“You don’t need a huge budget or expensive equipment, just work with what you have and do the best you can. Once you notice the limitations, you upgrade.“
Lizette, can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us a little bit on how did you get into fashion world? My full name is Lizette Margarethe Marlotte Croes, but I mostly go by Lizz. I was born the youngest in a family of four in Mendrisio (Switzerland) in June of 1994. Both my parents were in the medical field, my father being a dentist and my mother a nurse.
I’ve been into fashion since I was a little girl, but I didn’t really get involved in the fashion world until I was around eighteen. I started a blog about my personal style at that time, and saved up for my first DSLR camera. Taking pictures became what I liked most about blogging and I’d constantly browse through fashion magazines for inspiration, going straight to the editorials. I knew I wanted to be a part of creating something like that. I got into modeling professionally at 21, and started to work full time last year.
What is the best thing of being a fashion blogger? What motivates you to write, shoot, style and finally post on blog? My blog hasn’t been a fashion blog in a while, although it did start out that way. It became a chore, and I did it to please other people. I was going through a tough time in 2016 for various reasons and I thought that what I was putting online was superficial and vain. I started to vent on my blog and talk about personal experiences through images instead. Blogging became more fun for me then. Nowadays my website is a space where I get to share some pictures that are completely within my own creative control. I talk about traveling, some photography and life experiences as well as modeling. I doubt I’ll ever get back to fashion blogging, it’s too one-sided and my style isn’t as eccentric as it used to be. Posting on my blog is something I used to do once a week, but since I started working I haven’t had as much time. I’ll always continue to write and I have a bunch of drafts on my computer, but the hurdle of my computer breaking down a month ago didn’t help either, haha!
How would you describe your personal style? Right now my style is very basic. It’s a lot of black and clothing that is convenient for going to and from work. I love statement pieces like big coats and crazy sunglasses, though. I’m a huge sunglasses person; I have a big collection in all kinds of shapes and colors. My personal style has also evolved a lot over the years; right now I try to keep it simple and classy. I save and invest more for the long term instead of buying as much as I can on a budget. I’m still crazy about vintage and thrift stores. I love finding unique things that not everyone will have.
If you had access to unlimited resources how would it impact your blogging? What would you like to experiment in more? My immediate thought goes to my camera, I’d buy a wide angle lens or upgrade to a full-frame camera with one portrait and a wide angle lens. I’m really bad at the specifics and technicalities of cameras and photography, but I do know what result I want and what lenses will be able to give me that. Other than that, I’d invest more into big editorial shoots with a flowing theme for my own (photography) portfolio. I don’t think it would impact my blogging very much, since I share very simple photos on there that anyone could take. My writing also doesn’t require a big budget; just any working computer will do haha.
I like to keep most photos that illustrate a story very simple, also to encourage others that blogging or building a website doesn’t require a lot of money. I started small, and added little things here and there along the way. The biggest impact unlimited resources would have is that everything would go much faster. I’d get a better computer that runs Photoshop without a problem and I’d be able to work with big files much easier. Another impact would probably be that I’d travel a lot more as well.
As you have lived in many countries, in your opinion, which one inspires your style the most? How fashion life looks like in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia? When I came from Belgium to the Netherlands, my style probably changed the most. I started working my first “real” job and I had money to buy clothes for myself, so I went a bit crazy with what I wore and bought. Over time, I saw that there is more value in investing than in purchasing seasonal clothes you wear just once.
In Malaysia the weather is really hot and humid, so it limits your choices. My go-to casting and everyday outfit were some jean shorts and a crop top, although I always had a sweater with me because the AC would be blasting in most indoor places. Fashion in Malaysia consisted of a lot of streetwear and a little more conservative clothing in non-touristic areas, since it is a Muslim country. There were also a lot of girls wearing those Kylie Jenner inspired outfits, you definitely won’t see that in the Netherlands or Belgium.
What are some things you would like to see change in blogging?I’d like to see more people talk on a personal level with their readers. When I started sharing experiences and stories I got a lot more responses and emails, I really enjoy that interaction. Bloggers always seemed very unrelatable and far away to me. They seemingly live these perfect lives without a worry or care in the world. I do know that is not true for most of them, and I’d love for bloggers to be more authentic and real about personal struggles. We all feel alone with our issues, sometimes it takes reading about someone else’s issues for us to feel better.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone wanting to start blogging? Just start. Start writing either on paper or on your computer and figure out what kind of blog or website you’d like to create. It’s easier than ever now to build a website, so just get a general idea of what you’d want it to look like and work with a service like WIIX or WordPress to create it. You don’t need a huge budget or expensive equipment, just work with what you have and do the best you can. Once you notice the limitations, you upgrade.
At the moment, are there certain trends or styles you are loving or hating? It took a while for me to adjust, but I actually really like the fishnet trend. I like them on their own or coming up out of shorts or sweat pants. I’m really not too into streetwear, mainly because I had a streetwear shoot every week in Malaysia and it started to get boring. I like feminine and sexy trends, for the most part.
Tell us, what is the difference between fashion and style? Fashion is what you see on the runways, in editorials and in stores. It’s what designers put out to the public and it sets the seasonal trends. Style is personal. How do you take what is in stores and make it work for you? Style isn’t bound to seasons or the generic rules of fashion. For example; a lot of big brands pay to get their clothing in a magazine. The stylists of the magazine have to make it work, because the designer is paying the magazine. In your own style, there are no rules and you can just wear whatever you feel like putting on that day.
What is your main source of inspiration when it comes to staying up to date on the fashion world? And… how do you usually choose a subject/theme/concept for your next blog post? I like going into stores and browsing through the latest fashion magazines like Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire and Harpers Bazaar to see what trends are currently in fashion. It’s especially fun in bigger stores or bookstores where they sell magazines from different countries. I like to see how the French Vogue is different from the Dutch Vogue, for example. My blog posts are very personal and based on experiences, so it’s just whatever crosses my path next or what I’m in the mood to write about that day. Recently I started sharing some more elaborate photography; those take a lot more preparation. The post I did about the Seventies with Cheng was a concept I wanted to do for a while. I got the clothes at a thrift store and looked on Instagram for a model who would fit the theme, Cheng was perfect. The area we shot at was exactly what I wanted, but it took a while to find it as well. There’s a lot more that goes into a shoot like that than people would expect. It all has to come together. I like to browse on Instagram or Pinterest for inspiration, but also walking around and finding an amazing location can suddenly give me a bunch of ideas.
Looking back, how has your life(style) changed since you started blogging? Blogging has changed my life in many ways. First and foremost, it gave me a platform to share my photography and it motivated me to do and be better at it. I met a lot of people because of it and I still work with a few brands that reached out to me on a regular basis. Blogging also gave me the confidence to start modeling on a professional level. I got into modeling because of photography; I had been taking pictures of myself for a while before then, so I knew what angles worked and what I should avoid when I’m doing a shoot with someone else.
Who is someone you feel has really influenced you? Do you have your icon(s)? Is there anybody you look up to? I don’t really look up to many people in the media, they’re always people I know or I’ve met in person. My siblings are all a huge inspiration to me and they motivate me when I need it most. They’re exceptional in their own individual ways, our interests are vastly different. One woman I look up to a lot, though, is someone I met in LA almost two years ago. I was having a coffee next to her, and we struck up a conversation about photography. I was very insecure about my work and capabilities at that point and she was one of the best people I could have met right then. She told me how she modeled for twenty years, did some minor acting and voice-over work and was just now branching out with her photography business. She just went wherever the work took her. The way she spoke and told me about her life inspired me; that was the kind of life I wanted and envisioned for myself. I was shy and hesitant, but she gave me the card of her former agent and told me to go see her immediately. Her confidence, positivity and kindness stuck with me. She wasn’t a supermodel nor did she claim to be one; she just worked hard and was grateful for every opportunity that came her way. That is someone I respect and look up to so much more than someone who was handed everything.
You have an exceptional look. Is there something you haven’t achieved as a model but hope to in the future? In one year I’ve reached a lot of milestones I didn’t expect to reach. One that is still very high on my list is getting a cover, although I don’t have a preference of which magazine that would be. I also always wanted to do an editorial for a magazine I grew up reading, which would be one in Italy. I don’t see myself going back to Italy anytime soon, though, so that one is farther in the future and more unreachable. At least, for now.
What do you love most about being a model and how does it feed into your blogging? I’ve heard it from a lot of other girls as well, but the absolute best part about it is who you meet. In the past year I’ve met so many creative and wonderful people I wouldn’t ever have met if it wasn’t because of modeling. Traveling is also nice, although I don’t think people realize that a lot of my smaller trips aren’t related to modeling at all. For example, when I was in Malaysia I went to Melaka and Penang. I wanted to see the country and experience the culture, but most of the modeling there is done in Kuala Lumpur. Lots of girls from my agency just stayed in the city center of Kuala Lumpur, while I took full advantage of being in Malaysia to see the sights. Those trips are like mini-vacations and I always get inspired to write or take pictures along the way. Modeling also provides plenty of stories and experiences to write about.
Is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could? The one thing that irks me immensely is how agencies will make a big fuss about my height, even when I say over and over again that I have zero interest in walking shows. It’s just not my thing. I’m into editorials, big shoots or more intimate/vulnerable shoots that are about the model instead of the clothing. You don’t need height for those shoots. Especially doing photography myself and seeing how someone can light up from looking at a beautiful photo of them; it really bothers me that restrictions on height exist in the industry. Even plus size models are tall, and in my opinion it’s sending off a bad message to the shorter people out there. Short doesn’t mean ugly. I’m not even that short at 172cm, and I still get a hard time. Don’t get me wrong; I think height is most definitely necessary on the runway. Look at the Dolce & Gabbana 2017/18 Fall/Winter show. The concept of using influencers and ‘real’ people is nice and something I agree with completely, but in that show it’s painfully obvious why height and good walking models are a necessity for shows.
What would be your tips on how to look good in front of the camera? Probably the best piece of advice I can give, is to practice either in a mirror or by taking photos of yourself. I also like to ask photographers during a shoot if I can see a few of the pictures, so I know whether or not to adjust my pose.
When did you develop a passion for photography? How has picking up photography impacted your life and what you do? My passion for photography really came from my father. He had a big collection of cameras and my memory of him is with a camera in his hand or close by his side. I have a lot of photos from when I was younger to look back on, and a big gap after he passed away. When I became a teenager photography sparked my interest again, and I’d experiment with free software like Picasa to edit photos I’d take of my friends. I always felt a lot more comfortable taking photos rather than being in a photo at that age. When I bought my DSLR I made an agreement with myself that I’d only buy another lens or camera when I felt like I had outgrown this one. I taught myself as much as possible with Youtube videos and taking classes here and there. Photography has impacted my life in a very positive way. I get all kinds of awesome brand collaborations that give me a lot of creative freedom. I’m also in a pleasant position where I can help out other models if they need some updated photos for their portfolio, although I keep that to a minimum since I rarely get paid for those shoots. My brother is an exception though, I love taking photos of him.
Can you describe your photographic style? How did you ultimately figure out your style and aesthetic? I think my style is still evolving, but lately I’ve been into very rough edits and making photo’s look damaged or vintage. I’ve been playing around with my film camera more as well, since I love the photos that come from it. It’s tricky to operate, though, since my focus is off most of the time. My editing also changes with my mood. If I’m in a bad or unhappy mood I’ve noticed my photos will turn out very cold and dark. When I’m happy my photos will turn out a lot brighter and sunnier. I also like looking for different angles to make a photo interesting, either really high up or really low to the ground facing up.
In your honest opinion, how important is social media in changing and developing concepts of beauty? I think the rise of social media has been very important in changing the concepts of beauty. In just ten years’ time; we’ve seen a lot of plus size and unconventional looking models achieving supermodel status with the help of Instagram and Facebook. Bloggers and Instagram models are also changing the face of the industry and I’m very curious to see where the rise in diversity will take the fashion industry over the coming decade.
What advices would you give to creatives working toward building their social media profile and marketing themselves better? Keep putting out your very best content and work your ass off offline. It’s just as my agent tells me; we only put the best photos in your portfolio because we want the client to see your best images. The same goes for Instagram, although I like to add some funny and everyday photos as well. Put out amazing content, connect with people in the real world to create even better stuff and post it online afterwards. The work you do offline will reflect online, if you’re doing it right. Word travels fast, especially in an industry as small as this one.
Where can our readers get connected with you? My readers can leave comments on posts that resonate with them, or they can e-mail me directly at [email protected]. My Facebook is private, but my Instagram is also public: @lizzelc. My website is www.lizzelc.com
How would you define happiness and what does it mean to you? Happiness to me is very closely linked to success. I’m happy knowing I’m able to support myself and be financially independent. I’m happy knowing I’m able to make a living doing something that I love, instead of trading in hours of my life slaving away at a job that crushes my soul every day. It’s not wealth or extreme riches that I want, I want to have the freedom to spend time with my family and work a job that suits my personality. To me, that is happiness. Living a life with minimal stress.
Can you walk us through a typical day for Lizette Croes?The funny thing is; there is no typical day haha. Currently I’m in Amsterdam visiting family and waiting for my work visa for South Africa to go through. Today I went to The Hague for an early morning appointment at the embassy. When I got back I did about an hour and a half of training and attempted to fix my computer. I failed.
I sat down to answer a few more of these questions and then I went across town to pick up one of the children I babysit for from school at 3pm. I left there around 7pm, did some grocery shopping on the way to my brothers’ place and cooked dinner when I got there. My brother isn’t in the Netherlands at the moment, so it was just me today. Tonight I’ll watch some Youtube videos, return my emails and check my missed calls to see if I missed anything important. There are a couple of days in the upcoming weeks I know I have photoshoots scheduled, both taking photos and modelling, and I make sure that I have the entire day off for those. It’s happened way too many times that I run late to something, and I don’t like to rush shoots. When I’m in the Netherlands, I do very few paid modelling jobs so I have a lot of days off in between. Because of that, I like to work through temp agencies to do all kinds of random jobs. I’d rather work than sit at home. I ask to do a different job each time, which is actually kind of fun. Sure, I’ve done some absolutely terrible jobs I swear I’ll never do again, but overall they’re experiences I’ll never forget. Especially when I go to my next destination for modeling, I like having the fresh memory of working some awful jobs; it reminds me how grateful I should be.
One thing that bugs you about humans is that…? I really don’t like the fact that people love to criticize others for their life choices, when it has absolutely no effect on their own life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received unsolicited advice from people who barely know me. It’s annoying, but I try my best to ignore it and listen to my own intuition.
Share something surprising about yourself. I actually had to think about this one for the longest time, and I left it open for a few days. I asked my family, and they reminded me I used to be a gamer. I guess that could surprise people, haha.