I got the opportunity to interview supermodel of 24 years Liskula Cohen.
What inspired you to be model?
My mother was a model as a teenager and when I was a baby she let her friends in the industry use me when they needed a child model. I was the model for Dare candy, with ad's running all over Canada. I always loved it, and always knew I would grown up and be a model.
How did you get discovered?
I started working professionally at 17 after I was discovered by Ann Sutherland in a mall in Toronto Canada, A top photographer in Toronto told me that Elmer Olsen (who was recognized as the best agent in Toronto) wanted to represent me. So it did not take long for me to sign with him as he jump started my career.
What was is like getting into the modeling industry/ what challenges did you face?
I was only in Toronto working momentarily before Elmer Olsen got me an agency in Paris, and before I knew it I was sitting on a plane to Paris. Of course language was a bit of a barrier, but I found my way , and most Parisians speak english. I think the hardest part of it was never really thinking that I deserved to be there, or that I was good enough. I always admired Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer and all the real supermodels, and I never looked at myself and saw a girl that could compare to them, I was just me. Admittedly my insecurities hindered my career, and fear. I couldn't just "fake it".
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a model/ when did you start?
I always wanted to model, I feel alive when a camera is pointed in my direction, I love the craft, I love expressing myself with still images. I remember telling my teacher in grade school that I was going to be a model, I think she rolled her eyes...
What major brands have you modeled for?
In 24 years of modeling there are few magazines and few clients I have not worked for. I have worked for Revlon, Matrix, Garnier, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Ferre, Montana, Vogue, Elle, W.... Target, Macy's... I even did a shoot for National Geographic where I posed naked with a 200 pound Albino Burmese Python.
Who are some of your favorites designers?
My favorite designer of all time is Giorgio Armani, everything about him is elegant, and he smells amazing!
I also love Marc Bouwer who makes the best and sexiest Oscar gowns, and Norma Kamali who was the first American designer to put me in her runway show. As for the new designers I am a big fan of Nicholas K.
What was your least favorite thing about modeling?
My least favorite thing about modeling is that it is very competitive, and the girls can get mean. I won't say what goes on backstage, but I will say that it's not always glamorous. But it is always fun.
What fashion shows have you been apart of? Did you like runway? Or Photographic modeling better?
I loved every aspect of modeling, runway shows gave me a great adrenaline high, and print jobs give you a real sense of accomplishment. And with print your job lives forever. I am currently digitizing about 300 of my old tear sheets for archival purposes and my four year old daughter wanted to know about every pictures, who took it, where and anything I could remember. And from every picture I easily remembered one great story. As the memories flushed in I realized just how much I have done and all the fantastic people I have worked with. As for what shows have I done... wow... ok...here is a list off the top of my head.
Where have you traveled with your modeling career/ where have been some of your favorite places you've traveled to?
Another big question... The best part of being a model is getting to travel and meet interesting people of all cultures. My career took me from Canada all the way to Cape Town and most places in between, including France, Italy, England, Spain, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Japan, Australia, French Polynesia, South America, Mexico, Bahama's, and the good old USA... I may have forgotten a few places, but you get the idea. Traveling was a bonus for sure.
Who are some influential people you have met in the industry?
For a model the influential people in the industry are the photographers and the editors. So for me working with Marco Glaviano, Alex Chatelain, Sante Dorazio, Tyen, Ellen Von Unwerth just to name a few, were some of the influential people I met. One of my favorite influential people in the industry was a photographer named Rico Puhlmann, sadly we lost him in the TWA flight 800 crash. He was the consummate gentleman, and taught me so many things about being in front of the camera.
How is it being a supermodel who is well known all around the world?
I have never considered myself a supermodel, I modeled for 24 years I think that is pretty super. A 24 year long career is not common. And now I am going to try to give it another try, more as the "mom" model type.
What has it been like retiring from the industry, what are you currently doing with your life right now?
I semi retired when I got pregnant at 39 years old, but I always kept my foot in the door. During the last four years while being a stay at home mom, I have opened and established an online store selling RX eyewear and designer sunglasses. Check it out www.frontroweyewear.com, if anyone that reads this needs glasses I will give all of you a 20% off discount just enter GIRL20 in the coupon code box...
What advice would you give aspiring models who want to follow in your foot steps?
My advice is.... Know that having an education is more valuable than being cute, and even though modeling is fun, it is not guaranteed, so stay in school. Modeling is a great job, but the industry is much different now. If you are meant to be a model you won't have to starve yourself for it. Love yourself and be secure in yourself before you get involved in this industry.
Thank you so much Liskula!
Cover Image by: Robert Erdman
Black And white Article Image by: Mark Squires,