"I know when to say no": Model Gracie Phillips on choosing work on merit and life with her celebrity dad
Gracie Phillips, who worked her way up to become one of the most sought-after names at the powerhouse modeling agency Wilhelmina, first snagged headlines for wearing 'extreme cut-out' jeans during a photoshoot for a Los Angeles-based apparel brand.
The Internet went crazy over the viral picture.
Until recently, the 20-year-old model, kept the identity of her celebrity father a secret. For nearly two years, she didn't let anyone know that the Golden Globe-nominated actor Lou Diamond Phillips is her father. Lou's breakthrough came when he starred as Ritchie Valens in the biographical drama film 'La Bamba', and as Angel Guzman in Academy Award-nominated 'Stand And Deliver.'
And even though, her mother Kelly Phillips was an elite model, Gracie chose to instead build a career based on hard work and her own skill set, rather than on the coattails of her famous parents.
In her exclusive interview for Meaww, Gracie revealed a bit more about her famous dad, and her journey towards stardom without the help of her famous parents and making it big in the modeling universe.
Q: Was being a part of the fashion and glamour world always a plan for you? What were your backup options?
A: Growing up, I was always around it and I got the acting bug from my dad at a young age. I was on an episode of "24" with Kiefer Sutherland and a movie on the Hallmark Channel that my dad directed called 'Love Takes Wing.' After that, my education was my main focus but I was always interested in getting involved in the fashion world and modeling.
Q: Your photos for the famous "extreme cut-out" jeans went pretty much viral. How likely are you to wear this in your personal life?
A: It’s so funny because when we shot those, we never thought they would go viral or get that reaction. This look is something I could see myself wearing to a festival or to the beach, but not in my everyday life.
Q: How important was it for you to take the hard road and work away from the shadow of your famous parents?
A: This was something that was very important for me. I wanted to make a name for myself on my own and be known as just Gracie Phillips, not as Lou Diamond Phillips’s daughter Gracie Phillips. I wanted to work based on my own merit and to earn things myself—once I proved that I could do that, I had no problem talking publicly about my family.
Q: Who do you see as your biggest competition? Why?
A: I am all about lifting one another up and encouraging people to be the best versions of themselves. I look up to many models within the industry. There are many very strong women within the industry and I’m proud to be a part of that.
Q: As a model, are you worried about being harassed within the industry?
A: This industry is one that you need to have tough skin for. I started when I was just about to turn 18, which is a bit on the older side for girls starting out. I’m grateful that my parents were able to give me tips and advice on this industry and I feel that I have a good head on my shoulders. I know when to say 'no' and letting people know what I’m comfortable with.
Q: A famous designer, you would like to work for, someday?
A: I would love to model for Tommy Hilfiger or Versace.
Q: Having famous parents isn't always easy for a child. Was it tough for you? Or do you tend to look more towards the silver lining?
A: I tend to look more towards the silver lining. The only problem I faced was not knowing if people wanted to be in my life for the right reasons or for their own personal gain. Other than that, I wasn’t very phased by it and it was normal for me since it was all I knew.
Q: What’s your biggest fear about exposing yourself in front of all those people out there? What is your preferred method of dealing with trolls - put them on blast or don't give them the time of the day?
A: The person I am on social media and the person that I show to the world is 100% me. I’m very big on staying true to myself and not changing my image based on others. When it comes to trolls, I try not to pay attention to it. I don’t give them the time of day or too much attention because then they’re getting exactly what they want.
Q: Being a celebrity in the public eye can often take a toll on one's personal life. How do you deal with it? Have you ever gone out in disguises to enjoy anonymity?
A: I believe it can take a toll on your personal life and can be an invasion of privacy at times. Luckily, I have never been out in disguise and I just try to live my life as normal as possible.
Q: Your most cherished memory with your dad?
A: One of the most cherished memories I have with my dad is going to Santa Fe where he was filming and spending the entire weekend with him on and off set. We got to spend quality time with one another and go to various art museums around Santa Fe.