What Selena Gomez Buys at Topshop

There are many ele­ments of Char­lotte D’Alessio’s life that read like a teenager’s fairy tale. Insta­gram did­n’t exist when I was in high school, but I imag­ine I’d be pret­ty fas­ci­nat­ed by the beau­ti­ful, leg­gy 17-year-old with more than 174,000 fol­low­ers and a Wil­helmi­na Mod­els con­tract, too. For the legions of aspir­ing Cool Teens™, D’A­lessio, who has been mod­el­ing full-time for the last year, is liv­ing the dream — though her Cin­derel­la sto­ry has been any­thing but conventional.

At Coachel­la in 2015, pic­tures of D’A­lessio (above, right) and her friend, 18-year-old mod­el Josie Canseco (left), flood­ed the Inter­net, wind­ing up on places like the festival’s offi­cial Twit­ter and The Cobra Snake’s Insta­gram, among oth­ers. Buz­zFeed spoke to D’A­lessio soon after, result­ing in a viral arti­cle that has since gar­nered 1,479,600 views. Wil­helmi­na reached out to D’A­lessio from there, and the rest is his­to­ry. In the 12 months since D’A­lessio was dis­cov­ered, the Cana­da native has land­ed a slew of com­mer­cial cam­paigns, left Bev­er­ly Hills High School to pur­sue home­school­ing and launched a YouTube chan­nel with her friend and fel­low mod­el, Abby Cham­pi­on. And with a secret project in the works for this sum­mer, I imag­ine that D’Alessio’s stake in the Cal­i­for­nia mod­el­ing pan­theon will only deepen.

On the eve of Coachel­la 2016’s first week­end, I hopped on the phone with D’A­lessio to get caught up on the last year of her life, from her social media strat­e­gy to her dream campaign.


You obvi­ous­ly gained a lot of atten­tion at Coachel­la last year. What can you tell me about your expe­ri­ence there?

I went with my friend Josie — it was my first year going — and we bare­ly took pho­tos. I think we took 10 pho­tos, but peo­ple real­ly respond­ed to them. They end­ed up every­where. I saw them on Face­book, and not just [from] friends, but ran­dom peo­ple post­ing them. And then The Week­nd and the Coachel­la Twit­ter repost­ed [one of their pho­tos]. It was so sur­re­al because I was just a nor­mal girl from Cana­da who was going to Coachel­la. I had, like, 16,000 [Insta­gram] fol­low­ers, and now it’s [174,000].

Coachel­la real­ly got me start­ed in mod­el­ing. Wil­helmi­na reached out to me from the [Buz­zFeed] arti­cle — that’s how they saw me.

Fra­grance is great, but it’s hard to write or read about because your com­put­er screen isn’t scratch and sniff—also because I can’t talk about base notes or top notes with­out feel­ing like a fan­cy som­me­li­er. I pre­fer to think of fra­grance in terms of anthro­pol­o­gy, which is much more fun. Have you ever thought about your per­son­al fra­grance his­to­ry? Well, here’s mine.




And when Wil­helmi­na reached out to you, how did you feel about going for­ward with the process?

Basi­cal­ly every sin­gle one of my friends in L.A. is a mod­el, with Next or Wil­helmi­na or what­ev­er it is. I was the non-mod­el in the friend group because I want­ed to go to UCLA. I did­n’t have that much of an inter­est — well, I had an inter­est, but I did­n’t think I would be suc­cess­ful so I did­n’t real­ly pur­sue it.

When they asked me to come in, I went with my dad because I was 16. I almost did­n’t sign because I was so scared. But I’m hap­py I end­ed up sign­ing with them, because they’ve been a real­ly great agency. I had the con­tract in my room for two days — like, I was scared they were going to tell me to cut my hair or lose weight or some­thing like that, but they’ve been so sup­port­ive. They nev­er told me to change anything.


Fifth Grade: Tom­my Boy

I’m not kid­ding, I won Tom­my Boy after I aced a quiz con­test in Sun­day School. The ulti­mate boun­ty. If you find your­self deep in the attic of my parent’s house, and you pay close atten­tion, you might be able to smell it.


Puber­ty: Aber­crom­bie and Fitch Fierce

Don’t even pre­tend like you didn’t.


Col­lege: Ken­zo Homme Sport

My col­lege years were timed with the hey­day of the Ken­zo sweat­shirt, so this was a very fan­cy scent to own. You can now buy it for $30 on Amazon.


I can look back at them like a tiny muse­um of me that smells real­ly good—literally, because I still have them all. But enough about me and how (great) I smell. I want to know your fra­grance history—tell me what scents you love and why you love them. Tell me when you wear them, and how you apply them, and why they’re spe­cial to you. Tell me everything.


—Bren­nan Kilbane

Pho­to via ITG.

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