Coco Rocha has reasons to be late for our cover shoot. First off, it’s the morning after her big charity bash—the second annual Strut for a Cure—in Toronto, presented by FASHION. Rocha worked room and runway, made an endearing speech, met new fans. Long night.
Secondly, duh, she’s a supermodel. Richmond, B.C.’s finest is ranked eighth in the world by Models.com, reps for Rimmel London and air-kisses Anna at the Met Ball. At 21, Rocha has moved beyond “just” modelling, becoming the face of her own personal brand. Not only did she guest-report on this year’s Grammys for ET Canada, but she did so in a (curiously medieval, but never mind) dress of her own design. Yes, yes, she’s launching her own line this season. The name, Rococo, was chosen by one of her 12,000-plus Facebook fans. And 12 days from this shoot, her number one fan—29-year-old interior decorator James Conran—will become her husband.
No one expects such a fashion darling to be on time, and she isn’t. She’s early. Moreover, she’s alone. No booker, no mom-ager, no careful handlers. Not even a tiny dog.
“I thought about bringing the tiny dog!” she says in her lilting, not-quite-serious way. “But no, I don’t want to be that person today.”
Rocha’s enchanted beginnings are super-typical. She was the un-pretty tomboy (“boys would pick on me, you know”) discovered at random (Irish dancing competition) when still very young (14), and was shot to cover status by model-making photog Steven Meisel (“I didn’t know enough about him to be nervous!”).
It is her endings, which she holds firmly in hand like the strings of helium balloons, that make her different. They are happy ones. By all accounts, the tiny Irish dancer has survived six years in the biz without acquiring a drug problem, a string of bad-boy exes or an eating disorder. If there’s one thing troubling her, it’s that her Twitter pleas to Glee producers (“If you ever need a backup dancer, call me!”) have yet to be answered.
First published in FASHION Magazine August 2010