In a city perpetually brimming with gorgeous inhabitants, it’s no surprise that Miami is home base for iconic supermodels, including Elle Macpherson and Adriana Lima. Here, Ocean Drive uncovers the next generation of Magic City models on the brink of stardom.
South Florida beauty Aliett Buttelman is destined to be a star. Only 20, with Cosmopolitan already in her portfolio, the Wilhelmina model launched her high-fashion career out of Miami and now travels back and forth between work, play, and school at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
Why did you decide to pursue modeling?
I was a ballerina at 15 and always loved acting and dancing. Modeling was the closest to performing, so I begged my parents to take me to Miami, and I signed with Wilhelmina.
Favorite shoot to date?
I did a seven-page spread for US Cosmopolitan, shot in Colombia. Diego Uchitel [was the photographer]. I wore a beautiful Dolce & Gabbana dress and walked around the old streets of Cartagena.
I have always wanted to collaborate with Vogue Italia. The women they portray have that classic, beautiful, and voluptuous look that a lot of magazines don’t really [showcase] anymore.
WHY SHE HAS WHAT IT TAKES: "Aliett is more than just a fresh face. Her attitude, sense of self, style, and smarts are all reasons why she will have a bright future in modeling." —Nancy Ortiz, Wilhelmina Models
Bikram yoga is a great way to detox and stretch. I also love reformer Pilates, but the hardest workout I’ve ever done is at Orange Theory. It beats you up! But [it] transformed my body.
Miami hot spots you frequent?
I love interior design, so I like to go window shopping in the Design District. I’m so inspired by those stores. I also like to stop at Mandolin Aegean Bistro (4312 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-576- 6066). I went to Greece this past summer, and the beautiful atmosphere and fresh food takes me right back.
Miami native Candice Franqui’s undeniable charm has landed her high-profile gigs, including a spread in Seventeen. Now, the teenage Ford model is using her newfound status to promote self-love and positivity to her peers.
How were you discovered?
When I was 14, people would come up to me and say, “Your legs are so long! Are you a model?” It was always a dream of mine. One day, my mom and I started sending my pictures out, and the next thing you know, I was signed to Ford Models.
Who is someone you’d love to work with?
Jordan Taylor Wright (@taylorcutfilms). He’s an amazing photographer who collaborates with many different celebrities, including Ciara. I’ve never seen photos so different and unique.
Favorite Miami restaurant?
Anthony’s [Coal Fired] Pizza (2626 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, 786-456-9200) is so good. I love the meatballs there. I’m getting hungry just talking about it! I also like Splurge Juice Bar & Café (18505 NW 75th Pl., Hialeah, 786-857-6969). I usually get an açai bowl.
WHY SHE HAS WHAT IT TAKES: "Candice’s multi-ethnic look coupled with her unique and classic beauty is the future of the modeling industry." —Steven Reider, Ford Models
What do your peers think of your modeling career?
I’ve always been bullied and was never sure why. It’s a traumatic thing, especially when you’re young and learning how to accept and love yourself as you are. Bullying is not cool, and I love to stand up to people and help other girls or anyone who is being victimized. Over time, you get stronger and you learn to love yourself and not care what people say.
Words to live by?
"Every great achievement was once considered impossible."
Making it to Miss Universe 2014’s top 10 and landing the cover of Women’s Health Latin America are only the beginning for former Miss Argentina and Elite Model Management bombshell Valentina Ferrer.
Tell us about your experience on Miss Universe.
It changed my life; not only my career, but my personal life. I learned that you really need to be confident. If you’re confident in yourself and who you are, you will not only be successful, but you will also really enjoy life.
Favorite shoot to date?
The cover I shot for Harper’s Bazaar Mexico. It was a really natural shoot, and I love that.
You’re a former fitness trainer. What’s your favorite way to stay in shape?
I love to dance; I can be cooking or cleaning my house and just start dancing! But I also love Pilates at JetSet or playing basketball at Flamingo Park.
WHY SHE HAS WHAT IT TAKES: "Valentina is already a favorite among designers and photographers. They love the energy she brings to sets. She’s beyond professional and fun." —Suzy Schwartz, Elite Model Management
The Nutella pizza at Lucali (1930 Bay Road, Miami Beach, 305-695-4441); it’s amazing. And sometimes, when I’m hungry late at night and in my pajamas, I go to Bodega (1220 16th St., Miami Beach, 305-704-2145.
Thoughts on social media?
I try to be authentic. I feel like if you try to be too perfect on Instagram, it’s not real.
Who inspires you?
My family. I’m the second oldest of five siblings; I have two brothers and two sisters. They’re in Argentina, so if I’m shooting in Central or South America, I always try to fly out and see them afterwards. I love them—they’re all really nice, crazy people!
What do you like most about Miami?
Everyone is doing their own thing and is so passionate. I love it.
Who is someone you want to collaborate with?
Mario Testino. One of my goals is to be in his Towel Series when I’m older.
How do you stay in shape?
I recently did a class at Barre Motion. I was dying, but it was a good burn! I do ab workouts regularly—a lot of crunches and Russian twists. Then I like to balance it all out with yoga. I’ve been taking classes with my mom since middle school.
WHY SHE HAS WHAT IT TAKES: "Katrina’s personality and the way she moves her body will make her a supermodel." —Ron Gerard, Next Management
Favorite Miami hangout?
Lincoln Road. I love people-watching.
You were discovered on Instagram. What role does social media play in your career now?
A lot of girls message me on Instagram and ask for [modeling] advice, so I think of it as a great way to connect with people. It’s also a place to share your personality and who you are, so clients can see who they’re going to be working with.
What advice do you give to aspiring models?
I always tell people just to be themselves and to appreciate every step of the journey. It’s hard to get started, but it pays off in the end. Do you and work hard!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUAN ALGARIN. OPPOSITE PAGE: NICK SUAREZ