NEW YORK — There are simple truths in modeling just as there are in life. Be nice, work hard, the world is etc and so on. Mouthing these truths are one thing, but living them are quite another. Just ask Leila Zandonai. The Brazilian beauty set her sights on modeling years before she would make her debut as a Prada exclusive. Before she would ever set foot on Miuccia Prada’s runway, however she deep down came to understand a simple truth about confidence that is at the core of success as a model, if not a traveler in life. “When you wear something with confidence, then you will feel good and everyone will look at you and think, ‘oh, she looks good.’”  And, lo, how right she is.

Building on the success of that Prada exclusive that season, Leila would go on to close the Dries Van Noten runway show and walk for Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy. Not bad for a first season, but the way Leila tells it, she is eager to reach higher planes. “I always want to do more,” says Leila. “I like to always do my best and have a new challenge.” There is no doubt Leila will achieve her dreams that she has been plotting since an early age in Jaraguá do Sul, in the south of Brazil. Leila admits she is often not pegged as a Brazilian, given her fair skin and German and Italian extraction, but she is as Brazilian as any other member of Latin America’s most populous nation. Brazilians have a certain confidence, a swagger even, and Leila is no exception.

Credits include: Title, “Next Questions — Leila Zandonai”; Interview and video, Damien Neva at Next Management; Model, Leila Zandonai.