The uncompromising charisma of Rose Daniels


Photo taken by Hadar Pitchon

Those are Rose’s proposals for the title of her own interview, which we made her write, but no, she didn’t make us give her this. Rose Daniels may just be the the most quick-witted model around. Kid you not. The 18-year-old’s charismatic repartee is free-flowing, nuanced with insouciant references and she’s a regular au fait in self-deprecating (sometimes just deprecating), self-aware rhetoric. The Jackson, Mississippi-born gal is a departure from her more conventional, leggy, blonde-headed counterparts. On the vast and mixed-bag spectrum of models, Miss Daniels is no Angel. We don’t want her to be, frankly. Rose is the model equivalent to the magnetic music personality; go figure she once had a band named Servos and she can play 5 instruments. But can she take a picture? Her fan club includes the likes of Katie Grand and Collier Schorr, she’s booked campaigns for Marc Jacobs Resort 2018 and Miu Miu F/W 2017 and had editorial appearances in i-D, W Magazine and Document Journal. Go on her Instagram and read each of her captions for a laugh, but not until reading Models.com’s interview with her.

Rose…
I can’t sound straight come from the farm.

Yeah, you can’t use any of your natural lingo.
No, I can’t.

What do they talk like in Mississippi? Do you have any phrases or idioms that you use?
If something is rapidly deteriorating we’ll say, “going to hell in a hand basket.” That’s pretty common. Nervous is, “a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”

Have you used that in the presence of fashion people?
I’ve been actively searching for the right moment, but it’s just so many words…

I’d imagine that’s something you can use when you’re on set, at any given moment.
Yeah, I should put it out there. Oh that’s Rose…she’s just having flashbacks. “Till the cows come home,” everyone knows that one. “Fine as a frogs hair split 4 ways”…

That’s interesting. What does that one mean?
I don’t know! But I reckon it’s hard to find a piece of hair on a frog and if you were to split it 4 ways it would be something fine indeed. But I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

We know you’re from Jackson, Mississippi. You grew up there?
Yeah. I grew up in Jackson. I loved it really. I still love Mississippi. I moved June 17th to New York. So it’s still fresh.

You got signed and then left?
Yup. Well, I went to this cattle call in Nashville where I just met a bunch of agencies down this long cafeteria table.

What were the other girls like?
Oh, I just walked in and everyone was in, like, black leotards and black leggings and high heels and I was in this red bowling shirt and these grandpa trousers.

Are these the trousers?
Yeah, these are the trousers.

Remind me, I’m going to take a picture of those.
…And some penny loafers. And I was just like, I’m going to win. It was DNA, Wilhelmina, Ford…you just went down the line it was complete emotional battery.

You just walk up to the table? How does it go?
You just started at Next and then you went down. Or you could start wherever you wanted to start. If you really wanted to screw with the dichotomy you’d just swoop in. You could be assertive and you just introduce yourself and shake their hand.

What did you do?
Well, you have to bust out the southern charm a little bit and you just kind of have to speak slower and shake their hands. You have to make sure the webs of your hands connect. You maintain eye contact…

Hey, nice to meet you…
Hey, nice to meet you.
Where are you from?
Jackson, Mississippi…

And then what do they ask you?
They were just sort of, they were really deep cosmic questions. Kind of like: Why are you doing this? What do you want out of this? What do you like about the modeling industry? Which is…you know…I just woke up and drove to Nashville and got some Cowtails at a gas station. I wasn’t really festering in cosmic answers.

I just woke up and drove to Nashville and got some Cowtails at a gas station. I wasn’t really festering in cosmic answers.

Why did you go there?
I was going to go to college to get my MFA in creative writing. I didn’t think modeling would ever take off and I was fine with that–I didn’t stake my flag on that. It wasn’t the hill I was going to die on. So, I was going to write a book. Maybe model for a little bit. I didn’t think any of this was going to happen. I met everyone there and Butterfly from DNA invited us all out to breakfast. She told my mother agent that she wanted to confirm me, but my agent sat on that fun fact of the whole, entire 8 hour drive back and then we were in the parking lot of an oyster bar and she said, “DNA wants to confirm you.” And I think I went into cardiac arrest. Then I went home and my girlfriend at the time was on the couch, and I forgot I left my backdoor open and she was just sleeping, and I was like, “Oh, I’m moving to New York!” and she was like, “…What?”

So you just decided right there that you were going to move to New York?
I wasn’t going to say no to the opportunity! College can wait any time. I can get my MFA any time. And now I won’t be hard up for material. I get to meet so many cool people.

Do you feel like a New Yorker now?
The only time I feel like a New Yorker is when I’m walking behind someone that I perceive as a slow walker. That’s when I’m like, ah… I’m an asshole. I get so angry inside when I’m walking behind someone so slow.

What about zig-zaggers? The person is walking the right speed but they’re unpredictably…
…Chased by a cosmic alligator. Yeah I don’t know what their problem is. I try to stay at like a 50 feet radius…

I get so frustrated when you’re leading and you’re walking a good, quick pace and then someone is walking only like 3 feet behind you, but at your same pace. They’re not going around you, there is space to walk around you, but for some reason they’re just tailing you matching your speed.
Yeah, I don’t know what it is, but that has happened to me before.

It drives me crazy because I feel them. Or am I the slow walker at that point? At what point do you become the slow walker?
You either die the hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a slow walker. That’s just how life is.

A post shared by Rose 🛰 (@donniedarkeaux) on

You either die the hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a slow walker. That’s just how life is.

So, the writing. Are you doing any writing?
Yeah! I find time to write every day. Short stories. I don’t think I have the intellectual capacity for a novel. So, I write a lot of short stories. Creative fiction.

Are you pulling from your own life a lot?
I think dialogue wise and building characters you have to. Even plot or a lot of it… I could never do sci-fi. I could never do people living on a spaceship colony. Which is what I like about Salinger so much.

But you said you read a bunch of Kurt Vonnegut when you were younger and he does that.
I know, but I think I just tried to read Kurt Vonnegut. I think I read the “Cat’s Cradle”.

Have you ever read “Sirens of Titans”? It’s about space and time travel.
Yeah, I’ve read “Sirens of Titan”. I read Kurt Vonnegut because I thought, “Oh, what a cool name!” Then I was wearing, like, Batman beanies. I had Neutral Milk Hotels album on vinyl and I had a scarf.

You remember the exact moment you were reading Kurt Vonnegut this is what you were wearing?
I remember I was taking a state English test in 8th grade. I finished and I made this big show of folding my test closed and reaching under the desk and pulling out “Cat’s Cradle.” Hoping everyone would be like, “Oh reading comprehension!” but they were like, “Just be quiet.”

Have you ever shot a gun?
Yes.

And you’ve had a gun shot at you?
Pellet gun.

Okay, still counts.
Sure! We’ll say that.

Are you reading any books right now that you would say on tape?
I’m reading Joan Didion’s book “South and West”. It’s a bunch of her journal entries from when she traveled from Louisiana through Alabama and she stops in Clarksdale, Mississippi and she actually had lunch with somebody that my mom grew up with. This guy, he was a painter, I don’t remember his name, but he was commissioned to paint Nixon’s White house portrait. I just thought that was really cool that Joan Didion and my mom have been in the same guy’s house for some Sunday lunch. So that’s what I’m reading at the moment. She was like, “Yeah I used to hang out around his house all the time. I used to eat lunch over there when I was a little kid.” Run around…she had grocery store feet. You know, dirt on the bottoms because she’d always run around with no shoes on.

Is that what it’s called? Grocery store feet?
Yeah. I have a short story called “Grocery Store Feet” because I just think that sounds nice.


Photo taken by Hadar Pitchon
Is that an actual term?
It’s just a term that she uses. It’s like when you walk around a tiled floor in your bare feet they just get dirty on the bottom.

I’ve never been barefoot in a grocery store before.
Well, if you live in the Delta you’re always barefoot in grocery stores.

Let’s say you weren’t a model at the moment and you weren’t in New York and you’ve got to submit a resume for a job. What’s on it?
I guess if I was making a resume it would be…I’ve got nice eyes. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work with my church. I did Operation Shoestring. It’s in the community in Jackson, Mississippi and you work with mid-city kids. It’s a summer camp. I like it because it’s not “let’s bring these poor, mid-city children to our church”–It’s not about that, at all. You go to them and you start a summer camp there. I ran recreation at the camp. I did volunteer at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. I would say that however, I am blacklisted from the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

[laughs] Why?
I cost them $500 because I made prank calls from their phone. I called a daycare!

How does that cost money?
I was with this girl and it was our last day volunteering and you weren’t allowed to have your phone on you. Also, I don’t think I had a phone at that point? Just because I think I was post technology because I was at that stage in my life. I had no idea that the caller ID read “Mississippi Children’s Museum”. I don’t know why I didn’t put that together. This girl was like, “I prank called this number last night, you should totally prank call them.” I was like, “Yeah, Sally, that sounds like a great idea.” I did it like 4 times with different voices and I would say, “Hey, is Greg there? Hey is Greg there,” and then I called back a final time and I said, “This is Greg. Any messages?” And then they felt threatened.

So what happened?
The museum had to pay for 100 kids to come in for free. So I cost them $500 and I was banned from the volunteer banquet and they stripped me of my honor. [laughs]

What about the people you’ve met so far.
One of my best friends Lily Nova, She’s fantastic. If I had to describe her I would say she’s incomparable. Like a…

Yeah, like a…
Ellipsis. To justify as being incomparable.

What’s your take on the industry so far and has your perception of it changed over the course of a few months?
Well I think, this is going to sound preposterous, but it didn’t dawn on me that these people that I was seeing in advertisements or magazines were models. That sounds so dumb, they just sort of seemed posable like…you know those things you get in art class, those little wood men. Then you get there and there’s a hair person, there’s a makeup person, there’s a stylist, there’s a photographer, there’s a photographer’s assistant. There are so many layers to it. Which I think is amazing. I think when you look at fashion you just take it point blank and it’s a little assertive because it can get really tough when you try to look for morality. It’s something that doesn’t feel like it has a lot of morality because it is really easy to look at this and say, “This is all so fabricated.” Something is in one second where it’s completely out next September–and it is. It’s fast. You can’t use it as a security blanket, you can’t wrap yourself around it. I would never want to take fashion and then cloak myself completely in it. This is what I do and unfortunately my career is my existence since I can’t ever clock out of it. You can’t give all of yourself to it, though, you always need to be a couple of paces ahead or behind or to the left or to the right, but you can’t always be right in it. You have to exist in the ambiguous middle ground.

I think when you look at fashion you just take it point blank and it’s a little assertive because it can get really tough when you try to look for morality…You always need to be a couple of paces ahead or behind or to the left or to the right, but you can’t always be right in it. You have to exist in the ambiguous middle ground.

That’s the best advice I probably ever heard a model ever give to other models…
Thank you.

You have a very good Instagram, you take a lot of time with your captions. I like that you post your work – as models do – but you are always ascribing a persona to it.
Oh, you are talking about the Spiritual Tramp of 1948. I think she showed up on a few posts.

Have you ever thought about this?
At first I have to be funny because being hot isn’t an option. I was also so turned off by accounts I would look at and the caption would be, not that I think everything has to have substance, but you know people would post pictures and then ask, “What’s your favorite movie?” Who are you talking to? I try to exemplify that I’m not taking any of this too seriously while also being genuine. That’s the fun of it. You just need to take the words as they come, a brief word vomit and you hope people can extrapolate from your word vomit. “Oh, she enjoyed what she was doing.” Glad ya’ll like my Instagram. I try to appear arresting, repossessing, disarming, extravagant, intellectual, multicultural, continental. I’m running out, all of those things. What comes across is maybe something slightly nauseating…vertiginous.

I try to appear arresting, repossessing, disarming, extravagant, intellectual, multicultural, continental. I’m running out–all of those things. What comes across is maybe something slightly nauseating…vertiginous.

Did you ever do spelling bees?
You know I tried out for the spelling bee in the fifth grade, I was first in line and I was on a such a high because it was in math class, at a private religious school, and we took a break to audition for the spelling bee and I had just pronounced isosceles correct [slow claps] and my teacher goes, “Very good!” I mean I can say antidisestablishmentarianism, I knew who Achilles was. They asked me to spell cardinal and I say, “K–,” and they say, “Nope, out.” Never worked out. I don’t know how to spell anything. Spelling gives me whiplash.

Are you going to write me some titles for this?
Was it grocery store feet?

Yes, grocery store feet.

2 Comments
  1. God, that Rose is priceless! Fascinating, Just got to adore her and her wit.

  2. Living in a harsh environment needs special training to reach that performance peak

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts: