Each week, we take the time to highlight one of our favorite emerging models. Last week, we profiled Australian beauty Sophie Turnbull and this week we're turning our attention to Chavelli Inghels.
The Gent native had never dreamed of her moment in the spotlight and her debut provoked the curiosity of the fashion world. Elegant yet offbeat and with a natural charisma she already has the makings of a supermodel and will undoubtedly become fashion royalty in the coming Fashion seasons.
We caught up with her to talk about her career so far, her passion for modeling and her plans for the future.
Agency: Why Not Models (Milan, Italy)
Have you always been wanted to be a model? If not, what did you want to be growing up?
When I grew up in the Dutch countryside it never even occurred to me that modeling was a job. I always felt like the tall skinny girl that never really fitted in with the beauty standards at high school. I always dreamed of going to law school which I ended up doing combining it with modeling. Although I don't really practice law at the moment since I'm still fulltime modeling.
How were you scouted?
I was scouted when I was 13 on a shopping trip in Ghent by Tom Van Dorpe as he was moving all his belongings to New York. He approached me on this small alleyway carrying his moving boxes and I remember thinking he was making a joke. I found it a bit shady as well, to be honest, but he called me a week later and asked to come to Dominique Models agency in Brussels. My parents were quite hesitant about it but my mom accompanied me to Brussels and that was the start of my career that is going strong for over ten years now.
How would you describe yourself as a model in three words?
Bubbly, independent, creative
Your first modeling job?
Aside from some tests and small shoots, the first real job I did was an exclusive for Calvin Klein in New York. I was 17 and would spend the summertime in Paris for modeling. I went on to meet the casting directors for Calvin Klein and they flew me to New York next September to walk the show.
What is your favorite or most exciting aspect of being a model?
Getting to transform each time I'm on set. You get to channel a different persona each day with full makeup/hair and styling. I love to see how all the pieces fall into place and create a new and different image each time.
What's been your biggest OMG moment to date?
When I was in New York for the Calvin Klein exclusive I had a late-night fitting with Francisco Costa for the show the next day. I had this lovely blue dress with high heels and had to show them my walk a few times. I only didn't see there was an electrical plug on the floor which they taped up. Already nervous about this big meeting and for being the first time in New York I held my head up straight and was ready to give them my best walk...only to get my heel stuck in the plug. I fell hard on the floor in front of the designer and casting director leaving a big wound on my leg which was bleeding very hard. I thought this was the end and that they would cancel me for the show. They didn't and had to cover everything up the next day with special makeup on the show since I was wearing a mini dress. Safe to say I'll never forget my first time in New York.
Biggest lesson that modeling has taught you?
There are so many lessons modeling taught me. One of the biggest ones would be, be humble. Every day on set is different and is teamwork. From the photographer, make-up artist, stylist, assistants,... Everybody is there doing his job in creating the best picture and I'm only a small part in it. So no time for diva behavior or being late. Work hard, show up in time and be nice and you'll get a long way?
What's the best life advice you've ever received?
Live in the present. Especially in this job opportunities and crazy experiences can come so fast so try to take them all in because it can be over before you realize it. Sometimes I look back now on the rollercoaster I've been on throughout the years and it amazes me to see how far I've come. I now regret sometimes not being more present when I was younger and really live through the experiences I've been through but it can be really overwhelming when you're young and first starting out as a model. You are forced to grow up really fast since you're constantly surrounded by people on set that are often a lot older than you. You get on planes and trains so many times a week you lose count. You lose track of the country you're in. So be present and enjoy wherever this journey takes you.
How do you stay in shape?
I've always been into sports. I've played tennis since I was 8 and I also love Pilates, yoga, and boot camps. I aim to work out five times a week but depending on my schedule sometimes it's only once a week. On top of that, the most important thing is just to be active throughout the day. Walking instead of taking the car or bus everywhere also helps a lot.
Denim or leather?
Heels or flats?
Flats, I walk at least 10km every day so I need comfortable shoes.
Vintage or contemporary fashion?
Ideally a good mix of both but if I had to choose I'd go for vintage. I love the thrill of finding a unique piece you know nobody will be wearing. I also like the sustainable part of shopping vintage. Clothes being reused without going to waste. The quality of older pieces is often also amazing. The craftsmanship that went into it is often a true piece of art.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate, I'm Belgian, what can I say...
What's been your most indulgent purchase since you became a model?
For 5 years I combined full time modeling with studying for my law degree. It was a very intense period flying around Europe while trying to keep up with my studies. During my exam period, I wouldn't work for a month and would do 12-14-hour days of studying nonstop to pass my exams. I especially remember the last year where I also had to write a thesis and being so exhausted I didn't think I would be able to finish it. I made it and I ended up graduating with honors and taking home a prize for the best student that studies and works at the same time. After this, I bought a black Givenchy Antigona bag to reward myself for all the time and effort I put into it. To this day I feel the same proudness if I look at that bag as the day I bought it. It symbolizes to me that I can handle anything that's been thrown my way.
When you're not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do?
I love to go out in nature. Go on a hike with some good music and just get lost and explore whatever there is to see. When I'm out and about with my music it makes me see my thoughts more clearly and it's my way of daydreaming and thinking about life in general. It really calms me down and makes me more grounded.
Check out Chavelli's profile here and check back next week to find out who our next 'Model of the Week' is.
Thank you Chavelli for this amazing interview!
Follow Fashion Model Directory on Pinterest, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and Instagram !
Interview by: Clinton Gonsalvez
Special Thanks to Teizeen Haji @ Why Not Model Agency (Milan, Italy).