It was September 2016, the first day of Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2017, when we all discovered Alyssa Traoré walking for Jacquemus, wearing a beautiful V-neck oversized suit with a round straw hat. Since then, Alyssa has achieved some of the peaks of any models' career with Calvin Klein and Prada campaigns, both photographed by Willy Vanderperre. The Dutch and Ivorian background beauty was discovered by IMG through their We Love Your Genes platform and we have had the pleasure of interviewing her for the ELEVEN Q&A.
Words by Simone Doreleijers.
Your catwalk début was for Jacquemus, and you were recently part of his tenth anniversary show. What does Jacquemus mean to you, and what was it like to strut through the lavender fields?
Simon was the first designer to ever book me for a show in Paris. I remember feeling so supported by him and being thrilled to walk his show. It was beautiful. He told me a few months later that Rihanna ended up wearing both outfits I wore on the runway. We both thought that was pretty cool. To walk his anniversary show was nothing but amazing. The lavender field was breath taking (also literally, because of my allergies) and everyone was so energized. To show in a beautiful location like that, surrounded by great people… feels like magic.
You have an impressive career full of highlights. What was your favourite job so far?
My favourite job so far must have been the fragrance campaign for CK One. It was my first time of many working with Willy Vanderperre and Olivier Rizzo. I connected with them, the other models and the rest of team immediately. It was one of my first shoots in NYC and we shot on top of a building with the skyline as the backdrop.
On Instagram, we see pictures of you having a good time with other models, like Akiima, Zoë Thaets, Samile Bermannelli and Fran Summers. How important is it to have friends with the same profession as you?
It feels awesome to have made close friends who work the same job as me. We can support each other because we understand each other's lifestyle. But what's even better, is that after a certain point the friendship is no longer solely based on having the same job. Making deep connections with people is always something I strive for, and when that happens I cherish it, no matter their job.
What do you girls do when you are not working?
When we are not working we are probably working out, exploring the city we're staying in, finding new restaurants, going to parties!
You travel the world for your job. What do you do to stay balanced?
To stay balanced while traveling, I make sure I keep a routine that includes taking time for a good breakfast and working out. I also stay in touch with friends and family back home who can remind me of who I am and what I want. Those people are my foundation in life.
What is your favourite fashion city?
NYC, because of its diversity and openess. There I'm able to have a little chat with someone from every age, race, skin color, gender, etc. as they’re all present. I never feel like the odd one out and I feel seen.
What are your five favourite spots there?
- Riverstreet in Brooklyn
- Union Square Park
- The Flats BKSpeed Coffee
- Overthrow Boxing in Brooklyn
- Miss Lily's
In an earlier interview I learned that you used to design your own clothes as a child. Do you still have an interest in designing? If you could choose any label, who would you design for?
I have no interest in designing my own clothes, except for sometimes when I feel like I'm looking for a specific piece of clothing that just does not seem to exist. I would love to design for Versace.
What outfit makes you feel most confident?
A comfortable sporty outfit with a touch of sexy and sneakers.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by influential and determined women like Amal Clooney and Michelle Obama. I respect them for their visions and strong work ethic, which lead them to impressive accomplishments. But also, my close friend Adesuwa inspires me every day. She continues to challenge the fashion industry and its standards and morals.
What are your dreams for the future, in your career or otherwise?
My dream is to explore more of the world. I also want to get my university degree while still working on my modeling career for as long as possible. I'd also love to move to NYC in the future.
Alyssa is represented by IMG worldwide. Polaroids courtesy of IMG.