It has often been said that, minus the hair-and-makeup glam squads trained in transformation, the meticulous photo retouchers and the studio lighting tricks, a model isn’t much more than a slightly taller, slightly skinnier version of the average woman. But when it comes to 25-year-old Daria Werbowy of Mississauga, Ont., this just doesn’t hold weight. Whether completely barefaced with a tangled mess of hair or primped and painted to a glamorous finish, her beauty remains of the otherworldly variety.
With a sinewy frame, likely toned from her natural proclivity for athletic activities and blessed with all the right feminine curvature, Werbowy exudes an innate strength. Her unmistakable face is a quiet study in contrasts—razor-edged cheekbones, an often softly pursed pout that conceals rows of perfectly proportioned pearly whites and wide-set, almond-shaped dusty-blue eyes that seem to be in a constant state of dreamy repose.
Werbowy isn’t simply comfortable in front of the lens, she commandeers it—on set, she is constantly engaged in an intricate dance with the camera, one in which she is clearly the leader. And she brings the same sense of laid-back ease to an unforgivingly clingy, dramatically low-cut Versace minidress as she does to the worn-in T-shirt and leggings she has on during our interview. It’s no wonder that, in her first international show season, Werbowy walked down an amazing 30 runways for top designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs and, of course, Prada. To put it simply, Werbowy was literally made to do this.
Jacket, pant and boots, all Nina Ricci.
Daria’s Most Notable Firsts
The first thing i remember wanting to be when i grew up… was a model! It was like a shadow that followed me everywhere when I was a kid. The model scouts would always stop me, and it just seemed like such a great thing to be a part of.
The first model I can remember looking up to… would have to be Linda Evangelista. She’s Canadian and the only other model besides me to have a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.
My first runway experience in Europe… was for Prada. It was my first year in Milan. It was still at the time when Angela [Lindvall] and Frankie [Rayder] were on the runway. I was a deer in headlights, trying to grasp everything and take it all in.
The first big designer purchase I made… was a Miu Miu leather jacket. I had anxiety about how expensive it was. I still wear it, though.
The first great piece of advice I got about modeling… was never take things personally and try not to be overly sensitive—which I think is also the hardest thing to do.
The first beauty product I ever bought… was a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker when I was a kid. Now, I have a full skin-care routine, and I’m obsessed with Lancôme’s Secret de Vie Yeux eye cream, and they have the best makeup remover ever, called Bi-Facil.
The first photographer I was really excited to work with… was definitely Helmut Newton. It was challenging; he made me wear rubber nipples and lay on a bed of nails.
The first concert I ever went to… was Radiohead’s The Bends tour. I was in grade six and I begged my parents and they let me go! I was twelve years old. It was awesome. And the most recent show I went to was Brian Jonestown Massacre at Terminal 5 in New York which was very good.
The first time i felt homesick… was recently. I think the older I’m getting, the more homesick I feel. When I first started I couldn’t wait to get out there. The world was so big! And now I’ve seen so much, and been to so many places, met so many people… somedays it can be like information overload.
The first place i was so thankful my job allowed me to visit… would have to be India. It’s gorgeous.
The first time I was recognized… was in New York—it wasn’t eventful but the last time someone noticed it was me was on a flight coming back from Ireland. A stewardess on the plane asked me to autograph a photo. She had a copy of the British Vogue cover with me on it and she was looking at it, and then up at me and just said “you?”. I’ll never get used to it.