CONVERSATIONS W/ ALYSIA FRANCIS, GIRL ON FIRE
Originally published in 2012
No matter how hard we try to diminish the vain reality that the Fashion Industry is and has always been pretty superficial and that fitting a mold is –well- inevitable. Alysia Francis is one beauty that just does not fit in, and that’s a good thing. We have a multitude of ‘free agent’ models emerging from the shadows of our trying Industry, most that have dipped and dabbled in all forms of the art. Alysia on the other hand is fresh blood, having only done the basics in form of a collection catalogue and runway. All the new faces that we’ve featured all had something special about them that caught our eyes – Chanel M with her innocent nonchalance, Kaci Fennell [the Girl with the Iconic bone structure] and now Alysia [Girl on Fire!].
It doesn’t take a trained eye to see that Alysia has ridiculously covetable assets as a model with her clean skin and striking eyes. But what does she have that can’t be made-in or manipulated through photo-shop?
Many models can wear great clothes and look great, but very few have what it takes to inspire Designers to make these cloths. This is were musing comes into play. Musing surpasses just ‘inspiring’ - It’s inspiring the designer and then finishing the job – making people want to wear it, want to look like her, want to be her. That capacity is found in our biggest 'US contrabands’; Nell Robinson and Jaunel Mckenzie. And I don’t know if I’m jumping the gun here, but what is fashion journalism if you don’t risk your opinion power in predicting the next “big thing”? You see Alysia and yes you see a great model but she’s always telling a story. Her nymph like obscurity invokes that desire to want to know who she is and what she looks like outside of the clothes she’s modeling. That journey that she takes you on shows the same capacity and capability to transport a designer to a new and interesting creative space. We need that in local fashion, that natural transportation that will transform commercial designing that we do so well into conceptual genius.
We got a few words in with Alysia to talk a little bit about her obsessions, model life and more. See below.
Rashade St Patrick: What are your top 3 obsessions right now?
Alysia Francis: Model, Coco Rocha, definitely! That woman is the full package, and then some! She is absolutely incredible, dynamic, hilarious, and STUNNING! A current and constant obsession of mine is Soca! Trust me when I tell you it is Carnival ALL year round for me! Just the other day I tweeted about being ready to 'chip down di road!’ Lastly, Kevin Hart - that little man is my favorite person ever. Has me in STITCHES the way he’s funny!
RSTP: When did you first think to yourself that you could actually become a model?
AF: Luca Khouri. Need I say more? I had been told that modeling could be a choice when I was younger and been given compliments on my eyes, but it wasn’t 'til Luca put me in front of the camera for our very first shoot that I thought, wow, this could actually happen. All the feedback from people, people I knew and didn’t know, was unbelievable and since then it’s just been getting even better and even more encouraging. I’ve always, ALWAYS been interested in the world of fashion!
RSTP: How has work in Jamaica been for you?
AF: It’s been great! Last year I walked in CFW for the first time and that was incredible! Unfortunately, I didn’t participate this year because of school, and I haven’t been able to do some things because I have to balance both school and modeling, but I know I can do both and succeed. Apart from CFW, I’ve done numerous shoots with Luca Khouri, and shot campaigns for Summer Jarrett’s KAJ line.
RSTP: International adventures take you inside the halls of infamous modeling agencies such as Wilhelmina and Ford, take us through what these 'make or break’ experiences are like.
AF: So much anxiety, and SO much excitement! I visited agencies in Miami Beach (LOVE it there!) and they’re all relatively in the same area. Each agency has it’s preferences though, and those change like seconds on a clock, so you have to walk in with an open mind and just really be yourself. You have to show them why you should be with their company. Now, it’s not like an interview where they sit you down in an intimate setting and ask you questions over a cup of tea and scones. You go in, show your book/portfolio, they take your measurements, take a few snapshots, maybe ask you one or two questions about your experience, then you hear those words 'Okay, we’ll be in touch with you’ and from then on, it’s up in the air. Whether you’re signed with the agency, or asked to come in again, or they tell you that unfortunately you’re not what they’re looking for, as a model one shouldn’t be discouraged. Just because you might not be what they’re looking for now, doesn’t mean another agency would be dying to see you, or you won’t have any chance in the industry.
RSTP: What jobs in Jamaica would you want to see yourself booking that you haven’t yet?
AF: Definitely a wide range of campaign work - swimsuits and beauty! Overall I’d love to do shoots for look books for the many talented designers and brands in Jamaica!