I had the pleasure of interviewing Neva Keva, not only a model, but a model citizen.
We first got to know Neva as a model for our vintage line here at Lulu*s. With her deep brown eyes and trendy fringe bangs, Neva has a strikingly beautiful presence, but as you will see, this young woman possesses not only looks, but plenty of heart.
Here, Neva shares her journey into modeling, what you may find her doing in her spare time and what inspired her passion for man’s best four-legged friend.
How did you make your way into the modeling business?
My family is originally from Serbia, but I grew up in Puerto Rico. If you asked where I was from and I could only give one answer, I would say I’m from Puerto Rico. I am so grateful that I was lucky enough to spend my life as a kid in paradise.
As a teenager, I spent a lot of time in Montauk, New York, in the summers. One of my closest friends lived there, so I got a summer job and spent a few summers out there, working and hanging out with her. We’d take the train into the city (Manhattan) a lot, because it was so close and fun and easy.
And one day, I decided to go check out modeling agencies. So I just went to a bunch of open calls, and while I was in the elevator leaving one of the last open calls of the day, I met a photographer who asked me if I wanted to shoot an editorial for V magazine that weekend, which was crazy because I didn’t even have an agency yet but I had just booked a shoot for a really awesome magazine.
So I guess that’s how it started … a bored teenager with a summer job and a metro card, haha.
What do you love most about your job?
The rewards are many, but the best ones to me are the flexible schedules and the travel … but mostly the travel!
I’ve had the opportunity go to some amazing locations for jobs, but even more than traveling for jobs, I love that I can pick up and go to New York (I live in L.A.) for a few months and know that I at least have the chance to go out on castings and try to book work. Having agencies in different cities and just being able to pick up and go live somewhere different to me is awesome.
The summer I was 18, my boyfriend broke up with me, so I flew to Paris. I didn’t have an agency. I had my portfolio, and after a week of running around on open calls, I not only had an agency but an apartment was set up for me. It was a slow time to be in Paris, and I was broke most of the time, but you think I cared? I was running around exploring the city and eating Nutella-filled crepes.
What plans do you have for the future?
My plans for the future change every day, but I am so happy to be able to say that I have found one thing that truly makes me happy and fills me no matter what else I end up having on my plate a few years from now.
I recently went to Guatemala with my boyfriend, and although the area we visited was one of the most beautiful places I have seen (Lake Atitlan), the amount of suffering and starvation when it came to the stray dog population there was heartbreaking. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with a dog-crazy mother who was always rescuing stray dogs, or if I just have this intense connection with dogs, but being there hurt me so much.
I’ve traveled to many impoverished places before (and yes, I have “smuggled” dogs back to the states and gotten them adopted, more on that on my site), but the Guatemala trip was extra hard. So when I came back to the states, I sat down with my boyfriend and figured some stuff out.
I realized that I have the ability to help on a much bigger level than dragging around a Hefty trash bag of homemade dog food mush that I made in my hotel kitchen and feed to whatever strays I came across while on vacation, and well, that’s how Iheartmutts.com got started. It’s a non-profit group I started to spay and neuter dogs in impoverished areas outside of the U.S.
I’d love it if your readers went on my site since its fairly new, and I love getting feedback and suggestions on any way to make it, and my charity, as great as can be.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, just for fun?
For fun, I read. I have so many books that I LOVE. Some all time faves are Atlas Shrugged, She’s Come Undone, Outliers, Ana Karenina, Bonfire of the Vanities, Kitchen Confidential and Same Soul, Many Bodies. It’s a random grouping, but I just looked over my shoulder and picked some favorites off my bookshelf.
I also love to explore food. A perfect Sunday for me is when my boyfriend and I drive around and try out little food dives. We usually go by word of mouth or an article we’ve read, where someone will randomly mention “oh I had this great burger,” and we like memorize what they ate and where and then barely hear the rest of the conversation or read the rest of the article.
I’ve always said, if I didn’t have a high metabolism I wouldn’t model. Food is too big a part of my life to have to obsess about it. I know girls who eat like a green apple, a hard boiled egg and that’s it. It’s gross and sad and lame all at the same time, but mostly lame. What percentage of the worlds population is starving? And you’re starving yourself BY CHOICE?
Sorry, I just get annoyed because I go to NYC like once a year for few months to work, and I can never find anyone to go explore pizza joints with. So it’s a sore subject.
Describe your style and any fashion trends you follow.
Trends, hmmmm. I can live in black skinny jeans (Jbrand), Black Fiorentini and Baker motorcycle boots and a slinky, low-cut black tank, or a black James Perse tank. That’s my outfit, and I’m sticking to it.
I really don’t follow trends. I believe in quality over quantity. I will splurge and pay a lot of $$$ when I see a piece of clothing I love. Since I am not a frequent shopper, I know my impulses are trustworthy. Like a lacy Dolce & Gabbana top that fits the description impulse buy I wore to death.
I don’t have a statement piece or a specific style, but because of my hair (my bangs), clients always throw me into this weird rocker rebel girl category, and they don’t realize my style is a product of my laziness, haha.
Check out Neva sporting her cute and stylish looks on our vintage page, and don’t forget to visit Neva’s website, Iheartmutts.com, to learn more about her efforts to help stray dogs in third world communities.