Of all the things you can label supermodel Erin Wasson, Erin Wasson is her preference. At age 31, Wasson has been modelling for more than half her life. A face of Maybelline for 11 years, the Texas-born model has crafted a unique career path for herself as a runway model (for Givenchy, Chanel, Lanvin, Balenciaga), muse and stylist (for Alexander Wang), designer (her jewelry line Low Luv; a clothing collection for Zadig & Voltaire; a capsule boot collection for Ash), actress (Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter), and tv-show design judge ("Styled to Rock," Bravo USA). She was also a spokesperson for Rockport for their Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 collections. Throughout, she's become known for her free-spirited, direct personality and supremely laid-back style -- for being the real Erin Wasson.
Beautygeeks caught up with the real Erin Wasson backstage at World Mastercard Fashion Week in Toronto last month as she prepped to hit the runway for Target Canada's holiday 2014 show. She dished on her personal style, how to walk like a model, and revealed that at first, her enviable self-confidence got in the way of her career.
Two words: girl crush.
meet the real erin wasson
I'm not motiated by trends. I'm motivated by what works for me, where I'm at in my life as a woman, and what I know I like. It's really basic. I think the older you get, the more you hone in on your personal style, and it's less about what style the world is telling you to be. I have a very simple take on fashion. Jeans and a T-shirt, cowboy boots -- I'm really into outerwear. But I keep it pretty basic. (Above: backstage at NYFW, Alexander Wang SS 2014; photo via Vogue Paris.)
Someone was asking me about the trends on the runway for 2014, but I haven't seen even one show. Maybe it's because I've seen a lot and everything comes full circle anyway, so it's whatever -- polka dots are out this season, but they'll be back in three seasons from now. I'm not really a big believer in "in with the new, out with the old." Find what you really love and stick to it.
What've you had in the closet the longest?
It's a couple of jackets, I wear the same three pairs of cowboy boots to death -- my cobbler laughs at me because all I do is resole the same pair of shoes. I still have a leather jacket from when I was 16 -- sleeves are up to here [indicates her the top of her forearm].
There was a time when I was definitely more exploratory and experimental with fashion, when I was young. Now I'm pretty set in my ways.
My black jeans, my little white tank top, my gold studded belt -- that's my jzujz. I'm an accessories kinda gal. I'd rather have rings and bracelets on that evoke my personal touch. (Above: backstage at World Mastercard Fashion Week; photo by The Coveteur.)
If I'm taking a meeting and I have to be professional, I usually put together a pair of black pants and a blazer and nice pair of heels -- I mostly wear high-heeled boots, I'm not really a high-heeled kind of girl.
I've got a couple of dresses in my closet. Every once in a while if I'm on a date, I'll actually put on something sexy, something that makes a statement unto its own -- and it's "wow, you look amazing tonight, you're all femmed out." It's not the way people normally see me. That's fun for me, to show people I can be that as well. (Above: at the MTV VMAs, 2013.)
It's usually really basic things. One of my favourite dresses is from Top Shop. It's almost like liquid mercury, with little spaghetti straps and to the ground, and it's just like this beautiful loose, fluid languid dress, kinda naughty, but covered up in all the right places.
You're walking for Target in their first-ever Fashion Week show in Toronto.What makes a good runway model walk?
For all girls, I tell them you have to pretend you're literally walking on the street with somewhere to go. The pace of walking on the runway is faster than walking on the sidewalk, but walk as if you're really going somewhere important and you might be late. I think that translates better than if you get all modelly and think about crossing the legs over and all that jazz. (Above: Erin Wasson opens the Target Canada holiday 2013 runway show at World Mastercard Fashion Week.)
Everyone thinks that the model walk is this new way of training themselves to walk, but it's much cooler when you see a woman being herself. Obviously it's also definitely about shoulders back, and arms back, and there are a couple of tricks that make it work, and certainly what you wear on the runway and the pace of music.
You have such a strong sense of yourself. Have you always had that, or did you have to work on it?
It got in the way of my career in the beginning. I came into the business very sure of who I was, and when you're a young model just starting out, people expect you to be very malleable and not opinionated. And I was not that -- I came in with a shaved head and a bad-ass attitude.
I remember my agent got a call saying I wasn't dressed appropriately at a casting call. I was wearing jeans and a wife beater and skate shoes, and I was -- well, I didn't really understand. I'm going to a fitting, I'm just putting on someone else's clothes, it doesn't matter what I wear walking in. I wasn't willing to not be myself. I wanted to know I was being accepted in this business because of who I was, not because of who I was pretending to be.
Do you have any tips on improving self-confidence?
I can't say because I think it has to do with the way you were raised, how your mother carried herself, the dynamic in the household, what you were taught, how much you were supported, how much your parents were willing to let you take risks and be exploratory in your youth, how much of themselves they projected upon you, and how much of your own self they supported. (Above: for Maybelline New York Eyestudio Color Tattoo eyeshadow.)
So many elements go into what it is to be self-confident, and certainly throughout life and experience you can find self-confidence. And it's about surrounding yourself with like-minded people, being around people that know and understand who you are, and having a common ground to connect with people. And then you don't feel so alienated at times.
Your big-screen debut was as Vadoma in Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Do you have any other acting gigs in the works?
My tv show, "Styled to Rock," premieres tomorrow night on Bravo [in the US; premieres on E! on November 17 in Canada]. It's a reality design-competition show blending music and fashion. We have a celebrity guest judge on every week, and we ask designers to design for a musician. That's kind of a big feat. Some weeks it's for a video, some weeks it's for a stage performance, or a personal event. You have to take into account a musician who is already famous, already known as themselves -- how do you put your dna into an article of clothing for that person without losing the DNA of the person you're designing for. (Above: Erin Wasson at a Vevo + Styled to Rock evening of concerts; via rdujour.com.)
How did your Styled to Rock gig come about?
I got a phone call. I got lucky. I ended up being a mentor with Pharrell, Rhianna and Rhianna's stylist Mel Ottenberg, three people I have the utmost respect for. Hyper intelligent, very in-tune people with a lot of experience.
You get to a place where your self-confidence in who you are is unwavering, and I think that's kind of what put me in that seat with everyone else. These are people who are very unapologetic and unwavering in themselves as well.
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Do you have a girl crush on the real Erin Wasson too?
Opening photo by The Coveteur; makeup by Grace Lee for Maybelline New York.