Floriane Tulissi: Sweet Apples and Bitter Tacos
My life hasn’t always been that glamorous. In fact, I was born and grew up in a small French village, being raised on a farm, where such a thing as modeling has’t even existed. During my high school years, I dreamt of leaving one day for a big city where I could achieve anything I wanted and had a taste of freedom, expressing myself in a fashion world. I was buying all the fashion magazines I could find, watching fashion TV shows and started saving money for my big dream. I even made collages in my bedroom and sticked them to the wall, like some kind of a moodboard about fashion, modeling and everything that inspired me.
A few years later, I went to study business and had the opportunity to work in fashion. So, I started to step closer to my dreams and gradually make it happen. I moved to Toulouse which was the closest and biggest city in the south west of France. My parents accepted it because they knew whenever I had something on my mind — nothing could stop me, and I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Fast forward, I got an internship at one of the luxury department stores and worked there for some time. During that time I learnt so much, and I loved every second of that experience. I felt like it could be the thing but I was hungry for more! I wanted to travel. I wanted to learn English. I wanted to move to London. Well… it actually hasn’t happened that way.
Nevertheless, I did not lose my enthusiasm, and started to look for a temporary “au pair” jobs, and found one near Manchester. Another enriching experience on the way to my goals, little by little. Then I thought, okay, what’s next? – The United States! I used to have a boyfriend at that time, who lived in San Francisco. One day, when having lunch with my mom, she suddenly told me: “Why don’t you move there with him!” So, I thought “Maybe I should really try it…” That sudden decision turned my life upside down! Two months later, here I am — in love, and in America.
I’ve been extensively working on my body, so more and more people started to tell me that I should finally try modeling. I did some photoshoots but got turned down by the modeling agencies. That didn’t stop me though. I kept it going! Until one day, when I met a great photographer who helped me with the portfolio which didn’t go unnoticed. A CEO of “Look Model Agency” invited me for a meeting at their agency. I got signed! I did it, and new doors opened for me!
From the modeling perspective, I entered the industry pretty late, at my 22 years old. However, I started to get new and new modeling jobs one after one! As they said, my versatile look helped me a lot in it. At some point, I began thinking about moving to New York. Photographers kept telling me I had that “New York look“ and had all the chances to try it into “haute couture”.
I loved SF, but I actually started to get bored there. And NYC was closer to France, as well as one of my best friends lived there already. I couldn’t help but wonder… maybe it was the time for a new chapter?! And it really was! In 2017, I moved to New York. My first time taking the subway was quite funny. I did not get used to that “big apple” rhythm yet, and I was just standing there in the middle and watching the train arriving to the station. The doors opened and I kept staying still, dreaming about this and that. My dreams were abrupt by a man getting off the train, who looked at me angrily and said “Move on!”. That became my warm welcome by the “big apple”!
Getting signed by a modeling agency in NYC is tough! Lots of competition here, because the best of the best are coming namely New York. You have to be hungry and keep your head up! Luckily, I got signed a few months after moving here.
I’ll never forget my first fashion week and my first runway. Paris Hilton herself came to the backstage, and it was such an iconic moment! She grabbed my phone to take a selfie and use hers to put the flash on to make sure we had great lighting. No one was doing that at the time. What I adore about fashion weeks is that you meet so many interesting people there! It’s always a pleasant thing to meet familiar faces the next season after that, whether it’s a fellow model or a makeup artist — all that makes you feel like you meet old friends!
The after-parties are a bit overrated in my opinion because you usually get so exhausted during this busiest time of the year that you don’t have time and wish for any parties then. The castings. The waiting. The looks of the casting directors at you. The rejections. Those things are always stressful! Though, after all these years of modeling, I already got a strong mindset. So, if I don’t get booked for the show — I’m happy someone else did. Next time it’ll be me instead!
The rest of the year after the fashion week time, I usually shoot for e-commerce or showrooms. Sometimes — beauty and editorial. I already was lucky to get on the digital cover of Vogue UK, Glamour magazine’s editorial and some other covers. A few months ago I moved to Mexico City to try modeling there. I heard good things about Mexico, plus I wanted to escape the NYC winter time. Little did I know, they don’t really have a good market for fashion models, as well as the payouts are low too. If you want to work, you gotta search there for the jobs at the commercials and TV. But since I was there, I gave it a shot. Castings were long and not so many people spoke English. I suck at Spanish! When you go in a room for a casting over there, everyone else is also inside during the audition. It all makes you get out of your comfort zone. There were times when they asked me to dance, scream and portray various emotions in front of 50 other spectators. Makes me think now I’m ready to become an actress (joking) 🙂
Soon after that, I was back to NYC, working again and happy to be in the city which I call home now! A typical day in my life (if I am not working) starts with the warm water with lemon. Then some stretching and a workout. Lunch. Castings. Answering emails. For dinner I try to keep things light lately. No carbs. I feel much better in the morning then. I just listen to my body. What I like the most about modeling is that you never get bored. As long as I feel inspired I know it’s right for me!