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issa lish is the mexican-japanese model you need to know

The special thing about Issa Lish is that she doesn't look like anybody else. She's a little Japanese, a little Mexican, but most of all, unique. Born in Mexico City in 1995, Issa started modelling for Mexico's independent designers aged 14. Fast forward four years and she is one of the stand out faces of the moment, working for brands including Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, Balmain and Coach. We catch up with Issa back in her hometown to find out what makes the Italian Vogue coverstar tick...

How long have you been modelling?
Four years now.

How were you discovered?
I was working at a sushi restaurant over the summer (as a punishment for having bad grades) when a friend of Mau Medellin, my agent, saw me and suggested I go do an interview with him. From the beginning Mau told my parents and me that I would make it this far, and that’s how everything started. 

When did you decide you wanted to be a full time model?
When I finished high school I decided that I wanted to make a living from it, so I started dedicating 100% of my time to modelling. 

Which would you say are the most important moments of your career?
Walking for Saint Laurent, it was the first important runway show that I did. Later I did the cover for Vogue Italy, which was huge! Working with Steven Meisel was a dream and getting the cover was something that marked my career forever. I feel very fortunate for everything that has happened and for my hard work. I love the team that supports me, they give me great results!

What are the hardships you have faced?
Like with any other job there are people that don’t like it or people that you don’t click with, but you have to focus on the people that appreciate you and want to work with you. 

What projects do you have at the moment?
I have been traveling a lot between New York, London, and Paris. Many new projects will be published soon, you’ll see ;). 

Who are your best friends in the modeling world?
Adriana Mora, Binx Walton, Kristoffer Hasselval, Michael Lange. 

Which is your favorite city and why?
London! I love that it’s a mix between New York and Paris; it has the best of both worlds. 

What do you miss the most when you are abroad?
My friends and family. 

What does it mean to be a Mexican model in the international world of fashion?
I don’t think it makes much of a difference, international fashion is very diverse and they support people that have what it takes no matter where they come from! Nonetheless, I hope my story becomes an example to inspire people in Mexico or any other part of the world. 

Are you in love?
Yes.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Always stay happy. 

Tell us a time when you realised your career had already taken off?
When I was invited to the Vogue Paris dinner as a guest of Balmain, many people knew my name but I had no idea who they were. It made me realise that at least I was on the radar.

What song are you obsessed with lately?
Its nothing new but… “Ma neck ma back?” by Khia. 

What do you like most about the fashion world?
You meet people from all over the world with very different and interesting stories. 

How many cities have you visited in 2014?
Eight, and counting!

@ImIssaLish