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Joan Smalls Talks About Donatemywage.org, Fashion Industry & More for WSJ

WSJ. Magazine features supermodel Joan Smalls in their series My Monday Morning

Joan Smalls
Photo: Joan Smalls / Source WSJ. Magazine

Supermodel Joan Smalls stars in WSJ. Magazine‘s popular series My Monday Morning. Joan talks about donatemywage.org, Black Lives Matter impact on fashion industry, her exercise routine, and more.

I’ve seen brands use more people of color in their campaigns and advertising editorials, which I think is good. But at the same time, is this going to continue or is it just a trend? I believe when it comes to fashion there should be a responsibility of equality for all, not just the Black community. I remember at one point, the new thing was Asia and China. All the runways, all the magazine covers, all the editorials, you see a high influx of Asian models and barely any Blacks or Latinas. It comes in waves. Now they’re focused on the matter of Black lives, you see more interest in that, and now they fall back on the Asian models. There should just be equality throughout, consistently, with every race.

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What have you learned from launching DonateMyWage.org?
It’s not as easy as it may seem to convince brands to donate money. A lot of the times I’ll say, I’m donating this—do you guys want to match? Because there isn’t a budget for that, they can’t do it. But then they’ll say, Oh, we can donate a certain amount, and then they want a mention of it or they want the affiliation. And I’m like, Yeah, but I’m going to need you to do more work.

Will you continue to donate in 2021?
I’ll continue to promote it and make the website grow and create different ways of donating. Obviously, yes, I’ll still be donating, just not 50 percent. I’m sure there’s going to be other causes to donate to, other crises.

How has the pandemic changed your work and modeling? Does it feel like things are starting to go back to normal?
I don’t think normal would be the word to describe this. I don’t think anything will ever go back to normal. Work did start to pick up—it just requires more planning and more time to confirm things. Can you enter the country? It’s less work; budgets have changed as well. Things aren’t selling like they used to, there is no [normal] Fashion Week, the editorials are cut down. Everything is a bit minimal.

Do you miss Fashion Week?
The part I miss the most is reunions, seeing my friends. Knowing that everybody was in the same country, it was almost like a traveling band. A lot of the time we don’t get to see each other because we’re bouncing around, missing each other. So knowing who’s going to be in town, your crew, you can have dinner, catch up, have drinks, have room service. I miss that part a lot, and also seeing the creative. There’s so much inspiration.

What’s your exercise routine like these days?
I’ve been doing 45 minutes [a day]—it’s mostly resistance training with my own body. I’ll do planks, I’ll do different types of sit-ups, anything that’s for my core because I have scoliosis. I do a lot of glute work: kickbacks, squats, fire hydrants. Cardio, I’ll do maybe three times a week. When I was in Puerto Rico, I’d run outside because it gave me a nice view to be outdoors and running in between palm trees. I haven’t done Muay Thai in over a year now, and I’m starting to miss it. I believe a girl should always be able to throw a good punch. It’s a good self-defense.

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