Anna Cleveland

by L'Officiel Singapore
The runway royal and modern muse gets passionate about creativity

She was introduced into the modelling industry at the tiny age of two, and even walked runways alongside her famous mother Pat Cleveland, the world’s first black supermodel and a muse to designers and photographers. Having fully stepped out of her mother’s shadow, Anna Cleveland has carved out a unique place for herself in the industry. Expressive and strikingly elegant, she is a chameleonic presence equally at home in a duchess satin ballgown as she is in conceptual fashion’s more out-there propositions. Unsurprising then that she’s become a steady favourite among designers and photographers, starring in campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta and Lanvin and appearing regularly on the pages of fashion’s most-read bibles.

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What’s been your most memorable behind-the-scenes moment?

I remember flying to Paris as a child and seeing the last show that Kenzo did before he left the company. I remember being in a circus tent with animals – giraffes, elephants –make-up artists and models dotted in between. What a day! It was an oasis, a real spectacle. I had to pinch myself, it was almost a dream. That moment of beauty is what true fashion is all about.


Name a fashion photograph you wish you’d been in.

Avedon’s iconic shot of Carmen Dell’Orefice jumping onto a Parisian street.

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Guillaume Thomas and Anna Cleveland, illustrated by David Downton
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You’ve been illustrated by David Downton. Does fashion illustration deserve a full-on revival?

Sitting with David is always a joy. He has a true understanding of all his subjects and the stories they have to tell. In that way, he is a true historian. He captures the essence of every person he draws often from just a simple conversation, and has a wonderful talent for finding the lightness and humour in a moment. He is magic! Fashion illustration is such an important medium that needs to be exposed to the world, and David is the leader.


You’re a model noted for your flamboyance…

I took a big leap of faith in a time when no one was doing what I was on the runway. I wanted to find a way to take a risk, to elevate and showcase a different sort of beauty. Models are supposed to sell clothes through movement and presence, and that’s why I chose to expand on the designer’s imagination and to tell the audience a story. I always speak with the designer and work closely with them to make sure they are happy. Fashion requires a newness, and I’m here to provide.

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What keeps you grounded and sane?

Meditation, yoga, pranayama, eating vegan and hugging a tree in the park.


Complete this statement: A beautiful mind is…

Full of imagination.


What music gets you moving?

Jamiroquai is my all-time favourite!

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