Meet Genesis Vega, the Rising Model to Watch

Meet Genesis Vega, the Rising Model to Watch

John Hardy introduces the first of the next generation of talent to know.

John Hardy introduces the first of the next generation of talent to know.

Photography: Alex John Beck

Styling: Andrew Mukamal

Text: Sara Zion

While some may say that at five feet Genesis Vega may be petite in stature, there is nothing small about the twenty-year-old’s personality. V sat down with the boisterous young model to talk about everything from her favorite anime character and first job, to her goals for 2018 and how she manages to keep a level head in the social media age.

“So, what’s your real name?” someone leans in and asks Genesis Vega as she steps on set for her V shoot. Slightly confused, she smiles and responds warmly, yet matter-of-factly, “It’s really Genesis!” In an industry of carefully cultivated media personalities, it’s not out of the question to think that Genesis may be a pseudonym that the 20-year old adopted. But in reality, there is nothing contrived about her. While she is friendly and bubbly, she is also outspoken and completely forthcoming about both her triumphs and her struggles.

A child of Pakistani and Dominican parents, Genesis moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic when she was six years old. In high school, Genesis got a position working retail and quickly became the breadwinner of her household.  At the onset, having her own income was liberating; “At first I was like, ‘I can buy my own clothes, nobody can tell me anything!’” But as other friends’ careers seemed to be taking off, Genesis started to feel like she was veering off course in realizing her own goals to model. "Working retail made me really depressed," she admits. "I would just come home and cry… I didn’t really know where I was going to end up.” Nevertheless, she forged ahead and met with modeling and talent agencies all over the city. However, at just five feet tall, she was consistently being told that she wasn’t quite the right fit. “I had a bit of a mental breakdown. Agencies were telling me ‘You have a great look, but you’re short.’”

Then in 2016, as if in answer to her uncertainty, she landed her first editorial job: a fashion story in Vogue Germany. Not long after, she found herself flying to cities around the country like Los Angeles and Chicago, shooting for clients including Converse and Urban Outfitters. 2017 brought her first runway show walking for a friend’s brand, and her following on Instagram has reached nearing 100,000 people.

WEARING JOHN HARDY JEWELRY

As a rising model in the Instagram age, she admits that it can be hard not to think about how she measures up against her peers. “We’re humans, we are unsatisfied by whatever we have. It’s human nature," she admits. "I constantly have to remind myself, ‘You and the person you’re comparing yourself to are very different.' You do not know what they are going through behind the scenes.” Genesis knows that there will always be some rejection in the modeling industry, but she has developed a much more positive outlook on the process. “Don’t be upset about being turned down; be happy,” she advises. “It means they saw you and they saw something in you, but it just wasn’t the right time. That’s how I see everything. It’s all about patience in this industry.”

Looking to the year ahead, Genesis has no plans of slowing down. In addition to continuing her modeling career, she wants to get into photography, drawing inspiration from the over-the-top glamour of photo shoots from the 1970’s and ‘80’s, as well as pursue acting. She also plans to start a YouTube channel to connect and share her experiences with other aspiring models. “A lot of people ask me, ‘How did you become a model? I need some advice,’" she explains. "So why not make a YouTube video about my journey in the modeling industry and give some tips and advice?” When she feels stuck, she looks to one of her favorite anime characters, Naruto, telling me, “It’s goofy, but how hard he works and how he proves people wrong… he changes people’s perspective on things. That’s what inspired me: how he never gave up [even though] he had a really hard life. It’s fictional but it shows that even your favorite characters go through a hard time and they still get up every day to work towards their goal.” With that in mind, she hopes to be a source of inspiration herself and prove that beauty comes in many forms and sizes, “[I want to] change the industry’s perspective on being ‘too short.’ More girls like me could have that door opened up for them.”

Credits:
Art Direction + Production: Sara Zion
Talent: Genesis Vega (Kitten Agency)
Casting: Larissa Gunn
Hair: Rolando Beauchamp (The Wall Group)
Makeup: Chris Colbeck (Art Department) + Hiroto Yamauchi
Maincure: Geraldine Holford
Photography Assistant: Ben Wentzel
Digital Technician: Yasunori Matsui
Styling Assistant: Jermaine Daley
Hair Assistant: Andy Tseng
Production Coordinator: Kaia Balcos
Production Assistant: Andrew Meisel
Catering: Monterone
Studio + Equipment: ROOT Studios

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