Are you interested in starting your own company but don’t know how to manage this alongside your modelling career? MVBabe Ana Tanaka can tell you exactly how to achieve this, as both a model and CEO who currently runs two businesses, We Koko and Femme Cre8tive.
The talented creative shares her industry insight, social media tips, organisational advice and her career highlights, as she provides bespoke guidance on how models can begin their own career journeys and optimise on the power of Instagram.
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
WHERE IS YOUR HOMETOWN?
My hometown is Bolton (in the North of England) I grew up there until I was 18.
WHO IS YOUR MOTHER AGENCY?
One Management in NYC
WHAT IS ONE FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I was a child gymnast – I was born so bendy!!
MV ASKS: TELL US ABOUT YOUR MODELLING JOURNEY AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT FASHION?
My mum was actually studying counselling and was showing off my pictures to the whole class and one of the ladies was the accountant at my very first modelling agency in Manchester (so thanks Mama). I’d always loved to model and play dress up. I even had my own first shoot when I was just 3 years old!
I love EVERYTHING about fashion. I love how you can completely create a character and mood with an outfit. I love experimenting with new styles. I’m really obsessed with the 70’s aesthetic at the moment.
MV ASKS: WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT SO FAR IN YOUR CAREER?
Hmm it has to be when I booked a L’Oreal campaign. I had literally manifested and wished for a L’Oreal campaign only a few weeks before. So, I was absolutely buzzing when I got confirmed!
MV ASKS: WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND WE KOKO AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BRAND?
My first year at Burning Man festival in 2013 blew my mind! The outfits and art I saw changed my perspective on fashion. With the launch of WeKoko, I wanted to create an online place where you can really dress however you want and not be limited to high street stores and the latest ‘fashion trends’.
With the name, I wanted something quirky and fun like Cuckoo and the ‘we’ part I loved because it’s like a community which I feel festival goers really have.
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When it’s so hot you turn into the Sun ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ Excited for these new @heyami_stylist_shop Heyami pieces to come onto @wekoko soon! Insane make up by @abbirosemakeup 💄 @hairbycarmenamelia @amyveritycreative @fancygomez
MV ASKS: TELL US ABOUT FEMME CRE8TIVE, WHAT IS YOUR MISSION BEHIND THE COMPANY AND WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE?
Femme Cre8tive is a new business that I launched with my best friend Nancy Gomez in LA earlier this year. We are an all-female production company & creative agency bringing together a network of female creatives. We work with fashion & beauty brands some of our latest clients are Puma, Y7 Studio & Natural World Hair. Our vision for Femme is to create one of the best production companies in the world working between LA, London & NYC. We are creating a community where creatives can build together and support each other in the industry.
A sense of community is so important. Models are constantly travelling by themselves all over the world so it can get quite lonely. You are also constantly being judged by the way you look so insecurities are flying around so having a good group of people around you is so important.
MV ASKS: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT FESTIVAL FASHION AND WHICH BRANDS/ MUSIC INSPIRE YOU?
Burning Man 100% hands down is my favourite festival and it’s so much more than just a festival. For me, it was a huge, life-changing experience. I love having no limits on what you can wear and really being YOU!
Independent fashion designers really inspire me as they pride themselves on creating quality sustainable fashion. We sell so many amazing independent brands on WEKOKO.com so definitely check them all out!
I also love female vocalists with soul. Some of my favourites at the moment are H.E.R, Sabrina Claudio & Nao.
MV ASKS: WHAT ARE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS AND WHICH MODELS INSPIRE YOU ON INSTAGRAM?
Having a good interaction with your followers is crucial as well as just good content.
Brands are now more interested in influencers with a stronger relationship with their followers rather than millions of followers.
I personally love to follow models with great style and a positive message and who don’t take themselves too seriously. Some of my favourites are Martha Graeff, Anna Lise Mclchan, Jesslee Buchanan and Mimie Lashiry.
MV ASKS: WHY DO YOU THINK FASHION MODELS ARE VALUED AS POWERFUL INFLUENCERS FOR BRANDS IN 2018?
I feel that lots of young girls look up to fashion models and the lifestyle that comes with it; travelling the world, beauty and the latest fashion trends. So it makes sense for fashion brands to be using models as influencers as they have a major influence on what brands & products girls are using and wanting to try.
With WeKoko, we have also had influencers and models support our community, such as Vanessa Hudgens and Shanina Shaik, which was a dream! It kind of felt surreal seeing Vanessa who I think is one of the early festival fashion queens, wearing one of our designer’s pieces. And she even mentioned us in a couple of interviews which was so sweet of her!
MV ASKS: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MODELS WANTING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
DO IT DO IT DO IT. We have so much spare time as a model in between jobs and castings that we’re blessed.
To be in a position where we can create something on the side. Models are also among the most amazing networks and we really need to utilise these opportunities.
You must have such a busy schedule! How do you balance both your modelling career and work with We Koko? We can always find the time. Whether it’s whilst we’re travelling, lunch breaks or working through the evening (I love to work at night).
I actually started our Instagram page a year before we launched the website with inspo images that were on brand!
MV ASKS: WHAT IS YOUR LIFE QUOTE/ MANTRA?
Anything is possible! We are capable of almost anything if we believe in ourselves, have confidence and put in the work. Don’t limit yourself because of fear.
MV ASKS: YOU HAVE SUCH A BUSY SCHEDULE! WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 ORGANISATIONAL TIPS?
- LISTS!!! Write everything down that needs to get done. I have one for myself, Wekoko & Femme Cre8tive. I’m such a list freak!
- Set yourself deadlines to when you want certain tasks to be completed.
- For Femme we use a great App called FLOCK where you can keep your team up to date with everything and have group chats in there.
- Use Google calendar for your group / personal diary keeping.
- Go out on a Friday instead of a Saturday so you’re fresh and ready to go by Monday haha 😉
MV ASKS: WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT MODEL VILLAGE AND WHY WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHER MODELS JOIN OUR COMMUNITY?
I love that MV has created a strong community of inspiring models, as especially when you are travelling to new cities you can always find models to meet at the different venues and events. A lot of models don’t necessarily have friends or a network at first so it’s nice to have that security 🙂