She’s impossibly versatile — a cross between the very best of the high fashion and commercial aesthetics; an Audrey Hepburn meets Alexa Chung meets Kate Moennig trifecta; the perfect mix of femininity and tomboy flare bottled up into one quickly up-and-coming supermodel with a look that instantly makes one ask, “Who is that?” I discovered Margaux while casually perusing the pages of Nasty Gal, though she is, perhaps, most notable for being the runner-up on the first season of Oxygen’s The Face. Margaux’s signature is her super cool hairdo, but I see more. I see an effortless cool factor; an empowered #IDFWU attitude that is very much in line with the ideals of Recycled Novelty. For that reason, I had to get to know Margaux Brooke — and share her story with you.
NAME: MARGAUX BROOKE
LOS ANGELES, CA
HOMETOWN: ROSWELL, GA
How did you get into modeling? Were you discovered?
My mom had heard an ad on the radio for an agency looking for child models, so she brought me in and I started my career at nine years old in Atlanta.
You’ve modeled for Nasty Gal(!!!). How did you get that gig?
Nasty Gal reached out to my New York agency, Wilhelmina, and asked me to be a part of their model jeans feature. Basically, they paired a specific model with a specific pair of jeans — I was paired with “The Kink” in Black Sabbath. They probably gave me the most edgy styling out of the bunch.
Who else have you modeled for?
That’s a pretty long list. As far as commercial modeling, I’ve done Target, PacSun, Forever 21, JC Penney, Virgin Mobile, and Uniqlo. I’ve done social media campaigns for Joe’s Jeans, J Brand Jeans, Urban Decay, Adidas, and Stuart Weitzman. As far as runway, I’ve walked for Marc Jacobs, Christopher Kane, Kate Spade, and Yohji Yamamoto. I’ve been in music videos, such as Britney’s Spears’ “Work B*tch”, Angel Haze’s “Echelon”, and The Maine’s “These Four Words.” I’ve also done editorial for Teen Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Nylon, Grazia, and more. I’ve had a really fun and enjoyable career so far, but I know there is still a lot of unexplored territory in the modeling industry that I have yet to experience.
You were the runner-up on Oxygen’s The Face. What was that experience like?
It was an interesting and enlightening experience to say the least. I don’t think I will ever do reality TV again — at least not if it’s competition-based. It’s a very controlled environment that strips you of a lot of your natural freedoms, so I really didn’t enjoy that part. But it was amazing to work with Coco Rocha, Karolina Kurkova, and Naomi Campbell. Coco and I have remained close. She has taught me so much, and has been there for me whenever I’ve needed advice. She’s only a year older than me, but she is wise beyond her years.
Would you recommend reality shows to aspiring models? Why or why not?
I wouldn’t say “Yes” or “No.” It wasn’t my style, but it’s great for getting your face out to the public in an otherwise competitive industry where you might struggle to be seen. I know competitors on America’s Next Top Model can come out with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media regardless if they actually learn anything on the show. So reality shows can create a fan base or audience for you to show your real work to after the show ends.
We’ve got major hair envy for your edgy ‘do. Was it your idea?
It was actually a collaboration between myself and one of my past agents at Wilhelmina. It seems to have become one of my defining features for sure, but it is also somewhat restricting. It’s one of those things where I either get booked specifically for my hair, or people choose not to book me, specifically because of my hair. Bitter sweet, really.
What’s been the greatest obstacle you’ve faced in modeling?
Probably the same as any other model. Just trying to find those clients who think you look interesting and marketable. I have been told a lot of times that I’m “too edgy,” especially in the LA market. In other markets, I might be too skinny, or too short, or too tan. All clients have different tastes until someone with real fashion influence discovers you, and then, all of sudden, more people want you. But even then, your look will never make every single client happy.
Best photo shoot you’ve ever done?
I recently shot an editorial with Kristian Schuller in Venice, CA. He’s a German photographer who is visiting LA for three months, and we shot this stunning glam story near his house. His wife, Peggy, did all of the styling and set production, and it was just amazing to see how you can transform a fairly boring setting into a whimsical backdrop if you have the right team. I think when it comes out, it will be my best editorial yet.
Most awkward modeling moment?
I went to a casting for Yohji Yamamoto’s show in Paris last season, and if you know anything about him, you know he’s very quiet and methodical. You never really know what he’s thinking. So he had me and two other models line up next to each other, and then we had a “walk off” down the room with a bunch of other models watching us, and waiting for their turn. I had paid attention to the girls he had picked before me, and noticed he wanted a very tough, almost boy-ish walk. So I walked faster and harder than the other two girls, making it down the runway and back first, almost like a race. He ended up choosing me — and only me — to move on to the fitting out of the three of us. Modeling is always a competition, but that was one of the only times I’d had to model against other girls. Intense.
How do you maintain your girlish figure? Any tips?
Sadly, not really. I’m naturally skinny. I don’t really work out with the exception of a few hot yoga classes here and there. I definitely don’t eat as healthy as I should — I can always stand to be a bit more toned. For that, I really enjoy pilates. Yoga is more mental for me, where as pilates is all about endurance. I really have to push myself physically, so if I’m feeling a little out of shape, I’ll pop into a pilates class for a few weeks. I’ve also heard great things about barre classes, but have yet to try it. In general, models tend to go for cardio or exercises that tone and don’t add bulk, so no heavy weight lifting.
Who is your idol?
My idol in modeling is Coco Rocha, because she is a mentor to me and so many other girls. She is always positive and hardworking, and doesn’t let the industry dictate her life. And I really respect that. She’s created a voice for models, and helped us all to become more important as people and not just mannequins. I also love how involved she is with social media and technology, and how she has encouraged the fashion industry to be involved as well.
In life, my idol is my mom. She got me into modeling when I was just a little kid, and drove me to all of my castings up until I was 17 years old. She was always supportive, and her helping me cope with such a tough industry at such a young age really helped me learn to be strong, independent and hard working. Without her encouragement, I never would have met Coco and learned all that I have from her, nor would I have pushed myself to be where I am today.
Are you dating?
Hah, yes. I have been dating a photographer by the name of Ben Cope for a little over two years now. It’s actually been very fulfilling to date someone in the same industry. He understands my hectic schedule and the bizarre things I have to do for photo shoots sometimes. We also shoot a lot together, which has been really fun. Sometimes, I’ll be the model or sometimes I will creative direct. Dating him has helped me to discover new avenues in the fashion industry. He’s also incredibly sweet.
If you could do a shoot with any other model, who would it be?
Hmmm, that’s a great question. I think I’d like to model with Cara Delevingne. We are of similar heights and builds so she wouldn’t tower over me like Coco, plus she’s blonde and I’m brunette, so it would be a good contrast aesthetically speaking. But most of all, she just looks like she’s a lot of fun on set and as a person. I would love to meet her.
If you could do a campaign with any brand, what would it be?
I really love Givenchy ad campaigns. I think they are edgy and always a little dark, which I like. I also really love Celine. They have the best vibe — always chill and they let the clothing speak for itself. Saint Laurent would be a dream come true, though. I’ve always wanted to walk their show and shoot with Hedi Slimane.
Describe your style/fashion sense:
I wear a lot of black. My every day is a black tee/tank paired with black leather pants/jeans and either a pair of Converse or Doc Martens. I also really enjoy dressing up, though. That’s when I’ll be a little more adventurous, but generally all black because it all goes together, which is easy when I’m traveling.
Favorite brand/line right now?
I’m obsessed with Blank NYC. I wear their vegan leather pants/shorts every single day almost. If you want the look of real leather, but don’t want the hefty price tag or don’t like wearing animal products, their line is perfect. Super chic and comfortable.
Go-to clothing item/accessory?
Sunglasses and my Saint Laurent bag. I always have those two things with me. Sunglasses — because then I don’t have to wear makeup as much, which keeps my skin healthier since I’m always putting it through the ringer at photo shoots, and my Saint Laurent bag because it’s the first nice designer piece I was able to buy myself.
Current must-have beauty product?
I like so many things! I’m a skincare freak. I really love 100% organic coconut oil. I put it on my skin every night before bed. When I’m out and about and my skin is feeling a little dry, I use Embryolisse “Lait Crème Concentrè,” which is pretty popular in the modeling community. As far as makeup, my favorite product is Benefit Cosmetics “Watt’s Up!” shine stick. I apply a little on the cheekbone everyday; it gives my overall look a healthy glow.
Go-to nail color?
Dark. Usually a dark red or blue. I also really like natural colors — “Bubble Bath” by OPI is a fav of mine.
If you could only wear one type of makeup for a shoot (mascara, foundation, lipstick, etc.), what would it be?
Mascara for sure. You have to make your eyes pop! I love natural skin, but if you can make your eyes glimmer a bit, that makes all the difference.
What can’t you live without?
My iPhone 6, sadly. I am always emailing, texting, or on social media. I also love Fruit Ninja (helps me distress). Plus, I have the kindle app so I can read books if I have downtime at photo-shoots, or am waiting at long castings.
Green tea. But if coffee is a must — a soy, iced, upside-down caramel macchiato (I used to work at Starbucks, can you tell?).
Go-to Instagram filter?
None. I use VSCO cam for all of my filter needs. They’re so much better!
What makes you feel beautiful?
The people around me in my life make me feel beautiful. I have the most amazing group of friends, and I know whenever I am around them, I don’t have to wear makeup or dress up or being anything other than myself. Because they love me just the way I am. And that makes me feel beautiful.
What makes you feel badass?
I’m extremely competitive, but mostly with myself. So getting Mosaic status on Jetblue last year was one of my biggest goals. I got a high from booking flights and counting miles, it’s stupid but it’s hard to have hobbies when you travel a lot, so why not combine the two? I also get really excited when I get a new sword or dojo on Fruit Ninja. It’s the little things.
What’s your vice?
Green tea. I crave it like crazy, specifically this brand called Yamamotoyama. It’s so good. I drink way too much.
Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?
I don’t really have a favorite band. I’m one of those people who makes playlists that consists of a lot of different songs by a lot of different artists. I like variety. I spend a lot of time traveling, so I like to be able to go from electro, to hip-hop, to rap and then to rock really easily. But as far as a song I like right now, “Seconds” by Ghost Loft or “Firestone” by Kygo.
What’s the theme song to your life right now?
“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars. Every time that song comes on, it puts me in the best mood and makes me feel like life is great, because right now life is great (albeit a bit stressful at times). But I am pretty happy and excited for 2015.
What do you do besides modeling – for work, play, or hobby?
I really enjoy reading when I can find the time, whether it be a new best-seller or the latest edition of The New Yorker (I have a subscription). I also really like to write. I have an app on my computer called “Day One” that alerts me at the same time every day, and reminds me to write. I’m not always good about it, but I try to write as much as possible. I’m also a computer gaming nerd, and a part of the PC-Master Race (even though I play on a Mac). My favorite game is League of Legends, but I also like checking out the latest games on Steam occasionally.
What would you be doing career-wise if you weren’t modeling?
Something else creative for sure! But it’s hard to say. I might work at a gaming company like Riot or Blizzard, or maybe I’d be an actress — something fun, interesting and unlike any other job. I’ll never have a standard desk job, not to say that’s a bad job, it’s just not me.
Five year plan?
Move into acting or creative directing. Modeling is fun, but I don’t want to do it forever. I’ve been doing it for almost 10 years (which seems confusing since I started when I was 9 years old, but I took my middle school years off). I want to explore other avenues of the fashion or entertainment industries. Whatever I do, it will be a step forward in the right direction.
What advice would you give to aspiring models?
First of all, make sure it’s something you really want to do, because it’s not as easy or glamorous as people think. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. A modeling career is full of long hours and a ton of rejection, but also a lot of unique experiences. You will get to travel and meet and work with incredibly talented people. It’s a truly unique job, unlike any other. Modeling is about perseverance — you just have to keep working and working, and even if you make it one day, the work only becomes harder. But the rewards also become greater. Above all else, you have to love what you do. What you have to go through to be a successful model is not worth it, if you don’t love it.