Among the latest newcomers to
the pantheon of A&F Faces is a lovely Spanish
specimen of admirable distinction...
HAILING FROM THE romantic and honored - in illustrious heritage and modern renown - northern-Spain city of Vitoria, Sheila Marquez has metamorphosed into inspirational conquistadora in the pursuit of happiness. Venturing through realms, along the way of life, of career and newfound motherhood, the currently Brooklyn, New York City-based wonder has now found herself a part of a new era for a storied empire, Abercrombie & Fitch.
But as to be a face for Abercrombie & Fitch was far beyond the borders of the unimaginable wherein becoming an international high fashion model resided itself. For Sheila, having been birthed and raised in the quaint dynamics of quintessential Spanish countryside, the dream of modeling to realize was no real preoccupation until fate struck...
"Growing up there was pretty awesome. We were surrounded by beautiful landscapes and the food is amazing. Basque people are really loyal; everybody is really good friends. I have a big family, one brother but lots of cousins. I was a sporty girl, I did gymnastics for 11 years, and then I did some dance in theaters for another three years. [...] When I went to high school, over the weekends, I always loved having extra money to buy myself clothes. I was the one everyone would want to steal clothes from; I would do my friends’ hair and makeup. I started to work for Zara on the weekends to make some extra cash. The manager in the store wanted to sign me up for a bigger contract to open more stores in Europe and do all the windows. I was 16 back then, and I just wanted to study. But I always had that eye for making outfits — I really enjoyed that. My style has always been comfortable but trendy. Because of my body, I can look very sexy, but I don’t feel like that…I feel way more boyish. [...] Then I started to go to university, but dance was taking too many hours of my day so I had to make a decision: Do I want to go to college or dance? I decided to study business. In my second year of school, I went on vacation with my friends to a summer town in the southeast of Spain. There was a beauty contest from a magazine and my friends signed me up. I didn't want to do it. They convinced me to do it, and I thought, 'Nothing’s gonna happen.' But I won, and from there, I went on to the finals with another 19 girls. The prize was representation with an agency for a year and some money. I was almost 22. [...] That’s the thing: If you grow up in Barcelona or Madrid maybe, it might be more normal for girls or guys to want to be a model. But where I'm from, it's not really a trend. There aren't people scouting up there."
For the 5'9'' (175cm) brunette, brown-eyed Spanish beauty, her modeling career began in 2006, though 2007 is considered her breakout year, at a time in which she shares, "I was still studying long distance and I went to London to learn English and an agency signed me up there…I went to see a bunch of clients. I went to see Balenciaga, and for me, Balenciaga, as a Spanish house — in my mind it was like, an old lady brand at that time. But imagine now [how amazing the brand is]. Anyway, so I had a thousand appointments, I was exhausted, and the agency was like, you have to go back to Balenciaga. I ended up working with Balenciaga every day in Paris for three months. They booked me as a runway exclusive — I did all the looks and the collection with them as a fit model. In the same season, I got to be a Gucci and Balenciaga exclusive…Everything happened really fast."
In the summer of 2007, amid a heavy, diverse annual schedule now gained, Shelia walked for Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2007/08 presentation...and then speeded of afterwards for the planned marriage to her then-boyfriend the following day...and flew back Paris for work the day after that! That's when she new things had become major in her life!
Among fellow female A&F Models of all-time, Sheila is now the third to carry the distinguish of having experience in modeling in the venerated, utmost exclusive, and French-law-protected zenith of the fashion industry, haute couture - the A&F Model to have first, and most worked, in haute couture was now-supermodel Karlie Kloss (abercrombie kids, 2007), and Anastasia Sushchenko (A&F, 2014-15) became the second. Sheila and Karlie furthermore share an even rarer experience in common apart from any other of A&F Models that have ever been: both walked, though each on separate occasions, for renowned designer John Galliano's theatrical, romantic presentations during his time at Dior and his eponymous label - with Karlie actually having the most by having become a darling of his and opening each show by the turn of the decade. Furthermore, both Sheila (Chanel) and current A&F peer Amanda Norgaard (Chanel and Fendi) have both walked for Karl.
By the start of 2015, Shelia gave birth to her first child, son Lucius, and it has become a topic of conversation among interviews with her and on discussions of a recent concentrated spring of notable models becoming moms in the modeling industry: "Modeling is in the middle of a baby boom. From models strutting down the runway with their infants at Dolce & Gabbana to the recent pregnancy announcements of beauties like Anne V and Lily Cole, fashion has babies on the brain. There is, of course, a difference between the glamorous image presented for a runway show and the realities of being a full-time model mom. Since the birth of her son, Lucius, Sheila Marquez has been balancing a busy work schedule with the joys of new parenthood, all while documenting her journey on social media," wrote Style.com in March 2015.
"I wasn’t planning on having a family at the moment, so it was very unexpected for everyone. I didn’t show until I was almost seven months pregnant, so I was able to continue working until far along in the pregnancy. It was definitely very happy news for us, so I didn’t keep it secret. Everyone has been very supportive: clients, agents, family, and friends. Luckily, I went through my pregnancy over the Fall/Winter collections, so it was easier to hide the little bump. [...] [Fitness-wise,] I felt really healthy during the nine months, so I kept on doing my gym routine. Toward the end I did a lot of prenatal yoga and healthy eating. After giving birth, I set a training plan with my Pilates teacher, Karrie Adamany, who comes to my home to train me so I can be with my son. I’m happy to live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a very baby-friendly neighborhood where I can practice Baby and Me yoga and Pilates in various studios. [...] [The best part of this new chapter in life:] The excitement of finishing work at the end of the day and getting home to a beautiful family and the new strong connection I have with my body after giving birth." - Sheila to Style.com, March 2015
"Now, life for the model, who originally hails from the Basque region of Spain, looks a little different. She lives in Williamsburg with her partner and their three-month-old son, Lucius. But she's already back to work. 'It's pretty cool because there's really a boom with so many models having babies right now,' she said, referring to Dolce & Gabbana's fall show dedicated to motherhood. These days, in between jobs, she hangs out with a model crew that includes Kasia Struss, Alana Zimmer, Hanne Gaby, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Raquel Zimmermann, Freja Beha Erichsen, Dorothea Barth and Britt Maren. 'We all live in Brooklyn or the Lower East Side, and we get together a lot,' she said. 'As with every other model, you do a few seasons of really good shows, people start getting to know you, and you get your clients. In the beginning, I thought, 'I'm just gonna try this out for a year. And it's been years now.'" - WWD, March 2015
"Having Lucius in my life made me slow down work to be able to spend more time with him and see him work. There is no much of night out life, but it seems to be a great thing since I feel more rested and enjoy more my mornings. Work outs with my baby which are way more fun than alone! I see my friends and family more often than before since they all want to see the little guy. [And best thing about being a mother:] Waking up next to that little face every morning, and the most, the reciprocal learning." - Sheila to Spanish maker of premium handcrafted leather bags for moms, Josefina, May 2015
And she's been sharing love with her baby on her personal Instagram account, and he even has an Instagram of his own! Over the matter of sharing experiences with him on her social media, she told Style.com in March, "This is something I thought through before he was born. I was determined to not expose him in social media and that's why he has his own private account. But after he was born, I couldn't help myself. It made me so happy that I had to share him with the world. At the same time, I would like to respect his privacy and will probably eventually stop exposing him until he can decide by himself if he wants to be part of it."
Captured by lensman Guy Aroch for Abercrombie & Fitch, Sheila premiered as an A&F Face with the Fall Preview 2015 fashion season. With her highly distinguished career so far, now as a mother, and at the age of 31 (furthermore symbolizing - along with fellow model Ryan Cooper this season - the matured youthfulness of the new Abercrombie & Fitch), Sheila poses as a totally one-of-a-kind Abercrombie & Fitch model unlike any other.
As captured by Aroch, some of Sheila's
absolutely great pics for A&F Fall Preview 2015 feat.
co-model, and fellow newcomer, Ryan Cooper
Get to know more of Sheila by checking out her website (here) featuring her polaroids, an expanded sample of her great varied work, interviews and features in media/press, and more! Follow her on Instagram, @sheilamarquez_! #WELOVESHEILA