• UO Pride: Roos Ferrero

    To celebrate Pride this month, we’re sharing the stories of young creatives showing their pride and proving that love is love. We’ve partnered with GLSEN to introduce an exclusive collection of graphic tees and hats, with all profits donated to GLSEN in support of LGBTQ youth. Read more about #UOPride here

    We caught up with Dutch model Roos Ferrero at her home in Amsterdam to chat about being a woman in the EU and what pride means to her. 
    Photos by Isolde Woudstra 

    Tell us about yourself and your background. where are you from? 
    My name is Roos Ferrero, a queer model from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I grew up in Rotterdam, which is about an one-hour drive from Amsterdam. Rotterdam is a very open-minded, no-nonsense, multicultural city. That formed me a lot as a person, I think. We went on trips to Italy, France and Spain in the summers and sometimes we went to my father’s Motherland: Curaçao.

    I was raised in a mixed-race family who loves art, theatre and music. I remember my father always singing. I have a younger brother who’s a singer-songwriter and a younger sister who’s graduating high school this year and wants to study law. My father migrated from the Netherland Antilles to the Netherlands when he was 12. He and my mom met at university in Rotterdam. Their love life would’ve been a fairy tale if it hadn’t been for my dad to have a heart attack 8 years ago. My mom lives with her new boyfriend now, so I have two stepsisters and one stepbrother.

    My parents taught me that a good education is important as a basis, but it’s also important to do everything that you do with passion. My mother believes that you must always have a basis of schooling to fall back on when the passion didn’t work out as planned.

    When did you first become interested in the fashion world? When did you first start modeling? 
    I started to become interested in fashion when I was 11, I think. That was the first time my parents let me completely choose my own clothes. I bought fashion magazines, made fashion collages on my wardrobe and in a map. I discovered that clothes cost money, some more than others, and that you had to make choices in what you wanted to wear. It took me a few years to realize that I was the one that could decide what I wanted to wear and not the fashion collages I made. That I was the one that could pick and style and accentuate my personality.

    When I was 15, I wanted to be a model and I wanted to make a change. I only saw models with the same body type that were considered beautiful in the conservative sense. Cisgender women and men with tiny bodies. I had a go-see with a modeling agency and they thought I was too big. I had long hair at the time and they said my hair was, “something you loved or hated,” Ridiculous; my hair just grows out of my head this way and I have never been “too big.” No one is “too big” to fit into clothes. The clothes are just extremely small. I did a few shoots between I was 15 and 22, but I’ve only started to have a “real” modeling career for about a year now. My boyfriend took a few photos of me because I liked my outfits on those days and people started to take me seriously as a model from then on.
    How would you describe your sense of fashion? 
    Usually, I wear dr. Martens, sneakers, wide-fitting high-waisted bottoms, no accessories (except my piercings, things my loved ones give me and things I make myself) and anything that allows me to dance. I absolutely detest any kind of make-up in my daily life, because it makes me feel like I’m not myself wearing it. Of course I wear it when I work, because the goal is to create a fantasy, a myth, a concept that speaks to the imagination. And make-up is a big part of that. I love dressing androgynous right now, but I don’t limit myself to any look. It truly depends on how I want people to see me that day. Lately, I felt disappointed when people called me ‘miss’ when I dressed in box-fitted clothing.

    I love Jeremy Scott, NIEUW JURK, Maison The Faux, Bas Kosters and Vetements.

    What big ideas have been most important to you lately? 
    Feminism, sustainability, body positivity and veganism. Some people still don’t think that every person is entitled to their own body and mind and that we need the earth, because it’s our home. To me, that misunderstanding is not stupidity, but a lack of education. I strongly believe that if we teach our kids about the importance of those four concepts, in a few generations we as humans will have more compassion for life.

    When you feel strongly about your identity, you know what and who you are. If someone doesn’t believe you, they’re uneducated about the subject of gender identity. Just because the terms you use have different associations for different people, it doesn’t make it okay for them to tell you you are “not normal” or “doing it for attention.” 
    How do you spend your time when you’re not working? What’s a normal day-in-the-life look like for you in Amsterdam? 
    On school days, I go to uni in Amsterdam (I’m studying theatre studies). On days I don’t work or study, I like to have a tea at the local cat café, read, go dancing with my friends, cycle around the city, go to concerts and festivals, pet animals, go skating, listen to podcasts about feminism, listen to audiobooks, admire tattoo artists and hang around with my boyfriend.

    Are there any people in your life who have been particularly inspiring for you? Can you tell us about them? 
    Not in my personal life, but I’m inspired by Adwoa Aboah, Ashley Graham, Iskra, Slick Woods, Barbie Ferreira, Sabina Karlsson, Ari Fitz, Andreja Pejic and Agyness Deyn. They are all models and I love them for their body positivity, and the way they use their platforms to talk about mental health and/or androgyny.
    What’s something about yourself that not many people know? 
    I can’t wink, haha. And I’m extremely afraid of children’s parties, because it contains kids and balloons. I’m scared of the unpredictability of children around balloons, because you never know when and how hard they’re going to pop. Every time I hear that sound, it gives me a physical reaction of terror.
    Why are you proud to be who you are? 
    I’ve dealt with depression several times and I think I’m now at a point in my life that I can genuinely say I’m proud of myself for reaching for help. Looking for help took me 7 years, because I didn’t really dare to deal with it. I’m proud of myself because I’m opening up more to people. Because I am more honest. Because I came out as pansexual. Because I am going after my dream of modeling, despite people (still to this day) telling me I can never be one. Because I can show people they can love their bodies and embrace their gender identity. Nobody needs to be ashamed when they’re depressed. Nobody needs to feel closeted to be who they are.

    What is one thing that you wish everyone would remind themselves every day? 
    Just because someone don’t understand who and what you are and what you believe in, it doesn’t mean no one ever will.
    Why is it important to love yourself? 
    Your body is your home. If you love your body, the way you carry yourself, the way you think, the way you act and the way you ARE, you can feel at home anywhere. And if you do so, you won’t feel alone. Apart from that: if you don’t love yourself, you don’t allow others to love you. And I strongly believe there’s a quality to love in everyone.
    What’s next for you? 
    One of my biggest goals was to sign a modeling contract with an agency that doesn’t want to change my sizes and my look. And I just did it! I signed with Bridge Models London. My goal is to be taken seriously as a model and a person. To show that body positivity is for every body and not just the white, tiny, cisgender ones. 

    Follow Roos on Instagram
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