Six months ago, model Tamy Glauser was contemplating quitting fashion. “I was really asking myself, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’” says Glauser. “‘Should I just quit this whole thing? I’m not 16 and it’s not OK to not have money and to be struggling.’ I saw all my friends stepping up their careers and starting to be successful. I felt left behind.”
Unlike most models, who start in their preteens, Glauser began her career in her late 20s. While attending university, Glauser, who is Swiss, made plans to transfer to Berlin to continue her studies when an old friend approached her about giving modeling a try. “I had nothing to do with fashion,” says Glauser. “I was never really into it, but I had friends asking me, ‘Don’t you want to do this?’ But I was already 27—why would I even think about [starting a modeling career] at that age?” Glauser’s pal sent her digitals to an agency in Paris, who quickly swooped in and signed her. With her shaved head and androgynous looks, she was embraced by fashion’s elite, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Rick Owens, and Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, all of whose shows she walked her first year on the scene.
Success was instantaneous, but after a visa mishap, Glauser soon found herself unable to work. Modeling’s revolving door moves quickly, and something as simple as a paperwork mistake can stop a career in its tracks. For Glauser, the experience was difficult but made this season’s exclusive work with Louis Vuitton all the more meaningful. “When I came to the agency and heard I had confirmed that, I felt such happiness that I cried,” says Glauser. “It felt like confirmation that I was on the right path, that the hard times had been for something.” Though she worked closely with Nicolas Ghesquière and co. during the weeks leading up to the show, Glauser admits she never imagined herself as a Vuitton girl. “I’ve always liked the brand—it’s a great brand, of course—but I would have never thought that they’d look at me for a second.”
Though the road has been bumpy, Glauser says she wouldn’t trade her experiences—even the bad ones. “When you’re unique, it can be that much harder to break into things,” says Glauser. “But I’m happy to have come into this business in a place where I’m able to communicate and collaborate. I can just be myself, and I’ve gotten the chance to work on some wonderful things that I never thought I’d be able to do—fashion just keeps surprising me.”