People and Places

Ottawa Model Herieth Paul Walks the Victoria’s Secret Runway

If glitter, sparkle, and lingerie aren’t your thing, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show might not be on your radar. But if you like to cheer for homegrown talent like Herieth Paul, keep reading.

In short, the show is one of the largest and most-viewed fashion events in the world. Some of the most famous models — known as Angels when it comes to VS — have graced its runway: Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel, Naomi Campbell, Alessandra Ambrosio, Tyra Banks, Chanel Iman, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, to name a few. Now, one of our very own will be joining the ranks.

Herieth Paul, 20, was born in Tanzania and moved to Ottawa with her family just weeks before her eleventh birthday; the impetus was her mother’s job as a diplomat at the Tanzania High Commission in Ottawa.

Paul got her modelling chops at Angie’s Models when she was just 14 years old and her career has since taken off. She’s walked for the likes of Tom Ford and Diane von Fürstenberg, was recently named Canadian Supermodel of the Year, and is the current face of Maybelline. (The runway shots, above, show Paul walking for Tom Ford and Burberry.)

Now, as she readies herself for her debut as a Victoria’s Secret Angel walking the runway in Paris, we caught up with Paul while she was in New York preparing for the show.

Where did you live when you moved to Ottawa? What school did you attend?
I lived in Blackburn Hamlet and I went to Lester B. Pearson High School.

Your mom was a diplomat at Ottawa’s High Commission. How has her career influenced you?
With her being a diplomat, we had to go to a lot diplomatic dinners and events and it prepared me to be poised and to have a good presence all the time.

What brought you to Angie’s Models?
It was fate. I had searched on Google for acting/modeling agencies in Ottawa and Angie’s Models & Talent Inc. AMTI was the first one that caught my eye. I attended their open call and Angie told me that I would be a supermodel from day one. She saw it in me. She has a gift to see if one has it or not.

What was your “big break” in your career?
Working with Tom Ford was a dream come true. He is a fashion icon, and a nice man to work with.

Herieth Paul walked in the Spring/Summer 2015 New York Fashion Week for Philip Lim (left) and show at New York Fashion Week (left) and J Mendel
Herieth Paul walked in the Spring/Summer 2015 New York Fashion Week for Philip Lim (left) and show at New York Fashion Week (left) and J Mendel

You’ve walked many high profile runways, which was your first and what was it like?
Stella McCartney’s fashion show was one of my favorites. It was a dream come true to walk the show and to see Paul McCartney backstage.

What was it like auditioning for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show?
It was nerve racking. There are all theses T.V. crews and cameras and people and then there’s me in my bra and underwear.

I’ve seen many clips of the girls being offered their wings and it seemed quite emotional. What did you feel when you were offered a place?
I couldn’t believe it. I cried a little bit. At the casting there were over 500 girls — and I made it!

What are you doing to get prepared to walk in Paris?
I’m doing yoga and Pilates and I’ve been eating really healthy. It’s a daily routine I follow.

Have you met any of the other Angels before?
Yes I’m friends with some of the girls. I’ve worked with Adriana Lima for Maybelline and to share the VS runway with her is going to be magical.

You’ve started working with other agencies as your career has grown. How do you stay connected with Angie’s Models?
Angie’s Models AMTI is my mother agent and Angie Seymour is my family. She has been there for me and guides me everyday. She is one amazing agent. I could not be where I am today without Angie’s guidance. Angie’s Models is where I call home.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to pursue modelling as a career, especially coming from a small town like Ottawa?
Find a good agency such as Angie’s AMTI that will connect you to the right people, and always believe in yourself. Many like to talk but take no action. AMTI is one of the best in Canada.

Herieth Paul appears in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which airs on Monday, Dec. 5 at 10 p.m. on Global-TV. This year’s performers include Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and The Weeknd.