Coco Rocha (born Mikhaila Rocha; September 10, 1988) is a Canadian model.
Rocha was born Mikhaila Rocha in Toronto, Ontario, and grew up in Richmond, British Columbia where she attended Hugh McRoberts Secondary School. Her family is in the airline industry. She has two siblings. She is of Irish and Ukrainian descent.
In 2002, agent Charles Stuart approached Rocha at an Irish dance competition and asked her if she would consider modeling for him. At that point, she had never thought of modeling before. When she did begin to model, her knowledge of fashion was limited. She eventually gained insight into the fashion world after her best friends crammed in fashion study sessions in between studying for exams. Her breakthrough came two years later, in January 2006, when she opened the Christian Lacroix couture show in Paris. After signing an exclusive contract with photographer Steven Meisel, she appeared in an editorial with Gemma Ward and Amanda Moore and landed the cover of the April 2006 issue of Vogue Italia. The following March, she walked the Fall/Winter 2006 ready-to-wear show at New York Fashion Week, most notably for Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs. Backstage at the Anna Sui show, Rocha met model Naomi Campbell, who held her hands and told her she was "her new favourite model". During Paris Fashion Week she walked for esteemed designers like Stella McCartney, Shiatzy Chen, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, and Marc Jacobs.
A year later, in February 2007, Rocha opened Jean Paul Gaultier's Scottish Highlands-inspired Fall/Winter 2007 show by Irish-dancing down the runway; American Vogue dubbed this the "Coco Moment" and suggested it as a sign that the fashion industry misses the "supermodels". Rocha was featured on the May 2007 issue of US Vogue with models Doutzen Kroes, Caroline Trentini, Raquel Zimmermann, Sasha Pivovarova, Agyness Deyn, Jessica Stam, Hilary Rhoda, Chanel Iman, and Lily Donaldson as the "World's Next Top Models." In 2008 casting agent James Scully said of Rocha:
Rocha has been on the cover of many top fashion magazines including American, Brazilian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Mexican and Spanish Vogue, Russian, Australian, Singaporean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Serbian, Thai, Brazilian and Mexican Harper's Bazaar, Flare, Fashion, Numéro, L'Officiel, W, Dazed & Confused, i-D and Time Style & Design, among others.
Since her debut, Rocha has been the face of a variety of advertising campaigns including Versace, Americana Manhasset, Balenciaga, Chanel, D&G, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Lanvin, The Gap, Ports 1961, Tommy Hilfiger, Yves Saint Laurent, Esprit, Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, Nicole Farhi, DeBeers, Zac Posen, Rimmel, and Tatras Japan. She has appeared in editorials for American, Italian, Korean, French, Russian, Spanish, Brazilian, Japanese, Mexican, and British Vogue, British, Canadian, Czech, French, Quebec, and Italian Elle V, W, French, Korean, and Japanese Numéro, British and Japanese Dazed & Confused, i-D, Time Style & Design, and Ukrainian, Russian, Korean, and American Harpers Bazaar.
In July 2010, Rocha appeared on the Vogue website daily for an entire month in a feature named "Today I'm Wearing". The following month, Rocha appeared on a billboard in Times Square for an ad campaign with Marie Claire magazine in partnership with Project Runway in which she modeled a contestant's winning design.
In spring of 2011, it was announced that Rocha would again be the face of a limited edition Karl Lagerfeld designed Coco Cola light campaign. She previously collaborated with Lagerfeld and Coca-Cola in 2010. In July 2011, Coco Rocha became the first high fashion model to be photographed by the Lytro Camera, the camera takes what the company calls a “living picture,” meaning that it captures enough visual information in a single exposure so that the focus and zoom can be adjusted even after the picture is taken. Rocha said she reached out to the company after reading about them on the website Mashable.
In August 2011, it was announced that Rocha would be the face of an upcoming Karl Lagerfeld for Macy's collection. In mid-February 2012, Coco appeared in a commercial for White House Black Market created by New York advertising agency ceft and company new york in which she was featured tap-dancing.
In September 2014, Rocha walked for designers including Zac Posen at Spring New York Fashion Week, her tenth year working with the designer. In November, Rocha again graced the cover of Flare, and became the magazine's first guest editor.
Film and television appearances
She appeared as herself in The September Issue, a fly-on-the-wall documentary film about American Vogue magazine.
Rocha hosted the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards white carpet. On October 19, 2011 she appeared as a guest judge on America's Next Top Model, where host and head judge Tyra Banks referred to her as "The Queen of Posing". The short documentary Letters to Haiti featured Rocha and fellow model Behati Prinsloo delivering supplies to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake; it was shot by Rocha's husband, James Conran. The movie premiered in Toronto in October and New York in December 2011.
In 2013, Rocha was one of three coach/judges (along with Karolina Kurkova and Naomi Campbell) on the first season of the Oxygen network reality show The Face. She did not return for the second season.
In 2015, in the 9th cycle of Australia's Next Top Model, Rocha appeared in the series' 9th episode, where the final 4 travel to New York. She gave the girls a lesson on posing, but did not return to be the guest judge on the show.
Writing and online presence
Rocha wrote the foreword to Canadian fashion reporter Jeanne Beker's book Struttin It!, about the modeling profession. In March 2011, Coco announced the launch of her new website. The site was said to contain almost 10,000 pictures covering her entire career as a model so far.
In April 2012, Rocha became the first high fashion model to have more than 1 million followers on the social media platform Google+.
Activism and charitable work
Rocha is one of the few models who has spoken out against the prevalence of eating disorders in the modeling industry. In an open letter to The New York Times on her blog, she wrote, "How can any person justify an aesthetic that reduces a woman or child to an emaciated skeleton? Is it art? Surely fashion's aesthetic should enhance and beautify the human form, not destroy it." In an email to the Associated Press, she wrote: "I'll never forget the piece of advice I got from people in the industry when they saw my new body ... They said, 'You need to lose more weight. The look this year is anorexia. We don't want you to be anorexic but that's what we want you to look like.'
In June 2011, Coco announced a partnership with Canadian fashion retailer Jacob for a "Photoshop-free" campaign. On her blog Rocha said she hoped the shoot could "balance the scales a little by pulling so far back from what has been the current trend of total digital model manipulation."
On October 11, 2011 Rocha appeared on Anderson Cooper's daytime television show Anderson, where she said models are scouted too young and put under pressure to stay thin and behave unnaturally, while they are "still minors".
On November 1, 2011, she launched Coco Rocha for Senhoa, a collection produced together with Senhoa, an organization helping Cambodian survivors of human trafficking. The capsule collection contained 7 unique pieces designed by Rocha and hand crafted by the survivors of human trafficking. All proceeds went directly to the Senhoa program. To help raise awareness for the cause, Rocha brought in additional models Chanel Iman, Caroline Trentini, and Behati Prinsloo. In the first of two campaigns, Iman, Trentini and Rocha were photographed by Nigel Barker.
In October 2010, Rocha was given Marie Claire's Prix d’Excellence as their model of the year at a ceremony in Paris.
In November 2010, Rocha was awarded the Seventeen Body Peace award by Seventeen magazine. Rocha had contributed a number of articles to Seventeen on the topic of girls' body image and self-esteem. On February 14, 2011 she was awarded the Elle Style award for 'Model of the Year' by Boy George in London.
On June 16, 2011, Rocha and husband James Conran both received awards for their philanthropic work at the Pay It Fashion Forward event in Manahattan, NY. In 2012, Vogue Paris declared her one of the top 30 models of the 2000s.
On February 1, 2014, Rocha was awarded the "Model of the Year Award" at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards in Toronto, Canada. On April 24, 2014 she received the prestigious Vienna Fashion Award as Style Icon at a lavish ceremony at Vienna's Museumsquartier.
References in popular culture
Rocha was one of twenty high fashion models mentioned in Kanye West's 2010 song "Christian Dior Denim Flow".
Rocha has been a devout Jehovah's Witness since childhood, and in a 2013 interview stated that she still participates with Jehovah's Witnesses in their model of Jesus' preaching work of going preaching door-to-door to share the Bible with others. She calls herself "a Christian first and a model second", and says that due to her faith she will not pose nude, with cigarettes, nationalistic emblems or religious icons.
Rocha married artist James Conran on June 9, 2010. Conran later became her part-time manager. On October 6, 2014, Rocha announced via her Facebook page, that she and her husband were expecting their first child, a girl, due in Spring of 2015. Rocha gave birth to her daughter, Ioni James Conran, on March 28, 2015.