Summer’s not dead yet. Nasty Gal Photo Editor/mixtape master Cat Roif returned to her sweltering Florida roots to photograph model Samantha Vrielink in tons of comfy-cool, warm-weather ready ensembles. (See? Some of us still get to wear shorts come October.) We chatted up Cat and Samantha about their killer ’90s-inspired Miami fashion shoot, which means, yes, you get two interviews for the price of one. You’re welcome.
(Photos by Cat Roif)
Hi, Cat! What’s the inspiration behind this shoot?
I grew up in Miami. My mother’s Cuban, and it was the first of many cultures that influenced me as a person and an artist. I think something really special happens when you bring a part of who you are and what you know to a shoot, even if the end result is not based in reality. For this project, I was inspired by the Cuban-American culture in Miami and wanted to represent and reference that.
Tell us about Samantha. Why did you choose her as your muse?
Sam is awesome and gorgeous, obviously. I wanted to use a girl who resembled those I grew up admiring as a little cuban girl. Sun-kissed, full of sass, and vivacious!
What’s the inspiration behind the styling? What look were you going for?
Definitely referencing Cuban-American fashion in the ’90s and early millennium with a modern influence.
And the beauty look?
It’s proudly inspired by the traditional Chonga with a little Ariana Grande. Dade County, you feel me?
Any challenges during this shoot?
Originally I had scouted with that famous Miami sunshine in mind, revolving certain shots around the sunset and harsh midday sun. However, we woke up the morning of the shoot to an angry thunderstorm and were forced to adapt. Driving around in a small panic, I slowly started seeing the not-so-photographer friendly weather as a beautiful, moist backdrop to a bad girl thunder jungle shoot. I started admiring the slick palms and reflective concrete. We just had to make sure Sam’s lioness locks weren’t dampened by the storm!
What’s the story behind the lowrider bike?
I think as a photographer you should always be looking for inspiration and going with the flow. We were shooting at the Domino Park in Calle Ocho, and there were some kids admiring Sam and the fashion. One of them had a sick purple lowrider, and I asked him if we could use it in some shots. True to his Cuban roots, he said of course, but only if he could Instagram with Sam! Win-win.
What do you do when you’re not modeling?
When I’m not modeling I’m typically in school, hanging out with my friends, at the beach, or cycling!
How did you get into modeling?
My mother is a photo shoot producer and my father is an art director, so after tagging along with my parents on sets for so long, modeling became a career choice and a dream of mine.
My favorite look from the shoot was the outfit shot in front of a pink wall where I was wearing roller skates. I had never even put on roller skates prior to the shoot so Cat and her assistant had to walk me over to the wall! It was such a cute and comfortable outfit and the whole look tying pink with pastel blue colors created a super cool overall look.
What was it like working with Cat?
Working with Cat was great! She was really cool, and we got along very well. Next time I visit Los Angeles she plans on taking me to a roller skating rink to teach me how to actually do it. [laughs]
How does this look compare to your everyday style?
This look and the rest of the looks were not similar to my personal style, however its always fun playing dress-up in those types of settings.
What’s the best part about being a model?
The best part about being a model is being able to travel to different places and meeting new people. Being exposed to so many talented photographers and designers at such a young age has been an experience than not many others are offered.