Lisa Cant

March 28, 2021

MODEL: one serving as an example to be imitated or compared

Lisa Cant. What word describes you best? Cartoonish? Hypnotic? Reserved? Unaffected? My favourite is simply "Model."

My interview with Lisa Cant began at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Her day began much earlier in the apartment she keeps in Manhattan's Upper West Side. On this particular morning she rose early, made her way to La Guardia airport, and flew to Toronto to do the Pink Tartan show as part of L'Oreal Fashion Week.

Lisa Cant at
Pink Tartan fittings
We sat in the backseat of the hired car, shuttling towards Pink Tartan's downtown office, discussing the makings of a successful modelling career. It didn't take long however, to realize it isn't just her remarkable visage that makes her special - the combination of perspective, self-confidence and business-savvy that simmers beneath the exterior also puts the Redwood Meadows, Alberta native in a different league.

Cant has a realistic appreciation of the events that have thusfar shaped her career. She's incredibly comfortable with herself, and doesn't fire off one-line, standard responses when someone with a microphone (yours truly) starts prying into her life. In fact, the only time she seems mildly in denial is when pressed about her status in this country.

"It's different coming to work in Canada," she laughs, "because everyone thinks I'm a celebrity. Which I'm not! In New York, when I'm working there I'm just one other model. They treat me nice, but in New York it's not like I'm doing interviews all the time, or photos for newspapers. In New York I'm just another model. It's not like I'm a celebrity there."

Brandon Hall gave me this one, Lisa, when telling me how charming you are.

Ironically, the celebrity status Lisa Cant possesses in this country makes it more difficult for her to find work here. Her Toronto booker, Brandon Hall of Sutherland Models, says that although it's wonderful to have a model of her calibre on Sutherland's roster, booking her for jobs in Canada has its challenges. "It's a lot more negotiating obviously, and there's a smaller number of clients in this city, or in this country that she would be available to."

Fortunately for Brandon, he knows that if he does book Cant for a job she isn't likely to disappoint. "The one thing I've noticed throughout the last couple of days that she's been here - she's met with so many people and they've all said how nice she is. In an industry that's so backstabbing and full of gossip, if they have nothing but nice things to say about this girl - that says a lot."

"You know I sit down and spend time with her, in her downtime, I don't see her as a supermodel, you know? She's just a great girl with a sweet personality and who is easy to talk to."

"Obviously a great personality is going to help you, but I think her personality and her looks go hand-in-hand and have really helped her to be successful."

This was your word, Lisa, to describe your features: "It's like, I have exaggerated eyes, which is a little cartoonish."

The President of Trump Models describes your huge blue eyes, and very pale skin as "not your typical American beauty." He adores what he calls "a gorgeous girl, with very special features."

Your booker at Sutherland Models in Toronto calls you a "modern beauty."

"She's grown into her look which is what needed to happen," says your mother agent.

February 2004 Vogue introduced Lisa Cant to a global audience
February 2004 Vogue introduced
Lisa Cant to a global audience
Cant's place in modelling lore was cemented last year when she booked back-to-back covers of Vogue Italia. Commonly called the industry bible, its covers are reserved for renowned fashion photographer Steven Meisel.

"He really knows what he wants when he takes a photo," says Cant. "Some photographers want you to move around and they end up shooting a lot of film, but Steven says 'alright - hold your head like this - look this way,' and he knows exactly what he wants for each photo."

For February's cover, Steven introduced a new model with Joan Jett's sensibilities and Enya's serenity - and the fashion world started buzzing.

Then came the March cover, on which Meisel shared an otherworldly vision. In one of the more memorable covers in recent times, there was Lisa Cant, long and gorgeous - and straight from the heavens.

March 2004 Vogue affirmed Lisa Cant's place as a top model
March 2004 Vogue affirmed
Lisa Cant's place as a top model
The timing couldn't have been better. As Fashion Weeks approached around the world, Cant had most the lucrative covers on the planet. Casting personnel were scrambling to get the new girl in their shows and art directors were rushing to book her for campaigns.

In an interview last November, Trump Models president Jon Tutolo told Modelresource "usually people would look at that and say 'Oh, this is Steven's girl of the moment,' and move on. We have her now not only shooting with Steven, but with Irving Penn, and doing W [magazine]."

Lisa Cant in September's W magazine, photographed by Paolo Roversi
Lisa Cant in September's W,
photographed by Paolo Roversi
87-year-old Irving Penn is a legend in photography, and someone whose work Cant admires. "He's very old-school. He knows exactly what he wants, and you have to be perfectly still for his photos. If you're wearing a really long dress, he puts a pole behind you so you can lean against it, so it's kind of like you're a doll, standing on a pedestal."

"The focus is so precise on his camera because it's a really large, old camera, so you have to be perfectly still."

Another favorite is Italian photographer Paolo Roversi, whose stunning images inspire many in the world of fashion and photography. "His pictures always turn out beautifully and he's so easy to work with - very fast. He's a very nice person... plus I get to go to Paris to work with him!"