“I didn’t look like myself at all,” says a coolly excited Alexis Primous the day after her first-ever photo shoot. “Like, when I see myself, I see a tomboy; you know, a little rough. It was interesting to see the different roles I was playing in each outfit.” As the winner of the W Magazine and IMG model search, the 20-year-old Florida native has skyrocketed from college student and production assistant to on-duty model in a matter of days; and just 24 hours before had been captured in a plain red tank, a sopping wet Chloe dress, and topless by photographer Mario Sorrenti and stylist Edward Enninful. As I speak to her, Primous has a small team surrounding her, applying metallic eye shadow, braiding gold dust through her hair, and holding up garments to her slim 5’10” physique for her second W shoot. It’s only her first trip to New York, but she doesn’t seem intimidated, or even phased, by any of that. Though she admits to feeling nervous the day before, today she has the confidence of an old pro, and she has all the answers: “Lighting and angles,” she states definitively when asked the secret to taking a great selfie. Her favorite model? “Shanina Shaik—she just has It,” she says. And where does she want to be in five years? That one’s easy: “Everywhere.”
Though she’s still learning the names of her favorite designers, Primous already has model-off-duty style down, arriving to the set in skinny jeans, a plain T-shirt, minimal makeup. Her most noteworthy accessory? A winning attitude. “I don’t want to sound narcissistic, but I feel like I can pull off just about any look,” she says of her personal style, which she describes as androgynous and inspired by the ‘80s. Casual seems to be a theme for the model, from her skincare routine to the way she entered the contest. "It was so last minute, I ended up entering like two hours before closing," she explains. "We just took five shots and a 20 second video, sent it in, and didn't really think much of it after that."
Nevertheless, now that she’s won, she’s having a hard time containing her excitement. “Honestly, I feel like someone could throw something at me and I’d be like, ‘Oh my god, thank you!’” she jokes as we wrap up the interview and she puts her game face on to head to set. Tomorrow she may be a star, but right now it’s time to get to work.
Hair by Diego Miranda at Cloutier Remix, makeup by Laura Stiassni. Manicure by Chi Chi. Model: Alexis Primous at IMG Models. Set Design by Lauren Nikrooz. Digital Technician: Matthew Thompson. Photography Assistants: Cindy Leaf. Fashion Assistant: Irene Ojo-Felix.