Meet Your Angel: Alexina Graham VS 2017
In the modelling world, there’s s a short list of shows that inspire tear-worthy excitement upon booking. From New York to Paris, only one show leaves us dying with anticipation to find out which lucky girls will be hitting the runway. You know which show we’re talking about – Victoria’s Secret. This year, three of our very own hitched a plane to shanghai for this years epic show, with two of those (Jourdana Elizabeth & Leila Nda) returning for their second time. One of them however, homegrown red-headed beauty Alexina Graham, joined the VS line up for the very first time. Coming off of a red-hot season (pun intended) landing major campaigns for Balmain and L’Oreal, Graham was poised to join the lucky bundle of girls in Shanghai.
We wanted to know all about her road to VS 2017, from the casting to catwalk so we hit up our girl for a chat.
M1: So, Alexina, did you have a set plan for what you’d do when you entered the casting room?
AG: Not at all, I was so nervous and just thought ok, you’ve just got to be you and try not to talk too fast. When I’m nervous I talk like 100 miles per hour and my accent comes out so strong!
*Graham is from Nottingham*
M1: When you found out you’d be walking the show, who did you tell first?
AG: I was in NYC and found out around 10pm – the first person I wanted to tell was my mum. She knew that I had worked hard to try and get the show, and she texted me all through the day of the casting, giving me encouraging words. I stayed up until 6am (U.K. time) so I could call her and tell her. We were both just screaming with joy at each other down the phone.
M1: Can you talk us through how you prepared for the show – physically etc.?
AG: This was my 3rd year of attending castings for the show. When I didn’t book the show last year I thought to myself “ok Alexina you really want this, so you need to put the hard work in now“. I got myself 3 trainers who all had different techniques and I alternated between them throughout the week for a year until the casting came around again. I didn’t change my diet, as I have a very fast metabolism and I’m naturally very slim. For me it was just about being tight and toning up like crazy.
M1: This was the first year that VS collaborated with a designer for the show, what kind of energy did Olivier’s (Balmain) designs bring to the VS stage?
AG: Olivier already empowers women to be sexy within his own shows, making them feel confident and fully themselves through his clothes. So his collaboration with VS was perfect. VS loves sexiness and for women to embrace their personality and their fun side. Olivier’s designs and VS’s sexy fun attitude- it was just perfect.
M1: As the first natural red head to walk for VS, do you feel that your appearance in the show will encourage the industry to embrace red heads more?
AG: Yes, I think it will. The show is seen by millions and as soon as it was announced that I was walking in the show, so many young girls and boys messaged me to tell me they were proud and they were now embracing their hair colour and the part of them that made the unique. I think the industry has started to see that red heads are sexy, cool, fun and our hair makes us stand out and women love that.
M1: Can you tell us about the backstage environment before the show – did you witness any crazy pre-show rituals of your fellow angels?
AG: Everyone was so supportive of each other, wishing each other good luck, cheering each other on before stepping out onto the runway, It was amazing too see so much love and support in the room.
M1: Which look, other than your own, would you have loved to have worn in the show?
AG: I actually loved both my looks and wouldn’t want to change them. Both looks were
part of my personality. The Balmain look showed off that fiery redhead, confident sexy vibe and made me feel so strong. The ‘Winter Tales’ look showed my softer, feminine, sensual side. I could channel me in both my outfits.
M1: What was your favourite of the six sections of the show and why?
AG: I loved the Winter Tales section, as I loved the singer, Leslie Odom Jr. He was amazing and all the outfits were so beautiful and sensual.
M1: What was unique about the experience of the show being in China?
AG: The whole experience was unique. From stepping off the plane to the whole week being crazy and amazing. Everyone in China was so sweet and did anything to help. I met an 18 year old girl and she gave me some insight into her family and China, it was just amazing to understand a different culture.
M1: As a first-time VS show girl, what were you most surprised by with regards to the whole process?
AG: How nice all the girls were to each other and how supportive they were. I thought that many models in a room with each there must be some competition, but there isn’t, everyone is just so happy to be there and love each other.
The Victoria Secret Fashion show airs tonight (Tuesday, November 28 ) @ 10pm EST on CBS in the US. For those of us in the UK, the show will air on Monday, December 4th @ 10pm on 4 Music for those with Sky, Virgin Media, or Freeview. Be sure to follow Alexina on Instagram HERE!