See Coco Rocha On Our February Cover

BY Katie Wills / Feb 1 2017 / 15:32 PM

She’s had a kaleidoscope of looks over her decade-long career, but Coco Rocha’s latest incarnation is to nurture the next generation of models. She talks to Kate Wills about finding her voice, starting her own agency and coaching Kendall Jenner

See Coco Rocha On Our February Cover
See Coco Rocha On Our February Cover
Alexei Hay
Panthère de Cartier Earrings In White Gold With Emeralds, Diamonds And Onyx, Dhs175,000. Jacket, Dhs5,875, Giambattista Valli. Head Piece, Made To Order, Dhs18,365, Cigmond Millinery
See Coco Rocha On Our February Cover
Alexei Hay
Jacket, Dhs9,183, Skirt (part of jacket) and Shoes, Dhs4,225, all Fendi. Shirt, Dhs1,450, Anne Fontaine. Hat, Dhs2,073, Eric Javits. Rings (from left): Dhs39,300, Dhs90,000 and Dhs39,800, Panthère de Cartier
See Coco Rocha On Our February Cover
Alexei Hay
Dress, Dhs23,690, Tom Ford. Coat, Dhs66,115, Helen Yarmak. Necklace, Panthère de Cartier High Jewellery
See Coco Rocha On Our February Cover
Alexei Hay
Dress, Dhs23,690, Tom Ford. Shoes, Dhs4,040, Delpozo. Necklace, Panthère de Cartier High Jewellery

On The Early Days Of Her Career:

“In the early days I knew absolutely nothing about fashion. My agent told me to burn my clothes the first time I walked into the agency – I had zero style. I met Donatella Versace and Anna Wintour but I didn’t have a clue who they were. My favourite story is about when I opened the DKNY show and Donna was talking in the third person and said to me ‘Donna must like you’ so I thought that she was Karan, and Donna and Karan must be twin sisters.”

On Opening Jean Paul Gaultier’s Show Irish-Dancing Down The Catwalk:

“I’d only done one show with him before that and all of a sudden he called me into the room while I was doing my fitting and said “I hear you can do the Highland Fling”. I didn’t have my dance shoes so he phoned a dance school in Ireland and they arrived two hours before the show.”

Shirt, Dhs1,855, Christian Siriano. Ring, Dhs39,300, Panthère de Cartier

On Her Iconic Posing:

“A lot of people were like, ‘Why isn’t she staying in one pose?’ Some people snickered and some people were like, ‘That’s amazing!’”

On Her Ever Changing Hairstyles:

“I’ve done red, I’ve done black, I’ve gone long, I’ve been short. I play a lot of different characters, that’s the kind of model I am. If they’re looking for a David Bowie, I’m the girl... if they want someone who’s going to play an actress without speaking, that’s me. I’ve been blonde for six months now and it’s been fun but I know in a few weeks’ time I’ll be itching for a new look. My favourite look is always the new look.”

On Starting Her Own Modelling Agency Nomad Models:

“We wanted to move away from big corporate agencies and the cattle call of girls all doing the same thing and instead provide a new way. It’s about doing our part to make sure we see more diverse models on the catwalk, different skin colours and body types. We are starting to see more Middle Eastern models, we have a Lebanese model on our books, Ahmad Chabayta, he’s also a professional soccer player. It’s about changing the conversation.”

Hat, Dhs2,935, Eric Javit. Top, Dhs6,428; Skirt, Dhs18,915; Shoes, Dhs5,142, all Delpozo at BySymphony. Necklace, Dhs105,000 and Ring, Dhs90,000, Panthère de Cartier

On Showing Kendall And Kylie Jenner The Ropes:

“Early on I did a modelling class for Kendall and Kylie. It was when Kendall had just decided to start modelling so it was just some pointers on what [the job] entailed, what to expect.”

On Social Media:

“Social media is not fun anymore – it’s a job. I can spend 45 minutes staring into my feed going ‘What am I doing?’ When it comes to figuring out what the next post is and what it should say and where should it go and who’ll like it and who’ll dislike it, it gets to the point where you’re like ‘Why am I even bothering?’ But then again you know why you’re bothering because this is the business now.”

On Defending Bella And Gigi Hadid As Models:

“These girls are in everyone’s phone, they’re in every single tabloid with what they’re eating, wearing, doing. Even Middle America wants to know who they’re dating, what basketball game they went to see... and that’s exactly what it was like with the original supermodels. I personally know that these girls work really hard, maybe even harder because there’s so much negativity towards them so they have to prove they deserve it. Kendall was modelling for many years before she got her break.”

Coat, Dhs102,845, Zang Toi. Shirt, Dhs1,270, and Trousers, Dhs1,340, Anne Fontaine. Shoes, Dhs2,665, Christian Louboutin. Spats, Dhs5,142, John Patrick Christopher. Rings (from left): Dhs170,000, Dhs39,300 and earrings, Dhs175,000, Panthère de Cartier

On Being A Model At 28-Years-Old:

“I’m like every other woman in the world so when I see a frown line or a grey hair you do think ‘oh my goodness! I’ve never done fillers or Botox but I’d never criticise women who do. People laugh at me when I talk about looking older because to the normal world I’m very young, but in our industry I should’ve aged out many years ago. But then I guess we have models like Mae Musk, Elon’s mother, who is 68-years-old and modelling and gorgeous and there are models from every generation who are still going strong. I look at Iman and Cindy Crawford who are real inspirations to me because they’ve continued to model and do a thousand other things.”

On Dubai:

“I discovered my new favourite drink is from Dubai – it’s like a mint and lemonade smoothie. We went to see the Old City which has some really beautiful architecture. Mohammed [Mohammed Sultan Al Habtoor] knew all these interesting corners and rooftops to go take some nice photos... because of course the only reason you’re travelling is to take good photos for Instagram!”

On Her Manager-Husband James Conran

“He knows the industry better than me now,” she says. “I know for some people spending all day every day with their husband wouldn’t work, but if we argue it’s mostly about home stuff, like whose turn is it to empty the dishwasher or why’s the toilet seat up?” For Coco, being a model goes well with being a mother.

Dress, Dhs13,222, Alberta Ferretti. Harness, Dhs1,013, Chromat. Boots, Dhs7,010, Gianvito Rossi at Level Shoes. Clutch, Dhs6,428, Ella McHugh. Rings (from left): Dhs39,300, Dhs90,000 and Dhs39,800, Panthère de Cartier

On Her Daughter Ioni:

“I’m very lucky in that I can make my own rules and bring Ioni on set if I want to. When I have a job that means I have to leave her I make sure I’m not away any longer than two days. I know some people think ‘My kid will not be in the public eye’ and I understand that. But we had paparazzi put cameras in Ioni’s buggy from the start, so we decided we’d rather put photos of her out there ourselves so that there won’t be any need for people to try and sell them. Plus, I’m like every other mom in that I want to share cute little photos of my baby!”

On Ioni Following In Her Footsteps:

“It’s an awesome experience and I’d be the greatest mom-ager! But I think like most kids she’ll want to do the opposite of her parents, probably a scientist or something!”

On Winding Down:

“I just love a day in comfy clothes. Sometimes I’ll get home and take off the tight dress and put on my baggy, baggy pants – I call them my Justin Bieber pants – with my fuzzy socks and a sweater and just get real cosy.”

Panthère de Cartier Earrings In White Gold With Emeralds, Diamonds And Onyx, Dhs175,000. Jacket, Dhs5,875, Giambattista Valli. Head Piece, Made To Order, Dhs18,365, Cigmond Millinery 

Read the full interview in the February Issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia, available on iPad and in-store now.

Don't miss our exclusive behind-the-scenes video here

Photography: Alexei Hay. Fashion Director: Katie Trotter. Styling: Ise White. Make-Up: Nancy Sea Siler. Hair: David Cruz. Producer: Cezar Greif at Coolhunt. Styling Assistants: Kyle Hales and Tanya Jean-Baptiste.