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Model Q&A: Coco Xixou

Coco Xixou | VIP Member | Verified Credits (3)

Model: Coco Xixou

Where are you from? Where are you based now and do you travel for shoots?

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and I am currently based in the DFW area. Although Dallas is my favorite city, and the talent here is overwhelming, I thoroughly enjoy the traveling aspect of this job and I am always open to travel.

Who or what inspired you to become a model?

At 13, I auditioned for Booker T High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and got accepted as a jazz piano major. Since Booker T includes courses in dance, theatre, music, and visual arts, all of the students are required to take classes in all four fields. We were consistently training to become well rounded and polished in all categories of creativity, which I am, to this day, so grateful for. I miss my fellow students often because each person that I crossed paths with taught me so much about the true value of art in every form and how one cannot exist without the other. The energy in the building was, “Everyone and everything is fabulous,” so the hallways were the runway. Admiring the fashion industry and becoming interested in modeling definitely stemmed not only from being a student but also from being surrounded by so many creatives at such a young age that were already doing it!

Model: Coco Xixou

How and when did you start modeling?

By my senior year at Booker T, the piano was just the tip of the iceberg on my schedule. I was getting recruited to do professional makeup for drag shows, styling opera singers for performances at the Winspear Opera House, and making extravagant gowns from scratch just for fun. Somewhere along the way, I became close with a group of professional photographers who would often ask me to be their subject. Once that started, I found myself in front of the lens more often than not, and then people started asking for my rates. I could barely manage my 9-5 job because of it. I had no other option but to quit because modeling suddenly (and accidentally) became my full-time job. It happened naturally, as everything should.

What type of modeling do you enjoy the most?

I truly admire the unpredictability of deconstructed posing. High fashion, editorial, and avant-garde concepts are fascinating to me because it takes bravery and the possibility of discomfort to execute it well. I sometimes refer to the highly abstract shoots as opening the “emotional flood-gate” or revealing “the ultimate escapist fantasy” by expressing the emotions that people usually tend to repress, because that’s exactly what it is.
It takes sacrifice. There are no rules. There is no formula. There are no limits. That is the definition of art.

Model: Coco Xixou

What do you look for when deciding to work with a photographer?

I look for a good reputation in the community – not only in regards to treating models with respect but also mutual respect between crew members on set. I could never fully understand all of the microscopic details that the art of photography and cinematography entails – which is why I would never try to direct a photographer during a shoot. The trust that is shared between artists when sharing a creative space is the one thing that is going to allow the magic to come to life. For example, when the photographer has complete trust and faith in the model’s ability to understand his or her vision, that gives them the freedom to capture those vulnerable and authentic moments. When the model has complete trust and faith in the photographer’s eye, that gives him or her the freedom to move without restrictions and find that “flow.” Without that, the shoot would run in circles.

Which models or other artists currently inspire you?

I am heavily inspired by music, and most of the concepts I come up with are based on my dreams, musical artists, movies, or books that I have read. At the moment, I would have to say that my biggest inspiration is an incredible gospel vocalist and songwriter that goes by the name of “Lalah Hathaway.”
Believe it or not, she can sing two notes at once – what an inspiration!

Model: Coco Xixou

What would be your dream shoot?

My dream shoot would be to do a fully nude series with the one and only Mario Sorrenti in Tulum, Mexico. The last time I visited Tulum, I did some exploring deep in the jungle, and there are truly no words to describe the scenery. I can only imagine what he could capture in a place like that. Although he is not known for being an underwater photographer – in my dreams, he is. Doing something underwater with him would definitely be a big check off my bucket list. He has an extremely patient eye, truly understands the importance of creating the perfect energy on set for a concept involving nudity, and last but not least, he has an immaculate amount of respect and admiration for the models that he works with.

How important is social media in your success?

I am one of those people that can put my phone on airplane mode, and go days without feeling the itch to pick it up. Contrary to that, I have to set alarms to make sure that I am consistently keeping up with my social media accounts. It is a very important part of my job and extremely necessary when it comes to searching for local talent and connecting with new clients. As of lately, I have tried to put more effort towards connecting on a personal level with my audience and doing more things to give back to my followers, which not only feels good but gives me more motivation to keep moving forward at full speed. My teachers in high school always told us that encouragement should always be reciprocated because you will always get back what you give. Based on the results I’ve seen so far, they were right!

Model: Coco Xixou

What else do you like to do outside of modeling?

I am a project manager and creative director for a creative team based in Dallas called “Le Visage” (French translation: “The Face”). Our mission is to challenge the status quo of the fashion industry, unify the artistic community and turn even the most extravagant visions into a reality. We have a photographer, retoucher, wardrobe stylist, hairstylist, makeup artist, and posing coach, whose talents become a massive force when brought together.

Other than that, during my free time, I spend my afternoon’s recording music in my home studio, which I will definitely be integrating into my career further down the road.

What’s the best career advice you can give to new models?

Whether you are signed with an agency or strictly freelance, never be afraid to put your foot down and trust your intuition. My mentor, Lenny Wheeler, told me something during our early days of working together that has stuck with me. He always told me to “never accept anyone’s definition of your life but your own,” and that “no one can determine the value of your time but you.” You are the one in control of the wheel, and you are more than capable of carving out your own path with your own two hands. There is no box you need to fit in because you have every right to customize your career as a model, even if some say you can’t. The best part is knowing the faith you have in your own abilities will always be a stronger force than someone else’s opinion, and you are only bound by the limitations that you create for yourself.

Model: Coco Xixou

Check out Coco Xixou’s Model Mayhem portfolio to see more of her work. You can also follow Coco on Instagram.

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One Response to “Model Q&A: Coco Xixou”

  1. September 12, 2020 at 7:53 am, Richard M. Owens said:

    Extraordinary creative use make up and clothing. Cheers

    Reply

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