December 2005


No secret here: models are often re-named by their agents to make it easier for clients to remember them. Sometimes the labels are variations of their real names. Other times they are assigned to reflect the model's look and personality.

Then there's Nam's Willow. With long, graceful limbs and a hippie-like deportment, the moniker is both appropriate and easy to retain... and it's actually her real name.

I met the captivating blonde to learn more about her successful young career. Just 15-years-old, she already possesses the maturity to stand up for herself when clients try to put her in fur (something she adamantly opposes). She speaks about the importance of staying grounded, and has already walked in several shows at Olympus Fashion Week in New York.

Willow is the kind of interviewee that makes my job easy. Pleasant and forthright, the grade 10 student has the wherewithal to look her interviewer straight in the eye and keep the conversation moving in a natural progression.

Her sublime combination of presence, charm and photogeniality has worked well for her so far. And so far is just that. There is a bright future ahead for one that glows so brightly.

Modelresource: When did you decide to start modelling?

Willow: When I was 13 I asked my Mom if I could model and she said "ask me again in six months," so I did. I went to see Nam.

Nam is great. When I first met Norwayne [Anderson, Nam's owner] I didn't really know what to think. I was 14-year-old. Now Norwayne's like a second dad to me. He and Aaron [Hawco, Nam's Women's Director] really balance each other out.

Willow in Vogue Sposa
At first I didn't really want everyone to know I was a model, so for the first year I didn't tell anyone except my close friends… but then I came back two weeks late from New York show season, and then a bunch of magazines started coming out and people started asking "are you in that magazine?"

Modelresource: Did you know much about modelling before you started?

Willow: When I got into it I didn't know anything about it. I'm still learning. I've learned a lot.

People think it's a lot easier then it is. It's not easy. I actually thought that way myself until I went to Italy, where they keep you out all day running around to castings.

Modelresource: How was Italy?

Willow: It was really nice – we had a bit of a heat wave, but it was good.

It was a really different experience from here because they send you to all these castings every day. I'm planning on going back to Milan, this summer maybe. When I go I need to go for a couple months, or one month at least, but with school it's hard.

Modelresource: You must have seen a lot of young models there in the summer months.

Willow: Yeah, I met a lot of young girls there.

Modelresource: How has your family dealt with your travels?

Willow: My mom came with me there, as well as to New York and Montréal. She's coming everywhere until I've been each place at least a couple of times. She used to model when she was younger, so she knows what goes on.

Modelresource: Are you surprised by how successful you've been?

Willow: Yeah, a little bit.

The first couple shoots I look at and think "Oh my God." My recent pictures are much better.

Modelresource: How did you enjoy the fashion shows?

Willow in CHIO Di Stefania D
Willow: Fashion week was really fun. I got into Fashion Week in New York as well. I had a bunch of shows there, so when I came here I walked and it was really good.

Modelresource: Were you nervous about doing the CHIO Di Stefania D swimwear show?

Willow: A bit. We didn't get a dress rehearsal, so I didn't know what I was wearing. I got there 30 minutes before I went on.

One of the outfits didn't have a top. Originally there was just a bead kind of thing, so I was like "Yeah, I need a couple more beads here." It was a really good show though.

Modelresource: Where do you see your future in the modelling industry?

Willow: I really want to get big. I really enjoy doing it. I'm staying with school in case things don't work out, but I'm definitely going to follow it.

Modelresource: Have you had any difficulties along the way?

Willow: I don't wear fur, and I've had a bit of trouble with that, but I've learned to stand by your morals. You really grow up in this industry because there are a lot of older people in it. But when I'm with my friends I'm a different person - I'm watching cartoons and stuff. My friends keep me pretty grounded.

Modelresource: What would surprise people about you?

Willow: I used to collect bugs when I was little. I had a big bug collection.

Modelresource: You're a real animal lover.

Willow: I have a lot of pets. A rabbit, a guinea pig, a fish, a dog, a hamster. They're not all mine – they're my brother's and sister's too.

Modelresource: Have you had to make any sacrifices for this career?

Willow: Any sacrifices? I gave up my summer, which is my time with friends and family.

I also eat really healthy. I can't sit down and eat a chocolate cake like I did when I was younger. I don't eat fast food much. I don't eat McDonalds. I try not to eat pastries.

Modelresource: What do you do for exercise?

Willow: I'm on the volleyball team at school. Every morning at 7:00 we have to run around like crazy and play volleyball. It's actually a really good work out. If I'm not doing that I usually run and stretch.

Modelresource: What advice would you give others entering the industry?

Willow: Modelling changes you a bit, but if you really want to do it, go for it. Just make sure you have a good agency because there are a lot of scam agencies out there. Make sure you have an agency that stands behind you.


Blogs We Follow

Cailin Hill (The Model Burnbook)

Models x Models (Models x Models)

Liis Windischmann's (14+ LouLou blog)

Laura Kell (A Model Life)

Madison Schill (Chic Greek Geek)

Kathleen Burbridge (Kathleen in Wonderland)

Ania Boniecka (A n i a . B)

Shawn Dezan (motivated//ambition)