If Cara Delevingne is the rebel and Karlie Kloss is the sweetheart, who are you?
“I’m always tan and blonde and don’t really fit into New York. I’m a California girl, even if I try and cover it up with leather.”

What do you think makes your look unique?
“I have kind of an unusual eye shape, and because of my mix of ethnicities [Dutch and Palestinian], I can go from being the girl next door to more exotic depending on what hair and makeup you put on me.”

Cindy Crawford was known for her beauty mark; you’re becoming known for several of them.
“People can see a picture of my body from the neck down and know who it is because of my beauty marks or whatever you call them, moles. I’ve always had them, and I’ve always loved them. Obviously you have to be careful with that; I get them checked regularly and make sure that they’re healthy. I’ve had a couple on my back removed for that reason, but the rest are healthy, and I think they’re kind of my signature. A lot of people get mad at me when they’re Photoshopped out. But I don’t want them Photoshopped. If they are, that’s the client’s decision. I love them.”

Is there a feature you’re insecure about?
“I hate my knees. I played volleyball for ten years, and I was a hitter. And you train to roll and slide so that you don’t have to land on your knees, and I was really good at that. But obviously sometimes it happened, and they got pretty banged up. I think they are permanently swollen.”

What’s your typical beauty look?
“I kind of always have the same hair and makeup. I really like Maybelline New York Fit Me! Foundation and bronzer. And then I’ll just usually do mascara—Maybelline New York The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara is great. My lipstick all the time is Maybelline Color Sensational The Creamy Mattes lipstick in Nude Embrace. And then I always have Maybelline New York Baby Lips lip balm with me because it has SPF, which is nice because my lips always get burned on the beach.”

And how do you maintain your blonde color?
“It’s funny because usually when it’s summer, we’re shooting winter. So in the winter, my hair is brighter, and during the summer, I do highlights less. I’m actually getting highlights right now at Sally Hershberger Downtown.”

Do you do any special treatments?
“I do Japanese conditioning treatments. And because my hair is always being touched and prodded and pulled, when I have a couple days off, I try not to wash it every day. I put it in a bun and don’t get my hair wet, and it self-maintains that way.”

How do you get your signature off-duty waves?
“Sometimes I will get my hair done the day before an event so it’s a little dirtier the next day and easier to manage. When your hair is really clean, and you’re walking down the street in New York, and it’s windy, it’s hard to handle. It holds better when it’s dirtier.”

Do you have a favorite greasy-root cover-up?
“My New York Yankees cap.”

What’s an ideal night out for you?
“I’m kind of a grandma, so my ideal night out is, like, a dinner. I love Nobu. I’m very into places where you can hear each other talk—a cool space where my friends can hang out and actually catch up. Then I’m usually asleep by 11.”

What’s it like to enter the modeling world in the digital age?
“My generation of models is really lucky to be working in this time. We have become so much more than a face on a piece of paper or a billboard. We’ve become personalities. And people are starting to choose their favorite models not only because of what jobs they’re doing but also because they like the same pizza or have the same sense of humor.”

How would you describe your personality online?
“I think a lot of people take me way more seriously than I take myself. I definitely take my job seriously, but I’m more of a goofball and a weirdo than people think. And I try to get that across in the captions. Twitter is the place where I try to be more funny. And then I use Instagram just as my diary. I pull some jokes on there, but I think people have a better sense of humor on Twitter.”

This generation of models seem to really support one another online. Is there less competition?
“It’s easier not to be competitive with the other blonde girl because we have completely different personalities, and those get to be shown through social media, which is really cool. Back in the day, if you and the other blonde girl looked exactly alike, it was going to be between you two. I think now it’s very different.”

Why do you think so many young women relate to you?
“I went to high school; I played volleyball; I was the manager of the boys’ basketball team. Everything that [young girls] talk to me about, I can relate to. I fully had that all-American high-school experience. And then I just got a really cool job afterward, you know? Those are some of the best days of my life. Even now I get to do so many cool things, but I’ll always appreciate my high-school days just as much, if not more, than what I’m doing now.”

How was this season different from last season for you?
“It’s funny, because I don’t really see myself as a runway girl. I think that if designers are going to put me in their show, they have a couple reasons. One, they want me to fill out the outfit. Two, I have something to do with or I go along with the inspiration of the collection. For example, the Max Mara collection was inspired by Marilyn Monroe on the beach, and I think that the team kind of saw that in me coming from California and being able to take on that Hollywood thing. There are some people who say I don’t belong on the runway, but I think that if the designer needs me to be a part of their show, then I’m going to be in their show. If they don’t, then I respect that, and I understand that. I did a lot more shows than I expected this season, and it was very fun, and I love the girls I get to work with, because I don’t get to see them all the time.”

Where do you see your career in the future?
“As long as they want me modeling, I’ll be here. But I hope to maybe have a cooking show one day or host a talk show when I’m older and have a developed brand. That would be really fun.”

I said no initially, thought about it, and said no again. But I’m a black transgender woman. I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent. Black women are not often told that we’re beautiful unless we align with certain standards. Trans women certainly are not told we’re beautiful. Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about herself might be inspiring to some other folks.
—  Laverne Cox on deciding to participate in Allure magazine’s annual “Nudes” issue. Role model forever. (via Allure; link includes semi-NSFW photo)