Aesthetically focused, detail-oriented and innovative are three initial qualities that come to mind when thinking of Los Angeles-native, model and creative Danielle Alcaraz. Now I’m not saying “aesthetically focused” as in image-centered – though she can admit that is essentially the basis of modeling – but merely to say that she is always on the lookout for eye-catching views, inspiring artwork, and thoughtfully curated content.
Danielle is an absolute joy to photograph, not only because she works in front of the camera for a living, but for her imaginative mind and eagerness to create beautiful images. As a model, she enables the photographer to take the role of an artist, painting a picture of a moment or a mood. She has complete control of her petite figure and the gift of being able to convince you that she’s sweet and innocent one moment, and up to no good the next, all just with a slight shift in the look of her eye.
As Danielle is part of the marketing team for Live FAST, I’ve had the pleasure of working with and getting to know her through the production of this enterprise, and I genuinely believe that having her on set for every single shoot has been vital to our success. Her keen eye, attention to detail, awareness of trends, and years of experience working in fashion add a distinctive element to our team, and we’re better for it. As an outsider I’ve always been curious about the real expectations placed on models and their potential side effects, and to my delight, Danielle very thoughtfully answered some of my inquiries.
LF: Describe your perfect lingerie set. What does it look like and how does it make you feel when you wear it?
DA: My perfect lingerie set hugs me in all of the right places. I usually gravitate towards lace, satin, and mesh sets. There’s always something special about the little details, like an embroidered bra or the characteristic of a garter belt. I can transition from simple and elegant to bold statement pieces, it really depends on my mood. As a huge Helmut Newton fan, sheer pantyhose are a necessity in my lingerie drawer. It makes me feel powerful and seductive.
LF: As an agency-represented, working model, much of your career deals with image and physical appearance, and of course there is a certain mold to fill. What kind of impact do you see these pressures having on models?
DA: Self-love, ego, and self-consciousness play such a huge role in the industry. We are constantly thinking about our identity and how we are perceived, but I have come to realize that there is no such thing as perfect. Keeping up with your image and physical appearance is a constant job. Models have to be very consistent with their work-out routines and maintain healthy eating habits. It all really reflects from the inside out. It’s really important to know “your look, your style, your vibe.” Be authentic. Be you.
LF: What makes you feel sexy?
DA: A glass of wine, a hot outfit, the beach.
LF: Though you definitely don’t need it, I’m sure photos of you are often retouched. Have you ever seen an edited photo of yourself that was so Photoshopped that you didn’t recognize yourself, or immediately noticed what they had changed? If so, what did that feel like?
DA: Photoshop can be amazing or a disaster if not used correctly. Most of the retouching I’ve seen are usually very minor changes, although some brands tend to over-do it. I have dealt with skin issues my whole life and it has made me insecure at times. Fortunately, everyone I work with is super supportive and understanding. You have to learn to accept yourself, flaws and all.
LF: Turn ons? Turn offs?
DA: Turn ons: Intelligent, well cultured, spiritual. Turn offs: Immature, egotistical.
LF: How does modeling for e-commerce differ from modeling for editorials or print?
DA: E-commerce can be much less inspiring than editorials. Your job is to make the product look good, make it come to life, and give it purpose, which can be enjoyable. It’s all what you make of it. However, with editorials there is much more creative freedom to make art. It gives you a chance to explore different characters, attitudes, and emotions. It can be a great expressive exercise.
LF: What is your guilty pleasure?
DA: My guilty pleasure is dancing on the stripper pole my roommate installed in our living room.
LF: How do you see the rise of trends like body positivity and self-love changing the beauty and fashion industries, if not yet, in the coming years?
DA: We are constantly reminded by the media that who we are isn’t enough. Not pretty enough, rich enough, or skinny enough. The list is never ending. There is no such thing as perfect. Women are honoring who they are by breaking the cycle of conditioning. Fortunately, the trends are encouraging the rest of the world to be your true authentic self and to value sisterhood. It’s a greater vision to create peace on our journey in this life.
LF: What was your relationship with your body like as a teenager, and how has it changed since then?
DA: I would like to think my relationship with my teenage body was healthy. Sports were always a big part of my life growing up. Whether it was dancing, basketball or skateboarding, I was constantly active. However, I ate whatever I wanted: sweets, carbs, dairy etc., which is a hard habit to break as I get older.
LF: What is your favorite aspect of being a model, or muse?
DA: Collaborating with talented artists in the industry has been extremely inspiring. Being a model and a creative person has opened up doors to learn all aspects of the business. I have found a new appreciation for photography, marketing, and production. It has been an amazing opportunity that I am grateful for.
LF: What is one thing you love about yourself – physically, mentally, or both?
DA: One thing I physically love about myself is my diversity. Being a mix of Spanish/Mexican and Dutch/Indonesian has broadened my cultural knowledge. It has also been a great look for commercial and print jobs – “Ethnically Ambiguous.” As far as mentally, being raised as an only child by my Dad, I have learned the importance of independence and maturity. Being born and raised in the heart of LA helped build a strong character. Through all the craziness this city has to offer, I have been able to remain down to earth.
LF: If you could design a shoot to model for, what designer or brand would you choose, who would the photographer be, and where would it be shot?
DA: Lingerie by Agent Provocateur mixed with vintage pieces shot by Ellen Von Unwerth in a castle with a beautiful garden; sensual and mysterious.
LF: What advice would you give to women and girls learning to love themselves?
DA: Allow yourself to let love in. You are perfect. You are worthy. You only have one life to live. One of the keys is to make a decision that allows you to receive love and be more open. Let go of what people think of you. Live your life.
LF: How FAST do you live?