Interview by JANA LETONJA

Brazilian model Heva Dametto started her career young and built her success outside of her home country, Brazil. Not being afraid to follow her dreams, her international career took her to the runways of worlwide fashion capitals, from Tokyo to Milan and Paris.

Heva, your career started when you got asked to be a model at the age of 12. What went through your mind when that opportunity was presented to you?

At 12 years old, I felt very different from other girls. I was already 1.78 cm and had low self-esteem. I heard nasty comments about my appearance, height and thinness. I remember exactly the first thing that came to mind when the scout, who was passing by my school, said that I could be a model. I thought to myself “Does that mean I can be pretty”? I thought this way because a model is synonymous with power, beauty and that’s how a world of opportunities opened up in front of me. But I had to hear a lot of jokes and criticism saying that being a model would be impossible for me.

What were the biggest challenges you’ve encountered on your career path?

Being a model, even though it seems like a glamorous world, has its problems. It’s an unstable, unpredictable and psychologically damaging career. Fashion makes you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster of feelings. One day you may be about to do the job that will boost your career and the next they cancel you without giving an explanation. It’s hard to deal with, but you have to get up and go to the next casting. Sometimes they love you and you work a lot for them or sometimes they say “Thank you, next” after being in a line full of models from all over the world for 3 hours. We have to be persevering and dedicated to move forward. Furthermore, I cannot fail to mention the aesthetic pressure to maintain the required measurements. Today, thanks to therapy, I deal well with all of this.

What are your favorite memories from your first fashion week in São Paulo at the age of 18?

It’s impossible to forget the flashes and lights the first time I stepped on the runway. I didn’t expect that I would be able to do a show and in the moment when everything went well, I couldn’t believe that something I had dreamed of for many years was coming true, even though I had heard from my own father that I didn’t have the quality to do it and I would never be a model.

I remember my eyes filling with tears because to get there, I had to leave alone from the countryside to São Paulo, the biggest and most chaotic city in Brazil. I had just turned 18 and had never traveled alone, and there I was starting the best phase of my life.

After that, you’ve also gotten to walk the international Fashion weeks. Which one stands out as your favorite one so far, and why?

I’m proud to have walked MM6 Maison Margiela, Rick Owens, Neil Barret, Sunnei and done commercial job for Rayban worldwide among others.

dress AO

What emotions do you usually feel before, during and after walking the runway?

I think many people don’t know this, but to do a job, you go through several steps before being selected. After the selection, you go through a clothing fitting in which they can still cancel you. With that in mind, I would say pre-show anxiety, during an immense relief for making it, and after an overflowing pride.

How important is fashion in your personal life? What are your favorite styling tricks?

Fashion made me understand myself. Before, I felt like I didn’t have my own identity, I didn’t know how to express myself and I was shy. This career made me discover who Heva was, what I liked, how I could express myself.

Fashion tricks I learned are that wearing oversized items will always be cool. I in particular dress based on my mood, I can vary from colorful and cheerful to sober or neutral colors.

latex boots HELO ROCHA
fabric TEX PRIMA

During the pandemic, you got to share your work with your fans on TikTok. How do you deal with the pressures of social media and living in the public eye?

During the pandemic we heard a lot that we would have to reinvent ourselves. These were difficult periods and because of that I decided to make a video showing that despite the obstacles, I had won several shows on the international runways in Paris, Milan and Tokyo. The video went viral and I received countless messages saying how much it inspired people. This was gratifying. I continued posting and having visibility on the internet, and I found many girls and boys who became models to follow my steps despite the challenges. I thought it was amazing to see that it would help people
follow their dreams. I also feel the pressure of internet to always share my life and my experiences, which I confess I didn’t really enjoy, but regardless it was worth it.

What would be your advice to anyone being afraid to go after their dreams?

That all fear, all obstacles, people who don’t believe in you and difficult days make you strong enough not to give up. The reward at the end is worth it. I say this from my own experience. I’ve had many closed doors, I’ve cried a lot, I’ve been very angry about the things that were said to me, but all of this made me gain strength and proved to myself and others that I was capable.

shirt MAX MARA
pants ZING

Besides fashion and modeling, what are your other passions in life?

I’m also passionate about yoga and graduated in Bali, Indonesia last year. I completed 200 hour yoga teacher training. It was an incredible immersion that renewed me as a human being.

Furthermore, because I spend a lot of time in Europe and love history, I ended up researching my ancestors so I could have my Italian citizenship recognized. During this process, I learned a lot, I started helping close friends and it ended up becoming another business. Today I also work with Italian citizenship advice, I do family tree research, I research documents in churches in Italy to find certificates from 1800 onwards and I uncover many stories about the ancestors of the families that come into contact with me. It ended up becoming a business, but at first it started out as a hobby and out of curiosity.

What can you share with us about your upcoming projects and plans?

My next plan is to live in New York. I’m already with a representative agency and I’m in the process of getting a work visa. I’m very happy to be taking this next important step in my career and I’m sure I’ll have incredible opportunities there.

photography & film FAMKE VAN HAGEN & GABRIEL NOVIS
styling & creative direction ALEXANDRE DORNELLAS
fashion production SÉRGIO ROSA
fashion production assistant HELOÍSA NADAL
music & sound design BDS
interview JANA LETONJA