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For even the most focused, ambitious model, landing the Marc Jacobs show might seem like a pipe dream. But it came true for Chloe Memisevic just a month and a half after she entered the biz. Since signing with Wilhelmina last June, the 18-year-old newcomer has not only bagged the Marc Jacobs show (twice) but also Proenza Schouler, Hermès, Erdem and Giles, among others. “I’ve been really fortunate,” says the humble Memisevic, who also was chosen for Marc Jacobs’ spring 2011 ad campaign. “I think people react to me because my look is kind of unusual. I think I look different from other girls.”
Where are you originally from?
My dad is from Croatia and my mother’s from Serbia, but I was born and raised in Sweden. I’m based in London now but I go back home every summer.
What do you like about London?
There is a good vibe everywhere. In New York, everyone is focused on work. I remember when I first came to New York last August, I was sitting on the plane and I was like, “I’m going to love it.” Then I got here and I was like, “Oh, this is it?” I was kind of disappointed. Things didn’t look like I thought they would. It was much dirtier.
How did you get into modeling in the first place?
I got scouted out when I was in a shopping mall [in Sweden] with my mom. An agent pulled me aside because they were doing a competition, but I was 12 and the age minimum was 14.
You were 12? How tall were you?
I was practically as tall as I am now [she’s nearly six-feet-tall]. My body hasn’t changed much since then.
So you didn’t enter the competition. How did you get back into it?
I had a blog where I used to post editorials that I liked and some old pictures of me and my friends. This photographer that was scouting for another agency saw it and put me in touch with the agency. Then once I went to London, everything started happening. I signed in New York, I signed in Paris, I signed in Milan. Today is actually my one-year anniversary of when I first got signed in London, so I’ve been modeling full-time for exactly a year now.
This past New York Fashion Week was your second go-round. What was your first season was like?
I had only done fashion week in Berlin, and New York is a much, much bigger deal. When I got here, it was so hot. I just remember we were all running around, sweating, all red in the face. When you’d arrive at a casting, they’d give you tissues to pat off your face. I had like 20 castings a day. When I got my first casting sheet I was like, “How do you expect me to do this?” You run, run, run, run there and then they see you for 30 seconds. The Marc Jacobs casting wasn’t like that though.
You do a lot of castings for them and keep going back. You would go to a casting for Marc then another for Marc by Marc, but you would see the same people and then they would call you back to walk again. Then you’d have a fitting. That’s when they’re pretty much like, “OK, if you fit properly in the clothes, you get the show.” I went back maybe three or four times. Also, most designers have you walk in your own clothes and all the girls can come during one day but with Marc Jacobs, they would have it very organized. So like all the girls from Wilhelmina come at 11, all the girls from Ford come at 2. And they don’t even see you in your own clothes. You go back and change before you walk. Everyone gets a simple little dress to put on so it’s like an even playing field.
You also landed a Marc Jacobs ad campaign. What was it like working with Juergen Teller?
I’ve loved his work for so long. He was amazing and it was super quick. I didn’t even know he was going to shoot me but right after the show someone [from the Marc Jacobs team] was like, “Oh, you’re doing the campaign” and I was like, “You know, that’s not funny. Don’t even get my hopes up.” Then the casting director came up to me and was like, “No, you really are shooting the campaign.”
And it was shot right after the Marc Jacobs show?
Yeah, they basically pulled aside a few girls and shot them on the show set in the looks we were in. It was very quick; it only took like five minutes per girl.
Do you remember the first time you saw it in a magazine?
Well, I saw that they published a picture of another girl so I was like, “Oh OK, that’s what they must have used. I didn’t make it.” Then in February, I was back in New York for my second fashion week and I woke up one day and my agent texted me, “Good morning Miss Marc Jacobs girl!” with a picture of the campaign attached. It was surreal.