By Jasmine Chorley Foster
I first met Eve in 2010. Every model in town looked near identical: pale skin, blue eyes, waist-length hair, and those damned shiny black leggings from American Apparel. With her signature platinum-blond crop and inimitable style, Eve immediately stuck out.
As I got to know her, Eve's indomitable spirit only further separated her from the crowd. I learned about her passion for music, her background as a dancer, and her former life as a princess at Tokyo Disneyland. For real.
Simply put, Eve is one of a kind.
The Business Model: Where are you from originally? How did you begin modelling, and when?
Eve Smith: I was born in Australia to Canadian parents. I started modeling really late by industry standards, at 21. Around then I had a few people encourage me to get into modeling and was bullied into auditioning for Australia's Next Top Model by a (so-called!) friend. To my great surprise I made it in to final 12 on the show but I chose to pull out last minute because I had reservations about being on reality tv. By nature I am a super sensitive person and I could see myself having an epic melt-down in front of the whole country! Also I felt like if I went on the show any successes would be on the back of being on AusNTM, they would not be on my own merit. I decided instead to sign with an agency and start my career from the ground up. I'm very good at choosing the most challenging path, haha... it builds character and experience, no?
TBM: Has your dance background helped you as a model?
ES: Totally. It sounds funny to say but I'm told I'm a "good mover" in front of the camera. I have trouble staying static so I move a lot while shooting, I never stop moving my feet which in turn forces the rest of the body to reset the pose. This is especially helpful for e-commerce and catalogue where you're shooting 10 hours and can't just repeat the same 8 poses for 80 outfits! Dance also helps with awareness of your lines, angles and helps with grace while shooting video. Any model knows how common it is for the client to ask you to dance in a casting, I would recommend all models get their ass to dance class! Take lessons in whatever speaks to you, hip hop, ballet, jazz, belly dance, dancehall, popping, whacking, lyrical... there is something for everyone at every level.
TBM: You spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and then made the jump to LA. What inspired you to make the move?
ES: Last year Topshop flew me out to LA to DJ their opening in The Grove, that's when Ford showed interest in me coming out for an extended period to work. My partner in HK, Francisco, was instrumental in pushing me to make the move. He and I know that to really further myself as a DJ and model I need to be always challenging myself. I was very comfortable in HK, I had regular work, clients and a blossoming DJ career and chose to put that on hold to start fresh in Los Angeles. I have a fear of being in my comfort zone though, I actually thrive when I'm under pressure and out of my realm of comfort and experience. LA seemed like the scariest leap at the time so I made it!
TBM: Do you think your popularity and success in Hong Kong helped boost your profile in LA?
ES: NOPE. You get to LA and no one really gives a shit about how "big" you are elsewhere, you have to start over, from ground zero and prove yourself over and over again. Which in a way is very beneficial because it forces you to be great. And if you're not great, you have to become it. I like that. By demanding a lot from you, LA serves in making you better at whatever you're doing! That goes for Singers, Actors, Dancers, Filmakers, Models, the lot. Come to LA, expect the hustle!
TBM: As far as modelling goes, what would you say have been the most notable differences between working in Asia and working in the States?
ES: The treatment on set. And that's a very general statement, because specifically in Asian cities you will receive very differing levels of care. Like in Tokyo you are given a lovely face massage before EVERY job by the makeup artist to prep the skin. In my experience some cities in China don't treat models so well (this is also the experience of many of my model friends in China). Hong Kong is a lot better than mainland China, but there can be a real lack of communication... often you have very little idea of what you are shooting, how many outfits, creative direction, even when lunch will be! It's like an on-set guessing game haha. In LA, clients really look after you, it's probably more fun for me on set in LA.
TBM: Do you see yourself being based out of LA for the long run or do you still plan to travel in the future?
ES: I'm REALLY loving being in LA right now. I also like splitting my time between two cities and doing that with HK/LA is a great combination because they offer such different lifestyles... HK is the fast-paced nightlife-centric busy metropolis. LA is more laid back and I love being able to drive everywhere and enjoy California produce. But if travel comes up in the future I'll most likely embrace it.
TBM: You've got a classically beautiful face but an edgier haircut. Did your agency ever encourage you to adopt a more neutral haircut?
ES: Haha it's funny you ask this because it's an ongoing theme with me. I watch models all around me get cuts and colours at the request (or demand) of their agency and my agencies literally never fuck with my hair. I think because I'm older and have developed a distinct sense of style, my bookers are happy with me managing my appearance as I see fit which is a lovely luxury, and one that I sometimes abuse by shocking the shit out of them when I walk into the agency with lime green or pink hair. I mean Ford signed me with turquoise hair... they knew what they were getting into :D
TBM: In addition to modelling, you've worked for some big companies as a DJ. How did you get started?
ES: I bought myself some decks a few years ago and taught myself! I don't think I left my bedroom for about a month, it was so fun discovering the ins and outs of the equipment. From there things really took off when I got to Hong Kong in 2011. I 100% have HK to thank for the opportunity to DJ professionally, not just as a bedroom hobby.
TBM: What would be your dream DJ gig?
ES: I've fortunately had some cracker gigs this year. I got to DJ for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabanna and Vanity Fair. Being Music Director for Hong Kong Fashion Week the last 3 years has been my favourite on-going dream job. It's the perfect combination of fashion and music! My future dream job is definitely to go on tour with an artist as the DJ. Also I'd love to be a Music Director at a fashion house, or retail giant like Topshop. That would take the gluten-free cake.
TBM: What is your favourite casting outfit?
ES: I am so down for something unexpected that makes clients remember you over everyone else. I like my all white pleather two piece crop top and skort from Growze. My Aldo zippered booties are high enough to extend the leg but comfortable enough to spend a full day running to castings in. Can't go past an MCM backpack to fit the portfolio, flats and a swimsuit in. Finally a white Swatch watch cause nobody likes a late model!
TBM: What would your perfect day consist of?
ES: SLEEP IN! Poached eggs on avocado, followed by a nap. Wake up. Gluten free pizza. In bed with my piglet-french bulldog Butters. Watch Spice World. Then a spa afternoon with massage & facial followed by drinks with friends. Then catching one of my favourite DJ's spin and partying all night.
Eve is represented by Vivien's Model Management in Sydney, Ford Models in Los Angeles, Starz People in Hong Kong, MD Management in Hamburg, and Plutino Group in Toronto. Connect with Eve on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and check out her website evespeciall.com.