Floresca Isme walked into the fitting of our New York Fashion Week show with this amazing aura. She was kind, fierce and funny, I instantly knew that she was going to rock whatever she was wearing for the show. The moment she put on our Sasha cape, it was over and I damn near renamed the thing to Floresca (I actually would've if we hadn't already sent out a bunch of lookbooks) because she WORE that cape. I mean I love that cape, I wear that cape often and I still never WEAR that cape the way that Floresca WORE that cape. As a designer you know you are doing something right when your models are walking around an hour after the show, still in their look and loving the way they feel. Beyond all that, what stood out to me about Floresca was just her refreshingly gentle spirit and the energy that she exuded was so contagious. You can see it in her photos (which is why we used one of the in our Vogue feature). She is the embodiment of the brand, she is strong, she is fierce, she is sweet, she is wild and she is humble.
Photo Credit: @thefashionauthority
After having this opportunity to learn more about her I feel so privileged to have worked with her and hope to be able to continue to work with her in the future. I couldn't have asked for a better way to start this model feature project! After reading her responses I was yelling "yaaaaassss" at the computer screen, while simultaneously crying. So check out what things this amazing young woman has to share with us.
First, thank you so much for being so enthusiastic about doing this project with us Floresca! I wanted to start by asking you to tell us a little about your story. Where did you grow up? How did you get into modeling?
I was born in Boston, MA to Haitian immigrant parents. I moved around a lot as a child between Boston and Orlando, FL . I am 1 of 4 girls the second oldest in my family. Growing up, I was very insecure. It was hard to recognize the beauty within myself because I got bullied a lot in school for my features, super skinny, long arms and very dark skin. I started working at a very young age due to the financial struggles my parents had. My sisters, though we used to fight a lot through the years, we have grown to depend on one another to keep our family more than just above water. I switched schools more than a kid should, which only made me shy away from making too many friends. I started modeling as a hobby in high school. It was almost like therapy for me, learning various things about the fashion industry such as: how to walk on the runway, how clothes are made in different styles and what they say about what you are feeling that day. It wasn't until I moved back to Boston at twenty and signed to my first Agency, Maggie, that modeling went from being a hobby to a career. At twenty-two ambition drove me to take the biggest risk of my life--move to New York City. I was moving without any family or friends, all to pursue my dreams of a successful modeling career.
Who are the biggest influences in your life and why?
My biggest influences are my mom and three sisters. I look up to them, even my two younger sisters. My mother, Rose, for her strength. My sisters, Joanne, Thamare and Christelle are all trendsetters, no obstacle is “too big” and there is no beginning that is too small. My older sister always told us make sure you have Plan A, B, C and if things are complicated plan D. The woman I am today is really because of them.
What is the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome in the modeling/fashion industry?
The biggest obstacle in my opinion that I have faced would be discrimination. My first “big” show in New York before I moved, I’ll never forget. I came for a fitting. There were multiple designers for different time slots almost 100 models of different backgrounds. I found myself in the bathroom stall crying my eyes out because a designer said to their assistant in front of me about me “She is pretty, but I can’t use her. I need blonde and light eyes only”. I was so angry and hurt. I did not know how to react and when it happened I forced a half smile and shook my head in a sense of acknowledgment as if I understood and that it’s okay. When I knew that it was not.
What is New York Fashion Week like from your [a model's] perspective?
NYFW in my eyes is chaotic, brilliant and fun. All the different people you meet from all parts of the world and all the different trends that come out every season, along with the anticipation of new collections.
What's something about you that maybe people wouldn't expect?
That I have a one year old daughter, and that she was born in December 2016 and I participated in NYFW February 2017.
You're a mother! Explain how motherhood has changed you.
I believe that I have the strength of a thousand now, as small as she is; my daughter has shown me that I am truly strong, beautiful and capable of achieving anything I want. The possibilities are actually boundless and it’s not just a quote but my reality.
I believe you have the strength of a thousand! Especially if you were on the runway 2 months after giving birth. It's such a testament to a woman's strength. So many women have to go back to work right after their children are born and they don't even question it, they just know that this is what has to be done to provide. And in that vein, what's one piece of advice that you got that you would want to pass on to your child?
My dad always said: “You will be the only thing that stops you from living out your dreams. There isn’t one thing in this world that exists that you can’t have!”
"Empowered women, empower women" how do you feel about this quote? What do you think is the easiest way to empower the women around you?
I believe that it is a reality and a proven fact. Women are more powerful then we give ourselves credit! And the power in encouraging and supporting other women can literally change the world and the generations within it. The easiest way to empower a women in your community is by a simple compliment, if they have a business support them in any way you can.
And of course, I would love to know, What was your favorite thing about working with Atelier Kate? What did you like about the collection/brand philosophy/designer?
My favorite thing about working with Atelier Kate was that it was fun all the pieces were sexy but edgy and sophisticated all at the same time. The piece that I wore for Kate's show gave me a fierceness I did not even know I had. I love the fact that all the pieces of every collection are animal cruelty free and that ten percent of every purchase goes to a worthy cause. Kate as a designer is brilliant, and her attention to detail is incredible.
That is incredibly sweet of you and I hope it was obvious how much I loved working with you! So the last question we are asking all our models is, If you could be remembered for one thing what would you want it to be?
I want to be remembered for making a difference. If I could just change one persons life than that’s okay. If I could change more than one that would be even better.
To see all of Floresca's beautiful work and stay connected to her journey you can follow her on instagram @florescaIsme