This is the torture of being a model. You show up on the set and if you have gained weight just the least and you don’t look good in the clothes they put on you, it’s embarrasing and traumatic. The photographers are walking around cutting you down and the designers can’t believe they have to make alterations and they ask why they can’t find a model who isn’t overeating? So even though we are tall and thin, every pound makes a difference in the moments when you are getting fitted to do a photoshoot. After a long day at work I prefer to be alone, without the sound of music or the intrusion of books and cinema. Alone and silent in nature. My job is very extroverted, but in myself, I am very private. Except for my parents ... I spend time with them outside of Rome at their house where I grew up. I can tell my parents anything at all and they have always supported me. We live in an old village with Roman ruins everywhere. It has not become a tourist place yet. The land is filled with an old fortress and tunnels.
I started in the modeling business young, working in Milan. After six months I went back home again. At that time, I didn’t want to be a model, and no one ever pushed me into it. It was more of an accident at first. Then from age 16, I had an agent based in Milan. Now I have agents everywhere: Milan, London, Paris, Tokyo...the success of the model is not how powerful is your agent, but how you can manage yourself. What to do and what not to do. You have to know how you want to project yourself to the public. Otherwise, you are just a machine for everyone else to make money. I go to the photo shoot and try to be happy, and I have the most fun I can, for myself and with everyone else there. Because that is what makes the work good. But after that, I go home and cry and hate myself and get trashed. After so many years trying to figure out how to get out of the business, I am burned out. Modeling blanked me out, so I am tired. I ask myself “Where the fuck is Mariacarla?” I’m so tired, so overworked. I’ve spent the last 10 years just erasing myself. I have not trained myself for any other work. I’ve had no other experience for the last 10 years except modeling. I’ve only been doing this one thing and that is all. I never think I do anything good. I judge myself. But I take modeling in a new direction. In my personality, I am a free model. I never put on a dress and say “I’m going to sell this dress.” As it turns out, I do sell more than other girls. They will put the dress on me first, after the statistics have shown that the dress I wear sells more than the other girl’s dress. But why? I think it’s because of an attraction by the public that is a combination of things. I’m a very traditional Italian woman. I’m not a feminist. But I’m also a strong woman, a symbol of women who are strong—I’m the kind of woman who scares the insecure guys. I work. I make my own money. I’m independent.
I have worked with great photographers: Paolo Roversi. I work a lot with him. But the first time I worked with him I was really young and he pissed me off so much. I was supposed to work for 3 days and I told my agent “no way, I hate him, I want to pull out now and never work with him no more in my life.” I was like naked all the time and he was shooting my ass and I didn’t like it. But next day he shot my face more than my ass and he kind of like fell in love with me as a model, and we started to do a lot of work together. He did a book and I was in that and it’s very sweet now. We work great now. We take a long day and shoot for a few hours and then take our time to have a long Italian lunch all together, everybody. We went to Rome together and worked all night shooting until six in the morning and he never does that because he’s older now, but everywhere he goes he has this old medium-format camera that is super difficult to move around and it’s really amazing the way he shoots. It’s a little like Sarah Moon. She’s great too. She’s like the person who discovered me, kind of and made me big. I learned so much from her. She’s one of the most difficult photographers to work with, ever. Because she uses a two minute exposure, which is impossible to hold the poses for that. And she does really odd poses where you lose the feeling in your legs. And she moves around the background during the picture. I also work with Juergen Teller. To be naked makes me a little shy sometimes. That’s part of the business. My parents never worry about that. And photographers have always been attracted to me to be naked. Not sexual...but that’s what makes the photos more interesting. I never felt beautiful with makeup and dresed up. I always had to pretend I was someone else, which was not me. And I can do that. But for a long time it took a big effort. Now it is more like work. So sometimes it happens that I feel too much overdressed, and hair and makeup is not right. On top of that, there is a concept that makes no sense. The photographer will say “raise your hand and look out over there” and I can’t just do it. Everyone is watching and there is no reason for the pose, so I say “you have to arrive there. There is a story that I can act out, but you have to give me a reason. I’m not a zombie. If it doesn’t make sense, I can’t just do it. They call me everyday for work and it’s difficult for me to say no, because everytime it’s a good opportunity in a way. The only thing is to make it very challenging, to ask “Where am I going to go next? How can I work it more? Can I do something more? Can I be something else? Or do I have to just be what I was? That is the big problem now, more than everything. Trying to figure that out. But I should just go for it. That’s what I’m fighting for now. Sometimes the art of fashion is not there anymore. So I would like to create my own pieces of art.