BEHIND THE SCENES WITH LULU BONFILS
Lulu Bonfils is a force to be reckoned with. The Break first met her when she took part in our 2018 Winter Fashion Show and we all quickly fell for the distinct woman that she is.
In addition to her studies at The Pratt Institute, Bonfils is doing big things in the fashion industry (she is one of the new faces of Rihanna’s lingerie line *fans self*). I virtually sat down with Lulu to chat about modeling, art, her pet rodents, Instagram and so on.
Why did you decide to pursue modeling? What motivates you to keep going?
I got offered to do my first shoot when I was 15 by my friends Julia and Mayan from Me and You, and then I kind of just agreed to whatever shoots my friends would ask me to do. I would never really call myself a model. I signed with Wilhelmina when I was 16, even then it felt a little weird to refer to myself as a model. I think now, a couple years into the job, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with that label.
I think my own ambition combined with wanting young people to see a fat woman in fashion keeps me going, also my love of progressing in all of my fields.
Speaking of labels, how do you feel about the labels placed on women in the modeling and fashion industry?
I understand why people want to categorize models and their place in the fashion industry, however it feels a bit generalized to list a job according to weight and dress size. I think the only lines and divisions that are felt between a curve and a straight size model is the verbal and imaginary ones created by labels. We all have the same job in the end and sometimes labels enforce that separation between us.
Tell us the story behind your instagram handle, Louis Vuitton Crocs.
My sister and I were walking around the galleries one day, probably 4 years ago, and trying to list a bunch of made up instagram handles that we thought were funny and I just came up with louisvuittoncrocs and I was like yes, that will be me now.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Darien, Connecticut which is a little town in the tail part of Connecticut. I moved to Brooklyn in high school.
Is Lulu your full name?
My birth name is Lindsay, but my grandma Marjorie liked the name Lulu for me when I was a baby and everyone called me that.
Tell us about your art.
I’ve always done art at home growing up, my mom is a painter and always encouraged it. My sister and I always tried to go to shows on our own, and seeing different artists works over the years definitely planted little seeds in my own personal work. I’m a drawing major at Pratt right now and I’m always trying to experiment with different mediums. (plaster, wood, tattooing, etc.)
You are signed in New York and London. What are your favorite aspects of the two cities?
That’s tricky because New York has everything to me! I’ve been to London a couple times for work, but I don’t think I’ve gotten enough time to really experience it, but typically my favorite thing in any European city is the scenery/people. One of my favorite things in New York though has to be all of my friends.
What is your ideal day?
My ideal day would be waking up to really nice weather (76 and sunny) and cuddling with my rats for a bit, then having a figure drawing class for a couple hours, then hanging out with my boyfriend and going to the park to meet all our friends and eat some really good food followed by going to a magic show together.
Tell us about your pet rats!
I have two pet rats! They’re brothers of the same litter and they’re 1 year and 2 weeks old. I love them with all my heart! I have one black one named Smog and one albino one named Cedric. They’re really good cuddle partners.
How do you feel about your presence online? It was so humble to see that a nurse recognized you and how much you appreciated that.
I forget about it a lot. It’s easy for me to compartmentalize things away from my real life like Instagram and my work, so I often forget that I’m affecting anyone from it; I feel like a lot of people have that kind of dissociation to the internet. It is still weird to me! I think it always will be, it really touches my heart though when people tell me I’ve helped them gain confidence.
How does your family feel about your instagram?
I don’t think they feel any type of way about it, at first I think it shocked/weirded them out a bit with how comfortable with myself I am, but I think they’ve come to understand me and my personality quite well.
Do you have a five year plan?
I’m one of those people that is relieved by planning every second of what I do, but I really feel like my future changes all the time. I would love to keep modelling and helping people in general, and keep doing bigger and better things with my career, and hopefully keep all of my favorite people around for a while.
How do you deal with outdated/exclusive opinions on set? I’m thinking of when you posted about people on set criticizing your pubic hair, which is ridiculous.
Those kind of opinions and rude behaviour is for sure something I’ve always dealt with while working as a model. Over the years it’s made me very resilient to comments like that and I’m able to not let it affect my own personal choices. Times like those just make me go, “Oh that’s the kind of company you guys are”.
What advice would you give to aspiring models, especially when it comes to breaking traditional boundaries?
I would say it’s really important to know who you are going into this job. There are going to be a lot of people telling you to change in every way, but it’s really crucial to recognize what kind of person you are in and out of modelling.
What are you most proud of?
Graduating high school was a really big accomplishment to me. School got really hard for me during middle school and kind of kept getting harder on me mentally until I dropped out in my freshman year. It was a really hard and confusing time and I didn’t really know what was going to happen, but I’m very thankful that my parents trusted my judgement and let me decide what was best for me.
If you could meet anyone, who would it be? Dead or alive.
There are so many people that I’d love to meet, but I’d love to spend an afternoon talking to Anna Nicole Smith, but like a sentient zombie version of her reflecting on her life and her upbringing. I’d love to get real with her.
Do you have a message you would like to give to womyn?
Stay safe and defend yourselves!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH RICHTMAN