In case you pegged her as just another pretty face, this Australian supermodel has big plans up her sleeve: the ’30 Days of Fashion and Beauty’ campaign, Australia’s Next Top Model, an upcoming solo album, and much, much more. Not to mention Tozzi’s recent GQ South Africa cover and Harper’s Bazaar Australia shoot. Blessed to be doing it all on the home front of Australia, her busy schedule is welcomed. Yes, she’s most certainly gorgeous, but how many models can say they’ve starred in their own music video, styled top-to-toe in Chanel?
Following a lineage of models, Tozzi has already created a name of her own. Her modeling career began at the fresh-faced age of 13, when she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, with a Vogue cover following soon after.
Cheyenne, now 25, talks to AMFAM about the future; including singing in her band Van Hoorn, her role as a mentor to young models, her love of fashion and why she thinks being a windmill technician would fun!
Interview with Cheyenne Tozzi
By Courtney Michelle
1. How did you get into modeling?
I was 13 when I first appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. My Mum came with me to the shoot and she knew all of the crew, so it was really relaxed and cool, a very special and memorable experience for my Mum and I.
2. You come from a dynasty of female models within your close family network, did you feel any pressure to get into modeling because of that, or was it a personal choice?
I grew up surrounded by models, photographers, stylists, hair and make-up artists and creatives! My Mum and my Aunts all modeled, they worked mostly in London and Paris and covered some of the world’s most famous fashion titles including Vogue. Growing up in studios and on location watching my Mum, my Aunts and my sister model and beginning to model myself from such a young age always felt very natural to me. I found modeling easy and enjoyable from the beginning, it’s all I know I guess!
3. Do you think having the family of models already established helped you get a head start? Or was there a certain level of expectation because of the success of your family?
My sister and I had such a fun time when we were growing up shooting campaigns for iconic Australian brands like Billabong, David Jones, Seafolly and Mambo. I definitely think that having such a strong family background in the modeling industry helped – I feel very blessed to have had such knowledge of the industry shared with me from the beginning, which I think helped me to be strong and enjoy the opportunity rather than putting too much pressure on myself or limiting myself with too many expectations. My Mum always said … just have fun and enjoy it!
4. What kind of role did your mother play when you first started modeling? Was she reluctant to let you get into that world?
My Mum had experienced exactly the same things when she was modeling, so she always had the most valuable advice and guidance for me from the start. My Mum is such a legend and has been the best role model for me because she’s always so positive and relaxed about everything. I think, because my Mum had such a fantastic experience traveling the world as a model, she was excited for me to be able to enjoy all of the same opportunities – Mum will still come along to my shoots now and I love it whenever we shoot together. It’s definitely fun for all of the crew when we are together in front of the camera!
5. Do you ever feel like you may have started too young? Did you feel like you missed out on being a normal teenager because you were thrown into experiences beyond your years, or did it just mature you quicker?
Because my career began when I was so young, my Mum travelled with me most of the time and knew the importance of keeping me grounded and ensuring that I appreciated the opportunity modeling gave me to travel the world and meet fantastic people. It is such a crazy and creative industry! I’ve made friends with people from all over the world. I moved to New York, when I was 17, which taught me so much about life. I always travelled back to Australia as often as I could to be with my family and hang out with my friends from school, so when I was at home and on the beach I felt like any other every-day teenager.
6. You hold an impressive resume as a model already, at the tender age of 25. What’s it like to be a mentor to aspiring models entering the industry?
I feel like I have achieved so much and I’ve learnt so much from some really impressive people in the industry and I think that’s why I enjoy mentoring young models. Working on The Face, Australia alongside supermodel Naomi Campbell was such a rewarding experience because I was in a position to share some of the learning that had been passed onto me. I’m really excited about filming the new series of Australia’s Next Top Model and hopefully finding Australia’s next supermodel!
7. Do you feel equipped to handle such responsibility when you are still quite young yourself?
From my own experience, I feel like I can be a strong role model. I think that modeling, like any career, is what you personally make of it – if you want to take it seriously and be successful then you have to be prepared to work hard. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience so much from such a young age through modeling, and I really love to be able to share that knowledge with young models and guide them as best I can. As glamorous as it sounds, flying all over the world can be scary and stressful, so having someone help put it all into perspective for you is so important.
8. At what point do you think you made the transition from just being a model to now being the ‘personality’ that you are? Did you do it consciously, and how did it change the direction of your work and status?
It just happened…I think because I have interests outside of modeling, music is my other passion and I love clothes and art, anything creative, so I’m interested in exploring new things – this is all just a part of the adventure!
9. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
My Harper’s Bazaar shoot with photographer Sam Haskins when I was 13 is still my favorite shoot – we shot on location in the Australian outback, which was so beautiful.
I recently shot a special Chanel story with my band, Van Hoorn, in Europe for Tush magazine, I think it’s every model’s dream to be styled and photographed in Chanel, so to have that experience with my band was definitely a career highlight!
10. What is the worst experience you’ve had as a model?
All of the travel and working across different time zones can be exhausting and it’s lonely at times, which is hard when you’re really young because your friendships are so important and it can be difficult to keep in touch with friends at home when you’re traveling so much.
I guess it’s like anything in life, there are always ups and downs, so you sometimes wonder about how it would feel if the situation was different.
11. What is your ultimate goal as a model/personality?
At the moment my goal is to try to combine my modeling with my music – I’m trying to spend as much time as I can writing, recording and performing so, whenever my two passions can come together is really the ultimate for me right now.
12. Do you feel like you are far off from your ultimate goal? And once you get there, what next?
I’ve just returned from Chicago where I was writing and recording with my band Van Hoorn, so there are some really exciting things happening…
I would really love to relax soon – I’ve been busy since I moved to New York when I was 17! So, I’m looking forward to being able to relax and peace out some time soon and hopefully getting married and having babies!
13. I hear you also add, “windmill technician” to your resume when men ask you what you do. Where’d that come from and what’s their response?
If I get hit on …
“If” being the key word here! Apparently I’m intimidating?!
They say, “what do you do? …”
And I say, “… I’m a windmill technician.”
And then they walk away … and I lose another one.