When you follow Sierra Sullivan on Instagram (which you must), the first thing you’ll notice is her absolutely stunning blue eyes. The next thing you’ll notice is that she seems like a person you’d want to be friends with. From photos of her adorable 7-year-old son to candid, beautiful captions about turning 40, her Instagram is all love, sunshine, and family.
But don’t let her laid-back California vibe fool you—Sierra is a model of incredible talent and drive. She got her big break being photographed for Harper’s Bazaar by David Sims, and hasn’t slowed down in the 16 years since. She has walked runways from New York to Paris and London in the most prestigious shows for designers such as Fendi, Prada, Miu Miu, Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, and Chanel. Her strong look has been captured by top photographers including Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Bruce Weber, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, and more, in campaigns for the likes of Guerlain, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Cesare Paciotti, and Revlon. And she has graced the pages of Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and every Vogue from the U.S. to Italy to Australia and Japan.
And now she has her own label for which she is working on a line of handbags and jumpsuits(stay tuned for more info on the launch!). And the twist? She is currently working on a novel. We can’t wait to read it!
Q: Tell us about how you started modeling —who discovered you and how old were you?
I started at a local small modeling school and at 16, went to the IMTA convention in Los Angeles where I was first discovered for Elite NY by Karen Lee. They were my first big agency before eventually joining IMG Paris, and they took the helm in managing my career.
Q: What are some of the highlights of your career? Were there shoots that were inspiring or photographers and brands you particularly loved working with?
The highlight of my career was finally booking an editorial job that I knew would catapult my career, and indeed it did. It was shot by David Sims for Harper’s Bazaar, an 18-page solo spread. I knew that all I needed was one good photographer and magazine to take a chance on me to show them what I had to offer. It was absolutely exhilarating to see the results. I also love and adore Bruce Weber. His shoots were always fun-filled and am forever grateful to have worked with him.
Q: Fashion week is coming up—what tips do you have for girls who are getting ready? (Nutrition, beauty, staying fit, whatever they need to know to make it through!)
Get as much rest as you can!! Before, during and after the shows. If you book a lot of shows, the schedule is grueling and often there’s hardly any chance to grab a bite to eat. Bring healthy snacks with you to have on hand when you need an energy boost. Your hair will get a beating so be sure to bring a good repair conditioner to keep it strong.
Do what you know works for YOU when it comes to staying fit and in shape. There is no one size fits all approach. You know your body, so listen to it! Love your body and love yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Have an attitude of gratitude, try not to complain and be positive when the going gets tough. You’re doing something many girls dream of doing and you have the good fortune to do it, so don’t take it for granted. Do this and you will glow with beauty!
Q: Reach into your bag and grab the first three items. They’re all you’ve got on a deserted island—what are they, and would you survive?
My medication (my life literally depends on this), a smartphone with satellite capabilities to call for help, and juice (in case of a low blood sugar, again, life-saving). Maybe!
Q: How would you describe your personal style? Whose closet would you raid tonight if you could?
I live in a beach town in California so my wardrobe tends to be on the hip casual side. I have a tomboyish flair, but with a French chic twist. When I have time, I’ll think of an additional detail to add to my wardrobe such as a feather in my vintage wool hat or vintage brooch.
I also love to dress up for evenings out on the town, but always keep it very simple. I have a less is more approach to styling. I would love to raid Emmanuelle Alt’s closet!! Or Carine Roitfeld’s.