Words by Ms Hermione Hoby
It's a cold Saturday morning in New York, and a surprisingly warm and vivacious Ms Joan Smalls is single-handedly managing to expel any notions of supermodel hauteur by being not only the most wide-awake person in the room, but also the funniest. Within minutes of arriving, her re-enactment of a recent Victoria's Secret show tips the crew into hysterics.
She and her agent Mr Kyle Hagler are, she explains, "heading towards our two-year working anniversary" this month, and although their relationship is clearly based on a lot of mutual teasing they're also great admirers of each other's style. "Every time I go into the office and see him I get inspiration," says Ms Smalls. "He has this innate confidence, which speaks volumes: when a man doesn't feel comfortable in what he's wearing a woman can pick up on that - you always know."
Despite Ms Smalls' own infectious confidence, she's reluctant to divulge her pet hates when it comes to men's style. After some gentle persuasion, she'll concede that sagging jeans aren't for her. "When your butt is hanging out, I don't think that looks sexy at all. I mean, whatever floats your boat," she smiles, "but it doesn't float mine."
And how do Puerto Rican men compare to Brits in the style stakes? "Let's just say I think they need some help in that department," she laughs. "Hopefully they'll see this and get some ideas."