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What the limpid-eyed, kittenish beaut loves more than being a model is being a role model. In her words: “The girl that doesn’t smoke, drink, party, take off her clothes in every picture.” She has said “no” to more things than most of her peers have said “yes” to, from Dancing With the Stars (“not a good career move, probably”) to shooting with Terry Richardson (“I’ve shot with him, but I didn’t feel comfortable and I won’t do it again”). When her bookings dropped, due, she felt, to her size (a whopping four), she began to speak out—consistently and insistently—about unhealthy model weights. Now she wants to tour schools across Canada, talking self-esteem.
“It hurt at the time,” she says of being sidelined for not being a size zero. “But now I say, ‘You can’t dance with everybody. Someone else will come along.’ I think once James was really part of my life, I was like: ‘Whatever. If you take me, take me. If you don’t, don’t. I’m happy in my skin.’”
She talks about Conran often and swoonily, and by the time this reaches you, readers, she will have married him. The location? A beautiful French château—Conran proposed there in February. The dress? Made by Zac Posen, and looks “like a Barbie ’50s dress.” So she wants the whole fairy tale? “I do,” she says, all rapt.
By now it won’t surprise you that Rocha never wanted to be Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell. She wanted to be Princess Diana. And she must be succeeding, because maybe you think she’s crazy to be marrying so young, so soon, but you also want to believe with her. Or, at least, go to the wedding and jig with her. Don’t you? She is, truly and happily, the people’s model.
Read more from the faces of fashion—from top up-and-comers to industry superstars—in our Model Issue!
First published in FASHION Magazine August 2010