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Binx’s Guide to Making it as a Supermodel

“It is already written, but there is still free will,” Leona ‘Binx’ Walton tells i-D, when asked what is the best piece of advice she’s ever been given. She’s still a teenager but already her life story reads like an inspiring movie. Leona was scouted, on the same day as her older sister, by a swimming pool in her home state of Tennessee when she was only nine years old. She said no, and forgot about it for a very long time. Growing up, Leona saw herself as more of a tomboy than a model, she liked hanging out with her brothers and playing football – actually she still does – and she never dreamed of walking couture shows in Paris’ Grand Palais. Fast forward to the here and now, and it’s a very different story. Binx is the hottest girl in fashion, she’s working the best runways in the world, she’s on the cover of i-D, and she stars alongside Cara Delevingne in Chanel’s boxing ring campaign for autumn/winter 14, shot by Karl Lagerfeld. But hers is a journey that hasn’t been without hardship. i-D invited the Nashville native to write her rulebook on How To Make It As A Supermodel. The Naboo pearls of wisdom that follow are what she came up with. Follow Binx’s rules and perhaps you too will end up on the cover of i-D, or wherever else you wish to go!

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1. Wait for your moment…
“When I was fifteen I went to Kauai [one of the Hawaiian islands] for a year to stay with my brother during his senior year. During this time my mum was packing up our house in Tennessee, when she found the modelling agency card from all those years ago. She saved it for when I returned to Nashville and we went to meet the agency.”


2. Keep your options open…
“My advice to anyone starting out would be, have a plan B and finish school.”


3. Don’t be a big head, you never know what’s going to happen…
“Growing up in Tennessee, people didn’t exactly keep their certainty of my success to themselves. So I have to confess I had a big head when going off to New York. But it was a whole other world when I arrived and failing was easy. I was sent from New York to LA for eight months, and during that time I booked maybe two modelling jobs. It’s hard to feel like you’re not doing well… And to be honest I was just going to quit.”


4. Don’t be afraid to take a chance…
“Just when I was thinking about going back to school and putting modelling on the back burner, my model bookers called me in for a meeting. They told me it might be a good idea to cut my hair. That really was the last straw for me: I’d already moved myself to all of these strange places, so when they said this, I was done. I got a ticket home. During this time I thought, “Maybe I should cut my hair...” So I found some drastic haircut online, went to Nashville’s Trim and had it cut. I was on Models.com the next day, and shortly afterwards I was off to New York with an option for a Marc Jacobs exclusive!”


5. Keep it real…
“I’ve been asking myself how to stand out from the crowd for three years now, but the only answer I’ve come up with so far is to always be myself!”


6. Don’t be afraid of failure…
“Forget about it. Once I leave a casting I try my best to erase it from my memory. To analyse every casting and try and determine if you got it or not is agonising. The best thing to do is try and forget it. That way, if you do get it… it will be a nice surprise!”


7. Stay cool…
“I don’t ever really get star-struck… only by people I’m really inspired by like Lauryn Hill or Frank Ocean. So the first time I met Karl Lagerfeld was intimidating! It was at Fendi, but thankfully Charlotte Stockdale was so nice to me, she made the whole nerve-racking vibe into a much more exciting one. When I shot the Chanel autumn/winter 14 campaign everyone on set was so amazing. Cara’s so funny, there’s never a dull moment with that girl, so there were a lot of jokes and fun times.”


8. When you meet rude or bitchy people in the industry…
“Laugh at them!”


9. How to spend all that money…
“I don’t! I like to save it, help my family or try to give back. Success can sometimes bring out a shallow quality in people. Some people doing well would rather invest in themselves and not the world. I think the more successful you are, the more you should give back.”


10. How to deal with a really long magazine interview…
“Well, I really don’t mind dealing with them because I remember a time when nobody wanted to interview me!”