Pamela Bernier chats it up with photographer Richard Bernardin about her start in modelling, being Brazilian, and future plans.
Photography Richard Bernardin
Where did you meet your boyfriend? Well, it’s kinda funny, but my friend Jessiann (another model extraordinaire from Quebec) introduced us. I met him the following week, and I never left his side after that! That was almost a year ago.
You are close friends with Jessiann and her husband Francesco Lachowski… Almost all the Brazilian models that I have worked with know each other and are actually great friends. I love that. Have you been to Brazil? Yes, many times now! I love Brazil. I’m even taking Portuguese classes. It’s amazing – [there’s] so much beautiful culture and great people and nature. I definitely recommend you go to Bahia.
How and where did you start modelling, and how long have you been doing this? I started when I was 14 years old and then went to NYC at 16 with my mother and had a great start. I did a lot of beauty campaigns but needed to take a break to finish school. After I finished, I started to travel a lot, especially to Paris and all around Europe. It really hasn’t stopped, and after 13 years, I’m still here and still loving what I do! Now that I say it, I hadn’t realized I’ve been doing this for so long!
13 years! It’s crazy how time flies, right? You know, I lost track of how many times we’ve worked together. How do you feel when working with a photographer that you’ve known for so long in comparison to a new, unknown photographer or team? Well, I definitely feel more comfortable with people I know really well. I don’t feel stressed and just know that I’m going to have fun, great people around me. That said, working with someone new is a great opportunity to make new connections, which is always amazing.
The comfort of working with models and artists is that you know it is reassuring, but there is also the exhilaration of meeting and collaborating with new and talented people, which helps to keep you on your toes because it is outside your comfort zone and helps you discover new things about yourself and your work. So, speaking of work and stepping out of your comfort zone, do you have any defining moments or a milestone in your career that you’re are particularly proud of? Well, yes, definitely! I am very proud of my career. I’ve been all over the world. I’ve learned so much and met so many amazing people. I will always remember at the beginning of my career how I went to a casting for NARS Cosmetics, met with François Nars, and was almost immediately booked for a shoot in Tahiti. It was an amazing week! Not only did we shoot beautiful pictures but also got to visit this enchanted island on the other side of the world. It was one of those truly amazing moments.
Travelling is definitely one of our work perks. Where would like to go that you haven’t gone before? Oh, I have a list! I would love to go to Patagonia. I have my own camper van and love road trips. I have driven across Canada, and I am now planning to do Highway 1 in California and then eventually get down to Chile. Sometimes when you travel for work, you don’t have much time to visit or see the country because you are only there for a couple of days, which is why road trips are the best. You really see and experience everything.
These are obviously postcard-ready locations, which make for epic shoots. On a deeper note (and without getting too existential), do you have any wellness, meditation, and/or selfcare routines that you practice? If so, how it has impacted your life (both professionally and personally) and busy schedule? It’s very important to keep a calm mind with this busy lifestyle. I read this book on stoicism, and it really helps me to let go of things from the past or worrying about the future because the only thing that really matters is the now. When a problem occurs, there are two ways to look at it and ask yourself, “Can I do something to change this or make this situation better or not?” If it’s out of your control, then why worry about it? Most of all, I try to treat all people as equals, with kindness and compassion. “Don’t do unto others as you wouldn’t want to be done to yourself,” my mother always said to me. It’s such a cliché, but it’s very effective. I also try to meditate and do yoga regularly, which helps keep me grounded.
So, I know this is not Zen, but… pizza or burgers? Thin-crust Italian pizza, for sure!
What crazy spontaneous thing have you done in the last 24 hours since you’ve returned to NYC? Well, I was just glad to be back home with my boyfriend, so we stayed in (it was raining), got mimosas and popcorn, and had a scary movie day! Might not sound too crazy for a Sunday, but it made me happy!
Do you have any big plans for the next five years? Is acting in the plans? Because I think you’d be great at it! That’s so funny you said that! I always wanted to take acting classes because I was always curious to try, but I feel a bit shy. Otherwise, the plan is to be happy. I try to do things that will have a positive impact on my life. I actually signed up for university today! I will start studying interior design next fall. I will still continue modelling and travelling, of course, try to spend more time with my family and friends, and go to Brazil. Then, I will try to stay in one place for at least a month, which will probably be impossible, and then, who knows… Maybe eventually start a family!
Photography Richard Bernardin
Model Pamela Bernier at MONTAGE
Hair & Makeup Michael Goyette at FOLIO
Post-Production Patricia Sinclair