Nicole, La Modelo del Mes for November, met me by Plaza Jacinto Benavente in Madrid on a particularly cold day for some chocolate and churros. Even with the Sanitation Protest going on in the street, Nicole was willing to interview with all the noise.
So you just recently moved to Madrid, how are you liking it?
I love it! I studied abroad for a semester in Seville. This time, I wanted something a little different, and Madrid is very different from Seville. It’s a big city and there’s always something to do. I have few complaints I am from Miami and I am not used to this weather, especially not in November.
You were in Seville, what brought you back to the country?
Well, my boyfriend. I suppose that is the reason for a lot of people. I met my boyfriend around the time I was studying abroad. We decided to give it a go as long as there was a final common destination. It was a lot easier for me to come over here than for him to come to the United States.
How did you meet Shimada?
I heard about Shimada on Facebook. When I arrived here a few weeks ago, my boyfriend desperately needed a haircut. Since Shimada was right on our metro line, I thought we could give him a try. Shimada has a great personality and we hit it off really well.
And how do you become November’s “La Modelo de Mes”?
While my boyfriend was getting his hair cut, Shimada told me about his project. He looked at me for a second and asked if I would mind letting my hair down.He told me that he had a vision of doing some things with long hair. So far, he was unable to since his previous models had shorter hair. It was then he asked me if I would be interested in being his model for November.
How did you react?
I was a little caught off guard. It was the first time I had visited his salon and I don’t see myself as the type of person who would do a photo shoot. With that said, it was flattering and he did a really good job with my boyfriend’s hair. So why not?
So you have never modeled before?
Not really. I’ve seen people do it before because I live in Miami. I am not unaccustomed to being in front of camera. I have danced since I was six and my performances were always filmed. Really, that's about it.
What were you expecting to happen during the shoot?
He said he wanted to use my long hair. I was just worried he was going to ask me to shave part of it off, I think I watch too much television. The week of the shoot, we met to clarify what we were going to do in terms of makeup and hair. It was pretty clear he had thought this through. Funky eyelashes, different hair, and extravagant makeup. He also showed me one of the shirts he had custom-made for the shoot. After that, I felt a lot more confident.
During the experience, did you find there to be anything hard or difficult?
I do not eat a lot, but I eat often. It was a bit difficult with the long shooting schedule. Before I ate a piece of toast with Nutella thinking I would be fine. I should have listened to September’s Model.
I heard that there were a lot of stop and stares. How did that make you feel?
There was a lot of foot traffic that day. We got our first batch of people staring while I was in the salon which freaked me out a little. I think because it happened to me before we went outside, I was more prepared for it during the actual shoot. I just focused on Shimada and the camera. I’m from Miami and you see photo shoots on the beach regularly, maybe it’s not as common in Madrid? There were a lot of people who just stopped to take pictures with their phones.
What was going through your head while you were shooting?
I was just concerned about looking decent on camera. At first, I just focused on keeping calm and trying to take their direction. Shimada was very encouraging, telling me when I did something well. This made it a lot easier.
How long did your makeup take?
The first session took longer than the second. The first session took about an hour to do the makeup, the second took a little less. Just changing the color and accessories. I don’t wear a lot of makeup and I have never used airbrush makeup, I liked it because it feels a lot lighter on the face and it wipes away so much. I get why people use it now.
How did you feel about the results?
I really liked them. My hair is naturally really straight, and I was surprised my poof and curls held up during the entire shoot. It was nice to see the buns come out looking good.
Have you seen the photos?
I didn’t see them until he put up the making of video and on the Facebook page. I’m going this week to see the photos for real and I am actually getting my hair cut this week.
Have you shown the pictures to anyone?
The first person I showed them to was my Mom and she started showing it off to all of her friends. One of my friends wrote me, “I thought you went to Spain to be a teacher…what is this?” Everyone has been warmly receptive. My sister really likes the shoot where I have the buns. I generally stick with easy and simple when it comes to my hair. She really liked that I had something wildly different.
Overall, how was it working with Shimada?
I was really impressed, especially given that Shimada has never worked on my hair before. Having had this experience has raised my opinion of him so much. He had a clear vision of what he wanted and he was so friendly throughout the entire process. He’s focused, but he’s not going to neglect you either. I have had my makeup done for dance shows, but I wasn’t allowed to talk or move my face. That wasn't an issue with him. He was also aware that I had never done this before and incredibly accommodating.
Shimada loves to talk about energy. What did he bring out you?
I am a normally very silly person, but people have told me that sometimes I can come off as intimidating. I think my silly side came out immediately when I met Shimada. I think I also have a part of me that wants to be glamorous. This was the moment to do it, make it or break it.
Any advice for up and coming models?
I think it’s important to be patient as it is a long process. I would also say to be open, you are there to help them create their vision. There is a reason they’re behind the camera and not you.
Anything else that you think would be important to mention?
I have an appreciation for what models do. People have this idea that they sit and look pretty. But no…even if it is a natural position, holding the position for a while is really tiring. It was an awesome experience and would do it again.