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From Peter Lindbergh, to Steven Meisel, Dutch beauty Elza Matiz has worked with nearly every major name in the game. She’s been the face of Versace and Prada, graced the pages of Vogue and Elle, and walked the runway for countless designers across the globe. With such a prestigious professional pedigree, it’s refreshing to find that Elza is humble and gracious, with a fantastic sense of humor and smile that never leaves her face. We sat down with the top model to talk about how she got her start in the industry and what she’s up to today.

First off tell us how you were discovered and how your modeling career started?

I started modeling when I was in high school and got scouted by a hairstylist in a restaurant in the Netherlands while baby sitting my younger brother. Not long after, during geography class, I received a call to come to Amsterdam right away and meet with casting director Ashley Brokaw. So I packed my bag and took the train to Amsterdam. We had another follow up meeting in Paris and when I arrived in my hotel room received the news with the confirmation for Prada Exclusive. I was 16 years old and jumping from excitement.

Tell us more about the Prada exclusive

I spent a little over a week in Milan before the show, to do the fittings, makeup and hair test and spend time with the team. I remember I was a little nervous standing in the lineup on the 15 cm platform heels. But as soon as I set my first step on the runway my nerves eased as I realized that this was a career-changing moment for me.

Were you interested in fashion at all when you were growing up?

I always was creative, but didn’t know much about fashion until I got into the industry and quickly learned that fashion is more than a beautiful piece of clothing. It’s a very big industry and a lot of people are involved. It’s a long process until someone wears the piece, and a lot of work is put into it. This is especially true for haute couture where everything is one of a kind and hand made, one gown can take months of work to finish. I walked Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture show this July and it’s incredible to be exposed to the creativity in the atelier. These are truly pieces of art!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a model? 

I am keen to start business studies in NYC this year and continue acting workshops over the summer, after taking acting workshops in Los Angeles a couple of years ago and learning a lot from it. I don’t really look at it as what I would be doing if weren’t a model, but more what can I do, achieve or create in the now and in the future in synergy with my modeling career.

Within the industry, who is your inspiration?

There are way too many people in the industry who inspire me to list them all, but if I would summarize it in a few sentences: I like a mix of beauty and intelligence with a powerful message or statement which can be used to spread awareness regarding important issues.

You are very active on Instagram, do you have any self-imposed rules?

I post about my career, the things I enjoy doing, and tips on beauty and skin care, but don’t have any Instagram rules. I am mostly just having fun with it and look at pages with beautiful nature and wild life.

What part of modeling do you like the most and why?

One of my favorite parts of modeling is the traveling and all the different cultures we get to learn about around the world. Modeling took me to 5 continents so far and when I have the time I like to visit the national or local museums. In fashion there is influences from all over the world.

Do you ever Google yourself?

Of course I do from time to time, I use it to find pictures that just came out. In Katy Perry’s words: “Any artist who says they don’t Google their names is a big fat liar,”

Do you have any career goals through this next year?

Shooting a swimwear campaign is one of my goals. I’ll also be enhancing the knowledge I have acquired in the last couple years by enrolling in international business studies. And will further my evolvement in causes against plastic pollution. It’s something I am passionate about. It makes me proud to be the face of La Mer’s foundation, as the company has also made it their mission to help protect marine habitats across the globe.

You walked in a lot of runway shows. Did you practice a runway walk?

In the beginning of my career to practice and train myself I would wear many different type of heels wherever I went, to the park, school, and even on the cobblestones in Paris. I would also watch fashion shows and emerge in that world and style and record myself walking.

 Outside of modeling, what are your hobbies?

I love spending time painting and playing with colors. My mom has always painted and it’s still something we do together when I go see her in the Netherlands. I enjoy reading books, and visiting museums and exhibitions. Hiking and going for adventures in nature are some of my outdoorsy hobbies, and last but definitely not least I am crazy about the ocean and any activity on the beach.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Coffee! Honestly I have a hard time getting out of bed every morning and have thought about putting the coffee machine right next to the bed, maybe that will help! 

What’s your beauty regimen like? Any secrets?

I start by washing my face with an Aloe based product, then use a re-usable cotton pad to apply a toner with Aloe and Hazel. I use a soft brush to apply a hyaluronic acid gel to my face and neck. For the last step I use my favorite mix of face oils and then roll it in with a jade roller. TIP: While traveling I take some sheet masks with me, 1 for every 3/4 hours. They are easy to use on the go, and also super hydrating.

What advice would you give to women aspiring to get into modeling?

I would advice starting models to make sure to know themselves, to know the goals they want to achieve and the message they want to put out, get an entertainment lawyer and supportive management team to work with.

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