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Elena Fernandes

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How were you discovered?

I was discovered at a magazine party with my friends. An agency scout approached me and gave me her card. After a few background checks (you can never be too careful these days) I thought why not. I had never considered a career as a model or one in fashion. Growing up fashion was never a part of my life, I was more of a tomboy that would pull funny faces when being photographed. These days I am more aware of my poses but I till throw a few funny faces in there.

Where did you grow up. Tell us a bit about your background?

I grew up in Central London next to Hyde Park in a very crazy, loud house. I have four brothers and one sister, plus three cats, two dogs and a hamster. So as you can imagine it can get pretty hectic! My mother is South American, she is from Peru and my father is Indian, he is from Goa. My grandmother is always at our home so there are always high pitched Spanish conversations going on, so we all picked up and learnt Spanish from a young age. My siblings and I were all brought up Catholic so went to Catholic schools. I have always been extremely academic and you’re always likely to find me sitting in the corner reading a book. I have always had particular passion for the arts subjects such as English Literature and History. I am a very proud geek!

How did you end up modeling and working in India?

It was fate really. Anima contacted me the same time I had contacted them. Anima Creatives are well known and extremely respected for producing and managing top models and their careers, so I was and still am very excited about working with them. Anima were then in talks with Next (my Mother Agency) to finalise arrangements for me to work in India. Once my visa had been processed I was on the first flight out to India.

What role does your agency play in managing your career?

Anima Creative Management plays a pivotal role in managing my career. They have the knowledge and experience to guide my career in the right direction. They also play a key role in developing me as a model by helping me grow through editorials and shows. I am very fortunate to be managed by Anima Creatives as I trust them in their decision making and know that they always put my interests first in regard to how a certain job, for example, will benefit my career.

When does the real frenzy of Fashion Week begin for you?

For me the real frenzy begins when the show castings begin. That’s when you’re out the door at the crack of dawn and getting home very late in the evening. You can have anything from 7-12 castings daily. Rushing round from casting to casting, changing quickly into your heels before changing back into your flats and running to the next casting. I think the frenzy just becomes intensified when rehearsals and fittings start but it is always worth it in the end when you see the spectacular shows and creations coming together.

What’s the first aspect of normal life that changes during Fashion Week?

I would say it definitely has to be sleep. That’s the first thing that goes. When show castings begin, the day before each batch of castings I always plan and number my castings so I know who I am seeing first and which area I am going to. My agents have always instilled in me to carry a packed lunch and snacks with me during show castings as they are well aware of how long the days are and want to ensure that their models have the energy and stay healthy. Also during Fashion Week, contact with the family is reduced to incessant texting and short bursts of calls throughout the day.

What helps you get through the long days and nights? What would be in your Fashion Week “survival kit?”

My Blackberry, iPod and a good conspiracy book! My Blackberry is necessary for my survival as not only does it have Facebook which is a big plus but my bookers can keep in constant contact with me and update me on any last minute castings/fittings. My iPod helps me get through the nights as I have a particular playlist on my iPod full of slow tunes to help me unwind after a long day. During the day though, I have pumping tunes on my iPod to keep me on the go and energetic. Last of all in my kit I would have a book. As there is so much going on backstage at shows or waiting during castings, it’s nice to keep my mind focussed and concentrated by reading and it also wards of boredom! One more thing I actually would have in my survival kit apart from some form of food (chicken sandwich and a large bottle of water) obviously is a packet of Skittles–just for the sugar high.

What are your beauty essentials during Fashion Week?

My essentials are plenty of water, fruit, L’Oreal exfoliation face wash and Elizabeth Arden moisturising cream. I think it is very important to exfoliate the face during Fashion Week as so many products are put on your skin you have to make sure that you maintain a healthy glow on a daily basis. Also, with regards to hair, which during fashion week tends to be heavily back combed, any form of intense conditioner, which you leave in your hair will bring it back to being alive and healthy.

How do you maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem and positive body image?

I am very fortunate to have very protective and attentive bookers who have always instilled in me that any criticism or not getting a casting is not a personal attack on your image. It is just that at times clients may have a specific brief or idea of what they are looking for and unfortunately one might not always fit that criteria. In the fashion industry you just have to be thick skinned. It is not for the faint hearted. You have to learn to take everything with a pinch of salt and smile. As I have a younger sister, I am more aware of portraying to her a positive body image, so we will go to the gym together or play sports or go swimming. The fashion industry receives a lot of bad press which at times is unjust as the industry itself is tackling issues regarding body image and how this is portrayed to a younger audience. I am also very fortunate to stay grounded and focused with the loving support of my family and friends.

What has the reaction been from your family and friends to your success as a model?

They are all overjoyed and ecstatic. One of my friends is a huge guy who screamed in the shop when he saw me on the cover of a magazine, so hilarious really. My parents are extremely proud and my mum shows my Vogue editorial to everyone. She holds my portfolio more than I do.

What is your biggest dream for your career in modeling?

To be the best that I can possibly be and a Vogue cover would be AMAZING!

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