Photographer Jean Claude Lussier
Fashion Editor Fritz
Rachelle started her career at 17 years old, 3 years after first being approached in the Montreal metro by a Next Los Angeles agent. Fast forward to today, and she’s just walked the catwalk for CHANEL in Thailand.
By Rebecca Kahn
She doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. “I’d love to travel and see how fashion is in other countries and be able to model for photographers that are from somewhere other than Canada,” she tells us of her lofty goals for modelling in between shots for this stunning editorial. More covers and more travelling, is what she hopes for her future. Read on to hear about her other life goals and where she sees the future of the fashion industry.
Is fashion something you’ve always been passionate about? Actually, yes. When I was younger, I always changed outfits. In one day, I could try on five different outfits. I loved clothes so much that I didn’t know what to choose, and I would always change because one outfit wasn’t enough in a day. In the streets, I kept watching people walk in their outfits. I wouldn’t see only the outfit; I’d also see how they walk. That’s why I love doing runways right now. It’s wearing an outfit and then [also] walking in it and showing it off.
How would you describe your sense of style? I’m kind of all over the place. I don’t dress in like a modern way or in a hippie way. I just, honestly, put many things together that don’t even fit together, like many different patterns or colours and try to make it work. So, I don’t think I have a style that has a word for it. I like a piece, and I put it with another piece I like, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, that’s too bad.
Do you have a go-to in your wardrobe? I think my go-tos are in the shoes. I like to play with either a cool outfit with cool heals or I’ll wear a really fancy outfit but with sneakers. I like to play around and not have a full-on classy outfit or a full-on letting-go outfit.
What’s your beauty regimen like? I used to have bad skin, actually, and a lot of people, now, they compliment me on my skin. I find it funny, though, because I used to have so many products, like two face washes, and then I’d exfoliate, and then I’d have a toner, and my skin was so bad. I thought, ‘Why don’t I try just not doing anything?’. If I come home from a photoshoot, I’ll take it off with like makeup remover (not wipes, though, because I feel like that’s a bit harsh), but then I just wash it with water, and I don’t use anything else. That worked; my skin really cleared up.
What does it take to be a model? What’s an aspect of modelling that others wouldn’t normally think of? I think a lot of patience with yourself because it’s not going to happen in one day. You won’t work one day after starting, so you have to be really patient. Also, a lot of confidence and just letting go. You can’t be stiff; you can’t think about it too much. And strength – you have to be strong through it all because it can be demanding physically. You have shoots every day and travel a lot, so you need to be able to stay strong and clear-headed.
What was it like to model for Chanel recently? I think a lot of patience with yourself because it’s not going to happen in one day. You won’t work one day after starting, so you have to be really patient. Also, a lot of confidence and just letting go. You can’t be stiff; you can’t think about it too much. And strength – you have to be strong through it all because it can be demanding physically. You have shoots every day and travel a lot, so you need to be able to stay strong and clear-headed.
What was it like to model for Chanel recently? That was really crazy. One day, my agent called me and she’s like, “We booked your flight, you’re going, you’re leaving in an hour!” I went to Thailand, and it was insane. The clothing was so beautiful and everyone was so nice. What’s really fun was that the makeup artists and the stylists, they were all people that lived in Thailand; I got to learn so much about their culture. Obviously, wearing Chanel was a dream come true.
What else are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time? I’m really passionate about nutrition. I’m actually vegan, so I’m really passionate about cooking and trying to find new recipes and making my own recipes. I love to do any kind of plant-based nutrition. I know there’s these universities in the States that offer courses like that, that look really interesting, so whether that’s becoming a nutritionist or something else in that field, I’d love that. If not, I love psychology too, so that could be an option. And I studied in business, so that could be an option, too. For hobbies, I love sports. I’ve always been a team sports girl, like soccer and all of those – cheerleading I did too. I love travelling. If I’m not travelling with modelling, I’m for sure not going to be in Montreal by myself. I’m going to be travelling everywhere on my own.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your life so far? I had a phase where my parents got divorced and then my mom moved very far away. I’m really close with my mom, so it was hard for me to be away from her. I started my passion for nutrition when I was younger, so I loved cooking healthy foods, but, my dad, he doesn’t cook very much. I had to live with my dad and we just didn’t understand each other. I started having trouble eating properly. It was a bad mind space. I just had this phase where I was really disconnected from myself because I was in an environment that was completely new, and I didn’t have the people, like my mom, to help me stay sane. I remember at that time, my first boyfriend left me. I was so confused. I was like, ‘Why is all this stuff happening?’. I lost my grandmother that week too. It was a week where my parents got divorced, I lost my boyfriend, and I lost my grandmother. It was just too much for me. Because I was younger, I was like, ‘Woah, I don’t know how to deal with this’. It was a weird phase, but I guess it helps to grow.
How do you see sustainability and its roles in the luxury and fashion industry? How does sustainability relate to fashion? What are things you do to help the environment in your everyday life? Maybe sustainability doesn’t really relate to fashion because I feel like fashion is always changing. When I became vegan, it was to help the environment, also, not only the animals, but then being a model, people always tell me, “You know, the makeup they use on you, it’s probably not helping the environment, and all the clothes and the fashion industry isn’t good for the environment.” That’s something, sadly, that I can’t really control, so at least by controlling what I eat and trying to help the earth as much as we can, I feel like I am contributing. For fashion, it’s something that keeps getting worse and worse – makeup that’s being tested on animals or pollution and climate change. When I’m on set, I can’t really do anything, but on my own, I definitely try to buy the better options, even if it’s more expensive or even if it requires more effort to get my hands on them. I’ll always try to do that because it’s important. If we all did little changes, it could help a lot.
What’s something you’d like to see change in the modelling and fashion industry? Do you think there’s anything you can do personally to help implement that change? I feel like the industry has already changed a lot, but there’s still, obviously, a lot to do. I think, what would be good is diversity. We obviously have a bit more, but not enough. Most of the girls on the runway shows have the same body. It’s rare that you’re going to see diversity. Because I’m starting, I still don’t know what I could do regarding that, but if I grow in the industry, I’m sure I could try something – after modelling for a few years, maybe opening my own agency. I know some higher-ranked models have done that. Or maybe with other models – if we all just put ourselves together, we could do something. We could be such a big force for the industry.
What are your opinions on the #MeToo and other women’s movements? I started modelling after most of those stories were told. I felt like models were treated so badly, when I started, so I was afraid of that, obviously. Hearing these women speak up, it creates awareness for us too, the models that are starting. When you’re on set and you get asked things, you can think it’s normal because you’re so nervous; you just want to please everyone. So, reading about those stories, we can be aware what’s normal and what’s not. For them to speak up about it, it takes a lot of courage. I’m sure it’s not easy. They’re helping so many people. I really hope it’s going to keep going that way and girls can feel confident to speak up about it more.
PhotographerPhotographer Jean-Claude Lussier
Fashion Editor Fritz
Makeup & Hair Geneviève Lenneville at FOLIO using ORIBE and NARS.
Creative Director Sylvain Blais
Digital Tech Assistant Alexis Belhumeur
Lighting Assistant William Langlais
Photo Retouching Valérie Laliberté