Rebecca Leigh West (photo courtesy of Daniel Elliot)
We caught up with Lancome’ Paris model Rebecca Leigh West the Connecticut native and beauty, to ask her some questions about her industry and what she does. Rebecca has modeled for some of the industry big dogs such as M.A.C., Maybelline, Ralph Lauren, Aveda and many more. Interviewing Rebecca was fun, she is a very laid back down to earth woman with a great sense of humor. Check out our interview!
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: When did you start modeling & what age?
I started modeling at 18 years old. I wanted too sooner, but my father made me wait until I was out of high school, and looking back now, I'm glad he did.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: What made you want to become a successful model?
My mother was a model as well when she was in her early 20's so I guess she was a big reason in my desire to do so as well. I was also quite the girly-girl, and loved dress up and such, so I figured it was a calling.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: You work and have worked with industry giants such as Lancome, Ralph Lauren, MAC, Maybelline and BabyPhat just to name a few.
What was it like to work with these companies and represent their brand?
I feel very honored to have worked with such amazing clients.The beauty clients are really my main goal in all of this. Some girls strive to walk the runway in Bryant Park, or grace the pages of Vogue, but me, I'm a make-up addict! This career has been an experience of a lifetime, and knowing that it won’t last forever,I appreciate every opportunity given to me.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: Who would you like to work with within your industry or beyond that you haven’t worked with yet?
Wow, this is a tough one. I would LOVE to work with Calvin Klein. (You thought Id say the cliché Victoria Secret didn't you?) I think Calvin’s ad's have the most emotion and sensuality to them.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: I have seen your Lancome work and it is stunning! Especially the “Pink Irreverence Collection” How has that been?
I LOVE Lancome, as a company they are a pleasure to work with, and as a brand their makeup is amazing. I have worked with them multiple times now, and that video has given great exposure.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: You are a Connecticut Native? Where did you grow up?
I was born at Yale, and grew up most of my life in Clinton, CT. by the beach.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: With the huge success of America's Next Top Model and teens wanting to become models and becoming more and more obsessed with fashion, what advice would you give to a teen male or female trying to break into the modeling industry?
Take 1 step at a time! It's not reality to walk down the street and have someone approach you, and BAM! you're famous. You have to start off knowing that its an extremely tough industry, rejection is going to be thrown in your face all the time, and it takes money to make money. On that note, if its something you have in your heart and you really want to do it, don't let anyone stop you. Believe in yourself and the rest will fall into place.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: That is great advice. With that being said, not everyone who thinks they should be a model can actually be one! What are the basic industry standards that are a must in order to break into modeling?
Commercial agencies and high fashion are not the same.Commercial agencies take basically every age, and you don't have to be super tall or super thin. High fashion agencies, are more strict. Women 5'8 up, size 0-2. Men 5'11 up. Although, some high fashion agencies, such as Ford or Wilhelmina have commercial divisions, and fit divisions. It all depends on who you want to look into signing with and their personal standards. I would recommend checking out their requirements via their own websites.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: Now for the fun questions I'm dying to know. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you during modeling whether it be a runway show, print shoot, or whatever?
Oh lord, I have to think about this one. I guess it would have to be 1 of 2 things. I was doing a show for Ralph Lauren, for his shoe collection, and I bent down to change the heels I had on, and in front of all the clients my dress strap broke and the front fell down! (Thank GOD I was wearing a bra haha) Also, there was a shoot with Cosmo, and when I arrived on the set I was informed it was a make-out scene. Mind you the location of the shoot was a very well known diner in Manhattan, where EVERYONE in the industry goes! So I had to kiss this guy for 45 minutes while they shot us, in front of what seemed like 1,000,000,000 people watching. Yup, I'm a tiny bit shy.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: I know that you have 3 tattoos, what are they of if you don’t mind me asking?
I have a large heart with wings across my lower back. A bunny in the lower front. Also, it says "Love Me" in my lower lip.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: What’s your next move? Your Goals? What’s next for Rebecca?
That's a GREAT question! I wonder that myself ALL THE TIME! I went to school for cosmetology, so I'm licensed in hair and makeup. But I'm thinking maybe Ill stay in this industry, be a booker or scout, I can honestly say I'm not too sure yet.
Hartford Fashion News Examiner: Have you been in any movies? If so which that our readers may know of?
I have done extra work in a couple, Indiana Jones and College Road Trip. Acting was on the back burner for me, although I recently got an agent for it, so maybe in the future you will see me on the big screen!
We hope so Rebecca, we will keep in-touch with you, good luck with everything, I know you will continue to be successful.