Barbara Palvin is something of an enigma. She has an almost fanatical online and real life following of teenage girls and lecherous older men, and at 19 years old seems surprisingly well adjusted to the life of an international supermodel, ambassador for L’Oreal Paris and subject of fan fixation.
Barbara welcomes us into her sunlit Sofitel hotel room with a warm smile, eye contact and a firm handshake. But while her actions speak of a young woman well trained in media liaison, she is refreshingly frank, personable and quirky in a way that just cant be taught. It is an inherent sparkling quality within her that makes all around gravitate to her petite presence. Dressed in a gorgeous ivory Chloe short suit, it’s hard not to compare yourself to the supermodel next to you but her chilled out approach is so lovely that you soon forget.
Barbara has flown in to Melbourne to appear at the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, to represent L’Oreal Paris, who this year have launched an extensive line of BB and CC products that place themselves on the very top tier of the market.
Having been appointed L’Oreal Paris’ youngest ambassador ever, she has a long list of incredible women to live up to.Her self confidence and belief in herself is startlingly strong, she says “I have never wanted to look like anyone else. I want people to say that’s Barbara, not that I look like another.”
Despite her youth she has had over six years experience in the industry, a veritable lifetime in the careers of many other models. Having modeled since thirteen for the likes of Prada, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, she had become a role model for both aspiring models and young women alike, although she is humble about the role she may play in so many lives “Am I a role model? I see my friends and young girls writing that I am a role model and I am very happy if I am that, because I want to give them positive energy and show them that self confidence is the most important thing”.
Since her career began at an age when most if us were just embarking on the arduous road through high school, it is obvious this life was not planned, but that she rolls with the punches. “I was 13 when I started modelling, and I didn’t really know what modelling was. I was more into singing and sports, but after awhile after getting into the modelling business I wanted to pursue it. I wanted to make my name big and make my dad proud.” I ask her what advice she would giving to other aspiring models and to young women in general. Barbara’s enthusiasm for her response is touching,“It was International Women’s Day a few days ago and as a L’Oreal ambassador we had to do a little interview. My message was that I too was dreaming of this life before and now I am living it. So never give up, you will always be pushed down and you will always get up. Never say never.”
It is at about this point that the doorbell rings and Barbara jumps up to answer. If it wasn’t already evident enough that this girl is down to earth, this is it. She asks us if we want any juice, water or fruit and plays the consummate host. She has obviously been taught well by her Hungarian parents with whom she still lives with off duty, she doesn’t have apartments in New York or Paris like many international models. She says her favorite city is home “with her chickens” and her dog, whom after mentioning incites her to whip out her iPhone and pass around pictures of her perfect pooch.
Of course, as the L’Oreal ambassador we press her about how she looks so damn good. Her response is frank “It’s all L’Oreal” she responds, “but you know I am quite young, so there is that too“. What’s her favourite L’Oreal product? “The BB cream. I’m young so I don’t really use creams so it’s easy to have a moisturizer and foundation. Its quick. It’s makes your face look so fresh.”
Leaving the interview we are all gushing. Her key is being herself, something that I love about L’Oreal ambassadors, like Barbara and Aimee Mullins who I had the pleasure of interviewing last year. The tag line Because You’re Worth It my sometimes get lost in a sea of advertising but these remarkable women bring it to life and make it real. Which is what I have taken away from this, that while we can’t all be supermodels we can certainly be the best of who we are in our own lives and strive for the most.