Ana Cristina’s unforgettable face has anchored her career as a professional model for over five years. The Brooklyn resident has walked runways for Marc Jacobs, Balmain, Rodarte, Lanvin, Vivienne Westwood, Fenty, Nicole Miller, and oh so many more.  While her body of work boasts countless magazine and brand names  you’d expect from a model who has “made it,” Ana Cristina has never been the type to put all her eggs in one basket.  Whether playing in a rock band, designing custom fashion pieces, or taking photos of her friends, Ana Cristina likes to keep it interesting both in front of and behind the camera lens.  Enjoy our interview with this rising star!

BLNCD: What’s up?! Tell us where you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re headed to next! 

AC: Hi! Right now I’m residing in Brooklyn and will be here for a while. I’ve been working on music the most lately; I’m playing bass in a few different bands. I’ll probably stick around here for a while, although there is talk of a European tour! I’m playing with an amazing band called Beau. It’s been so thrilling to play with all these talented musicians and performing all over NYC at venues where I once saw some of my favorite bands play. It’s been such a trip. I’m also getting into oil painting and am hoping to have my first gallery show next year. Right now I’m working on this series of life-sized portraits of my friends. It’s really exciting. 

BLNCD: The Midwest isn’t necessarily known for putting out edgy fashion models. Has it been difficult to feel at home in Minnesota and would you ever consider moving back? 

AC: I never really felt like I was too different from the people I grew up with (superficially), until recently someone from my high school reached out and asked if I ever wanted to just be “basic”. That was a shock to me. It was the first time someone from the midwest really told me that I was on the outside. But growing up, I really didn’t stand out too much. Now I think it would be difficult for me to move back, despite my love for where I grew up. 

BLNCD: I was gagging over your runway looks for Yuna Yang and Nicole Miller this year. After walking runways in over eight seasons of fashion week and across multiple markets, what’s your favorite fashion show experience of all time? 

AC: Walking Marc Jacobs at the Ziegfeld Theater while a live orchestra was performing, or being the only new face amongst supermodels at Balmain; flying to Naples for Dolce & Gabanna couture with Sophia Loren waving us on. There are too many to choose a favorite really.

JM: For Lela Rose F/W 19 you had to walk a dog down the runway. So fun! What was the rehearsal process like for that? 

AC: Haha to be honest… kind of a mess, but a big fun happy mess. “Pet models” are becoming such a thing with social media pet accounts, but the issue is that most of these dogs are not trained to be in the spotlight. So rehearsal consisted of a lot of high energy animals running around a very crowded space, creating a lot of cute fluffy chaos. 

BLNCD: Like most high fashion models, you’re booked for looking different. How do the joys and challenges of being a “distinctive high fashion look” differ from models with more conventional commercial looks? 

AC: Well for one, we get paid less. Commercial work usually has a higher budget, which means great studios, organized schedule, good catering, etc. It can be very luxurious for commercial models. Most people don’t know that you don’t get paid for shooting editorial, and it’s some of the hardest work for a model.  Very often you work long hours in harsh weather conditions with little to no food, but there is something about being amongst creatives working hard for free all day that I LOVE. I get more satisfaction creating something really strange and beautiful than I do shooting e-com. If only I could pay my rent with tear sheets. 

BLNCD: What do you feel is the biggest misconception about the work that you do? 

AC: It’s not easy, and it’s a very lonely profession. Models usually can’t make plans, as we are on call 24/7. It’s hard to see friends and family because bookings happen so last minute. I’ve been emailed at 1am asking if I can do a job at 7am that morning. I’ve had to fly home from a family vacation because of a last minute booking. Jobs can be so few and far between, you never know when your next paycheck will be. I’m so used to it now that it seems normal, but for anyone who is used to consistency and order, it can be really difficult to adapt. 

BLNCD: When you started modeling, Instagram was in its infancy and not yet seen as a mandatory fixture of being a model. How have you seen the aggressive growth of social media and internet culture impact your professional world?

AC:  It kind of sucks. I mean, bless the models that know how to hustle the social media game, but I am so terrible at it. Most of the content I post is creepy stuff I like, my friends, art, things that make me laugh, and people on social media don’t care about all that. The things that get a lot of attention are selfies, bikini pics, and self care regimes. So for me, I’m less likely to get booked on a job over the girl who is posting that sort of content, but I’m ok with that, because the way I’ve curated my online presence is very true to who I actually am.

BLNCD: In recent years, there’s been some exciting moments of inclusivity in the fashion world, though sometimes I worry that it’s more of a trend than a fundamental change. What are some of the positive shifts that you’d like to see happen for models and the industry as a whole? 

AC: I worry about that too. I would love to see more seasoned people being included in the industry. I think life experience is really sexy, and I’m kind of over seeing doe-eyed 16 year olds in every high fashion ad.

BLNCD: It’s sort of a dark time to be a citizen of the world. How do you stay positive on a daily basis? What do you do to take care of yourself emotionally? 

AC: I think at any point in history there were really dark things going on. I actually am positive about the times we live in now. Of course I have my qualms with society, and it sucks that the earth is sick, but I see so much beauty on a day to day basis… it’s hard for me to get down. I think if people do the best they can to be kind, non-judgmental, environmentally and socially conscious, and are grateful for what they have, happiness is easy to achieve. For my emotional health, gratefulness is the only thing that really works, because it’s free and accessible anytime.

BLNCD: Cannabis products are big right now. Are you a CBD fan?

AC: So BLNCD Naturals products really hold a dear place in my heart, not only because I love using them myself, but because of the impact they’ve had on my loved ones. My father has epilepsy, and there are many studies on CBD as a treatment for epileptic seizures. After some convincing, he agreed to try using a BLNCD tincture in his daily regimen. He’s been on it for a few months now, and there is such an amazing difference in his demeanor and a massive reduction in his seizures. I’m crying a little right now because I have been so worried about him for so long, and these tinctures have given me so much hope. For my own personal use, I love the BLNCD Relief Salve for my muscles after the long NYC days.

Interview by John Mark