Meet Lyja: Fashion's Freshest Face

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Lyja Roberts, or rather, Lyja (Ly is pronounced as in lie, and the j is pronounced in the same way the French pronounce j), is a seventeen year-old senior in high school based out of Vancouver, Canada. Oh, also, she's a model.
   I first came across Lyja whilst scrolling through some editorials on Zeum Mag. Even from only viewing one editorial for she modeled, I could already tell that Lyja has the Teresa-Oman-meets-Ali-Michael factor. I was intrigued, and because I do adore keeping up with the fashion world and modeling scene, I wanted to find out more about her. So, thanks to my exceptional researching skills, I found Lyja's Instagram and Tumblr.
   Through her social media accounts, I, along with thousands of others, got to see more of her modeling work, and really just be inspired by her perspective on life and overall optimism. Her happiness is contagious, and before you know it, she will infect not only all of you with her optimism, but she'll be infecting the pages of your couture magazines.
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WRITTEN CITIZENHey Lyja! Thanks so much for stopping by WRITTEN CITIZEN and talking with us. So, seeing as you are a new face to the model-scene, and there are tons of other girls fighting to model as well, how hard was it to be signed? How did you feel when Key Models signed you?

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LYJA: My pleasure! I think the hardest part for me was finding the confidence to pursue it. Modeling has been something I’ve been interested in since I was thirteen, but I never actually had the self-confidence to think that I would be able to do it professionally. As a fifteen year-old, I once was scouted when I went out for dinner with my mom, but at the time, I was still nervous about it. When I was sixteen, I went through a lot of changes; I learned a lot about myself and sort of grew into who I am. It wasn’t until then that I really felt confident about myself. From that point on, I decided I really wanted to model! I submitted to several local agencies, and after meeting with Key Models, I definitely felt they were the best fit. They were super nice with a really cool, youthful and professional vibe to them — which was awesome. They’re so supportive, and it’s been a dream come true to be able to work with them.

WCHave you always been interested in modeling and the fashion world?

L: I definitely have always been interested in fashion; when I was growing up, though, it was more just admiring Lizzie McGuire’s sick butterfly hair-clip action. But, I remember that whenever I went to get my hair cut, the salon would always have issues of Vogue and other fashion magazines. I would flip through them, and it all just seemed so magical to me. So much of the content you see in the fashion industry is hard to fathom anyone wearing on the street, but it’s about so much more than just the apparel. Seeing beautiful clothing and exquisite makeup on models is absolutely breathtaking; it’s such an interesting form of art. I always knew modeling was something I was interested in, and to have the ability to be a canvas for photographers and couture is so surreal. I love it.

WCWhat is your personal style like? How has living in Vancouver influenced your style?

L: My personal style is all over the map, and it’s evolved so much. I take inspiration from everywhere. A lot of what I wear comes from my need for comfortability. I feel a lot better in clothes if I'm comfortable in them. I love lounge pants and huge t-shirts. It’s kind of weird, though, because I sort of look like a hospital patient half of the time, but personally, I like it! I also love pastel colors and platform shoes. Vancouver is really interesting because there is such a wide variety of different styles and fashions. You see people wearing really cool stuff all of the time, so whenever I go out and see people wearing these awesome statement pieces, it really inspires me to be more adventurous in the way I dress.

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WCWho are your style icons and favorite models?

L: My style icons would have to be Baby Spice and the Olsen twins. That’s a really weird combo, I know. I just really like how the Olsens pull off baggy, loose fitting clothing and still make it look chic, and let's face it: Baby Spice just has a wardrobe sent from heaven. My favorite models are probably Ali Michael, Kate Moss — duh — Esther Heesch, Tilda Lindstam, Esmerelda Seay Reynolds, Lara Stone, and Charlotte Free. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know the names of many male models, but Michael Bailey-Gates is a dreamboat. 

WCIs runway modeling something in which you'd ever be interested, or would you just prefer to stick with print ads?

L: I would absolutely love to do runway work! Unfortunately, I am on the small side. I’m only 5’7, which is a tad shorter than what most designers look for, but Kate Moss is my height, and if she can do it, I’m hoping I can too. But, of course, she’s Kate Moss, and I’m quite obviously not, so that might make things a bit more difficult! (Laughs.)

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WCWhich fashion brands are currently your favorites? Which have always been your favorite?

L: Right now, my favorites are Jacquemus, Alexander Wang, and Acne Studios. I also really like the stuff Moschino has put out since Jeremy Scott began working for them ― he’s a genius. Long-standing favorites are probably Chanel, Alexander McQueen, and Marc Jacobs. Oh, and Calvin Klein! I love the minimalism Francisco Costa brings to the table. It’s awesome.

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WCA lot of models try to break into show-biz, such as Emily Ratakjowski and Cara Delevingne. Would you ever be interested in acting or singing?

L: Actually, it’s funny you should mention that! Before I was interested in modeling, I loved to act and sing. They’ve definitely taken second place now, because of modeling, but I used to love doing musical theatre and such. I think if the opportunity ever came up though, I would really like to take those professions up again.

WC: Due to the job, most models live in cities such as New York or London. Though I hear Vancouver is lovely place, would you consider relocating to further your modeling career?

L: Absolutely! I mean, I love Vancouver ― it’s a breathtaking city ― but I have seen so little of the world. To be able to go to New York or Paris would be a dream come true. I hope I get to travel a lot! I also want to go to Japan and South Korea terribly, as well as Italy and England, among so many other places.

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WCWith work such as modeling, you must collaborate with lots of different people. With whom would you love to collaborate in the future?

L: My dream collaborations are definitely very high-set goals (laughs). I would love to work with Mario Sorrenti on something, or Mario Testino. Nick Knight is so talented as well. To be able to work with any of the designers and labels I listed above would be absolutely amazing, but who knows? There are so many amazing, talented artists in this industry, and I’m just happy to be able to work with as many of them as I can!

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WCModels must strictly have a slim physique. What do you do to maintain your figure? Any tips for a healthy lifestyle?

L: Modeling is all about staying healthy. Luckily, I have a very fast metabolism, so it’s not too hard for me to keep the ideal measurements to match my height. In terms of dieting and exercise, I think it’s all about having fun with it!
   For exercise, I do a lot of walking, which I love to do, and I also do the weirdest things to workout! Instead of doing set workout routines, I mostly just dance around my room in my underwear singing Cher songs until I drop to the floor of exhaustion―and that’s not a joke. In fact, I went to see my doctor around a week ago about back pain I was having, and she told me it’s because I can’t support my own weight due to my core being so weak! I was really embarrassed... as you can see, I obviously am not the right person to be asking about working out (laughs)!
   But, in terms of eating healthy, I think it’s all about keeping a balanced diet and replacing unhealthy foods with substitutes. For example, growing up, I was totally addicted to potato chips and things like that. Now, instead of having unhealthy snacks, I’ll have nuts or some vegetable crackers. It’s all about getting the most nutrition out of every calorie.
   My tip for having a healthy lifestyle is to choose to be happy! That’s easier said than done, especially for those who struggle with mental health problems, such as depression or bipolar, who definitely need things like counseling and medication. But, part of being happy also comes from having a positive attitude and staying optimistic. Believe the best can happen, and it most likely will! That’s what I like to believe, anyway.

WCWhat's next for you?

L: I have no idea! I want to finish school, and hopefully keep working. My main goal is to become as successful of a model as I can be. I really hope to be able to pursue a career in it, and be able to travel and work with all sorts of amazing people! But, I don’t know―I’m just taking things as they come. I’m so young, and I have so much time ahead of me to do amazing things. Just thinking about the future makes me so excited!

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Find Lyja on her Instagram and Tumblr.