What convinced you to move over to Elite?
Silvio had been pressuring me to take over Elite for like nine months. I didn’t want to do it. Because in my mind, the modeling industry was young women being paraded in front of men getting told, you’re ugly, you’re fat. I wanted nothing to do with it. But he told me, “Look, research the industry, maybe you can change it.”
That’s when I realized that there is this massive shift happening in the power dynamic. Before, as talent, you had zero control of your own destiny. Now it’s creative directors, casting agents, photographers running after the talent. Because the talent has the audience. That means we can put the power in the hands of the women. [Elite also represents male and nonbinary talent.]
Why did you decide to make a reality show?
Until I became creative director of La Perla, I didn’t tell a single soul anything about my past. Zero. Like, if guys would ask about my past, I would literally make [expletive] up. I didn’t want people to know my story. I didn’t want to be a victim. But after my first collection, I thought, I’ve accomplished a little something. I had come to a place of personal comfort. And I hoped that someone would watch this and say, OK, if this crazy bitch did it, I can do it.
Did you and your family have any anxiety about letting cameras into your lives?
We were all petrified out of our minds. I’m scared now. Because I’ve bared my soul to the whole planet. But working with Jeff Jenkins has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. We collaborated on everything. He trusted me, and he realized that I’m not someone you can manipulate. Nothing went in there without my approval. Zero.
Is there any difference between who you are on camera and off?
No. When I left there was no going back to disappearing, to not being me. People may hate me. They may like me. But I’m going to be me all the time.