Blowout talks about the undeniable rise of stunning fashion model; Olivia Arben. In a day and age where social media is so prominent and inevitably paving the way for so many models to come forward than ever before, what makes Olivia stand out from the crowd?
In a world consumed by Snapchat and Instagram filters, do you know who doesn’t need one? The beautiful and sophisticated being that is Olivia Arben. It’s so easy to forget that she is only 23 years of age, when everything that comes out of her mouth does so honestly, confidently and passionately.
Olivia has already modelled for a variety of fashion houses, brands and catwalks in London, the United States and in Dubai. Her background includes shooting for Vogue Italia, Balmain and L’Oreal. So how did this all come about?
“I kind of got into it when I was about 15, but I didn’t start full-time till I was 18. I just really enjoyed it and it’s just one of those things that I felt interested in and passionate about,” she tells Blowout. “I really love that I get to meet new people and be social. I really like the experiences that modelling brings and I also love fashion so it’s a win-win for me.”
“I would like to do it as long as possible. I think there used to be an ageism with modelling, that unless you make it really big, you’re kind of expected to just fade out, which really makes no sense because why would you want to get rid of someone with all that experience? I hope that the fashion industry’s changing and we’ll be able to stay in it as long as we want.”
Like everything in life, there are ups and downs and as you get older, you tend to be able to deal better with situations that life throws at you. For some people it takes a lifetime, trying to master that skill and for some, they master it very quickly. These experiences may break you or they just might give you that little push you were waiting for to go that extra mile. In Olivia’s case, she wasn’t going to be broken by it.
“There have been times that I definitely thought about throwing in the towel, but I think that was as I was starting out. That’s why I started to really push myself as an individual and as a brand. Since I’ve taken control of my career, I feel a lot happier and I want to continue with it,” Olivia stated.
There is an odium often associated with modelling that it is all about beauty and that it is an easy career, which takes little or no hard-work. Olivia says the opposite.
“It’s easy to do a shoot, but the difficulty is the persistence. It’s hard getting the jobs because obviously a lot of models are capable of doing it. It’s more about your mind-set and not taking things personally, not letting things get to you. I think that’s what makes models stay in it in the long run.”
Olivia’s portfolio covers numerous campaigns including the NFL EU clothing for the Super Bowl, Triangl, Max & Co, Joshua Kane and Vin & Omi to name a few. She also walked for the Oman Royal family at the Tessuti Show, adding another record to her impressive career. Having toured so many cities, we’re happy to hear that she prefers London!
“I was in Dubai for a bit and it was very glamorous. To be honest I think the rest of the world is quite glamorous and England has more of a grungy look. That was quite difficult for me because I would describe myself as a glamorous person, so to try to match the grunginess was a little difficult,” she said.
“When I first went to Dubai it was really amazing and they have a lot of amazing brands out there which is really good. I did enjoy the short period that it lasted. In terms of styles and substance, however, I do prefer London.”
Fashion plays an important part in Olivia’s life, not just professionally but also personally, as it is something she has always connected with. In 2018, she was voted the best dressed by Elle USA, for the Cannes Film Festival.
“If I could wear one brand for the rest of my life I would like to say Gucci. But it’s hard! I’m trying to think which brand has lots of polo necks… I love a black polo neck. So probably Alexander Wang actually. I could wear that brand for the rest of my life,” she stated.
“If I had to describe my fashion style in one word I’d say black,” she laughed. “I just like to wear black and heels, that’s it. One thing I would never do is wear flat shoes. I’m happy to experiment with colours but ultimately black. If I’m panicking? Black.”
Though if photographs have proved anything, it’s that she’ll look great in pretty much anything and everything. There’s also something about her effortless charm that makes her stand out from the rest of the crowd.
In this day and age, it is quite easy to be defined by a singular thing and therefore, harder to succeed in multiple fields. Once you become known for something specific, that’s the first thing that rushes to people’s minds when they hear your name. We asked Olivia if being a model defined who she was.
“Honestly, I don’t mind being known as a model, but I’d rather people think that because it’s often easy to get confused. If you’re doing a lot on Instagram, people might speculate if you’re a model/blogger for example. I’d rather there be a clear-cut line. Ultimately, I think I’m more than just a model and I do lots of different things.”
Olivia is also an ambassador for the British Heart Foundation, a position which is quite special to her as her father passed away from a heart attack when she was 16 years old. She most recently partnered with them to promote their new clothing campaign, centred around affordable, sustainable party-wear in the festive season.
The BHF wants to encourage people to shop with them for their party wear and then donate it back, offering a sustainable solution to combat the 'buy now, throwaway later' clothing trend and help them raise funds for life saving research.
The fashion model considers herself a very family orientated person, telling Blowout that she considers her mother and younger sister, her best friends.
“I spend almost every day with them. They’re the only people that I hang out with all the time. I would choose them over anyone.”
Her mother is an interior designer and her younger sister, a make-up artist. Both influences can evidently be seen in Olivia’s life; her love of interiors has her own house looking beautiful and her sister often does Olivia’s make-up, a process which she can now no longer live without! With such a creative and talented family, it’s no wonder that Olivia also possesses the same gifted spark.
If modelling was not already written in the stars, she believes she would have liked to have been a parapsychologist. But, knowing that she doesn’t have the dedication to stick out studying, would have ended up working in interior design and following her mother’s footsteps.
Olivia believes there’s more to her than just the modelling and social media is one of the few tools she uses in order to portray it to the world. At present, she has a whopping 147k followers on Instagram and believes the platform has helped her career in a positive way.
“It gave me the opportunity to present myself as a person, a brand and as a model. A lot of people complain about social media but I personally find it quite educational, because I think back in the day when you wouldn’t have known about all the different agencies and all the different styles and I wouldn’t have known about all the things that people are doing. It’s good for awareness. I found it very helpful in terms of all aspects really.”
Then there’s the issue which a lot of people argue that what you see on someone’s social media is not necessarily the truth or an actual representation of their real life. We asked her if she thinks there’s a differentiation between the ‘real’ Olivia and what her fans might see on her account.
“I think I’m more of a smiley person in real life, but there’s not really many smiley photographs of me on my Instagram. I don’t know why, I just think the ones where I’m posing do a lot better. I’ve had people wonder what I’m like and that I’m probably a bit of a b****, but I’m actually a really smiley person in real life!” She laughed.
We can confirm that Olivia Arben is indeed a smiley person.
“In terms of content, I just focus on what people respond to the most. I’ve been doing it for a while now so I know there are things if I post them, they won’t do so well, so I just tend to stick to work photos, selfies, showing off events and actual work. They do best because I think that’s what people want to see; a different lifestyle to something of their own,” she continued.
We’re sure that another year for Olivia will mean another year of success and determination in reaching higher levels in the modelling industry. Her professionalism and confidence can be felt by the room when she’s in it and there is no doubt that she will continue to persevere and accomplish even greater things.
So, what can we expect from you this year?
“I’m actually looking to do some more writing at the moment, so we’ll see if that develops into anything. It’s something I’ve always liked to do. I also wouldn’t do this officially, but some of my friends have moved into new houses and have asked me to help decorate and I just can’t wait to get in there and do it up!”
Modelling, writing, decorating and just being an awesome human, Olivia Arben is inspiration.
Words by Syeda Uddin
Photographer & Creative Director Erica Bergsmeds Graphics Celine Bachelet Make-up Artist Ninni Marklund Mighty Hair Jan Przemyk Styling Lalla Bronshtein Photo Assistant Dawn P Collins Behind the Scene Noha Ben Ismail & Dawn P Collins