By Reese Karras
There are various occasions when you hear about a person who pursued that one dream they have been aspiring to from the very beginning. In fact, we hear about them every day. About how certain individuals are showcased for standing out in extraordinary endeavors that they have taken on. When we we read about these people in the media we are reminded that all it takes is a dream and the dedication to follow through to make a lasting impact.
For 2015 Lake Forest High School graduate Belle Smith, all it took was her passion for art and fashion to get noticed by one of the most trending magazines of 2017: Love Magazine. Love was founded in 2009 by stylist and fashion journalist Katie Grand, who strived to create a raw magazine with an edgy, artistic, and modern flare. The magazine has had the luxury of featuring top models such as Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne on their covers and continues to bring in new and upcoming models and artists into their editorials and interviews, Belle being one of them. They are primarily known for taking unrefined elements of fashion and turning what seems unconventional into genius pieces of art.
From the moment Belle became acquainted with the cutting edge, modern, sought-after magazine, she was immediately captivated by everything Love had to offer. Nevertheless, when Love presented its first contest “#loveme17,” a cross-media search for the new face of fashion to be photographed by Kendall Jenner and be on the cover of the magazine’s next issue, Belle promptly jumped at the opportunity to submit an application. Belle was one of the 25 winners out of 110,000 applicants across the world who had the amazing chance of being on the cover of their latest addition.
We were fortunate enough to get in contact with Belle and discuss her exciting journey since being named one of the “#loveme17” winners selected by Love editor Katie Grand for being “someone who distinctly represents something new, and meaningful.” We decided to ask Belle some questions to get the inside scoop of what it was like being the artist and newest muse of Love Magazine.
What made you apply for #loveme17?
Belle: “I have followed Love Magazine (on social media) for about five years and have always been a huge fan. I saw the application and it scared me to death… I knew I had to get it. As a film student, artist, and unconventional “model,” I sent in as much as my art, films, and thoughts that I could muster to the magazine. About a month before the application, I remember weirdly thinking about my dream job and the first thing that came to mind was Lagerfeld or Love Magazine.”
Soon after turning in her application, Belle was contacted by Love Magazine editor Katie Grand and was flown to Los Angeles to do the winning photo shoot shot by Kendall Jenner and the Love team.
Belle’s Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/beautyandthebelle12
What cool people have you been working with?
Belle: “When I first walked onto my first shoot with Love and saw Katie Grand, I couldn’t stop crying and I definitely earned a nickname for it… I’m a big fan of hers. Because of my previous work, Katie let me do moving image (video) alongside Kendall and film a behind the scenes film of the second day of the shoot. Hailey Steinfeld, Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) Kaia Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s daughter), and Selah Marley (Bob Marley’s granddaughter) were also on the ‘Loveme’ shoot!
Over the past two months I have been in London, Paris, and Milan shooting with Tim Walker, John Galliano and Adwoa Aboah and working with brands such as Versace, Prada, Miu Miu, Armani and Fendi. In a day I am flying out to New York to shoot moving image for Marc Jacobs and potentially model. I then am going to LA and New York to shoot Tommy Hilfiger Behind The Scenes and New York again for NYFW. I live out of a suitcase.”
Before Belle’s success, you might have recognized her from her amazing YouTube videos. She would get inspiration by constantly reading about fashion, art, and entertainment. She also watches a lot of movies and film pieces that inspire her.
She says, “I try to understand and surround myself with as much art as possible.”
- Behind the Scenes Video of the photo shoot with Kendall filmed by Belle: http://www.thelovemagazine.co.uk/posts/7509/watch-behind-the-scenes-on-day-2-of-the-loveme17-shoot-with-kendall-jenner
- Belle Smith Day Video from The Love Magazine: http://www.thelovemagazine.co.uk/posts/7491/belle-smith-day-loveme17
What do you hope comes with all your success?
Belle: “I hope nothing but getting to continue working with artists that inspire me. I have never felt more free and creatively stimulated while working with the brand and people that I have recently been working with. I hope to maintain my talent and work ethic to eventually make a name for myself in not only the fashion industry but the creative industry as a whole.”
What goals do you have planned for the future?
Belle: “My only goal at the moment is to work hard and stay organized, energized, and inspired. I want to boost Love Magazine’s digital/moving image and I want to begin to further market myself as an artist and individual.”
Has anything in your life changed since you won #loveme17?
Belle: “Everything :)”
We all have passions and dreams. Belle certainly did. It’s easy to be the person who falls into the crowd of ordinary and becomes dissuaded of your dream because of fear, embarrassment, rejection, or failure. However, the people that we read about that were able to accomplish their goals are the ones who used courage and ambition to follow the path they had always desired. They were the people who had a vision from day one and did whatever it took to let the world catch glimpse of their aspirations.
Belle Smith should be an inspiration for all young people who have dreams but are nervous to pursue them, especially those within the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff community. Belle put herself out there because she had a vision. The truth is, we all have visions of our own. Nevertheless, if we want to make something of our own dreams we have to be a little more like Belle; we have to turn a blind eye to what is comfortable and be bold enough to paint outside the lines.
This article was written by Reese Karras, a student at Lake Forest High School. It was first published in The Forest Scout.