Natali Eydelman, the 17-year-old model (she’ll celebrate her 18th birthday on Nov. 26), is fresh out of high school and she already has a few runway seasons under her belt. For spring 2015, she walked Rick Owens, Marc Jacobs, The Row, Jonathan Saunders and Jeremy Scott to name a few, and opened the Marc by Marc Jacobs and Chalayan shows. Eydelman has appeared in the pages of Lula, Vogue Germany and Vogue Paris. Before she takes the industry by storm, the 5-foot, 11-inch model, born in Israel and repped by DNA Model Management, has a rite of passage to fulfill.
“After high school, in Israel, you usually go to the army,” said Eydelman adding that after screening and boot camp, she hopes to serve her time in an office position. “Everybody has to unless you get married or have special permits.”
The upbeat, energetic model, who is fluent in Russian, Hebrew and English, is currently living in a model apartment in Manhattan. She swung by WWD’s office in between a busy day of seven castings.
WWD: Growing up, did you ever think you had what it takes to be a model?
Natali Eydelman: I was always tall and skinny. From first to sixth grade, I already knew I wanted to be a model, but everybody was like, “No, no,” because in Israel, the models are blond and beautiful. When I was younger, my mom would put FashionTV on and I would look at all the magazines and say, “I want to be that.” At school, we had a “wish carpet,” where everybody would write their wishes. My wish was that I wanted to be a model. I visited my school recently and saw my wish — I was like, “I told you so!”
WWD: How did you get started?
N.E.: When I was 14, my mom’s friend was a photographer in Israel. She took a few pictures of me and showed it to a scouter, who sent me to an agency. The agent was very interested in me, and they are still my mother agency today.
WWD: What was it like balancing high school with modeling those first couple of years?
N.E.: The first year that I was a model, nobody knew about it — not even my best friend. I didn’t want people to know. I didn’t want to tell them that I was a model when I had only done a few test shoots. Then when I got to 9th grade, I started posting my work on Facebook and people were like, “Oh my God, you’re a model!” Suddenly, I’m a model and everybody’s talking to me. I’m like, “Ooookay guys.”
WWD: What was it like growing up in Israel?
N.E.: Israel is my home. I can’t replace it. Even if I live somewhere else for a month, in the end I always want to come back to Israel. Once, I hadn’t been home in two months, and I started crying from happiness when I got to the airport. It’s just that feeling of coming home.
WWD: Are your parents supportive of your career?
N.E.: My mom is so supportive — amazingly supportive. I can’t even explain it. My dad doesn’t know a lot about fashion, but still, he’s proud of me. He saw when I got a magazine cover in Israel and he was so excited. Once I visited him at work and he was showing it to everybody. I was like, “Dad, come on.”
WWD: Where are you living now?
N.E.: I’m traveling. Right now I’m staying in a model apartment on 8th Avenue. I love New York. My first time here was this past September, and I already know how the city works. I love to just walk around — today I walked from Spring Street to this office.
WWD: You walked shows in every major fashion city this past season. What was that like?
N.E.: It was crazy. When I was in London, my head was still in New York — it was just a second after. This season was my first time in New York and Milan. With runway you have so much excitement for the moment.
WWD: What are some of your goals in modeling?
N.E.: I want to do Victoria’s Secret. That’s, like, the little girl’s dream. That show is so much fun. But for now, I already accomplished my dreams. I did fashion week in four of the biggest cities. I’m still in shock.
WWD: What advice would you give to a model starting her very first runway season?
N.E.: Don’t get too emotional. If you get a “no” on the first, second or third time, it’s not the end of the world. Keep going if you want to. One day, it will be a “yes.” You can be really high on a client’s list, but they’ll pick another girl for their own reasons. It’s never personal.