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- Puerto Rican supermodel
Joan Smalls is always on the go, whether she's jetting overseas for a fashion show, working the streets of New York City for a commercial, or posing for an ad campaign. We managed to catch up with the busy model at Revolve Fest where shared everything from major life advice to her favorite salad combo to how she handles awkward money situations between friends. Read on for her thoughts on hoops, Sweetgreen, and more.
On getting dressed during festival season ...
"I think it’s just as important as the Oscars but it’s a different type of importance," says Smalls. "Here you get to be more creative and it’s so much more fun. It’s not so proper. You look more like yourself rather than looking like a super well put together princess.
[For Revolve Fest] I picked out my own look. Last time, I worked with a stylist, Eric McNeil. He’s super fabulous and very creative. We always go for what we call dope chic — like a pull-up look. Like you look like you just pulled up, so it doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard. Very effortless."
On working with Revolve and attending Revolve Fest ...
"Yes, it is work, but at the same time it’s a fun type of work," Smalls admits. "That’s the part of Revolve they want you to have fun. It’s really like a mini festival. You don’t feel the pressure, you can drink, you get to see people, you look cute while doing it."
On incorporating her Puerto Rican heritage into her everyday style.
For Smalls, wearing hoop earring is essential. "I was raised in Puerto Rico wearing smaller hoops and then as you grow, you kind of evolve to bigger ones. I’m bringing back my curly, messy hair. And I feel like it’s my energy — it’s always wrapped up in my heritage. Being loud, being fun, being the life of the party and always wanting to dance. That’s me."
On the one fashion item she avoids at all costs ...
"I have a thing where I don’t personally like to wear a lot of pointy shoes because I have a big foot already," she says. "It really elongates it. I’m a size 10 or 10-and-a-half, so it’s a no for me."
On her favorite salad ...
"I love kale and romaine," Smalls explains. "My salads always have to have avocado. For dressing I really like a pesto. Sweetgreen is the perfect place for me because you can pick and choose. They have warm chicken. That’s another thing: I like my salads with a warm chicken. I can’t do cold chicken. It’s just ew. It tastes so much better warm. And then I also like putting wild rice or quinoa in my salads. It makes it feel super heavy and filling. Sometimes I can’t even finish the whole salad because it’s so much. It has to be really tasty because I didn’t grow up eating salads. I grew mostly eating carbs and root vegetables and fried plantains. So it took a lot of getting used to."
On discussing salary with coworkers ...
"I feel like it’s like the more knowledgeable you are about your career field it’s going to help you to grow," Smalls advises. "You don’t want to be in a certain place where you’re undervalued, especially when you know you bring something to the company. So I think that those conversations should be had, but I understand why it could get uncomfortable because who really wants to say how much their getting paid. And then you start to compare and feel like you’re any less. Or an easier way to talk about it is to have a spectrum rather than saying exactly how much you make. You can say it’s a range anywhere from this to that. So the person that’s giving the information doesn’t feel uncomfortable or awkward and the other person has an idea if they fall within that or under above."
-With reporting by Courtney Higgs.