Vanity Teen had the pleasure of talking with the international and super talented models Ana Figuera @anavfiguera represented by Next Model Management @nextmodelsmia and Mari Paz @its_maripaz represented by The Source Models @thesourcemodels for this exclusive interview accompanied by the photos of the incredible Gustavo Granados @gustavogranadosphoto and the art direction and styling by Charina Chacon @charinachacon.
Vanity Teen: You both started modeling at a very young age. What made you want to pursue your modeling career in the first place? And why did you start so young?
Mari Paz: I started modeling when I was sixteen years old. I won the Elite Model Look contest in Venezuela, I went to Shanghai to represent my country, and I signed in agencies in Paris and NY, and I ended up doing my first fashion week in Paris when I was sixteen too. I was always interested in fashion as more than a beauty pageant which is very big in my country. Photographers and agencies were always asking me to be part of the contest and I was always seeing myself on the runway for fashion weeks, in campaigns and catalogs for big designers and big brands.
Ana: I wanted to explore the world, I always dreamed about the idea of traveling all around and meeting people from different cultures. Modeling opened the doors for me and my dreams. I started when I was eighteen and I had the feeling that it would be at that moment or never. Also, back in 2016, there were a lot of political conflicts in Venezuela and it was hard to leave the country. I received an offer that year and I took it, without blinking my eyes I signed the contract.
VT: Why do you like the most about modeling and the fashion industry?
MP: I like to be in the fashion industry because you can be yourself, modeling can be a great way to gain self-confidence.
A: I love that we can express ourselves, however with clothes or just being in front of the camera, it’s an expression of art, and I really love the freedom it gives you and also meeting new people.
VT: You are both Venezuelan too but you now live in other cities, Ana in the UK and MariPaz in Miami. Why did you move to these cities in particular? Do you plan on living anywhere else?
MP: I moved to Miami from Milano in the first place trying to be closer to home. Later on, I found out it is as warm as my hometown. I signed in NY, LA, and Chicago in the US but I am based in Miami. I’m not planning on moving from the sunshine city anytime soon haha!!
A: The UK opens the doors for me. Since I arrived, I started to work non-stop, and I also got to meet amazing people. It feels like my second home now. I might be moving somewhere else though. As much as I love England, I don’t see myself living here full time. I do travel a lot, and I am still looking for that place. I also love Italy, maybe it could be the place for me.
VT: Your careers have also been really prolific. What is it like working with big fashion houses, fashion weeks, and magazines?
MP: It is very rewarding to work for big brands and designers in fashion weeks, campaigns and commercials. Each brand has a particular style and I enjoy projecting what they want you to convey in each set.
A: It’s always an honor to work with big brands or any brand. The trust they put in us to promote their product is very rewarding, and when they are happy with the results, it shows you that in a way we contribute to their success, and that’s one of the main reasons why we work as models.
VT: Talking about the editorial you did for Vanity Teen, how did you feel during the shoot that took place in Miami Beach?
MP: It was a very fun shoot with Ana, we have known each other for a long time, and we found out we match very well on set. I hope we get more shoots and projects together.
A: I felt really good. I always wanted to shoot with Gustavo and MariPaz, and being in Miami Beach makes it even more special. Everything went so smoothly and easily. I love the result so much.
VT: How does 2022 look for you? What are you looking forward to the most this year?
MP: Each day is a new chance to build yourself, to become the person you want to be. I’m looking forward to continuing working on the things I enjoy and seeing what opportunities I can grasp. Each year I have seen my life change and I have found ways to adapt to new situations and no doubt that 2022 will bring new changes, new situations, and new opportunities which allow me to learn and grow.
A: 2022 it’s a year of challenge. Now that we are getting back to “normal” it’s time to go for those things that we always wanted. What I’m looking for this year it’s to be busy, travel a lot, and get my dream job.
VT: To conclude, which has been the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you and how did it affect you?
MP: When I started modeling everyone would ask my mom if she wasn’t scared to let me travel alone in this kind of industry. My mum told me: “When you have your values well-formed and you have clear goals, there is no one who can change that mentality from you.” She was not wrong, the confidence my mum gave me and believing in me is the most beautiful thing that could happen to me to start this career.
A: To not compare me with others. As a model, we are always working with beautiful people, from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures, and there is always something that makes us think that we are not good enough or there is something wrong with the way we look. I tried to change the way I look at it because in the end, we are all different and that is what makes us special.
Models Ana Figuera @anavfiguera represented by Next Model Management @nextmodelsmia and Mari Paz @its_maripaz represented by The Source Models @thesourcemodels photographed by Gustavo Granados @gustavogranadosphoto, art direction, and styling by Charina Chacon @charinachacon, exclusive for Vanity Teen online!
Interview edited by Adrian Gomis @adriange_