately, but Aline’s appearance as one of Colin’s students, was cool, calm and collected. Perfect for the film, and a perfect debut.

2010 took Aline’s career up another notch with the January cover for Spanish Vogue and an editorial for Russian Vogue. Appearing the next month in RTW shows for Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney, Aline’s runway CV was shaping up to be one of the strongest among models working today.

Aline’s ability to work unfazed was put to the test in July when she got booked for her first couture season. It was the final hurdle in winning her fashion stripes. Proving yourself at couture level can take years: Aline’s steady accumulation of runway and editorial work more than proved her ability to take on fashion’s greatest challenge.

In August, Weber scored another major editorial, working again for French Vogue. ‘L’hiver avant l’hiver’ was a 65-page odyssey through the coming season’s fashion. These editions are especially important, as they set the sartorial standard for the next 6 months. Being asked to feature in these editorials is more than being a face that fits: it’s a sign that your look matches what’s being produced for the next season and can be very good news when you’re looking for that next booking.

Sure enough, Aline’s runway total for the S/S 2011 season reached a mammoth 46 shows. Her look was paired with every major designer from Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney. Six years after being nominated ‘Model of the Week’ by, Aline has become a favourite with every notable designer; more in demand than ever, at a time when most models are considering their next move.

Modelling is, by its nature, brief, but with Aline’s latest move to Next Models, her career is far from losing momentum. Despite being from the same stable as models Isabeli Fontana and Gisele Bundchen, Aline is a model who is proud to be different. Weber’s fashion-perfect frame and trademark cheekbones have made her a high-fashion favourite, with her work in editorials securing her a reputation with the best magazines in the world.

Brazil has given us the ultimate fashion-meets-bombshell moments with Gisele Bundchen, and Victoria’s Secret superstars, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. Aline’s career may be decidedly different from theirs, but it is no less impressive for it. She is a fashion girl through and through – her appeal spans Milan, New York and Paris, with multiple bookings from designers who adore Weber’s ability to transform at will.

Being exclusively high-fashion, and making it pay, is a tough business. The opportunities are few and far between, and the lucrative campaigns are especially rare. Aline’s continuing success since 2004 is evidence of a model who can handle the difficult, nuanced work required by magazines such as French Vogue, and headline shows for Balenciaga, D&G and Marc Jacobs. Aline’s accomplishments shouldn’t be underestimated. To not only get bookings, but those of the very highest quality, after six years in circulation, is an astonishing feat, and one that is seldom rivalled.

What Aline represents is the softer side of Brazil’s wealth of modelling talent. Weber may not be a big-bucks name like Gisele, but she has done sterling work in promoting Brazil’s ability to produce editorial talent. Brazil’s proven that it can supply models that smoulder and strut their way to the top, but to seriously compete at the highest levels of the fashion industry, Brazil needed a model that was an editorial thoroughbred.

This is what Aline delivers time after time: she has managed to stay relevant in an industry where the pace is dizzying. She is still one of the most requested and photographed faces, competing successfully among an ever-growing carousel of new faces. Fashion always needs the ‘money girls’, the models who turn selling sportswear and lingerie into an art form. But fashion’s tastes for editorial are complex and ever-changing: the model who meets them is far from ordinary.

In fashion, success rests on reputation. Aline’s extraordinary career has made her country one of the best-known producers of modelling talent in the world. From top-drawer glamour to cutting-edge editorial, Brazil has given fashion some of its most recognisable faces. In an industry where excellence is defined by the quality of work, rather than quantity, Aline’s incredible CV has taken her country’s reputation from sizzle to substance.