Isabelle Lake (24) is a small island girl, who is working on making big waves internationally as an artistic nude model. The Leo-born’s ultimate goal is to break barriers and have her art portrayed in Playboy, Maxim, Swimsuit Illustrated, King Magazine or Victoria’s Secret. She tells us about her life in this week’s Hot Seat.
Who is Isabelle Lake?
I’m a regular girl, who was born in St. Martin. I’m French with Spanish and American roots. My dad is from Cul de Sac and my mom from Saint James, Marigot. I’m a caring person. If someone is sincere, I’ll be there for them whether I know them or not. I can also be defensive, aggressive and outspoken. I don’t like people to hurt my friends or loved ones. I will stand up for someone, if they are afraid to do so. I grew up in French Cul de Sac near the graveyard with my father’s family. I migrated to the United States when I was a baby and returned when I was six years old. I lived in France for about four to five years. I returned to NYC last year for four months for Fashion Week. I am now back in St. Martin.
In St. Martin, I attended the Nina Duverly in Grand Case; Herve Williams in Marigot; and Soualiga in Cul de Sac, then I migrated.
When and how did you develop an interest in modelling?
I started modelling when I was four. I loved it when my mom took pictures of me and created an album to show my family and friends. The older I got, the more I wanted to model. I love myself and wanted this to be captured in pictures. I won the Miss Little Bikini beauty pageant at age 14 in Martinique. I think this is why I grew to love baring skin. I knew that I was going to be a nude model.
First modelling gig?
My first modelling gig was for Fashion Week in Martinique when I was about 16. I was in school sitting oral exams at the same time. I had to wake up at 7:00am to get ready for school; I finished at 7:00pm and had to run to train for the next runway show. It was hectic, but I loved it.
How and where did you hone your modelling skills?
I honed my skills through practice. I look up to Naomi Campbell and I imitated her way of walking and posing. The older I got, the less I copied her. I learnt that modelling is communicating so I developed my own way of speaking via my body posture and facial expressions.
What sort of modelling jobs have you done over the years?
I’ve done commercials and events for makeup brands such as Garnier and Loreal; video commercial for the French Tourism Office with producers from Paris; Fashion Week in New York and Martinique and modelled for Victoria Secret in St. Barths. I also did a lot of catalogue print for lingerie brands from France, Brooklyn and Istanbul and did music videos, made TV appearances and worked with photographers from Marseille, Montpellier, Paris, Aix, St Tropez, Toulon, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, St. Maarten and St. Barths. I have an agent who helps me get jobs, and I am currently working on my portfolio and exclusive shoots for two Miami magazines.
What’s it like modelling in a big city like NYC?
It was fabulous, magical and fun. New York professionals have a way of loving you and making you feel like you’re the most wanted model in the world. One minute you’re filming on a set, and the next minute you’re at a brand launch party. You never sleep because there’s always someone who wants you and will work with you. New York is where dreams are born and turned into reality.
Challenges along the way?
I was trapped into self-mutilation and pill-popping for a long time and this hurt me and my family. But I’ve been clean for over two years. I don’t want anyone to experience that. My best friend died because of it and I promised her that I will not be seeing her anytime soon.
Your biography says you were named Queen of Glam in a New York Magazine for re-inventing the black model nudity. To what do you owe this honour?
I did not re-invent or invent nudity. Solis Magazine called me the queen of glam because I’m one of the few black models who made it by just posing nude without cheating my way through like some other models who use sex to boost their career. I launched my career in the South of France and I wanted to be the one to elevate nudity for black models. Black models who pose nude are often defined as whorish vixens. In their pictures, they’re usually squatting and humping on 10-inch heels with candy in their mouth. TV and magazines have taught people to see black models as sex. That’s why people won’t and will not accept that a black model can be artistic because that’s all you see on TV. I decided to pose nude to show them that black is also artistic.
What would you say to people who see nudity in modelling as a degrading depiction of women?
There’s nothing degrading about a woman or a model who exposes her body in an artistic manner. There’s a huge difference between a professional who poses nude and a woman who cocks up her bottom. Nudity is not porno. People could be degrading in clothes so people have to stop seeing naked as shameful. Skin is my fashion. Nudity is a strong and powerful tool that people are afraid of. Nudity is bold and art. People who see vaginas and penises everywhere are just self-taught perverts.
What is it about modelling that you like?
I like the way I feel when I’m posing. I don’t talk a lot, so posing is my voice.
Future goals in the industry?
I see myself being the head of a modelling agency or magazine and running a worldwide pageant named: Miss Queen of Glam. Outside of modelling, I’m learning mortuary science. I’m one of the few models who love dead people.
What is your advice to other females who want to follow in your footsteps?
Be yourself and never stop trying. People will try to bash you, judge you and bring you down, but be true to yourself and don’t change for money, fame or love. Dream big and don’t be afraid to fall. I fell many times, but I got back up. And if the doors are not opening for you, jump through a window. That’s what I did. Stay away from drugs, sex and pills.
Reading about mythical and magical stuff, the paranormal and supernatural, drawing, writing and swimming.
People who walk slowly, especially if they’re right in front of me.
Favourite type of music?
I listen to everything: dancehall, reggae, pop, RnB, rock, country.
If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
Marilyn Monroe, Countess Barthory and Naomi Campbell. Cook? Hell no! I’m taking all of them to Burger King – always stay faithful to the Big Mac.