by Editor Madeline Figueroa-Jones
Plus Model Valerie Lefkowitz has been a staple in the modeling industry
for a number of years. Watching her move in front of the camera, while
shooting the July Cover, was nothing short of amazing. She's fluid; she
had fun and embodied the essence of each look perfectly. We sat with
Valerie for a few minutes for a one-on-one... enjoy!
[Maddy] I read that you have been modeling since you were fifteen years old. Can you tell us how you got started?
[Valerie] It's true that I attended Barbizon when I was about 14
years old. It was so much fun. The other girls there were a
blast and it was definitely something I looked forward to every
Saturday. The photographer at Barbizon sent a Polaroid to
Wilhelmina Models in NYC and I was called in for a meeting. By
this time I was 15, it was the summer before my sophomore year of high
school, and I didn't really have any experience other than the classes
I took at Barbizon. I had a meeting with Susan Georget and left
with a contract.
[Maddy] At this tender age, was there pressure to stay below a particular size?
[Valerie] No, No pressure. I've always been on the plus
board. Sure, when I was first starting out I was smaller, maybe a
size 10-12, but I was also 15. I had yet to develop my womanly
[Maddy] You have been represented by two of the most notable modeling
agencies, Ford Models and Wilhelmina, what advice can you offer ladies
who have just been signed with an agency?
[Valerie] Well, trust your bookers, but don't be afraid to put in your
two cents. Also don't be afraid to ask questions, meaning don't
be afraid to look silly by asking a seemingly silly question.
Your bookers are there for you, so let them be there. It's better
to look silly to your bookers than to a client.
booker-model relationships I've had have been professional, personal,
open, honest, direct, and super fun all in one. Stay on top of
your book, meaning testing and getting tear sheets from clients.
Turn your vouchers in immediately, even if you have to mail it in,
that's what I do. It really helps accounting. And it's ok
not to talk to your bookers every day. Maybe that sounds weird,
but some days I have nothing going on, and that's ok. In addition to
that, it's good for your agency to see you at least once a month.
Keep your face fresh in their mind, and let them see how gorgeous you
are in person!
[Maddy] Great advice! Many of our readers ask us about how to be
prepared for a shoot. Can you tell us what your MUST HAVES for a models
[Valerie] Ooo, my model bag, of course! Here is my list:
portfolio with cards, nude seamless bra and thong, nude seamless
strapless bra, black strapless convertible bra, sun block, lotion, body
makeup (nothing too fancy, I have a can of Sally Hansen Airbrush legs,
mix that with the lotion for an instant glow), ahem...chicken
cutlets...bra padding :-), and other padding... you never know when the
sample size will not be your correct size, and sometimes filling it out
is better than pinning it in. And I have a little book of
[Maddy] You have worked with amazing clients such as Fruit of the Loom,
Dress Barn, Dockers and Target to name a few can you tell us about
your first big "gig"?
[Valerie] Gosh, my first big gig would have to be my first gig
ever. Not that it was so huge, I've been in bigger productions
since then, but it was my first gig, so, yeah, that's big! I was
15 or 16 and it was an editorial spread for Mode Magazine. We
shot in a studio in NYC, a really cool studio I haven't been to in
years, Primal Light. One of my sisters was living in the
Manhattan area at the time so I stayed with her the night before, and
she dropped me off in the morning. We even packed a lunch for me,
I just didn't know what to expect. Of course they do feed you on
shoots, and very well. It was a great day. The name of the
spread was "Phat Stuff" and I made the opening page. A huge
smiley close up, with my hair in knots. I'll always
remember this shoot fondly. I think I definitely knew right there
that I could do this for a long time and be quite happy.