Model of the Week: Leila Zandonai

Leila Zandonai

Each week, we take the time to highlight one of our favorite emerging models. Last week, we profiled Lucy Schmolling and this week we’re turning our attention to Leila Zandonai. We caught up with her to talk about her career so far, her passion for modeling and her plans for the future.

Nationality: Brazilian
Instagram: leilazandonai

Have you always wanted to be a model? If not, what did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to be a primary school teacher, but a lot of people said I should be a model so after considering, I decided to listen to them and started liking the idea.

How were you scouted?

When I was 13 years old, my brother told me to apply for a contest that was happening in my country. There, I met the scouter Alisson in my hometown and got selected to the finals in another city with 23 more girls. It was there that I met my mother agency Way Model.

How would you describe yourself as a model in three words?

Determined, Positive, Brave.

Your first modeling job?

My first modeling job was for an editorial for a Teen Magazine in Brazil.

What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about being a model?

Travel is definitely one of the most exciting things about being a model, I get to go places I couldn’t imagine before, learn about other cultures and work in different projects all the time. It is amazing!

What’s been your biggest OMG moment to date?

My biggest OMG moment was during my first fashion week abroad when I walked Prada exclusive. I will never forget that powerful feeling I had to be on that runaway.

What is your dream shoot/campaign?

I don’t have a specific one. I think the magic lies always when working with different clients, but I love when I get the chance to shoot in locations; either in nature or with sustainable brands.

Biggest lesson that modeling has taught you?

Don’t take nothing personally, love yourself always and be patient.

What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received?

My parents always encourage me to be myself and follow my dreams even if I’m far away from them. They taught me love is about freedom, not possession I think that is the best advice and gift I could get.

How do you stay in shape?

I love to do yoga and go hiking everywhere. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and became a vegetarian.

What do you think about fashion? What does it mean to you?

Fashion for me is an art and a way to express yourself to the world.

If you had to be head to toe in one designer brand for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Stella McCartney! I really admire her and the brand she created. She shows fashion can be amazing in a sustainable way and respects all beings.

How would you describe your style?

My style is a mix of vintage, classic, rocker…I like to wear clothes that make me feel comfortable and confident.

Denim or leather?


Heels or flats?


Vintage or contemporary fashion?


What is your guilty pleasure?

Watching series haha

If you were an emoji, which would you be and why?

The one with the heart eyes because I always try to look at everything with love.

When you’re not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do?

I like to read, do yoga and meditate and especially love when I can be in the middle of nature. Also like going to museums, theatre plays and watch movies. One of my favorite things is to share moments with my loved ones I’m really close to my family so I try to be with them as much as possible and hang out with my boyfriend and friends.

What are you working on now and what do you dream of happening in the future? Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I always think the best time to enjoy is the present, right now I’m working with different fashion clients and trying to learn all I can in every single job with them. 10 years’ time is hard to tell since the fashion world is full of surprises, but I hope to keep working especially with sustainability projects. I believe this is really important, so we all can live in a healthy, fair and peaceful planet. I guess that has always been my goal since the beginning and I hope to be a better version of myself.

Check out Leila’s profile here and check back next week to find out who our next ‘Model of the Week’ is.

Thank you, Leila, for this amazing interview!
Interview by: Clinton Gonsalvez
Special Thanks to Teizeen Haji @ Why Not Model Management

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