Meeting up with Angel Rivera, the CEO of Vera Wear, and interviewing him at one of the company’s photoshoots made for an exciting afternoon. Angel met me outside of his office and invited me to join him for the shoot of the company’s summer collection. “You’ll love this,” he said, leading me down a hall full of photos of beautiful models decked in Vera Wear’s clothing. “It’s always fun to go behind the scenes and see how the photos you see on our website are created.” I was definitely up for it. While I was there to interview him about 2022’s The Vera Wear Project, his nationwide model search, I couldn’t object to seeing all the cameras, clothes, and makeup that lead to the sexy-casual image Angel has cultivated for his company.
The set was a hubbub of activity, with stylists, makeup artists, models, photographers, and interns all hurrying from place to place, intent on their mission. Angel led me off to the side, where we could still watch the shoot as we talked. “This is the heart of Vera Wear,” he said, settling back. “Even after all these years, it’s one of my favorite places to be. I love watching the models embody the essence of our clothing and bring out that effortless style that we are known for.”
Those models include Columbian Daniel Giraldo and Venezuelan ROXYD. “They have done a wonderful job of representing Vera Wear, and their shoes will be hard to fill,” Angel revealed. “I can’t wait to see who the new face of our company will be.”
Beginning in March 2022, he continued, Vera Wear will be accepting auditions from women across America who are at least eighteen years old. “We will be searching for a woman who has that indescribable something and who just lights up the camera. Sooner than you think, she’ll be taking her place right over there in front of the cameras and representing us to the world. The competition is going to be exciting!”
A member of his staff spotted him and rushed over with photos for him to look at. “These are excellent, don’t you think?” he asked me, showing me proofs of the shorts and tops the company will be offering next summer. “This is the quality we will be expecting from our new model, and we are certain she is here in America, waiting to be discovered.”
The prizes, he added, were a big reason why Vera Wear expects to receive thousands of applicants. “As the competition’s Lead Judge, I will work with people from across the fashion and entertainment industries to award the winner a cover on a magazine or publication.”
He continued by saying that the winner would also enjoy a contract with Vera Wear that will be worth up to $100K as well as their own cosmetics or perfume line. “It will be a life-changing opportunity for the woman who blows us away with her charisma, intelligence, and beauty.”
I asked him how he first got started with Vera Wear and how the competition came to be.
“Ten years ago, I had pretty much nothing except for my passion for fashion, honestly,” he remembered, smiling at the memory. “I’m sure someone told me that starting a fashion brand was crazy, but I saw no reason to believe them. I just dug down deep and kept going. It was a bit daunting to start our social media accounts with precisely zero followers, but perseverance will take you anywhere, right? Today, I have more than 1M Twitter followers and 100K on Instagram. The Instagram page for Vera Wear has more than 80K. I don’t give up easily, as you can see.”
The competition, he said, was begun because he had a genuine desire to help models make it in a very tough industry. “I was fortunate enough to be able to grow my company from nothing, and I believed I had an obligation to use it to give others the chance they were seeking. This is one way I have chosen to use my success to give back: by empowering the winner of this competition with prizes that will propel her to further success with her career.”
As we wrapped up our interview, Angel mentioned that he believes it’s only a matter of time before The Vera Wear Project finds its home with a streaming platform. “Every year, we get more applicants, and they are women from around America. They come from small towns and big cities. They have college degrees and have just graduated from high school. They are all so different from each other, but they represent the enormous talent our country has. It’s causing so much interest from the public, so I think before long, the competition will be picked up.”
As for Angel, he looks to realize his own ambition: to be America’s Top Model Scout. “Tyra had her fun,” he laughed. “Now it’s my turn to sit on the throne.”
For more information on how you can enter The Vera Wear Project on February 2, 2022, please follow @Angelluisr & @Verawear on Instagram for updates.