Tessa Maye is our Model Of The Month For September 2015. The 26-year-old British beauty shares a lot in common with Kate Moss. Discovered at an airport in 2010 when she was about to jet off for a girls’ holiday in America, she was persuaded by her friends to enter an on-the-spot modelling competition at Gatwick.
She was chosen as the competition winner by judge Lily Cole and bagged herself a New Faces contract with renowned agency Storm,(the same agency as Kate Moss') that helped launch her modelling career.
To celebrate her victory, the rising star went back to Gatwick to make her catwalk debut, showcasing the airport’s hottest summer looks in front of thousands of passengers.
With her blond locks and a lovely personality the Surrey native considers Kate Moss to be her favorite all time model. With a degree from London College of Fashion she has a frankness that is refreshing and is not afraid to talk the hard facts. A look at her Instagram and one quickly can tell that she appears to love the beach. We have a feeling this girl's strong editorial looks are going to champion diversity across the international catwalks next season.
Tessa took the time to speak with The FMD in an exclusive interview in which she discusses her beginnings, life as a model and her plans for the future.
Did you always wanted to be a model, or did you stumble upon it, get discovered etc.? Who or what inspired you to become a model? How did you get started in the modeling business?
I’ve always felt like at any minute, someone is going to turn around and tell me it’s all been a big prank! Modelling isn't something I’ve ever chased, and I feel grateful every day that I can do it. With modelling, if you’re got a certain build/look/height and you tick all the boxes agencies need, it’s then up to you whether you’d like to explore it further and go seek out agencies. I first got scouted by a big London agency at 14 on a school trip, but I decided (mum forced me) to finish school and get signed when I’d finished. My big push to make this my career was getting signed to Storm- the same agency as Kate Moss, my model hero - after finishing uni and getting scouted at Gatwick airport. You get started by putting yourself out there.
What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about being a model? What do you like least? Have you encountered any surprises along the way? What has been your most awkward moment (of your modeling career)?
I love my job. I LOVE the travel, the creative process, the photography, the dress-up, the new amazing people you meet every day, the memories, the FREEDOM! A downside can be getting a bit lonely and the lack of control about what you’ll be doing or where you’ll be the next day or even in a few hours… that takes a bit of getting used to. Awkward moment? There’s been so many. Probably doing a kissing commercial and telling the male model I’d just met that he had a massive bogey and I couldn't carry on until it was sorted out. Awkz.
What’s the funniest thing that happened to you on a photo shoot or fashion show?
Chicken fillets falling out of a mic’d up commercial set and slapping onto the ground was
How would you describe yourself as model in three words?
Professional, sexy, enthusiastic. Am I allowed to say sexy? F*** it.
Out of all the places your career has taken you, where was the most memorable?
Paris in snow or Sydney in the summer.
Who is your favorite photographer? Why?
Annie Leibovitz. She’s badass.
What was the hardest photo shoot for you, and why?
A job in London where a stylist threw a high heel at my head in a strop about sizes.. probably shouldn’t name names..
Is there a difference in posing when you are doing a cover and an editorial?
A cover is usually a beauty shot, so it’ll be all about the glam squad and the photographer. Editorial you’ve got to know how to move..
Is there an artistic or general difference in doing editorials/covers in Europe opposed to USA?
Hmm.. Germany and New York are known to be quite militant in what they want, compared to other places which may be more fluid and easy going…
Did anyone in the industry ask you to change your look, name, etc… If so, what did you do?
I am a 8/10 and I have always made it very clear I’ll never go below that. Positive body image is important to me. Otherwise, it’s my role to adapt to lots of different looks and personas- that’s the job. :)
What tips and advice do you have for aspiring models just starting out, something you wish someone would have told you?
Know how to say no, and what your boundaries are. The fashion industry isn’t saving lives - nothing is that important to make you feel sad or anxious. Bring nude thongs in your bag at all times!
Have you had any negative experiences with model agencies, talent scouts? What are top 3
warning signs to look out for?
Make sure the agency is legit. Don’t pay loads for portfolio before you see an agency because they know if they want you with or without photos. Make sure the agency reeeeally wants you, so they’ll push you, don’t persuade them to take you on if they’re not sure because you won’t work.
Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get
you by in life and professional career?
A friend of mine got told by his mum every time he went on a night out,”Have fun and don’t break the law”.
What should a relationship between an agent and model look like?
Friendly, but remember it’s still a business at the end of the day. My agents have been my backbone through my career and I am so grateful for everyone at Storm in so many ways.
Who is your favorite all-time model?
Got to be Moss
Do other models inspire you?
My friends inspire me. People models are bitchy, and yeah sure there are a few d***heads out there, but so many beautiful, driven, hilarious, gorgeous girls have proven that theory wrong over and over again. Models tend to encourage each other as we’re all living a similar day-to-day life, yet completely individually.
How do you feel fashion has empowered you?
I like to sit with my legs open on the tube, so I’ll always be grateful be trainers and
jeans. I don’t like dressing stereotypically girly because I can’t do spontaneous
Is the fashion world what you expected it to be?
High fashion labels are just like Zoolander. The rest of the industry is just pretty nice.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I try and travel as much as I can in my free time, even if it’s just in England or to a new
part of London.
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
I am really struggling to answer that. So I’ll go with my favourite brands, which are Acne Studios, Maje and hey screw it, Nike!
What things in your wardrobe would you never throw away?
Sentimental dresses that I want to pass on.
What era would you like to bring back?
Who is your style icon?
Your favorite store?
What are your best beauty secrets?
Keep it simple and listen to your body. Natural is best! Slightly obsessed with Coconut oil and Pawpaw.
Do you have any beauty / skin care tips or tricks to look fresh and rested for early
morning photo shoots?
Drink a load of water the day before and do a Philip Kingsley Elasticizer hair mask and a natural moisturising face mask two nights before. Beauty sleep is no joke.
Do you believe in homemade recipes? Do you have one to share with us?
Coconut oil, sugar and lemon scrub for a gentle natural exfoliant.
How much attention do you pay to meditation & exercise, or is it all natural? How do you stay in shape?
Walk. Walk. Walk. Get a pacer app and try and get up to 13000 a day. Go up escalators, walk the dog, get outside and get your heart rate up. I do struggle with resting my mind…
What makes you feel sexy?
What is your favorite part about your body?
I’m just happy to be healthy.
Favorite kind of food:
When models say they eat healthy, what do they mean by that?
Hopefully they mean balance. High protein, low carb, nuts, fruit, water, natural sugars, no saturated fats. Sugar is a cancer feeder whether we like it or not, but being too healthy can be anti social and, let’s face it, boring. Check out Deliciously Ella and Madeline Shaw for healthy inspo. I probably drink eat too much sweet stuff, but I’m not going to feel
guilty about it.
How would you describe yourself as a human being in three words?
Hugger, sarcastic, loyal
What’s controversial or unique about you?
I tend to make impulsive decisions based on the fact ‘it might be funny’.
If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
Have you ever had a flying dream?
What would you like to change about yourself if you can choose only one thing?
What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
Anything to do with the beach, finding new dinner venues with friends, gigs.
Do you have a mentor? Who? What is it about them that affects you? Why?
I’m recklessly independent.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? What could be your next career?
Maybe something in broadcast or writing…
Do people act different around you since you’ve become a model?
Yup, I just had to cut myself off from those people. You have to surround yourself with
friendly, understanding, grounded, awesome friends.
Do you have any model friend that you would suggest for the next model of the month on FMD?
Chloe Lloyd- she’s a legend.
Favorite kind of music? Favorite television series or movie?
I'm a little sceney, emo rock chick at heart. Any makes me happy. Singing in the car has to
be in the top three things in life.
"This too shall pass.”
What’s your favorite fashion magazine? Why?
I have piles and piles of Vogue, although I get all my fashion news and inspiration online
I'd like to meet …
Happiness is …
Walks through Hampstead Heath in the sun.
If you could change one thing in the past years, what would it be?
Don’t worry about looking ‘cool’.
People have said I look like …
I get a different person every day. Rosie HW has been my absolute favourite.
What would you ask yourself that we haven’t asked you in this interview?
You guys have got the questions covered :)
How would you describe FMD in one phrase? Your quote about FMD?
A fashion platform for the aesthetically pleasing.
Thank you Tessa for this amazing interview!
note: all answers are original and unaltered - Editor: Iva Mirbach; Intro: Clinton Gonsalvez