News & Runway

Crystal Renn Talks Fashion Week, Phobias, and Freja: A tFS Exclusive Interview

Last week at the Ford Artists Beauty Suite, I had the chance to sit down and chat with the super sweet and talented Crystal Renn while she was getting her hair blown out by Francky L'Official and her makeup done by Frank Guyton. Crystal was on her way to Zac Posen's Fashion's Night Out party and she asked for "Sasha P." lips: "Red, red, red. LIPS."

Crystal Renn with hairstylist Francky L'Official

Besides knowing how to stun in front of the camera, Crystal is a natural charmer off-screen. She told me that question and answer sessions were one of her favorite pastimes growing up: “My mother and I would play this game in the car, ‘ask a question.’ She would ask me a question, any question, and I would have to answer completely truthfully. And I would do it back to her, and then she had to answer.”

Here are some highlights from our chat:

On getting into fashion: “Growing up, I thought that the goth girls at the mall were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen…I only got into fashion after I was scouted, and the scout showed me a picture of Gisele and I couldn’t believe she was real, that such a thing existed. I mean, how do you explain Gisele? I thought she just woke up like that, the way she was in Vogue. When little girls look at the pictures, they don’t know how much work goes into them. They think that it’s just the model and that’s it. But there’s a whole team, a crew that does the work to transform her. I must have thought that she’d brought her own dress to the shoot…”

On diversity in modeling: “Now, there are models of all different sizes. And fashion is really opening up in terms of diversity. What would be the next thing? Maybe age. Age would be amazing."

On beauty: "There are all of these different things that make people beautiful. And chic! And that’s been my message. That’s been the truth I need to speak."

On her critics: "On the good days I brush it off, but on my bad days…well, we all have bad days and let me just say, I’ve shed a tear… People pull these little things out of shots, whether it’s my weight or something else, and focus on that. They miss the point entirely…The eye-tape thing is a perfect example. They turned it into this big thing about race, and race hadn’t even crossed our minds.”

On her fears: 1) Spiders. She went to Cambodia with her grandmother last year, to try to overcome her arachnophobia. That was the first and only time she tried fried tarantula ("But that isn't the most exotic thing I've eaten," she told me. "I've had scorpion.") which tasted like soft-shell crab. I asked if she was a convert to the culinary delicacy. "No," she said, "I prefer soft-shell crab." 2) People touching her and looking at her. “It was really hard when I first started. I couldn’t even undress in front of my mother.”

On astrology: "I'm a Gemini with Capricorn rising. I could get lost reading astrology books."

On the Ford Beauty Suite: “It's amazing. It’s like, everyone comes together before Fashion Week starts. We’ve all come out before this big party that is Fashion’s Night Out.”

On The Fashion Spot: "I was literally one of the first members, when I was in Mississippi and obsessed with fashion and hoping to become a model. But then I lost my password and now I don't know what to do."

Never fear, Crystal — we'll find a way to sneak you back in.

Fashion Week "Would you rather…" 

Paris or NY
(Crystal couldn't decide. If pressed, she would be 'New York' 100%, but she couldn't bite the bullet and give up on Paris.)
Spring or Fall

Champagne or Coconut water

Print or Digital
("I'm a control freak," she explained.)
Facebook or Twitter
Marc Jacobs for Dior or Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton
("I really LOVE Louis Vuitton," she said.)
J. Crew or Tom Ford
(Another moment of indecision. "J.Crew is where you go for casual basics, but if you need an evening dress it's all about Tom Ford.")
Arizona Muse or Freja Beha Erichsen
("Both are 'maj'. I'm only choosing Freja because I've met her and she's cool. Arizona's probably really cool too. She's a Virgo.")
Flats or Heels
("Except for on a night like this, when I'm going out. Flats are for everyday, heels are for fantasy.")
Subway or Car
Lipstick or Lip Balm
Tote or Clutch
Prints or Solids
Mac or PC
Blackberry or iPhone
IPad or Laptop
Models or Celebrities

Right, Crystal Renn with makeup artist Frank Guyton

Photos by Olivier de Sarte