Meet the former Miss USA turned fashion blogger, Alyssa Campanella, who is dominating NYFW
By BANU IBRAHIM
They say when someone has the mystical 'It' factor, people can tell instantly.
That sentiment definitely holds true for former Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella. After meeting Campanella for the first time in our New York offices, one thing was for certain: her personality was infectious. Its the same charisma that has captivated followers in droves to either her stunning online visual diary, titled The A List, or to her many social media outlets. Her clean aesthetic and feminine outfits are the cherry on top.
It's pretty obvious when looking for someone to give us the insider look into New York Fashion Week, there's really no better person to turn to. Through her work in both the modeling and the pageant circuit, Alyssa has has garnered an impressive sartorial resume -- her bold fashion choices are proof of this. She's also a pro when it comes to Fashion Week, and has been on either sides of the runway, both as an onlooker sitting in the front row, and a model walking down the catwalk.
So we tapped into Alyssa's expert knowledge on all things style. Ahead, she reveals her rise to fashion fame, her strong stances against unethical industry practices, and her constantly supportive fans.
And if you want even more Alyssa Campanella news, head over to AOL.com at 12 pm and 6 pm EST today for more exclusive videos, photos, and interviews. Or check out the AOL Lifestyle Instagram, where she'll be posting her insider Fashion Week photos all day.
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
I had one Miss New Jersey Teen USA title back in 2007 and part of the prize package is that you get an official headshot done with the crown and banner. The photographer who ran the shoot was based in New York City, so I came in and shot with him. He ended up really just loving the way I moved in front of the camera. And that was my first professional photoshoot. My mom was a professional photographer growing up, so my sister and I would play around with her and, of course, whenever she would get a new camera we would be her test subjects. So I was used to working with her, but never with a stranger or really anyone working for fashion magazines. So it was a new completely new experience. And although my photoshoot was supposed to be an hour, it ended up being five hours long. Afterwards he said to me, "I know of a great agency here in New York City, and I would love to put you in contact with them." I was sixteen at the time and that's when everything took off from there.
I'm really curious to know how your past influences, like modeling and pageantry, really influenced the creation of your blog.
Well when I was modeling I was a teenager, so I really didn't appreciate the fashion industry as much as I could have. Now I have a whole new perspective on it. When I won Miss USA I received a stylist for a year, so for most events, she was dressing me. She had known me from a past photoshoot, so we had some history together and she understood my style and my background. She really wanted to take my style as Miss USA and take it to more high fashion and edgy level. And that's what opened my eyes a bit more to the fashion industry; I was meeting awesome designers and attending Fashion Week instead of modeling in it. Instagram started at like the second half of my reign, there was no Instagram when I won Miss USA. And I used that to my advantage to show off the clothes I was wearing, whether it was me showing up to events or me going to dinner with my friends. I would post and say "Look guys! I got these boots at Forever 21" or "I love this top from ZARA" and fans loved it because they could run out and say they were dressing like Miss USA. So when my reign ended, fans asked me to keep doing that. So I decided to open up a small little blog page on my modeling website, and I thought, "You know what, I'm really having fun with this. I'm enjoying writing and playing dress up and being reintroduced to the whole fashion industry." So I closed down the modeling website and decided to open up my blog.
So I read that you took a stance against fur with PETA. What were the events that lead up to this and how does this effect how you pick and choose what items to wear on a day-to-day basis?
So pageants especially in the Midwest at the time of the Peta shoot still awarded their state holders as a prize package with a fur coat. And we were trying to get stopped; there was four former Miss USAs doing that. And now, as of today, pageants don't give away fur coats. As a result, I took a pledge that I would not wear fur -- and that's something I've kept the whole time with the blog. I'm an animal lover and and my two cats are my world, so I don't wear any fur. I don't support the fur industry. And I'm not really into animal prints either, I just don't like the idea of me saying "I'm wearing a big cat today."
How would you describe your style? And how often do you incorporate runway trends into your wardrobe?
I consider my style to be very feminine and bold; I also tend to wear a lot of dresses. But instead of it being boring dresses, I make sure there are pops of color and that everything is eye-catching. So I would definitely feminine and bold. And sometimes I'll see inspiration on the runway where I won't particularly like that piece, but I like the colors that are put together. So it will be a mixture of colors, like orange and navy, and then it finally saw it on the runway and thought, "Maybe I don't like that piece, but I do like those colors together."
Are there any designers you tend to gravitate towards or get inspiration from?
Topshop Unique and Chloé. Chloé especially is so bohemian and feminine at the say time. And Dior, obviously, is so stunning. I mean, a lot of my favorite designers and brands are based in Europe. But here in New York, one designer I always always love is Carolina Herrera because again, she has that timeless aspect she puts into her pieces and they're always bold -- her designs speak to me.
Are there any figures that are outside the fashion realm whom you look up to as a styling icon?
I'm a huge fan of the Duchess of Cambridge's style and when I was in London and shopping in L.K Bennett I felt like a princess. Also Alicia Vikander. Her style tends to be a little more masculine then what I tend to wear, but I love the colors she chooses and maybe I'm just partial because she's Scandinavian and I'm Scandinavian, but I love how bold she is with her style. And I also love Amal Clooney. And its interesting because she really has nothing to do with the entertainment or fashion industry, since she's a humanitarian and lawyer. But I love how she stands out with her fashion statement pieces. She definitely knows what works for her; she's really got it down pat.
I feel like everyone has a interesting first Fashion Week story. What was your first one like?
So modeling was very overwhelming. I felt like I was out of my league and that I didn't belong there. It was a bit intimidating the first time. But then once you get out on the runway you forget everything and you just want to keep going out again and again. My very first time attending was when I was Miss USA. So I went from modeling when nobody knew who I was, to "Oh my gosh, there's Miss USA we need her in a photo" or "We need her over here for an interview." And it felt like I was always being pulled in fifty different directions. So it was completely different from the first time I was modeling to the first time I attended. Now I like to think I'm in the middle of those two experiences... a healthy middle.
How would you describe the dynamic between you and your fans?
Very supportive. The whole point of the blog is to give inspiration to those interested in my fashion, even if they don't dress like I do. Every time I hear it that my fans are enjoying my looks or use me as inspiration, it reaffirms everything I'm doing.
What's the most memorable fan interaction you've ever had?
Sometimes fans will tag me in photos and say that they used me or my posts for inspiration which is so sweet. But there is one mother who told me her young daughter loves my blog. And the mother told me she loves letting her daughter look at my blog because my style is very feminine and stylish, but still conservative. And that was really touching.
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 12 pm EST for more exclusive Alyssa Campanella features, including her Fashion Week must-haves she can't live without.
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