EXCLUSIVE: Model Soraya Jansen talks about walking for Vivienne Westwood

"It's made my year already!" she said

By ELLE Malaysia | Published: 11 Jan 2017

Soraya on Westwood
Photo: malaysiatrulyasia94/Instagram

Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I'm Soraya Jansen. I'm 22 years old and I'm half Malay half German. I was born in KL and my family is from Mata Ayer, Perlis. When I'm not modelling, I'm studying – I'm in my final year at University of the Arts London (UAL) doing fine art.

What led to you walk in Vivienne's show?
My mum always wanted me to model but I never got into it properly until I moved to London and realised all the wonderful opportunities that came with the job! I literally just came back from my Christmas holidays, was cast for the show on Friday and walked on Monday! All of it happened so fast. On Sunday I did the fitting and to celebrate I went to the Malaysian food hall and ate sambal ikan.

How do you feel about being the first girl in the show?
Honestly, it was so surreal – already to be walking in the show is an accomplishment but to have the opportunity to be the first girl out, and have two looks, I was so so so happy; it's made my year already! But I'm also so proud to be repping South East Asian models and that's why I love London because designers genuinely want to cast a diverse range of models of different ethnicities.

Did you meet Vivienne and if so, what was the best part about it?

Yes! I met her at the fitting. I was of course trying to hide how nervous I was, and she was so lovely. Vivienne Westwood is my idol, obviously for the clothes, but she also plays such a big role in our society in spreading awareness on environmental, political and social issues that many famous people choose to ignore.

Not a lot of people in positions of power really care about climate change because it doesn't create profit and they think it doesn't directly affect them (it affects the whole world!), and that's why I think she's the realest most badass woman ever. She genuinely cares about the environment and fights for it, I see her as so much more than a designer but also an activist, and a crucial voice in fighting against the environmental destruction of our planet. And to me that's why it was a dream to walk for her.

What's the best thing you've learned in your time in the modelling world?

Modelling is taking a lot of rejection, and the best thing I've learned from it is to never take anything personally but to understand how casting works – there are about 400 other models being casted and if you don't get the part, it means you don't fit that specific look for the client at that time, but another time will come.

Will you be walking in any upcoming shows, including women's fashion week?
I honestly have no idea! As I said, shows are a very last minute thing, but I will be doing women's fashion week again in February although only in London as I need to work on my degree show!

Related: First girl out at Vivienne Westwood's AW17 men's show is Malaysian


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