MODEL OF THE MONTH MONROE LAND DIVA FRANKI FALKOW
JM: Tell us a little about your childhood. What kind of kid were you? Where did you grow up?
FF: I grew up in a tiny, remote village in the English countryside. I was the only girl my age for miles around. Surrounded by boys, I spent a lot of my time playing soccer, climbing trees and rolling in haystacks. It was small-town-life so my teenage years involved a lot of back seats on buses as we were an hour from the nearest club. I had a lot of fun though and my parents are incredible. They have always let me be me and are happy if I am happy.
JM: What was the moment when you decided to become a model?
FF: Well, when I was four my brother told me I was going to be a model. I am not sure why, but after that, I remember strutting back and forth across the living room with a book balanced on my head, convinced I was Naomi Campbell. Even though over the years lots of people said I should do it, I never really believed it could happen. My mum and I took the long trip to London once a year to go shopping for my birthday. On my eighteenth, I was in Topshop when I got scouted by an agent at Premier Models, Naomi’s agency. Two weeks later, I was on a flight to New York.
JM: What are the biggest professional and personal struggles you have overcame?
FF: I do not like to complain but every job has its ups and downs. Modeling is a cut throat industry and I have been told that I am fat and ugly multiple times. It can crash your self-esteem if you are not strong. It is also a last minute lifestyle, which can wreck your relationships, canceling plans all the time. You have to find people who understand and can cope with the craziness. Love life wise, it necessitates a large amount of trust. I think the most recent struggle is the internet hate, the new breed of YouTube commentators. It can cut but as Andy Warhol said, “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” As with a lot of things in life, the more inches the better.
JM: Have you ever been on a shoot when it just was not working for you? If so, how did you handle it?
FF: I have put up with a lot on shoots, trampolining in heels, male models who ruin the shot because they cannot control their erections. However, in my entire career, I have only had one really creepy shoot. I was on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, stuck out in the middle of nowhere by myself with a guy determined to take photos up my skirt for his “exhibition.” Flesh crawling, it is the only time I have left set. I literally walked off into the desert until he agreed to take me back to the city. That was ten showers time.
JM: What kind of photo-shoots excite you the most?
FF: I would never say no to haute couture clothing, breath taking locations and a full craft table. But what I love most on a photo shoot is when everyone on the job feels inspired and free to do what they want. This generally happens on editorial shoots because then the make-up, hair, styling and the overall image can really be exaggerated and you are less worried about a specific product. This is when it feels like creating art, which is what drives me. It is all about passion with fashion for me. That and getting my boobs out.
JM: What artists inspire you and why?
FF: I am a sucker for quotes and surrealism so I think Salvador Dali puts it best when he said, “A true artist is not one who is inspired. But one who inspires other.”
JM: What excited projects are you currently working on?
FF: I just finished shooting a short film for Vogue Italia with Ian Somerholder and Jaime King. My part was only small but it was a great project to be a part of. I am currently working on a novel based on my modeling career. Of course there is the magic that we are currently making together. I cannot wait until we can show everyone the final result. It is going to be fierce.
JM: What are you guilty pleasures?
FF: Oh I have got loads. Trashy TB, trashy magazines, everything sweet, Disneyland, dressing up as animals, cheese, fast food, cheese, drinking all night, really expensive shoes, really cheap shoes, Christmas, piercings (I am a secret stretcher) and sequins, lots of sequins. That is just a few.
JM: If you could have a dinner party with three people out of history, who would you invite and why?
FF: This is a difficult question. There are so many and you would want them to get on. I am drinking wine now and it is getting harder to concentrate. OK, right now I would say, Hunter S Thompson because I want some tips for my next trip to Vegas. Dr Seuss because I like stories and Cark Gable because he was hot.
JM: You look so fierce in your images. How do you keep your ego in check and keep it from getting to your head? Or are you a diva?
FF: I love to play fierce characters. It is so much fun to unleash that energy. If you are not afraid to emotionally and yes, sometimes literally, ‘let it all hang out’ it can be an empowering experience. I can switch it on and off though and would never let it affect how I interact with the people I work with. Everyone on a photo shoot is part of a team and everyone’s job and being is just as important as the next. I have “in the dust, be equal made” tattooed on my middle fingers as a reminder never to forget that.
JM: How do you keep your body and skin looking so amazing? Any beauty tips for us?
FF: I would love to tell you I have this perfectly planned out routine and meticulous diet, that I exfoliate every morning and never go to sleep with my make up on, but that would be a lie. I was lucky to inherit some good genes and even though I drink and smoke people still keep telling me my skin looks great. Saying that, water really is the key and I try to avoid the sun as much as possible. As we all know, moisturizer is everybody’s bff. I am also a huge advocate of sexercise.
JM: What is next for Fanki Falkow?
FF: A glass a wine.