American model Paloma Elsesser is taking over the runways and the modeling industry, but it wasn’t always this way. After being discovered on social media, Elsesser has been a major part of the body positivity movement in fashion, representing a wider range of body types and inspiring countless young girls. From working with Glossier to Nike, this model is just getting started on her road to fame, but here are some little-known facts you’ve never heard about her.
1. She had a musical childhood
Born to a Swiss-Chilean dad and an African-American mother, Paloma grew up in LA and was exposed to all kinds of music. She described her childhood as “Neo-bohemian” since she often went to music studios with her musician fathers and absorbed all kinds of tunes, from Bjork and Kate Bush to pop queen Christina Aguilera.
2. She studied literature and psychology
Paloma’s more than just a pretty face — in fact, she didn’t always think she’d be a model. Elsesser wanted to be a writer or psychologist in her younger years, and she even studied literature and psychology at NYC’s New School. She’s just as passionate about these fields today and has an interest in poetry as well.
3. Oprah is her biggest inspiration
If you’re assuming that her biggest inspo is someone in fashion, you’d be wrong. Oprah is her biggest role model for one reason. She told Office Magazine in an interview, “She has transcended all of the barriers set in front of her from relationship titles to acting. She does everything authentically, even in mainstream media.”
4. Makeup artist Pat McGrath found her
Like many models, Paloma was discovered on Instagram. Dubbed the best makeup artist in the US, this close friend of Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss was actually the first to discover Paloma on Instagram. This discovery turned her into a top model, and McGrath became her mentor, collaborating on many campaigns and shoots.
5. She speaks out about her struggles
Modeling is a tough industry to break into. While Paloma is part of a greater diversity shift in the industry, she’s still very aware of how marginalized communities are treated in fashion. She still puts much effort into fighting against the discrimination of black people, unrealistic beauty standards, and mental health, especially since she’s gone through her own bouts of addiction and depression. Best of all, she’s honest about these insecurities and fears, which makes her more human.
6. She’s walked for plenty of famous designers
Though she’s still considered an up-and-comer in the industry, Elsesser has walked for the likes of Versace, Fendi, and Lanvin, and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. Today,. She collaborates with cool, on-the-radar brands like Supriya Lele, Brandom Maxwell, and Marni. In 2020, she was elected model of the year by Models.com, which is very prestigious in the modeling world.
7. She may design clothing one day
Although she doesn’t have any fashion design experience, she has a passion for it and has said that she’d like to design clothes for plus-sized women one day. Although she didn’t go to fashion school, her industry experience and exposure to fashion icons make us confident that she’d come out with a breathtaking fashion line one day.
8. She loves to travel
And as a model, she gets to do a lot of it! Paloma has traveled to countries like Brazil, Nigeria, Japan, and Spain. There are many more places to come — this is truly a woman of the world!
9. Community is her #1 value
Some people think they can climb the ladder of fame on their own, but everyone knows that it takes a team to cheer you on and support you there if you want to make it to the top. In a Net-A-Porter interview, Paloma said, “I’ve never really struggled to make friends and I really value community – it shifts and changes. Your best friend can be your community; your family can be your community.”