By Stewart Shining
When I got the call from Bal Harbour Magazine asking if I’d shoot a Spring fashion feature for them, my biggest concern wasn’t navigating the new world of shooting during a pandemic, but rather who I’d photograph. You see for me, I’d rather shoot a friend or a new young actor—after over 20 years in this business, the idea of photographing some newbie, inexperienced model isn’t so appealing. And it was during a conversation with my friend and mentor, photographer Bruce Weber, that he suggested I shoot Rachel Roberts—one of my favorite models that went into acting, and I sadly lost touch with after she moved to LA. Fast forward to a quick call to her agent and the next thing you know we were meeting in some random parking lot in Hollywood a week later, to have our long overdue reunion and shoot this fashion story.
So, Rachel, I know we intentionally didn’t do the math, but we figured it’s been around 20 years since we’ve seen each other—since the halcyon days of shooting all that Victoria’s Secret together. Catch me up: Tell me the three biggest things that have happened in your life since then.
“I can think of two right away: my two kids, 17-year-old Jack and 13-year-old Ava. The other big thing that happened around the last time we saw each other was I unintentionally became an actress. I landed the lead role of S1M0NE starring opposite Al Pacino where I met Andrew (the father of my children).”
How did you get started modeling?
“My mother modeled in the early 80’s and introduced me to my first agent in Vancouver. From there I went to New York to join Next Models but first I had to lose 40 pounds! Daily training and a strict diet for three months. I then moved to Paris and then London and eventually went back to New York. When I started acting I moved to Los Angeles.”
You’ve had incredible success as a model, reaching icon status years ago. Do you still like the business? If your daughter wanted to model would you encourage her or steer her away from it.
“We both know the business has changed a lot in the past 20 years. You used to be able to have an incredibly successful career without being a celebrity or influencer. These days it’s different. I feel sorry for the new models starting out because without a social media following it must be hard to open any doors. That being said, the industry is much more inclusive now…. people of all sizes, ages, colors, and sexual orientation are celebrated. My daughter has had a little taste of the business having done shoots with me through the years. If it were something she really wanted to pursue I would support her choice, though I would also make sure she understands what a challenging and unpredictable career choice it is.”
What’s your greatest pet peeve when shooting? We all have little things that bug us but do you have a major one?
“Patience is not a virtue for me (though I think I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older). I have a hard time when people aren’t specific or know what they want. I try to be a chameleon and adapt to whatever the story is but I do love when a photographer has a strong direction (like you). It makes my job so much easier.”
You look incredible. I mean it’s true that some people get more beautiful with time, and you’re one of them. But what’s your number-one beauty must have and/or regime?
“Thank you, or actually thank you to my parents for good genes. I’m trying, in the plastic world of Los Angeles, to grow old gracefully (a challenge in itself). I don’t use Botox or fillers, etc.… so everything I do is non-invasive. I have a really great aesthetician and I do micro-current facials.”
And finally, Rachel, what gets you up in the morning? What brings you joy and makes you want to stay so engaged and positive like you are?
“I’m fortunate enough to live by the ocean in Malibu, which keeps things in perspective for me. I like the feeling of insignificance. It’s also what I feel when I’m in Manhattan (my other favorite place). As for staying positive, it helps to love what you do… and shoots like ours are why I still do what I do.”
Photographer: Stewart Shining
Stylist: Tess Herbert
Stylist assistant: India Reed
Model: Rachel Roberts
Hair: Dimitris Giannetos
Makeup: Riku Campo
Production assistant: Michael Kelly