Model Of The Year Damaris Goddrie Is ELLE's April Cover Star

Jump the waves. Do a cartwheel. Drink all the rum. Let your curls flow free.

Damaris Goddrie flies the flag on our April cover for women everywhere, both as a representative of diversity within the industry and as a reflection of effortless cool, proving all that matters this season is to do your thing and own it.

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Since debuting in 2014 for J.W.Anderson's pre-Fall collection, the 19-year-old Dutch model has fronted campaigns for Zara, Versus, Coach, Kenzo and Topshop. In AW16 alone, she walked for 40 designers. And as the fashion industry beg ins to truly celebrate individuality and greater diversity in its casting, Damaris – with her fresh face and short curly hair – has come along at just the right time. We chart her teenage years with the fashion moments, the people and the iconic shows that have made her who she is today.

MY DAD BOUGHT ME MY FIRST FASHION ITEMS WHEN I WAS 14.

We went shopping together and I got a tight-fitting black Escada dress and a pastel-blue Hugo Boss pencil skirt. They're still perfect.

AT SCHOOL, I HAD A DRAMA TEACHER CALLED SIWI.

She made me step outside my comfort zone and put myself out there. She gave me some great advice: don't think about your fears and how people will perceive you, just do it and you will see that you are actually good at it. I refer to that advice in my modelling career. We still speak, we still have coffee and I go to her house; it's not often, but it's lovely to catch up.

JD, A MODEL BOOKER, FIRST SPOTTED ME IN ANTWERP.

I was 16, shopping with my mum, and I wasn't interested in being a model. A year later, I was spotted by JD again while I was eating in a fast-food restaurant. I guess I was ready that time. I wasn't always sure I wanted to model. I was into being curvy and beautiful – not the model 'ideal'.

MY GO-TO OUTFIT IS A PAIR OF KNEE-HIGH STOCKINGS.

I wear them with a short skirt and a crop top. Sometimes I throw a sweater over the top; I have one from Moschino that has little lips with cigarettes between them embroidered all over it – that's getting a lot of wear at the moment.

I WALKED FOR STELLA McCARTNEY WHEN I WAS 18.

Like her, I don't eat meat and I love that there is somebody standing up for this in the industry. It can be difficult to have a conscience in fashion, but Stella shows that it's possible. I really admire her.

I'M REALLY INTO JAPANESE CULTURE, FASHION AND ANIME.

My favourite is Nana, a manga book series by Ai Yazawa. Before she became a mangaka (a manga artist), she wanted to be a fashion designer, and you can see it in her work. One of the main characters in Nana wears Vivienne Westwood. She looked so cool: as soon as I saw her when I was 13 years old, I was completely sold. I fell in love with Vivienne; her strength of opinion and the way she stands up for what she believes in is inspiring.

I WAS INFATUATED WITH THE SINGER EMILIE AUTUMN.

She calls her musical style 'Victoriandustrial'. Her albums are slightly depressing and sad – she has suffered a lot with mental-health issues. When I was 16, I would listen to her music whenever I felt upset or angry, and it would make me feel a little bit better, or at least make me feel more understood.

The April issue is on sale now!

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