Elite Model Look is the world’s most prestigious modeling competition, credited with discovering supermodels including Cindy Crawford, Gisele Bundchen, Alessandra Ambrosio, and now…Manuela Frey. When she was just 15 years old, the Brugg-born model won Elite Model Look Switzerland, and was promptly whisked to the world finals in Shanghai, where 80 other winners from other countries were waiting. Manuela placed third. “After that, they sent me directly to NYC, “ she says.
In four years since, Manuela has become one of the world’s most coveted runway models, having walked for Dior, Gucci, Chanel, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Elie Saab, Rag and Bone, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Prada , YSL, and many, many more. That’s to say nothing of her massive portfolio of editorial work (Vogue, Elle, V, W, Marie Claire) and campaigns for the likes of BCBG, Calvin Klein, Uniqlo, Adidas, Macy’s, Vera Wang, Kohl’s, and more.
Just don’t ask her what she’s currently working on. “I can’t tell you yet…”
Q: We see that you walked in **63 shows** in one Fashion Month when you were 18—what was that like? What have been some highlights since then?
It was an amazing feeling. I love shows and it was very hard and tiring but since then I’m working so much and can live my dream. I have my place in NYC and love my work and the culture here. I’ve found my second family 🙂
Q: We know you’ve been able to travel the world through modeling (and learn six languages in the process), what advice do you have to other models who want to travel and model?
Just be yourself all the time. Don’t try to copy anyone else! You are your own beauty. Be patient and don’t ever give up! Also, be careful with people and don’t trust anyone immediately. Try to focus on your goal, eat healthy, stay in shape, and always give your best because there is only one chance in this business. You have to ask yourself what you want to achieve in this job, and maybe do something in addition to modeling, because you never know when this career ends for you.
At the same time, don’t forget to enjoy this wonderful job, make a lot of friends, go out (not too much) have fun, and explore the world (but don’t spend all your money). Try working in different places like Milan, Paris, London, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Germany, early on, and in the end you’ll know where you want to live and work for a longer time. All that said, it’s different for everyone!
Q: Now for some fun stuff. What do you wear on your off days?
Sportswear, leather jacket, sunglasses, and sneakers
Q: What is your secret to achieving those *perfect* waves that your hair has in many of your Instagrams?
It’s my natural hair. I can shower and I don’t have to dry it or do anything to it. I can sleep on it and the next morning i wake up with a perfect wave. But when I first started modeling I always straightened my hair because I didn’t like my wave. Now I love it.
Q: What models do you look up to?
Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Campbell, Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo, Taylor Hill, Karlie Kloss, Josephine Skriver, and Constanze Jablonski. All Victoria’s Secret models—thats my next goal!