An Interview with Donna FeldmanLEFAIR
Donna Feldman is an established model, actor and TV host who inspires us as a fashion buff and strong, successful woman. You may have seen her in the commercial for Visa Black Card in which she goes from painting her nails in a beach house to zooming through the hills on a motorcycle, and finally jumping out of a helicopter onto a yacht. Fantasy, yes, but not so unlike Donna’s real life career trajectory — from beauty star to badass, choosing her own adventure and always landing on her own two feet.
LV: Most people only know Calabasas as the home of the Kardashians. What was your experience growing up there?
DF: I feel extremely grateful that I had such a beautiful and safe place to grow up. My parents live in a gated community. There are horses around and it’s beautiful. Now it seems more and more celebrities are moving there because they are drawn to the privacy and peaceful environment around them.
LV: You have a background in fashion, from your FIDM degree to modeling for so many famous lines, and hosting TV shows like The Fashion Team. What do you wear during winter in Los Angeles when it’s anywhere from 50 to
DF: I travel a lot so I have a lot of winter clothes that I use in Germany, New York, and Chicago. When I can actually wear some of that in LA, it’s exciting! I always love boots and a nice winter coat.
LV: You travel a ton. Where did you go in 2015 that you absolutely loved?
DF: Anguilla, an island in the Caribbean, is gorgeous—amazing water, friendly people, and great food. I would highly recommend it.
LV: You found success early in your career. What do you consider your big break?
DF: It sounds funny but I think it all started when I was a trophy girl at the Oscar’s; I got a lot of press for that. I was on Maxim’s Hot 100 list and that is something that a lot of people looked at. It led to more opportunities in the entertainment world for me.
LV: Who do you look to for fashion inspiration?
DF: I really like a more timeless look. For inspiration, I look at people like Sophia Loren and other people from glamorous, old Hollywood movies. A Dolce and Gabbana campaign is something that I always love. I also love old, Italian films. I like clothes that could have been worn 50 years ago or that can be worn 50 years from now.
LV: You have a really strong social media following, from Instagram to Twitter. As social media is changing the way we get our news, shop, and communicate, how do you utilize it as a platform for your professional life?
DF: I’m approached everyday about taking advantage of my social media. My Facebook has over 1.3 million followers. People these days are in G-strings selling some kind of diet teas. I’m trying to protect my brand as much as possible. I just bought a domain called secretsofamodel.com. I’m going to start blogging soon and eventually launch products in the beauty and fashion world. That’s really what I’m passionate about. I have a lot of male followers right now, but I’m really hoping to connect more with women. The idea of helping a woman look and feel better about herself is something that would really make me feel good. Being in the business a long time, you learn a lot of tips and tricks that I think could help the everyday woman, so that’s how I want to use my social media.
LV: I’m sure our audience would be so into that. What advice would you give to young women in the industry on managing their social media accounts?
DF: My advice would be to pay close attention to what you’re posting and to realize that that’s a photo that will be there forever, possibly. You have to protect your brand. Keeping it as classy as possible would be a smart thing to do.
“You’re there for a reason, so let’s make the most of that day.”
LV: I read on Twitter that you recently collaborated on a Wonder Woman comic. How did that come about?
DF: The artist met with me a few years ago and always wanted to do something with me. His career grew and he started working with DC Comics. He had a Wonder Woman story and he always had me in mind as playing a really empowered, badass female character. He said, “This is perfect. You’re Wonder Woman!” That had always been my dream. Growing up, Wonder Woman was such an icon to my brother and me. He would dress me up as Wonder Woman!
LV: That must be fun, to see your face on a superhero.
DF: Yeah, I’ll show my future kids one day that I was Wonder Woman!
LV: How do you approach your job now as opposed to when you first started?
DF: It’s very different for me now. Now when I work for a client, ninety percent of the time it’s a repeat client. I’m not as self-conscious anymore. You’re there for a reason, so let’s make the most of that day. These are things that no one teaches a girl who’s just starting out: being friendly to everyone on set, staying in touch with the photographer, maintaining relationships with the whole creative team, collaborating, and doing more creative projects on your own in your free time. These are things I’ve learned throughout the years and it’s really helpful at this point.