One Supermodel Offspring Talks Walking The Runway At Age 5

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images.
When said out loud, "Fashion Week" has a double meaning — and for anyone who's ever been a part of all the action, feeling weak is not only par for the course, it's often the reason we love fashion to begin with. So, in honor of the moments of chaos, beauty, and excitement that made us feel weak, we present My Fashion Week-ness: a compilation of accounts from some of the industry's biggest players. They're spilling their most memorable stories from Fashion Weeks gone by, and the ones that keep them coming back for more.

If you haven't heard of Anna Cleveland until now, that's okay. But after closing the Elie Saab haute couture show in a $300,000 wedding dress, she ought to be solidly on your radar now. Daughter of Pat Cleveland, one of the first African-American supermodels, Anna is her mother's kid through and through. Sure, the resemblance is uncanny, but even better, Anna is following in her mom's footsteps to become a household name, even in today's fashion landscape dominated by Insta-girls.

Since her career took off, Anna has walked for everyone from Chanel to Jean-Paul Gaultier to Lanvin, Marc Jacobs, and back. And if you've ever been lucky enough to witness her open or close a show in person, you know that her personality radiates with every step. Most recently, Anna became the new face of New York-based ready-to-wear brand Maiyet. And after shooting the campaign with Nymphomaniac photographer Casper Sejersen, she chatted with us about what it's like to live up to the Cleveland name, and what her mother has taught her along the way:

"When I look back at my childhood memories, one of my favorite fashion moments was in Piazza di Spagna in Rome. I was 5 years old, and I remember my mother was playing Charlie Chaplin at the time. I [felt like] a little orphan. I had to wear a winter sweater in the middle of the summer time. I remember all of this chaos backstage, and this movement and stress. And all I remember hearing was my mother’s voice saying to remember to breathe and soothe yourself. She said, 'Let your inner voice guide you.' I got all into character and I didn’t let any of the chaos get to me.

"And then, I just remember those blinding lights hitting me when I had to walk down those 200 Spanish steps in Rome. They were so uneven! And I remember this little voice inside me saying, 'Don’t think about falling. Think about something else. Don’t think about being blinded, think about what you’re gonna see at the end of the runway when you get there.' I had this rose to hand to the designer, and thinking I was going to carry it to that one person, that was so important to me. I made it to the end. That’s carrying yourself with no fear."

For all things Fashion Week around the world — including street style snaps, designer news, and the trends you'd actually wear — head over to Refinery29's Fashion Month hub.