Claudia Mason is a supermodel, actress, producer and now author, of her first book, FINDING THE SUPERMODEL IN YOU, The Insider’s Guide to Teen Modeling (Skyhorse Publishing) which will debut on March 15th, 2016.
Born and raised in New York City, Claudia started studying ballet at the age of five and trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet. Claudia was a dance student at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts when she was discovered at a music store by a scout from Elite Modeling Agency. She went on to become one of the world’s top models, working with designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Armani, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein. She was also featured on the covers of such magazines as Vogue, W, Mademoiselle, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and numerous foreign publications. She starred in prestigious fashion campaigns for Versace, Anne Klein, Fendi, amongst others. She worked with all the world’s greatest fashion photographers from the late Avedon to Bruce Weber, Patrick DeMarchelier, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino, to name a few.
Continuing to work as a high fashion model, most recently for Italian Vogue, Russian Vogue and Love Magazine, Claudia currently has a TV series in development with Frogwater Media for 2016.
Recently she was named a spokesperson for the American Stroke Association. She herself is a stroke survivor, having suffered a minor stoke from a freak accident. Claudia has fully recovered but remains devoted to spreading the word about stroke prevention, early signs, and treatment.
Stylist Taheed caught up with supermodel Claudia Mason to discuss the launch of her book! We couldn’t wait to learn what the star had in store!
Claudia, you have travelled the world – we love an adventure here at HOC – where is the best place you like to visit to switch off and relax
Tough question! There are so many beautiful places in the world that tempt me into a state of relaxation…a great beach does it for me, and any of the secluded, private beaches found in the Caribbean, The Maldives and Europe are perfect!
You have walked for majority of the worlds biggest runways – who was your most memorable and why?
Karl Lagerfeld’s collections for Chanel are the most memorable. Chanel is such a classic, exciting brand and Karl is such a master designer that he has been able to keep the line modern and relevant to today’s market, and has done so for years, because of his genius, there is a certain Je ne sais quoi around the combination of this legendary House and this legendary man. Which makes being selected to walk in his show, and then actually doing it, exhilarating. Plus, you add to this the best creative teams: music, set design, hair, makeup, and the whole experience – including the backstage atmosphere where everyone who’s anyone in the entertainment industry is hanging out with us models pre show – is on fire. Madness sure, but super fun.
We were so excited to hear about your new book! We think it is wonderful what you are doing – a guide written by someone who has worked with the best and has a list of many achievements under her belt! – without giving too much away! As we can’t wait to get our hands on a copy – what one tip would you give a young girl who aspires to be the next big thing in modelling?
I would tell her to do her research so she knows who the major players are in the industry, past and present, so she can be prepared to hold her own and converse with the professionals in the fashion industry. The more a model is informed about the business she is entering into, the more interesting she or he will be to the clients. Also, they should be curious about other entertainment industries and the arts and culture, and world at large. The more well rounded a new model is, the better chance she or he has in the modelling industry today since it’s super competitive and agencies are very often looking for kids who are well rounded whether that means they’re taking college courses, or they have their own blogs, or they play in a band. Bring your full self to this business, since you never know which unique attribute you possess that might be the deciding factor for the clients in choosing you over someone else for the job
What motivated you to write your new book?
The industry is growing larger every day and the online & social media components have a lot to do with this. There are more modelling agencies and models than a decade ago and we forget that new models are kids who don’t know how to navigate through the business world. In order to make their careers last as long as they can, and for them to be & do their best, I saw an opportunity to impart my expertise as a supermodel guiding those would be models and their parents on what it is all about.
You have also done your fair share of acting – can we expect anything new from you anytime soon?
I was just asked to be in an independent movie, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do the project schedule wise – so I’ll let you know
We love to travel here at House of Coco and being an international Supermodel – we can only imagine the wonderful destinations you have seen – what one place were you sent on a job and you felt overwhelmed and thought ‘wow! This is my life!?
So many! When I was riding a camel near the Great Pyramid of Giza was certainly one of them!
The modelling game has changed over the years – what is your opinion on social media and the rise of the popular girl making it big due to her followers on social media?
As long as she has what it takes then I think it’s fine. Remember, talent is talent no matter how it’s discovered, and a girl or boy being discovered due to her social media following is another version of the classic way of scouting e.g. when someone was discovered on the street. However, the issue is if this person shoots to the top just because of her following and not her talent, then she will not last. Popularity on the social channels while important at the moment, is not the whole game. One needs the rest of the package to succeed and make it last.
Fashion is tough – did you have any knockbacks during your career? And if so how did you deal with them?
Sure I did, every top model does. After high school I was told I had to lose some weight for my first haute couture season, that wasn’t easy especially since I’ve never had weight issues, but I learned to stop eating junk food and get into an exercise regimen and all was well. Not easy, but part of life as a model. Alternatively, at one point I was told that I was too skinny for modelling lingerie – oh this crazy business! I’ve since modelled plenty of lingerie and walked in many seasons of haute couture shows. A model must find the balance. Chapter 7 in my book deals with this subject head on.
You are heavily involved in Charity work – and recently named a spokesperson for the American Stroke Association – it is so important to have role models like yourself for young girls today – you are clearly channeling personal experiences and your stance in society and moving in a admirable direction – who were your role models? Who did you look up to? And how important do you think it is for young girls to have such positive role models?
It is so very important indeed. My work with the American Stroke Association is so very important to me. Growing up, my role models were Suzanne Farrell, Cher, Meryl Streep, Baryshnikov, Balanchine and so many more…always entertainers and artists of some kind.
Finally Claudia, here at HoC magazine – we like fun! You are on a desert island – thankfully you’ve got your handbag! But there are only 5 things in there – what are they?
Ha! 5?! So difficult. OK – SPF, water, hat, food, a bathing suit!
Claudia it has been amazing! thank you for sharing your wonderful knowledge and I’m positive the book will be a bible to all young girls wanting to step into the industry – advice from a real game changer!