Get to know 20 year old model Alyssa Suro who recently graduated from Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business in NYC, studying global business and Mandarin Chinese.
Photography + Styling by Jon Macapodi
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
I would consider myself an extroverted introvert. I love spending time with friends and meeting new people, but I definitely need some time to myself to recharge. Sometimes I have to push myself to get out the door, but I always have a great time once I’m out (and usually don’t want to go home). I recently went to Russell Bateman’s SBC workout class in LA and didn’t know anyone there; but I had a great time and even left with some new friends (and sore muscles- thanks Russ). I’m so glad that I went!
What was the first professional shooting you have done?
The first professional shoot that I had was working for DKNY in New York a few months ago. Since I was still finishing my studies at Fordham University, I limited my hours modeling to prioritize my education. So the day I had the DKNY shoot, I had to run straight from class to the shoot, and then back to campus to make my next class. It was crazy! Now that I’ve finally graduated, I am super excited to put 100% into my modeling career.
“Rhythmic gymnastics is one of the most challenging sports I have ever participated in, both mentally and physically.”
How was the shooting for this video? Any funny story behind?
It took us three separate shoots and concepts to finally create this video. I was inspired to go with the 80’s aerobics theme, which is funny in and of itself, while shopping with Jon at Flying Tiger NYC in the Flatiron district. You never know what you’ll see in there, and we stumbled across these super funky flamingo pink weights, neon workout bands, jump ropes and a sparkly hair scrunchie which all screamed “The 80’s”. We both love the 80’s – my mom raised me on 80’s music – so the concept for the video came naturally. We both contributed to the styling, I did hair and makeup, and Jon shot a full photo editorial and video all in just an hour of studio time. The biggest challenge was having to pick only one song to go with the video… soo many favs to choose from. We had a blast shooting it, and I even filmed a behind-the-scenes Vlog which you can find on my Youtube channel.
What is your favorite sport to play and why?
I’m really competitive, and I love all sports and staying active. One of my favorite sports is rhythmic gymnastics, which is not very popular in the US, but you may have seen it in the summer Olympics. It is one of the most challenging sports I have ever participated in, both mentally and physically. To be a rhythmic gymnast, you must train like an athlete and an acrobat, but perform with the grace and skills of a ballerina – all while having the coordination to manipulate the apparatus for that routine. Hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon, or rope. At any given time, you are likely learning at least 3 new routines both individually and with a group. Even though I don’t actively train for RG anymore, I still incorporate all of the stretching into my workout routines to maintain my flexibility (laughs)
“I would consider myself an extroverted introvert. I love spending time with friends and meeting new people, but I definitely need some time to myself to recharge.”
Can you tell us more about working as a double for Emily Ratajkowski styling and fittings? How did that come?
DKNY had seen my images online, and thought that I matched Emily’s measurements and body type well. They contacted my agency at the time and immediately booked me to be Emily Ratajkowski’s body/fitting double for the very next day. I was shocked to say the least. Emily has always been a great inspiration to me as someone who breaks the “cookie cutter” body type for a model and has incredible command of her image, so I felt both thrilled and honored to stand in for her styling and fitting sessions for the campaig. That led to other campaign work “as Emily” for DKNY. The Spring Intimates campaign was also my first lingerie job. It definitely gave me a confidence boost and the motivation I needed to pursue modeling. Soon afterward, I traveled to Los Angeles to meet with new agencies, got signed to No Ties and began modeling full time.
How important is fashion to you? And to what extent do you follow fashion trends?
Fashion has always been an important form of self expression for me. Growing up, I was a major tomboy and for years would ONLY wear camouflage head to toe. (laughs) Camo pants, shirts, jackets, headbands, and watches were all part of my daily ensemble. I never wanted to wear dresses, and my parents were cool with my sense of style. To this day I still own plenty of camouflage and rarely wear dresses. First impressions are critical, especially in modeling, and I like that I can express my personality to a client simply by how I dress for the day. I try to stay in the loop with fashion trends but I usually don’t overly participate in them myself, opting for my own styles instead. And I love to shop vintage because I can find quality, timeless pieces that nobody else will have.
“All of my best memories revolve around family gatherings and also getting new pets.”
What’s your favorite memory of your childhood?
Growing up Italian-American, I always had plenty of family, cousins, and pets around. All of my best memories revolve around family gatherings and also getting new pets. I’ll start with the pets. (laughs) I have always especially liked rescuing pets in need. My first pet was a bunny named Spunky. He needed rehoming and had something wrong with his eye! I saw him at the local pet store and literally went to sleep each night crying about him. Mom finally gave in and the rest is history. I’ve had pet mice, dogs, cats, Chinatown turtles, hamsters, goldfish, etc. I love taking care of them and providing a happy home.
Now family. My family means everything to me! Some of my best memories are simply being surrounded by my entire family (Nonna included) and having a spontaneous dance party at any given time. I’m usually the DJ playing 80s tracks we all know and love. My sister throws some new songs into the mix and there’s always a little Italian music and 50’s classics for Nonna. Dancing and laughter always ensue whenever we are together.
What law would you change?
In New York City, it is illegal to own hedgehogs as pets. That made it very difficult for “my friend” to sneak one into her dorm room freshman year of college. I also wish that more colleges would allow students to have pets in their dorms. They are so therapeutic to have around and it gets exhausting hiding them all for the monthly RA inspections.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ten years from now I see myself running my own business, perhaps still modeling, and definitely being surrounded by family with plenty of dance parties! I know that no matter what happens, I will stop and count my blessings. I recently read a quote that said “Life is so subtle that sometimes you barely notice yourself walking through the doors you once prayed would open”. I can relate to this in my journey so far. I graduated high school a year early and started college at 16 while pursuing modeling. There were so many obstacles along the way, and it felt like nobody in the industry believed in me. I was even told by an agent to “just stick to school”. So although I’ve only just began my career as a model, I feel incredibly blessed to be in LA with a great agency and a support system– something I have worked and prayed hard for! In ten years time, who knows what will happen. (laughs)
Photography + Styling: Jon Macapodi
Art Direction + HMUA+ Model: Alyssa Suro of NO TIES Mgmt