Posted by Stephan Moskovic | August 31st, 2015

Anna Cleveland does not simply walk into a room – she floats. The enchantress can be considered a chip off the old modeling block that her legendary mother, Pat Cleveland, molded in the 70s as muse to Salvador Dali, YSL and Halston. She has ethereal good looks, elongated limbs, and swan-like movements that will make you do a double take as she glides on by. Her attributes have made her a hot commodity this past year with ad appearances for a bevy of brands like Bottega Veneta, Vionnet, and Lanvin, a LOVE and Vogue Italia cover as well as playing runway muse to designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Zac Posen. Yet, with all these things that draw you in – her success, her good looks and familial connection – her most endearing traits are her remarkably gracious personality and extreme devotion, comparable to scholarly-like analysis, to fashion and its throng of equally dedicated creatives. The beauty spoke on her remarkable past year, her early fascination with fashion, and just what it takes to move from a newcomer to a top, in-demand model.

Photography by Ben Hassett for Models.com

Model: Anna ClevelandNext (New York)
Editor: Stephan Moskovic
Stylist: Patrick Mackie (Management + Artists)
Hair Stylist: Nicolas Jurnjack (Management + Artists)
Makeup: Violette (Management + Artists)
Manicurist: Alicia Torello
Producer: Justin Rose (Management + Artists) & Jazmin Alvarez
Special Thank You to New York Vintage

Text and interview by Irene Ojo-Felix

Lanvin one shoulder dress and bracelet

It’s been a long way to the top for the budding fashion marvel. In the face of pigeonholing and indifferent rejection, Anna chose to continue to pursue her dream, no matter the cost. “I had so many doors shut in my face and I always thought, ‘I need to give it another shot,’” she recalls. “You have to find the strength within yourself, when you really want something and you really think you’re born to do something, it’s important to not give up.” Her resilient temperament eventually lead to a chance encounter in Paris with her soon-to-be agent and newly-appointed president of Next Models’ New York division, Kyle Hagler. “A mutual friend introduced us and I had heard about Anna from a million different channels through the years but I had never experienced Anna,“ he remembers. “For me it was obvious and instantaneous that she was an inspiration. It was exciting to see someone who wasn’t hell-bent on fitting in instead of in her own world that she defines.”

“It was exciting to see someone who wasn’t hell-bent on fitting in instead of in her own world that she defines.”
– Next Models’ Kyle Hagler on what makes Anna an inspiration

On her start, Anna was bred to love fashion from an early age. Born in Amsterdam, but raised outside of Milan, she had the best visual education on fashion from her environment. And what can you expect when your mom also walked in the famous Battle of Versailles that had American contemporary designers pitted up against the Parisian fashion powerhouses? “My first show that I ever did was for Moschino when I was 5-years-old. I remember seeing all these models on the runway and looking at the beautiful clothes that they had on and the high heel shoes,” Anna recollects. “I wanted to wear those clothes. I heard the clicking sound of their shoes and it was such a sound of female empowerment. I asked Mr. Moschino, ‘can I wear something?’ and he said ‘one day you will.’” After that chance encounter her future fate was securely set. “I just remember the grandiosity of it all and how exciting everything was. Everyone was so happy to be there and in that moment. That was heaven for me and from that day forward I knew what I wanted to do.”

“My first show that I ever did was for Moschino when I was 5-years-old… I wanted to wear those clothes. I heard the clicking sound of their shoes and it was such a sound of female empowerment.”

After years of shadowing the greats and valuable dancing classes to perfect her runway twirl, Anna cultivated her fashion show presence by puberty. “The runway is a performance. I think that every look is an attitude and you have to blend with the look and the idea that the designer has. You have to carry that on your shoulders, whatever their belief system is, because they put all the work and months of labor to make the collection. People in the backroom sewing. How can you not feel like you have a responsibility when you put on their clothes?” Indeed, Anna’s respect for the industry is apparent in her nature to turn every runway jaunt into an act. Just look at her Giles F/W 2015 walk where she slinked, sauntered, and twirled in a distortedly printed, gravity-defying, taffeta gown. Or what about when she closed with Jean Paul Gaultier for his latest couture show in an elaborate, taxidermal-looking, circular frock with a fez a foot tall while Village People’s “In the Navy” is blaring out the speakers? Theatrics is the name of the game and Anna plays it like a champ.

“The runway is a performance. I think that every look is an attitude and you have to blend with the look and the idea that the designer has.”

Lanvin one shoulder dress and bracelet

It’s clear to see that Anna’s passion is in her job and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I want to be remembered as being appreciative of this business. I think a lot of people think it’s not important. To me, fashion is everything and I’m so grateful to be a model. I think it’s a job that I want to carry with dignity.” Still, with this tunnel focus on her career goals the beauty is still able to keep herself grounded with friends and family. When asked who were the people that gave her the most inner peace and contentment? “First of all, my mom is number one. Kyle is second and on speed dial! Christopher Niquet is my mentor. He’s known me since I was 10 and has helped me grown into what I am today. Catherine Baba, she’s in her cool bubble and when I’m around her she reminds me it’s ok to be in your bubble too.” She uses these few people to give her an inner peace and understanding of the environment she has chosen to take part in. “The most important thing to do is when the outer world is moving so fast is to keep a stable inner world. Even though the fashion industry may seem very superficial, it’s not. It’s about creating something from the inside out.” What will Anna Cleveland create from within? The possibilities are endless.

“I want to be remembered as being appreciative of this business. I think a lot of people think it’s not important. To me, fashion is everything and I’m so grateful to be a model. I think it’s a job that I want to carry with dignity.”

Tom Ford sequin and chiffon dress with flower embellishment
 

Balmain Ruffle top From New York Vintage and Wolford Tights

Lanvin floral printed dress, gloves and shoes

Left: Tom Ford sequined tunic dress and shoes
Right: Feather coat from New York Vintage, La Perla briefs and Wolford tights

Balmain Ruffle Top from New York Vintage and Vivienne Westwood trousers from New York Vintage
 

 

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One Comment to “Anna Cleveland”

  1. Earl Darling says:

    That should be the attitude of all models — respectable, dignified, and appreciative of the business. She is a class on her own. She is daring, out-of-this-world, and classic!

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