By Eloise Skinner / @eloiseallexia
Brana Dane is a model, TV presenter, activist and influencer, with a strong presence in the fashion and creative industries. A multi-talented creator, Brana believes that modeling is another art form in which to express herself creatively. And that mindset has led her from success to success – read on to learn more about her daily life, and the top tips she’d pass on to new models.
Your career in the modeling industry (and beyond!) is impressive: how did it all begin?
I was scouted by the top agent in Toronto at 14, but started my modeling career years later in New York. I do all types of modeling, including print, runway and commercial. My favorite projects are print campaigns and fashion editorials.
My first published shoots were for Vogue Italia – very creative images, incorporating flowers. So far in my career, I’ve enjoyed working for brands like Maison Margiela, Matrix Biolage, Samantha Sung, Herno, Bao Tranchi, Adolfo Sanchez, Taku Yhim, Marisol Deluna, Milly, and Dennis Basso. Recently, I shot for the cover of Glamour Bulgaria and completed an editorial for Harper’s Bazaar. I’m constantly inspired by my work: every designer has a unique vision and I feel honored to bring it to life.
From 2017-2019, I also worked as a TV host, going behind the scenes at fashion week for Fashion News Live on Amazon Prime. It was great to get a different perspective on the industry, and my co-host Carmen Carrera was a delight!
What does a typical day look like in your life?
No day is typical! That’s what’s so exciting about my life as a model. But each day I always need coffee before anything else, then I check my important communications. Whether it’s a job, casting, self-tape or a “free” day I always have work to do.
To begin my days, I eat a small breakfast, bathe, get dressed and attend to what’s on my agenda for that day. If I have time, I try to meditate for a few minutes in the morning as well.
Modeling is more than castings and bookings. I go through countless emails everyday, manage my main social accounts and try to grow my smaller social platforms on a daily basis. I post to my lifestyle blog weekly, and read over guest posts that are submitted frequently. In the evening, I often have an event or another obligation.
Your career has been so varied: do you have a favorite campaign?
There are so many awesome moments from my career so far! One of the most fun jobs was walking the runway in front of 7,000 fans in Times Square for the 2017 live IIFA Awards Show (the Bollywood Oscars). I’ve also walked at New York Fashion Week for designers such as Dennis Basso, Stello and Stella Nolasco, and even opened the show for Pelush. Another career highlight was modeling for the cover editorial of Porter Magazine (Porter Edit) in 2018. I’m also proud to be a featured face in photographer Carlota Guerrero’s hardcover book, published in 2021 by Prestel.
Most recently, I was honored to shoot for the cover of Glamour Bulgaria! The shoot focused on the changing seasons and the colors of fall. I worked with such a talented team and the day flew by! My favorite look from the shoot ended up being an 80s inspired dress from Desigual.
What do you wish people knew about the life of a model?
I wish people understood that modeling is a profession and not a title. People often have the impression that being attractive is all there is to modeling, but a lot of beautiful people quit modeling after a few years because it’s too much rejection, or because they’re simply unable to find their place in the industry. Above all else, modeling is about confidence.
If you weren’t a model, what would you be doing with your career?
I actually skipped a year ahead at school, and was a very studious child. I originally intended to become a doctor and was accepted to St Andrew’s medical school.
That being said, I already do a lot outside modeling that I’m very passionate about! I’m an activist for environmental conservation, and I gave the keynote speech for the official NYC Earth Day Rally in 2019. I’ve created numerous social media campaigns with the Freelancers Union, the Model Mafia, Lonely Whale, Rainforest Alliance, the NY Governor’s Office, Lower Drug Prices Now and many other prominent organizations. In 2017, I was captured walking in DC for the environment by photographer Gabriela Celeste, in Glamour US. And I’m an ambassador for the non-profit Remake, a leading voice within the sustainable fashion community.
I’m an artist at heart, and I paint works that aim to capture the power held within every woman, as well as the fragility of our place within the ecosystem on this planet. In fact, I had my first major commercial collaboration with bag brand Stacy Kessler in 2022.
I also love to write and have a blog that was recently Google News approved! In addition to the blog, I write short poems and have been published several times in paperback and online.
What is your best wellbeing tip for looking and feeling your best?
Modeling is both a lifestyle and a career! You have to take care of yourself properly in order to perform at your best. This starts with nutrition and light exercise. As far as exercise, I love to spin and go for long walks in the city. It’s also very important in high-stress careers to have supportive people around you and to find different ways to relax. I love Kundalini yoga for this reason. It’s very centering!
But my best beauty hack? Get enough sleep! Sleep is when our body does the majority of its reparative work.
What’s the worst thing about modeling? And the best thing?
The worst thing about modeling is the job insecurity – if there was greater job security, a lot of the other problems in the industry would naturally be remedied as well (I previously spoke about this on Switzerland’s largest TV channel, SRF, in one of their most-watched documentaries).
The best thing about modeling is working with talented, creative artists to fulfill their vision: in fashion, we’re constantly co-creating. I love this process because I’m an artist myself! There’s always something new to learn or experience, and no workday is exactly the same. And it’s always a fun surprise to see the final images!
How do you prepare for shoot days?
My preparation starts the day before! I try to do a face mask and definitely make sure to exfoliate my lips. I also try to avoid staying out late so I can be refreshed for the next day. Lastly, I put together my “model bag”. I always include a nude strapless bra, a changing veil and a water bottle! For some reason it’s always either incredibly hot or cold in the studio, so I also pack a cardigan to layer.
Finally, I always make sure to leave early so I’m on time!
What advice would you give to new models who want to get into the industry?
My advice for new models is to build themselves up outside of modeling. It’s so important now to have more than just the “look”. Clients really care about your social media and even your lifestyle outside of the industry. I would also suggest focusing on building your book over doing small runway shows.
Being a model is sometimes a lonely position, both at work and in society, so it’s important to at least have a couple trustworthy peers in your corner. For this reason, I’m very passionate about building community within modeling. I’ve hosted many meetings and dinners in effort to foster and encourage collaboration over competition within the industry.
What lessons has modeling taught you about life?
Modeling has turned me into something of a role model! I have to think about how my choices and words influence others. I do my best to be a positive influence in the world, because I feel it’s my responsibility, and you can see this reflected in my advocacy and in what I write on social media.
Modeling has also given me the opportunity to grow a thick skin! Rejection is a normal part of the job, and it’s really useful to be able to not take everything personally. It’s almost a superpower outside of the industry!
You can find out more about Brana in the links below – make sure to check out her socials!
PHOTOS: PLEASE CREDIT AS FOLLOWS –
- Photos 1, 2 & 3: editorial featured Alexis Bittar and Desigua, photo credits to Glamour Bulgaria
- Photo 4: by Maxime Georges Gilbert
- Photo 5: by Timothy Rosado