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PUMA x Filling Pieces

Talking ANTM with fashion’s freshest new face

As she becomes the face of PUMA x Filling Pieces new collab, we talk to Dilone about modelling for Meisel and dining with Donatella

If you don’t know Dilone’s name, then you might recognise her face and crop of short curls from Chanel’s recent haute couture show, from Versace’s AW16 campaign, or Dazed’s summer 2016 issue for which she was shot by Ryan McGinley. Signed to DNA Models, the 21-year-old’s body of work suggests that she’s been modelling for a while, but the Long Island native is actually quite new to the game, having only made her runway debut at New York Fashion Week last year. Here, alongside the first exclusive image of her modelling PUMA’s latest collab with Dutch footwear label Filling Pieces, we talk to the girl with the curls about shooting with Meisel, sitting with Naomi, and America’s Next Top Model.

Your hair is a trademark of yours? Have you always worn it short? 

Dilone: I’m Dominican and I guess Dominicans don’t really like to cut their hair. They always wear it long and I always knew I wanted to cut mine. I originally thought about having a bob but then I was like ‘fuck it’! So three years ago I decided to cut it all off and it eventually developed into the hairstyle it is now. 

You were first exposed to the idea of modelling through watching America’s Next Top Model but also your family, who because of your height and your looks saw your potential. Had you always wanted to be a model growing up?

Dilone: Well I’m one from a family of ten and I’ve always been one of the tallest in my family or even in my class at school so the idea was always there. Also, I’ve always been really thin so people were always throwing around the idea that I could be a model. America’s Next Top Model was released when I was growing up and I could connect with the body types on the show, but also all the weird and quirky characters. So yeah, I definitely felt that modelling was something I wanted to do. Definitely more acting but modelling has been so much fun!

You were on a path to being an actress until you were scouted right? You also used to put on ‘crazy’ plays and performances with your siblings. What exactly did you and your siblings do?

Dilone: Well me and some of my sisters did dance, so we were always moving around and performing. When we’d get home, me and my two other sisters would be like ‘Okay, let’s make up a choreography’! On top of that, every once in a while I’d just decide to dress up and act like I was some crazy person! I was very dramatic and constantly trying to be a different character for people. Yeah, we did a lot of that growing up in my family.

Is acting still something you want to pursue still?

Dilone: Yeah definitely. Modelling takes so much of my time that I want to be able to really study the craft of acting. I don’t just want to do it and land a role because of my looks or because of my personality, I want to be able to own the role. I want to be respected. It’s definitely something I want to do but I’m taking my time.

It seems like you were signed and then just blew up...

Dilone: It does feel like that to me even now but because I immediately got signed to my agency DNA in New York and then it just kind of escalated. It really did! It was amazing but it’s still hard. Even though I’m from Long Island, to leave my family and try to pursue something like this there is definitely sacrifice involved.

You mentioned that in terms of people you’d like to work with, photographer Stephen Meisel was the ultimate. You’ve now worked with him, right?

Dilone: Yes, twice, for Coach and we also shot one page for Vogue Italia and that was awesome. That was the first time I met him, he’s amazing!

“Naomi said she loved my walk in the Versace couture show. You can imagine how I felt. It was so surreal” – Dilone

How come you have such admiration for him?

Dilone: Just for how long he’s been in the game, he’s so well respected. Also, his energy and the respect that he has for the people he works with is really admirable. What more can you ask for?! You want to be able to do your job but also enjoy it and he’s someone who comes on set and knows exactly what he wants. He’s great with direction, he makes you feel comfortable and safe. It’s everything you know! He’s the total package! He’s the best!

Who else would you like to work with now?

Dilone: I haven’t worked with Patrick Demarchelier or Mario Testino. I would love to work with them both, Mert and Marcus too. I did some work with Bruce Weber and I have a really great connection with him, he is one of the best photographers I’ve worked with. He’s one of my favourites, I’d love to work with him again.

Do you still get nervous if a big name approaches you or are you more sure of yourself now?

Dilone: I never thought so until Donatella invited me to sit at her table for an AmfAR event. She had the most major table. Jennifer Garner, Naomi Campbell, Karen Elson, Carolyn Murphy, Mariacarla Boscono, Edward Enninful. I got to the table and they were all complimenting me. Naomi said she loved my walk in the Versace couture show. You can imagine how I felt. It was so surreal. Me at a table with all these supermodels and big names. ‘Yeah, I’ll have another glass of champagne please!’ 

How did this compare to other shoots?

Dilone: I’ve done a lot of work similar to shoots like this, more chilled kinda work. But I don’t do it as often as I’d like to. I definitely prefer shooting sportswear and trainers over wearing heels and a tiny dress. It’s cool, it’s all the same to me, it’s just another day. I love that I have done all different kinds of work, I think it’s awesome! I don’t wanna do just one look, I like being able to do the whole range.