It’s not hard to see that London-based supermodel Elle Liberachi (no relation to the flamboyant ivory-tickler of yesteryear) is great at what she does. Give her an exotic beach, a barely there swimsuit and a lucky photographer, and she’ll conjure up a tropical island fantasy faster than you can say aloha. But modeling was never an aspiration for this 25-year-old French-Italian stunner, whose quiet upbringing in the British countryside gave her few expectations of a life on the catwalk. At 18, she was an art student in London when a chance encounter exposed her to a modeling scout. Soon she was booking international jobs, including her very first runway show right here in Miami.

From there, it’s been a slow and steady crescendo of coveted gigs—runway work for Guess and Roberto Cavalli, advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein and L’Oréal, editorial spreads in GQ, Elle, Esquire and Maxim—and shoots with top photo teams who love working with her as much for her easygoing demeanor as her soft, decidedly un-British looks. With a packed schedule, ties to several charities and a role in the forthcoming film Your Highness alongside James Franco and Natalie Portman, Liberachi is one busy beauty. But her humility has served her well, keeping her grounded and grateful for all she’s been given.

  » Slideshow: Get Elle Liberachi's Cover Look

You’ve become a hit in the modeling world, and it all started right here in South Beach, right?
ELLE LIBERACHI: The first job I had was a runway show in Miami [during Fashion Week of the Americas], for Adolfo Dominguez. I love Miami’s vibe and the Latin flavor, which is such a contrast to London. The people are very different from what surrounds me at home.

I hear your friend, the singer Craig David, has art of you hanging in his penthouse at the Mondrian South Beach.
Yes, Craig! He loves his women. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s got the most beautiful apartment, and it’s adorned with photos of supermodels.

Did modeling just come to you by chance?
I grew up in the countryside and never thought I would model. I was studying art and design at London College of Fashion, and a friend of mine was showing her work to her instructors. She asked me if I would mind wearing something for the presentation. A scout approached me afterward. I didn’t believe it at first. I continued with school, but it all started from there.

What makes a shoot really comfortable for you?
I love when a client wants your personality to come through. I ask to play music, so it’s easy to move around and get into it. Of course, I love working with great people. One shoot I remember in particular over four days in Cape Town. We shot at beaches, the mountains, among these amazing people. It was really like a holiday with friends. That’s something great about this career: I get to travel to places I’d never see otherwise.

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