Alice is a girl of the world. She’d been to over 40 countries by the time she was fifteen, a result of being a United Nations kid—and before her family moved to Aotearoa, they’d spent a decade in Gran Canaria—a place whose own tourism website confesses its subject as “a fairytale island”.
Though it all sounds like a nomad’s dream, Alice is candid in saying that it definitely brought upon a few identity crises, “My upbringing was unconventional and hectic; I was always the new kid at school that didn't know how to speak the language, I looked different, and I developed a bit of an identity crisis that I still struggle with today.” It was all for the better, though. Because now, whenever a friend asks for advice, her response is always the same—go travel, she’ll say.
“I see the world as my playground, and it's the same advice I give to all my friends. Unhappy with your job? Travel. Feeling uninspired? Travel. Can't seem to find the love of your life? Travel. Stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown will only make you stronger and wiser. 'Your wings already exist; all you have to do is fly’”.
Our girl Alice is certainly self-assured. But sometimes, even our most confident of friends need a bit of peer pressure. Alice’s start in modelling began last year when her cousin put her name forward for a casting. Of course, to her surprise (and no one else’s), she got it! “That just triggered a snowball effect of shoots and bookings. I remember I had a lot of people recommend N Model Management to me, and I looked up their website, and I was like, 'Woah, everyone on this website is very beautiful and successful!'. I reached out to Ngahuia, and we had a meeting, and bam, I was signed. This all happened in like two months, so it was very fast and felt so surreal; I'm very blessed to be surrounded and supported by such kind people that are rooting for me.”
Her earliest fashion memory is wearing a two-piece grass skirt — how sustainable and chic. The last few years have been spent daydreaming about moving to Melbourne; Alice confesses that the city “had her in a chokehold”. The timing finally fell perfect this year, with her finally clicking checkout on that flight.
Spare a moment to get to know Alice below; she’s an early bird who’s up-and-bouncing from 6 am onwards, loves Rihanna, and she holds a place in her heart for her Nike Air Force 1s. To Alice, everything happens for a reason. We can certainly believe it—the universe must certainly be looking out for us by putting her in our path!
Can you give us the Alice elevator pitch?
Hi, I’m Alice, I’m 22 years old, and I just graduated with a degree in Politics, International Relations and Communications. During the day, I work as a marketing coordinator and do a bit of modelling on the side, and at night I like to irresponsibly spend my time (and what little money I have) on food, drinks and social outings with my friends. I’m never tired, always cold, and I love seafood. Oh, and I have a weird accent because I’m a UN kid that had to move around a lot growing up.
Where do you live now, and where do you consider home?
I lived in New Zealand for the past five years. It's funny cause all my life, I told people I was from New Zealand, but when I moved here, and people started asking me where I was from, I came to the realisation that I didn't really see myself as Kiwi. We've still got our family house in Spain, and I'm still very close with all of my childhood friends there, so I do want to say that I see Las Palmas as my home; I think that I've gotten to the point where I consider being anywhere with my family as my home.
How do you think your upbringing helped to shape your worldview?
I was born in Nicosia, Cyprus. I lived there for two years and then moved to Islamabad, Pakistan. Lived there for two years then moved to Freetown, Sierra Leone. Lived there for two years and then moved to Gran Canaria, Spain. I grew up in Gran Canaria from ages 6-16 and then moved to New Zealand. My upbringing was unconventional and hectic; I was always the new kid at school that didn't know how to speak the language, I looked different, and I developed a bit of an identity crisis that I still struggle with today. It was challenging for me to go through that at such a young age, year after year, but it did more good than harm in the long run. I could speak five languages when I was five and had visited over 40 countries by the time I was 15. I see the world as my playground, and it's the same advice I give to all my friends. Unhappy with your job? Travel. Feeling uninspired? Travel. Can't seem to find the love of your life? Travel. Stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown will only make you stronger and wiser. 'Your wings already exist; all you have to do is fly."
Where would you take someone visiting your hometown for the first time?
If I were to take someone back to Gran Canaria, we would first go for a swim and a surf in Las Canteras. When we're feeling hungry, we can go for a feed in any one of the bars that are on the beachfront, it's impossible to get bad food in Spain. We would then go to Triana for some shopping before heading up the mountains to Roque Nublo for a change in scenery. At night, we would go to el Sur (South of the Island), were all the fun clubs and gigs are. And after that, I can assure you that you would want to stay in Gran Canaria forever!
How did you get into modelling? Can you tell us the story of how you came to be signed to your agency?
I got into modelling through peer pressure from my talented cousin Synthia Bahati, who is an amazing photographer based in Auckland. She just put my name forward for a casting and was like, 'Alice, I've put your name forward, just do it'. To my surprise I got the job and that just triggered a snowball effect of shoots and bookings. I remember I had a lot of people recommend N Model Management to me, and I looked up their website, and I was like, 'Woah, everyone on this website is very beautiful and successful!'. I reached out to Ngahuia, and we had a meeting, and bam, I was signed. This all happened in like two months, so it was very fast and felt so surreal; I'm very blessed to be surrounded and supported by such kind people rooting for me.
What’s the coolest thing to have happened to you since we first met at the start of the year?
Well, I finally booked my tickets to Melbourne. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it cause I’m terrible at saving money but luckily (or not), I caught COVID for two weeks, and that was enough to push me over the line and pay for my flight. As anyone that has talked to me this year knows, I have been dreaming about this move for the longest time. I do plan on exploring Aus’ major cities eventually, but there's something about Melbourne that has me in a chokehold. I see so many amazing events, creatives and fashion coming out of that city- I can’t wait!
What are some ways you spark joy in your life on a daily basis?
I cannot go a day without cooking. I love cooking, especially for other people. I love scrolling endlessly through cooking videos on my phone and trying new recipes. Cooking is my time to unwind and play a random Youtube video in the background while I experiment with different ingredient combinations. I have to admit that my dishes can be a bit of a hit or miss, but when they hit, it's the best feeling ever.
Who or what is most important to you in life? Why?
I think that I’ve come to the realisation that what I want the most is to have choices when I’m older. I started working on my financial literacy early this year through podcasts and books, and I’ve come to learn that having choices is a luxury that many people cannot afford. I want to be able to have the choice to see my parents whenever I want, wherever I am in the world, and not be constrained by money or time. I want to be able to choose when and where I want to work. I want to be able to choose how many animals I end up adopting. It's important to me that I live a life where I am in control of my decisions and that I’m not being stopped by anything or anyone from fulfilling these choices.
Why do you think female relationships are so important?
Women are the source of life, and unfortunately, we live in a world where feminism and divine femininity have been misconstrued and pitted against people to the point that these ideas are seen in a negative light or simply just not acknowledged. Growing up, I thought that my relationships with my mum and my friends were hard to maintain because we would often argue. But over time, as I travelled more and saw my friends and my mother less and less, I reliased the importance of nurturing female relationships. We are conditioned to expect women to remain cool, calm and collected 24/7, or else we are labelled as irrational, dramatic and emotional. It is because of this that we are quick to blame a woman’s flaws for her behaviour rather than her personal circumstances. I believe that unity is power and that if we were to all focus on ameliorating our female relationships, we could truly dismantle the patriarchal foundations embedded in our society.
Outside of modelling, how do you like to spend your time?
I’m a very energetic person that struggled with insomnia massively growing up, so I’ve found that I really need to tire myself out if I want to get a good night's sleep. I like getting up early in the morning to exercise and do a bit of tidying around the flat; that always puts me in a good mood. I’m trying to explore my more creative side at the moment, which has definitely been influenced by my venture into modelling, so I’m just trying to pinpoint exactly what I want to do and how to potentially turn it into my own personal brand. So during my workbreaks, I like going on Instagram and checking out the work of other creatives for inspiration. After work, I like catching up with friends, whether that be in real life or over the phone. I really like being in the loop of what's happening in people’s lives, especially those overseas that I only get to see every year or so, so if I’m not out at an event you’ll definitely find me in a 3-hour long Facetime call gossiping with someone.
Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
I'm an extremely spiritual person; everything happens for a reason, it's all part of a bigger plan. I used to be very religious as I was raised Catholic, but nowadays I would describe myself as a gnostic theist. I think there is a higher being that all the religions in the world are referencing and preaching to, it's all connected. I believe that love is the most powerful force on Earth and that it's also the meaning of life. It's important to me that when I leave this earth, my acts of kindness leave a bigger footprint than those of greed. But I am open-minded, I love meeting people that are or aren't spiritual and discussing these topics with them, it's dope.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Unfortunately, both. If you know me, you know that I have never been relaxed. I have enough energy to power a small village, and it never turns off. My current routine is waking up at 6 am and doing pilates, then going on a run around the Viaduct Harbour before I start work at 9. I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as doing the laundry and dishwashing in my flat. This would be a great routine if it weren't for the fact that I love going out at night and pretending as if I don't have bills to pay. I'm notorious for never saying no to an event or get together. I hate the idea of sleeping in and missing out on an amazing night out with my friends.
What’s your favourite piece of clothing and why?
I have a special emotional connection with my white Nike Air Force 1s. I remember I first got them when I was 16, and this is around the time my very strict mum started being a little less strict on me, and I would literally wear these shoes everywhere I went. The first time I snuck into a club I was wearing my Air Force 1s, I took them with me when I went travelling around Europe on my gap year, I wore them every single day during O-week at uni and I wore them last night during my grocery shop. They’re definitely not white anymore, but they’re still the perfect shoe. There’s something so timeless about them, I don’t think they will ever go out of style.
Are there any local brands you love and why?
My cousin Frandson has his own brand, called Nineteen99, which is rapidly on the rise. My favourite thing about it is a lot of the pieces are 1 of 1s, and they command attention effortlessly. Also, I was born in 1999. It’s just an iconic number.
Did you have a particular piece/look you really loved from this shoot?
The pink set without a doubt. I remember it was the first piece we shot, and when Anabelle and Chloe first showed it to me I literally started having visions of all the different shots and poses I wanted to do with the look. I’ve never found pink clothing that looked particularly good on me, but this piece was impossible not to love. As we were shooting outside of Auckland Art Museum, I told Sophia ‘I’m just gonna pretend that I’m a mysterious sophisticated lady that hangs outside of art museums for fun’ and she said go for it. I think I got a bit too deep into character but it worked out!
What influences your style?
I’m a very easily influenced person (which isn’t always the best thing), so I draw my style inspiration from whatever media I’m consuming, or whatever fashion trends are on the rise. I know a lot of people don’t agree with microtrends but I’m actually all for it. I’d love to look back on my questionable looks when I’m older and show them to my kids. I like to think that my style is a reflection of where I see myself in society. I see myself as part of a younger, louder and creative crowd that wants to make themselves heard, so a lot of my inspiration now comes from up-and-coming rappers, content creators living in metropolitan cities and Woodstock 1969 fashion.
Your earliest fashion memory?
When I lived in Sierra Leone I was part of an after-kindergarten dance club. They taught traditional dances specific to the region, and us girls wore a two-piece with a grass skirt. I was really young but I remember how special and pretty I felt wearing my skirt. It was bold and unique, I loved that when we would perform for our class and our parents, the skirts drew all the attention to us because of how they would move and rustle. Funnily enough, I’m still addicted to two pieces to this day and buy dozens of new sets every year.
If your style was:
A colour: Ginger
A mood: Bamboozled
A place: Ibiza
A song: '4 Minutes' by Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake
A famous person: Rihanna when she’s in Barbados
A youtube video: Cheers (Drink to That) by Rihanna
Alice is represented by N Management Aotearoa