With her dramatic good looks and innate charm, Amanda Wellsh has risen through the ranks to become one of the most in demand faces of the moment. Though she can project elegance and hauteur in her images in person Amanda is warm, engaging and refreshingly down to earth. We caught up with the rising star to talk working with the greats, her busy schedule and why she loves being in front of the camera.
Where are you from originally?
AW: I’m from Brazil; I’m a country girl.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue modeling?
AW: Actually when I started, I was in school and I was in this competition in high school. They were going to choose the prettiest girl in the school. I was not the prettiest girl in school, but I really wanted to participate. I was the skinny, ugly girl with glasses but I wanted to try because all my friends were going, but my mom said “no, you’re not going to participate in this, but I promise the next time something is happening in the city, I will let you participate.” The next thing was when these agents from Sao Paolo came to scout in my city. They did a kind of workshop, and my mother let me do that. One week after the workshop they called my home and said they’d love to bring me to Sao Paulo to find an agency. That’s when I started to realize and see what modeling really was; before all I knew was what I saw Gisele doing. When I went to Sao Paolo I learned how much I love to be in front of the camera – that was when I knew loved it! I started slowly because I wanted to finish high school. I was going to Sao Paolo for jobs, then going back to my high school; going back to Sao Paolo for an important casting – just back and forth.
What have been some of your favorite experiences so far?
AW: I can’t pick, they’ve all helped me grow so much. I’m energetic so I really love the photo shoots where I’m jumping, where I’m free and I can do whatever I want. I love to create a character. One of the great things about modeling is that you get to be a different person all the time. Sometimes I have to play boyish, sometimes I play sophisticated, sometimes I have to play girly and I love the challenge of always changing and reinventing myself.
You had a phenomenal debut at Gucci, can you tell us a bit about that
AW: I’m going to be forever thankful to Frida and to all the people that work at Gucci, because they really changed my life; they really changed my career. And I’m always going to think about that, remember them and I wish the best for them. When I found out that I had the exclusive I just said “oh my god” to my mother. I was really happy. I don’t want to say “oh, I deserve it” but I think I’d been trying so hard to focus on my career and when it happened it felt like the hard work was paying off. Moments like that happen due to the combined work of so many – agents, the casting directors – I’m around very good people.
A selection of Amanda editorial moments
That was such a great moment and the campaign was so beautiful.
AW: Exactly and I when I think about it today, I realize just how difficult it is to get an exclusive. I was really lucky. I was in the right moment, with the right people. And I’m so thankful, I’m so happy. It’s so beautiful, and it’s brand I so admire. I was really happy to do it.
What’s something about yourself that might surprise people?
AW: Well it might surprise people that I’m a mom. I did not plan it but it was the best surprise of my life. After my son, I’ve become much more motivated about my work and I understood “ok, I really need to focus on modeling, I’m going to move to New York, where everything happens.” That’s when I did Gucci and I started to grow in my career. But, I don’t know, I’m still a big kid myself. On photo shoots, I’m always playing around, I’m always talking, I make funny faces, I say funny things – at least I hope I say funny things, I don’t know!
I think that that’s surprising in and of itself: that you’re playful and have great energy. Sometimes people assume models are serious or austere based on what they see on the runway or in editorials.
AW: Yes, sometimes there are misconceptions. People think modeling is just this glamorous world and so many girls want to be a model because they think they’re going to automatically have the best life, or that it’s an easy job. It’s not. You have to work hard – so when I look at someone like Gisele I just feel so proud of what she’s accomplished, knowing how competitive and difficult the industry can be at times. You have to keep yourself strong mentally and physically if you want to be a part of this business and finding that balance is not easy at all.
But that is what makes accomplishments so special. I was so happy when I saw myself on Top 50 Models list on the website. I had always wanted that and I would go to the site and think “one day, I’m going to be there.” Then to see my name there just felt amazing “AH!” I almost cried. I called my parents like “Mom! Open the internet!”
It is well deserved.
AW: Thank you.
Which person do you admire the most?
AW: I admire my father a lot, because so many things have happened in his life. He never put his head down. He kept his strength, dedication, the “I’m going to be strong.” For this, I admire him so much. It’s an example to me to never quit, always keep faith. Also I admire Gisele because as I see today, I’m living a little bit in her world and it’s not easy. Not only is she accomplished, she’s very humble. Everybody says that anywhere she goes, she introduces herself, very polite, very nice. I really admire her.
When and where were you happiest?
AW: Well, of course, I’ll say when I gave birth to my child. But professionally, of course when I heard the news that I was confirmed to go exclusive. Oh my god, I called my parents right away, so happy, so happy.
This moment seems like a culmination of things.
AW: Exactly. To work with such great photographers, I see what a big difference that makes on the pictures, and it’s so good. I see myself and I love myself in the pictures. It’s so amazing, the lights. It’s so good to work with professional people – it changes everything.