Style

Life with Amber Witcomb: The Canadian mega-model's spirit animal, Internet obsession and more

We chat with the British-born, Niagara-on-the-Lake native, who is pure catwalk catnip to top fashion houses right now.
(Credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

A year ago, Amber Witcomb was bouncing between modelling casting calls, and facing a firing squad of "no"s.

"When I saw the casting directors prior to my breakout season, they knew I wasn't ready," the 22-year-old says in her bewitching British accent (the Witcombs lived in England until Amber was 13, when they relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON.). "This September rolled around and I was ready."

Since then, she's walked over 50 runways around the world for designers such as Stella McCartney, Dior and Prada. She credits the freshly snipped jaw-length bob she debuted at Prada last fall for fueling the boom in offers. Since the cut, she's fronted campaigns for Celine and Burberry, posed for W, Vogue U.K. and Vogue Italia and been hailed as a model to watch by the New York Times and American Vogue.

Witcomb was scouted by Want Management owner Sean Penhall at Toronto's Digital Dreams dance music festival when she was 18. "I've never been very girly," she says of her style. "I was always in no makeup. I love sportswear. I bought menswear a lot of the time, because I like being comfy. It's funny that I get put in dresses and all that sort of stuff."

Now when draped in designer dresses at a photoshoot, Witcomb draws on her musical theatre background. "I slip into a character," she says. "That's how I find it easy to move in front of the camera. I kind of detach myself so it's not me almost. I can definitely turn the diva on."

Reached by phone in Barcelona, where she is enjoying a rare day off with her British med-student boyfriend Harry, Witcomb zipped through a game of 25 questions, revealing what inspires her crazy work ethic, the ups and downs of being 22, and what made her first kiss "so Niagara."

Life with Amber Witcomb

Best thing you ate in recent memory?

Truffle pasta in New York with Parmesan cheese.

What's your poison?

I love white wine. I love Riesling. Some of Niagara's Rieslings are very good.

Your favourite late-night snack?

I'm a big fan of ice-cream. Chocolate fudge, cookie dough, all of it in one.

What's your desert island beauty product?

Probably coconut oil. I love coconut oil for my hair, for my skin, just all over.

Describe your look in one word.

Classic.

What's the most expensive piece of clothing or accessory you've ever possessed?

We get quite a lot of handbags for shows, and probably my Celine bag is the most expensive.

If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably black wide-legged pants with sneakers and just a t-shirt.

What posters did you have in your childhood bedroom?

An S Club 7 poster.

What's your favourite possession in your home?

I've got loads of pictures in frames in my apartment in New York. I carry those with me and put them in whatever apartment I am in, of my friends and my family and my boyfriend.

Your first kiss?

My first kiss! This is so Niagara. It was in a vineyard when I was 16. There was probably a lot of fumbling and awkwardness.

Your celebrity crush?

I have some quite weird celebrity crushes. I really like Will Smith even though he could be my dad. Or David Beckham.

Musician everyone should know about right now?

I really love Frank Ocean and I love his new album [Blonde]. I love the Drake song "KMT" with Gigs, a grime artist from London.

Favourite thing to do with your down time?

I love the beach. I love to swim. I like to bike ride as well.

What is your favourite restaurant in the world?

In Niagara-on-the-Lake I love The Old Winery. It's super-rustic Italian food. Like thin-crust pizzas, really nice pastas, salads. It's yummy. And also the Niaraga-on-the-Lake Golf Club. They do great cocktails and it's right on the lake.

You have an entire weekend to binge watch stuff — what's it gonna be?

I'd probably rewatch Game of Thrones because I'm a bit obsessed. That or Suits.

What drives you?

In this job, the creative people that I get to meet are probably what drives me. I get to see people who are amazing at their craft. That makes me want to do more and succeed. Seeing the best makeup artists in the world or the best hairstylists in the world and how their brain works so differently and how they got to where they are is super cool.

What time of day are you most inspired?

Dusk.

What's your spirit animal?

I love cats, so probably a tiger. I might be just a household cat, thinking of it.

Secret Internet obsession?

I love Instagram. I think that's a model thing, right?

What makes you nervous?

I still get nervous every time before a shoot. Usually there is a whole team there and you are the one who has to perform. There's a makeup artist doing their thing, a hairstylist doing their thing, and then you have to go out and get the pictures.

What's the best thing about being your age?

I'm at that stage where I am young but I have that freedom now to do my own thing.

What's the worst thing about being your age?

The pressure to figure out what you want to do with your life. I kind of got a lucky escape. I finished school and then I went into this. I skipped adulthood a little bit. All of my friends are looking for jobs now. That's probably the hardest part about being our age.

Biggest flaw?

I would say I critique myself too much. Obviously the nature of this job is you are always going to see pictures and video of yourself. It also pushes me, but I think I should give myself some slack sometimes.

Who would you like to be in an elevator with?

Beyoncé. 100%. I love her. She is my obsession. The only time I would want to be stuck in an elevator.

What's your secret for good health right now?

As cliché as it is, I drink loads of water. Also, not even necessarily a strict exercise regime, but because I am always in different places I always push myself to go out and explore and just walk around. I think that's healthy. Otherwise I have found myself getting sad being away from family and friends. But you have to push yourself to go out and see the city you are in, and you have to be comfortable doing that by yourself in this job.

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