Queen of Posing Coco Rocha: My journey has profoundly enriched my perspective

Coco Rocha, reigning Queen of Posing, returns to Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, unveiling her lifelong passion and future plans, igniting inspiration and defining timeless elegance with every step

Dress, Diana Couture X Le Ciel Design. Shoes, Jimmy Choo. Ring, Seasonal Whispers

Dubbed the Queen of Posing, Coco Rocha stands as the fashion industry’s chameleon, a title she wears with as much ease as the couture that drapes her frame. At the tender age of 36, Rocha’s résumé boasts two decades of unwavering commitment to the craft of modeling — a testament to her enduring passion and the tireless pursuit of excellence.

Her visage, which once graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam back in 2017, has returned to its rightful place on the cover of the magazine’s May 2024 edition. This resurgence is more than a mere blip in the fashion timeline; it is a celebration of Rocha’s undiminished allure – a siren call to fashion aficionados and a reaffirmation of her indelible impact on the hearts of the adoring public.

HARPER’S BAZAAR: Coco, could you please tell us more about The Coco Rocha Model Camp, including its mission, curriculum, and how it aims to provide international models with a distinctive and hands-on educational experience?

COCO ROCHA: I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now, but it was around 12 years ago that I started mentoring models one-on-one. I’ve had the privilege of guiding talents like Kendall Jenner and many others at the beginning of their careers.

About six years back, I decided to take things a step further and launched the Coco Rocha Model Camp. It was my way of broadening my reach and sharing the wealth of knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated over the years with as many aspiring models as possible.

At Model Camp, we don’t just focus on posing and runway techniques. Our curriculum covers a wide range of essential topics, including contracts, agencies, branding, social media, accounting, and more. I’ve seen firsthand the potential in new talent and the challenges they face, which is why I’m incredibly proud to provide a platform where over 4,000 models have come to learn, grow, and flourish.

Coco Rocha

Dress, Jasmin Erbas Couture from Residency showroom. Shoes, Manolo Blahnik

HARPER’S BAZAAR: In 2016, you’ve founded Nomad MGMT agency in Miami, LA and Vietnam. What has been the influence and impact of Nomad MGMT, specifically within the Vietnamese fashion landscape?

COCO ROCHA: When Nomad stepped into the Vietnamese marketplace, we had big dreams: not only to discover fresh talent and showcase Vietnamese beauty on the global stage, but also to bring more international models to Vietnam for exciting opportunities. We spent a good year building up a strong pool of local talent, gearing up for a nationwide scouting mission with events planned across various cities in Vietnam. But then, COVID hit and we had to hit the pause button on some of our plans.

Our local agency director, Danh Quy, didn’t let that stop us. He quickly shifted gears, focusing on managing influencers, those all-important Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), who were grabbing a big slice of the advertising pie. That plan worked well and despite the challenges, our bottom line stayed strong.

Now, with the local market bouncing back from the pandemic, we’re gearing up to kickstart our scouting mission again in the coming year. We’re super pumped about it because we truly believe that when more Vietnamese faces shine on the global stage, it’s not just good for them – ­it’s a win for the whole local scene.

Coco Rocha

Dress, Bryan Barrientos. Earrings, Archive showroom. Ring, Residency showroom. Shoes, Sarah Palmer

HARPER’S BAZAAR: What forthcoming change or advocacy would you prioritize within the fashion industry, having already championed significant advancements and increased protection for young models?

COCO ROCHA: The next priority I’m looking out for is the responsible integration of AI in fashion. AI technology holds immense potential to revolutionize various aspects of the fashion world, from design and manufacturing to marketing and retail. But I think making sure that AI systems are ethically developed and deployed is so so important. I’d like to push for transparency and accountability in the use of AI technologies within the fashion industry by establishing clear guidelines and regulations regarding data privacy, intellectual property rights, and algorithmic accountability. All of these things feel crucial to safeguarding the rights and interests of both consumers and industry professionals.

Coco Rocha

Dress, Diana Couture X Le Ciel Design. Shoes, Jimmy Choo. Ring, Seasonal Whispers

HARPER’S BAZAAR: How did you navigate feelings of loneliness during the early stages of your career, and how did you overcome them?

COCO ROCHA: When I was 15, I was living solo in Taipei. And by 16, I was basically living out of a suitcase, flying around the globe every week, working with different teams almost every other day, the majority of whom did not even speak my language!

Back then, with no FaceTime, no easy WiFi, and expensive international calling plans Staying connected with friends and family felt like a real challenge, and I definitely felt the loneliness. Honestly, it wasn’t until I hit about 18 or 19 that I put my foot down with my agency. I started demanding more time off to be with friends and family and to just have a life outside of work.

Balancing work and play became my mantra, especially as I started a family. Now, with a husband and three kids, family time is non-negotiable. Everything else has got to fit around that.

Coco Rocha

Dress, Christian Siriano. Neckless, Vhernier. Shoes, Dear Frances

HARPER’S BAZAAR: Which moment from your career stands out to you as the one that had the most impact on you personally, and also which one as the one that had the biggest impact on your career?

COCO ROCHA: There have been quite a few. My work with Steven Meisel early in my career is one. I had a period of time when I exclusively worked with him for the better part of a year and he sort of became my defacto agent and would tell me and my team what runway shows I should do, what jobs I should take and what clients I should work with. Having him in my corner was enormously influential in shaping my career. Creating my book Study Of Pose was a big moment for me, I wanted to show that there is a world of inspiration for poses in everything from art history to music to dance to pop culture and beyond.

Coco Rocha

Dress, Lever Couture

HARPER’S BAZAAR: What’s your next chapter?

COCO ROCHA: Well, you know how it is in our line of work – secrets and surprises. But what I can tell you is, I’ve never been more thrilled to keep pushing forward in this industry as I head into my 20th year. What started as a summer gig at 14 has turned into a lifelong passion. I’m still here, still loving every moment.

Dress, Lever Couture. Shoes, Gianvito Rossi. Ring, Catherine Skarzenski Jewelry from Flying Solo PR

HARPER’S BAZAAR: What’s your happy place?

COCO ROCHA: My happy place, aside from being at home with my kids, is undoubtedly Coco Rocha Model Camp. As a young model, I navigated the industry without formal training or a mentor to guide me. It was a tough journey filled with trial and error. Establishing CRMC became my passion project – a platform to equip models with the tools I wished I had when I started, to thrive and evolve the industry alongside me. Over the years, I’ve directly trained thousands of models, imparting not only posing techniques and runway walks but also instilling in them a sense of artistic identity and empowerment.

At CRMC, we emphasize understanding rights, negotiating contracts, and advocating for financial transparency. Our goal is to help them view themselves as brands, fostering longevity and leverage in the industry. Sending these models out into the world as ambassadors fills me with immense pride. It’s everything I wish I knew during my early years in the industry, but, like many, had to learn the hard way.

Top, Xijia Cheng. Shoes, Saint Laurent. Earrings, Kyle Chan Design

HARPER’S BAZAAR: As a mother of three, what has been the most challenging?

COCO ROCHA: Oh it’s all a challenge, but the best kind! I love it. Being a mom changes everything, you are no longer living for yourself, everything is for the kids. If it’s cold, they get the jacket so they can keep warm. If there is food, they get the best pieces. If they need sleep, you don’t get to sleep. You do everything for children and yet you are completely happy to sacrifice for them.

With every decision I have to make, in my personal and professional life, I first think “how will this affect the children” and I decide based on that. I think you make time for whatever is important for you in life. For me, my family is the most important thing, so everything else has to fit around that.

Often I have to turn down work and opportunities because it does fit with the life I’m trying to build, and that’s fine. At the end of the day, as much as I love modeling and fashion, my favorite role is always mom. Motherhood has changed everything in the best way.

Dress, Quine Li. Shoes, Camilla Gabrieli from Aeraid PR

** Team Credit **

An Artcoded production @art.coded.
Photographer: Reinhardt Kenneth @reinhardtkenneth.
Producer: Gina Kim-Park @ginakpark.
Co-Producer: Vicky Jung @dea_vicky.
Creative Director: Cannon @thecannonmediagroup of Ray Brown Represents @raybrownpro.
Talent: Coco Rocha @cocorocha at The Lions @thelionsmgmt @nomadmgmt.
Hair: Linh Nguyen @linhhair of See Management @seemanagement, using Balmain Hair @balmainhair.
Hair Assistant: Natalie Lucas
Makeup: Renee Garnes @reneegarnes of Opus Beauty @opusbeauty, using Danessa Myricks @danessamyricksb.
Nails: Casey Herman @caseynails at The Wall Group @thewallgroup, using Nails Inc. @nailsinc.
Location Manager: Madison Burress @madb11.
Location Scout: Maximilian Zim @
Location: The Sovereign Brands LLC, Bumbu Rum, Luc Belaire, The Deacon.
Vhernier PR: AJ Verma @ajbeverlyhills of Lotus Beverly Hills @lotusbeverlyhills.
Videography: Hugo Arvizu @arvizu_arts.
Lighting Director: Maya Louis @mayalouisphoto.
Retouch: Mikhael Gan @mikhaelgan.
Behind the Scene: Seungok Ko damdastudio_kso.
Floral Production: The Mille Fiori @themillefiori in partnership with Wilddea Korea @wilddea.kr.
Floral Team: Raquel F. Membreno @membrenoraquel, Reynaldo Ortiz Gonzalez.
Floral Crew: Jin Oh Kim @jin_o5o.
Production Assistant: Sooyeon Yoon @sooyeonyoonie.
Fashion Assistants: Winnie Noan @winnie_noan, David Goldberg @indigoboydavid, Maksim Mizgirev @lu3alo, Sydney Loera @sydneyloera, Jack Umphrey @jackumphrey, Gabriela Jagodzinska @gjagodzinska_, Kana Kobayashi @iamkana85, Madina Zhanuzakova @mmmadie___, Clementine Vernon @clementine.vernon, Malak Ismail @xxmalak, Betta Bono @elisabettabono_, Summer Guderian @summer_guderian, Suimay Lee @suimaylee.
Digitech: Fabian Ospina @allegedly.
Gaffer: Yohance Vargas @yohancee.
Location Scout: Maximilian Zim @sumfattytuna.
Photographer’s Assistant: Madeline Park @madelinpark.
Location: The Sovereign Brands Llc – Bumbu Rum @originalbumbu, Luc Belaire @officialbelaire, The Deacon @deaconwhisky.
Special thanks to Lauren Moghavem @openforedit at The Lions @thelionsmgmt @nomadmgmt, James Conran @jamesedwardconran.

Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam