Anton quickly became my surrogate parent. I would call him whenever I needed help or advice such as when I broke a heel on the way to a casting meeting in the middle of Paris in the rain. I frantically called him and he calmly gave me directions to the nearest shoe store so I could replace my heels. He also told me exactly the type of heel to pick out in the store. A simple black sleek heel with no embellishments and he gently reminded me to straighten my ponytail in case the rain had made me lose my composure.
Anton moved from New York to San Francisco to take care of his dying partner, Will, whose last wish was to die in his hometown of San Francisco. Next Model Agency was sympathetic since he was such a high producing agent so they allowed him to open a San Francisco branch while he took care of Will. A couple of years later, Will died of esophageal cancer with the love and gentleness of Anton by his side. Anton stayed in San Francisco and decided it was his only home, even though he was originally from Marseille, but San Francisco contained happy memories of Will on every street corner. Like me, even after traveling the world and experiencing cities even more exciting and beautiful than San Francisco, this place of hills and fog would always be home.
I realized after a couple of years of traveling from one fashion week to another that I was getting old and that modeling was not going to be a life long career for me, It was a weird thought for someone in their early twenties to have, but that’s the fashion industry. I didn't want to be part of a story anymore, but I wanted to tell a story. Anton had a whole pitch to sell me to designers saying that I was the new Christy Turlington. I am definitely not Christy Turlington because no one can be as magnificent as her. I had a passing similarity to her and our backgrounds were similar, bu I was darker skinned with an olive tone and had dark eyes and curly hair.
Also, I had a nagging feeling that I was slightly off target in my career aspirations. I enjoyed fashion, but not just as a mannequin but I wanted to express myself. On the weekends, while stuck in a hotel room waiting in my room for my next flight I would rip t-shirts and dresses and design a new outfit. I’d wear these improvised outfits before a show and some of the other models would comment that it was really cool, or I would be snapped by a fashion blogger and posted on a blog and get lots of positive feedback. The one place I always felt the most comfortable was at fittings in a designers studio. Each studio was different but the creative discussion of each stitch and how it should fall on a model was always something I looked forward to in fittings. Once during a fitting at Suno, a funky design studio inspired by African textiles I was so interested in asking about the prints and touching the fabric instead of standing still while they took my measurements. The designer was so upset that I wasn't focused on staying in one place for my fitting that he dropped me from the show. That’s when I decided that I needed to study fashion design and quit modeling.