Incoming Penn sophomore, Bonnie Arbittier, entered Bergdorf’ Goodman’s competition this summer to model for their fall 5F campaign. Her sweet answers, love of Alexa Chung, and wish for the chance behind the lens (currently, she only photographs) definitely won us over. Lucky Magazine certainly took note too, and named her their favorite!
Although ultimately she did not win the competition, she finished 8th for the facebook portion with over 4000 votes! With gorgeous looks like French actress Clemence Poesy, who can deny that she could have added something to 5F’s campaign?
Now, let’s get to the questions…
Walk: What prompted you to enter the competition?
Bonnie: I heard about the competition through tumblr. One of the girls that I follow had entered, so I checked it out because it seemed like a cool concept. At first I was really skeptical, for three reasons mainly.
Second, I felt like entering this thing would make me appear vain and egotistical (self-explanatory). Third, I knew I had NO chance. So I honestly entered the contest as a joke. I picked the picture of me where I am wearing no makeup, my hair was not done; however, it contains my most genuine smile.That day, I was very sick and I talked with my dad (my best friend) for hours on the phone about life and school and the future. The picture is awful, but it contains me at my happiest. I figure the industry can be a little fake at times, so I decided to take a different approach, which surprisingly worked!
Walk: From a photographer’s point of view, are there any specific things you look for?
Bonnie: My perception of fashion marketing and advertisements definitely changed as I transformed from a girly magazine-reading teenager to a more serious photography lover. I used to only look at the clothes and the models. Like all other girls, I was influenced by how the models looked and was convinced that I had to look like they looked and dress like they were dressed. However, as I have grown and become more confident with my appearence and my ‘different’ look, I started to concentrate less on the looks themselves and more on the photos that the companies/brands used. I now notice different styles of photography that are used in the magazines and online, and rather than having envy for the clothes or the ‘perfect’ body of the model, I learn from every photo. I compare the photos of different fashion photographers to my own, and I am influenced in a positive way from each and every publication.
Walk: Do you have any favorite fashion photographers?
Bonnie: In terms of modern fashion photographers, I love James Hickey. He’s not afraid to take his mastering of the art and get a little ‘weird’ with it. I feel like fashion photography can get a little boring; however, he really pushes it to different levels, especially in his underwater photos. I also love the classic Richard Avedon. I’m really about minimalism and simple black and white, and his photos are simply lovely while so intreguing at the same time.
Walk: Would you ever be interested in photographing street style?
Bonnie: I would love to photograph street style. I’m a little bit timid, so sometimes it’s hard for me to approach people. However, I’m starting a blog (it’s still a secret, but hopefully will become something big soon that I can announce!) that encompasses a little bit of fashion while almost forcing me to photograph people on the street that I don’t know. I love the idea of blogs like the Satorialist, who just takes photos of people around New York and unites them with fashion. It’s a great concept.
Walk: Asess Penn students’ fashion sense. We want to hear from you! What do you like and dislike?
Bonnie: I have been really impressed by the fashion of Penn students. My favourite section of The Walk is that with all of the photos of ‘fashionable students.’ It’s amazing what kids our age can put together. I expected a lot of students to bum around in sweats 24/7 (which is definitely true during finals…), but I’m really impressed by the thought a lot of people put into their outfits. Because we’re located in Philly, it’s a great combination of university style with street style.
Walk: How did it feel to be chosen by Lucky Magazine as their favorite model?
Bonnie: When I saw my picture on the Lucky website, I pretty much freaked out. Literally, f r e a k e d o u t. I didn’t even know what to do. I was studying in France at the time, and wasn’t able to do my massive pile of homework for a few hours. I was up pretty late that night. I honestly couldn’t believe it, and (to be a little cheesy) I was so thankful for all the support I got. Even though I didn’t end up being chosen for the final 20, just having my face (with this joke picture, remember) being put on a famous magazine’s website was mind-blowing. It taught me something: even if you don’t think you have a chance at something, there’s always that little chance that it could work out. It was a great experience.
Walk: Thank you Bonnie! We have heard that your favorite style icon is Anna Karina, but for some reason we think we might prefer yours… See you back at Penn!
Photos: Top of Bonnie Arbittier, Middle Right of Bonnie Arbittier, Middle Left of Clemence Poesy, Bottom Right by James Hickey, and Bottom Left by Richard Avedon.