American model Paloma Elsesser is taking the runways and the modeling industry by storm, but it wasn’t always like that. Since 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 father and an African-American mother, Paloma grew up in LA and was exposed to all kinds of music. She describes her childhood as “neo-bohemian” as she frequented music studios with her musician fathers and absorbed all manner of tunes, from Björk and Kate Bush to pop queen Christina Aguilera.
2. She studied literature and psychology
Paloma is 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 his younger years and even studied literature and psychology at the New School in New York. She is just as passionate about these fields today and has an interest in poetry as well.
3. Oprah is her biggest inspiration
If you assumed her biggest inspiration was anyone in fashion, you’d be wrong. Oprah is her biggest role model for a reason. She said in an interview with Office magazine: “She has overcome all the barriers thrown at her from relationship headlines to acting. She makes everything authentic, 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 made her a top model, and McGrath became her mentor, collaborating on many campaigns and photo shoots.
5. She talks about her struggles
Modeling is a tough industry to break into. Although Paloma is part of a larger diversity shift in the industry, she’s still very aware of how marginalized communities are treated in fashion. She still puts a lot of effort into fighting black discrimination, unrealistic beauty standards, and mental health, especially after going through her own bouts of addiction and depression. Best of all, she’s honest about those insecurities and fears, which makes her more human.
6. She has walked for many famous designers
Although she’s still considered a newcomer to the industry, Elsesser has walked for names like Versace, Fendi and Lanvin, and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. Today, She has collaborated with cool brands like Supriya Lele, Brandom Maxwell and Marni. In 2020, she was named Model of the Year by Models.com, which is very prestigious in the modeling world.
7. One day she might design clothes
Although she has no background in fashion design, she has a passion for it and said she would one day like to design clothing for plus-size women. Although she didn’t attend fashion school, her experience in the industry and exposure to fashion icons makes us confident that one day she will come up with a breathtaking fashion line.
8. She likes to travel
And as a model, she can do a lot of it! Paloma has traveled to countries such as Brazil, Nigeria, Japan and Spain. Many more places to come — this is truly a woman of the world!
9. Community is its #1 value
Some people think they can climb the ladder of fame alone, but everyone knows it takes a team to cheer you on and support you there if you want to get to the top. In an interview with Net-A-Porter, Paloma said: “I’ve never struggled to make friends and I really value the community – it’s changing and changing. Your best friend can be your community; your family can be your community.