Mar 20th, 2018, 11:20 AM

Sew Into Fashion: The Leopard Girl

By Sabrina Scholkowski
Marine Barbier
Image Credit: Marine Barbier.
Fashion model Marine Barbier’s take on modeling, traveling, and the fashion industry.

“A model is a woman who knows how to be versatile, who knows how to give you the expression you want in the drop of a hat, and a woman who has nerves of steel above all.” 

Ever wondered what it’s like to be in front of the camera? To strut around in the season’s hottest clothes? To work alongside legends such as Cara Delevingne or Virgil Abloh of Off-white? What goes through the minds of these beautiful people? What does it take to get there? I can’t tell you firsthand what that’s like, but I can tell you that models are more relatable than one might think them to be and hopefully this article and thoughts from Marine Barbier, will help shine some light on the industry and give you a peek into life as a model.

Being in fashion, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a few models, and I used to think if you were one, you either had a passion for it, or it was the only thing you did. That they were these gorgeous, tall, men and women blessed by the gene-pool, somewhat arrogant, somewhat crude, but above all, the one thing they couldn't possibly lack was confidence, right? Boy, was I wrong! It turns out, after befriending a couple of girls and having meaningful conversations with them over tea and bonding through mutual love for sleep (since call times are very early, and we normally work late hours... sleep is a luxury), I learned many different things that have forever changed my perception of the profession.

Image Credit: Marine Barbier

We met a couple of years ago at a party, and I thought she would be a great insider to interview for the series as she had always struck me as a sassy, confident and unique soul, not only from her looks but from her personality as well. She’s better known as ‘The Leopard Girl’ on Instagram which tells you everything you need to know about her empowered attitude and pride in her freckles, and how she doesn’t take herself (or life for that matter) too seriously. She’s a 23-year-old fashion model, traveler and life lover hailing from the picturesque city of Lille, in Northern France, and has made Paris her home for the past couple of years.

I had the chance to talk to her about things like travel, the fashion industry, and all things modeling…

On Modelling

“I started in fashion when I was very young, 15 or 16 years old, a friend of mine convinced me to send my photos to an agency in Lille, a week later I signed with this agency.”

“It's difficult to be a model if you are too sensitive, as it's a job where you must know how not to take things too personally, however, it’s not too hard, if you are like me, and you do not care about anything, not other people’s stares nor critics.”

On celebrities and fame

“The first time I partook in a YSL ad as Cara Delevingne’s voice dub, I learned a lot about creating an ad campaign, I didn't imagine it was so much work, I spent a lot of time talking to the production team, I was fascinated, and I learned about myself and my place in the industry, despite being the hardest of all the jobs I’ve had, both physically and mentally.”

“I think it depends on one’s character, I am somewhat detached and am not impressed by the big names in fashion or in general, I have the utmost respect for those who succeed and I learn from their advice of course, and if given the chance I would love to meet Jean Paul Gaultier, I love him and his universe.”

Image Credit: Photograph by Andi Elloway.

On the negatives

[Personally] “I'm not always nor have I always been as comfortable with my body or my physique, modeling gave me a lot of confidence in myself.”

[Regarding the industry], “Yes there are misconceptions about modeling, and I’ve heard of girls who have had problems, but given my strong character, I don’t tolerate lack of respect… if you do not speak well to me, I will right away put the other person in their place, be it a model, a designer, a makeup artist or regardless, respect is the basis of good citizenship”.

“For me, the most difficult thing is to be judged and hired only by my physical appearance because behind the mask, we are all people, with tastes, political ideas, problems, and souls too…”

“Do not accept anything and everything in order to become someone at the risk of forgetting who you really are and where you come from”

On routine, habits, and lifestyle

“I am a vegetarian, and for many people, that means to eat healthily, but for me, I really eat anything, yes I don’t eat meat or fish, but I eat cheese, eggs, milk, all types of vegetables and fruits, and if you are picky, being a vegetarian can be complicated... but now with all the choices it’s easy to eat at any restaurant, even in fast food places like McDonald’s.”

“Fries before guys”.

On traveling, blogging and the future

“My passion foremost, before fashion, is traveling, I would like to live a nomadic life and just travel if I could, so I decided to open a blog ( to talk about my travels, modeling, and to give more details to people who ask me on social media. I noticed that it made people happy that I would take the time to write to them and I too liked the idea of giving advice to people, I just try to live one day at a time and enjoy every moment.”

Marine's Blog, "Leopard Girl"

Image Credit: Marine Barbier.

Even though it may seem that these men and women are beautiful and confident and don’t have a care in the world, it’s easy to lose sight that they are normal people who also have problems, self-doubts, fears, and insecurities and they have off days as well, because, they are just like the rest of us. Modeling can be your work, your passion, your dream, or your reality, but it’s just like any other job, it has its perks, its hardships, it has its ups and it has its downs, and if you are willing to pursue this career, make sure you take everything with a grain of salt. If all else fails, just fake it ‘till you make it, in the end, that’s what life is all about.

Stay tuned to Sew Into Fashion as next time, I will explore what it means to be calling the shots at an international Fashion Brand, to be continued…