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With a look that can range from edgy to sweet to serene, Herieth Paul possesses poise, confidence and a charming sense of humor that will likely serve her well as she enters her first New York fashion week.
Agency: Women Direct
Home country: Tanzania
Birth sign: Sagittarius
Favorite designers: “Stella McCartney. I love her. And Dsquared2. I also like Chanel.”
Favorite body part: “I like my lips.”
You lived in Tanzania until you were 14, when you moved to Canada. What was that like?
“It wasn’t that hard. My mom is a diplomat [for Tanzania], so she knew she was moving since I was 11, so she was like, ‘One day we have to move to Canada.’ I was excited.”
It’s been two months since you came to New York. How do you like it?
“I love New York. Everything is so close. You go outside and put your hand out and a cab comes. In Canada, you have to call and wait 30 minutes — and that’s on a good day. On a snowy day, you can be waiting even two hours.”
How did you get into modeling?
“I went to my agency in Canada [Angie’s Model & Talent] when I was 14 for acting and they were like, ‘You shouldn’t act, honey; you should be a model. You’d be a real good model.’ I was so shy and I was so tall.”
Are you still shy?
“No. Modeling for two years has helped me — standing in front of the camera, meeting new people, traveling alone. It helps.”
How does modeling affect school?
“I’m doing summer school online. You submit your work and they send you back results. It’s like real school but half the time. My mom is going with me to Milan Fashion Week and then, after that, I’m going back to school. I come back to New York in February — with my mom. Darn!”
Do you have favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
“I like tank tops and pants or shorts. My mom tried to get me these high-waist Stella McCartney pants. I’m kind of scared to wear them. They’re too model-ish for the streets. (Laughs.) I’ll pull them out for fashion week. I gotta look good!”
The shows can be a lot of pressure. What’s your attitude like going into this?
“I’m going to meet a lot of pretty girls, but I just have to keep myself up and not feel down. It’s like, ‘They are pretty. I am, too. That’s why I’m in this business.’”
What’s on your iPod?
“I’m listening to ‘It’s Raining Men’ by the Weather Girls. The rest — I listen to the things they play on the radio like Lil Wayne.”
What are your must-have beauty products?
“I don’t wear a lot. Sometimes, when I have to go to a casting and need to wear makeup, I wear MAC. I would wear foundation and mascara. My eyelashes are really curly, so I get mascara that makes them straight.”
What do you do when you’re not modeling?
“I like playing basketball. Shopping. And I like dancing. Bad dancing! Have you ever met a model that can dance? No. Most of the models that I’ve seen dance, they’re really bad. But not to talk about them — I’m really bad, too! You don’t want to see. It’s embarrassing. (Laughs.) I do it when nobody’s watching, but sometimes my mom will walk into the room and say, ‘What are you doing? Stop! You’re scaring me!’”
If you weren’t a model, what would you be?
“I’d like to be a social worker. I’d like to work with abused kids, help kids and families with their problems. I’d like to help people.”
Is there a model that inspires you?
“Naomi Campbell. I’ve got the bangs. I kind of look like her. And Chanel Iman. She’s amazing. She started really young like me. She’s not like one of those models that you hear doing bad stuff. She just does what she loves. Today a photographer told me I look like a black Kate Moss. I’ve never heard that before. I’ve heard Tyra Banks, Jessica White, but I’ve never heard a black Kate Moss.”
What are your modeling goals?
“My goal for modeling is that by 18 I’m going to be on every cover of every magazine. And model for everyone: Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Gucci, Prada. You name it, I’ll do it!”