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The Italian Beginnings of Fashion Model Linda Cole

Linda Cole (left) as she appeared on the January 2012 issue of Vogue Italia.

If you came across the January issue of Vogue Italia, which is considered by many the best edition of Vogue magazine, you may have recognized Bostonian model Linda Cole.

Photographed by acclaimed lensman Steven Meisel for the fashion editorial “The Collection on IVC” 2012, Linda is a well-known and experienced model represented by Wilhelmina Media, NY. She is the daughter of Bostonian dress diva and fashionista Yolanda Cellucci, and she comes from a family with a strong Italian heritage.

Cole has a bubbling and engaging personality, and I can tell you that for sure, since I had the pleasure to meet her recently and discover more about her life and career, while sipping a good espresso at the Italian “Caffé Paradiso” in the North End.

Photo provided by Linda Cole.

“Both my parents are second generation Italian,” she says. “My grandparents came from Italy to the United States when they were very young. I love my culture, and my travels there made me appreciate my origins even more.”

In fact, she lived in Italy for a while, like many models do, especially at the beginning of their careers.

“I moved to Italy after two years of business school and after trying modeling for a while in New York. I have never been the typical model – blonde, blue eyes. I’ve always looked more ethnic, more “Hispanic,” and I have broad shoulders. So agencies didn’t really know what to do with me because of my atypical look.

“So a friend of mine suggested me to move to Italy, and he gave me the address of the Beatrice Milan modeling agency – I still remember the address, via Vincenzo Monti 47!

“I lived for a while in a pensione [guest house/ boarding house] with other models, and it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience.”

Photo provided by Linda Cole

During that period, Linda had the chance to travel all around Italy, and in particular to Perugia, where the family of the man she was dating at that time used to live.

“I fell in love with his family, they were the best. I felt at home, they all were so lovely”.

She was booked for several shoots and shows while in the country but, after flying back to Boston for her sister’s wedding, she decided to remain in the United States, where she met her husband and started building her family.

Thanks to her experience in Italy, modeling has become her job from that moment of her life.

“Especially in the ’80s, when there was more money in the fashion industry, I did so many photoshoots and shows: Missoni, Armani, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and many others. There has been more and more space for atypical looking models like me down through the years.”

The call she received in 2011 to model for Vogue Italia came to her as a surprise.

“When I was a young model in Italy, I auditioned for Vogue Italia, but I was never casted. And now that I’m 51, I’ve finally got it! I feel like I have come full circle.”

The editorial for Vogue Italia was shot in New York last November.

Linda Cole (right) in another Vogue Italia shoot for the magazine's January 2012 issue.

“I went to New York and I walked into the photographic studio, and there were literally 16 tall, beautiful Russian models, seven hair dressers, many make-up artists, stylists everywhere. They had so many clothes: Gucci, Balenciaga, Prada…

“They explained the concept: The idea was to sell bags as a home shopping network hostess. I got two pictures in the fashion spread, even if – she jokes – Steven Meisel told me that I looked too glamorous. I really enjoyed the experience.

“When I was younger, I had lots of insecurities, like all the models. Now, instead, I’ve learned to enjoy the moment. If I go to a casting and I get the job, that’s great, otherwise it’s fine. It has been like this since I had my kids, because from that moment my kids have been the focus.”

Looking back at the time she spent in Italy, she says: “That is where I found myself, I found my own style. Before leaving, I was the daughter of fashion icon Yolanda Cellucci. When I came back home, I was Linda.”

Photo provided by Linda Cole.

About Valentina Oppezzo

Valentina is an Italian photographer. She started her career in Italy, but opened her own photographic studio after moving to Boston.

2 comments

  1. Hi well I used to work for Yolanda and Linda is a gem. She is awsome. I now work in retail and im in sales and I always remember what Yolanda taught me about customer service and I am the best sales person out on that floor. I do alot of weddings we sell shoes and i always think what would Yolanda put them in. And I always sell. Linda you look great and you are awsome i miss you and your mom tell her i said helllo. Andrea