I immediately recognise Luz Pavon’s hair when I walk into the café in Park Slope where we’re set to meet. I had been looking out for it; after all, it’s what got her scouted by a model agent on the streets of Soho nearly ten years ago, and has remained her trademark feature ever since. Beneath the curly mass of hair is a kind, makeup-free face, a stark departure from the girl you see on Pavon’s social media platforms.
“Maybe people will think ‘Oh she’s in high heels every day’,” she says of her Instagram, on which she regularly posts high fashion campaigns and magazine covers. “They create a persona that’s not you. They are not like that every day.” Pavon’s “everyday” persona is more like what I see in front of me: a hardworking 20-something living in New York City, gushing about her two-year-old dog Kahlua and her supportive family back home in Mexico.
“It was definitely a big change,” she says of her move to NYC, “because you’re with your family and the things you like all your life, and when I came here, I didn’t know anyone.” With the exception of her sister Victoria, Pavon came to New York with no network and zero connections to the industry she has since made her own. However, the siblings were armed with a driving hunger to design clothing, a passion that resulted in the creation of their womenswear brand, PAVON INC. The brand quickly found huge success, courtesy of their signature item: the colourful “Ruffle Tube Dress,” which received early support from fashion icon Patricia Field, stylist for HBO’s Sex and the City, as well as many other of Hollywood’s most esteemed fashionistas. “We never expected that it would go so well,” Pavon says of the line’s success. “There’s a lot of competition, but if you do it with passion, I think that at some point you are going to get where you want to get.” Though PAVON INC. has been put on hold while Pavon pursues her modelling career, she assures me that she and her sister have plans to bring it back to life in the not-too-distant future.
(LEFT) All clothing BALENCIAGA, hat archive JOHN GALLIANO for DIOR, shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, jewellery CARTIER (ring), BULGARI (bracelets, leg chain)
(RIGHT) Trousers BALENCIAGA, belt CHANEL, earrings PIAGET, ring BALENCIAGA, necklace BULGARI, necklace VAN CLEEF, bracelet and ring CARTIER
All clothing BALENCIAGA, hat archive JOHN GALLIANO for DIOR, shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, jewellery CARTIER (ring), BULGARI (bracelets, leg chain)
Trousers BALENCIAGA, belt CHANEL, earrings PIAGET, ring BALENCIAGA, necklace BULGARI, necklace VAN CLEEF, bracelet and ring CARTIER
It’s both impressive and inspiring that, upon moving from a small town in Mexico to New York City, Pavon was able to find such success through both modelling and her own brand so quickly, and this feat certainly isn’t lost on her. Despite this, she remains humbled by her achievements, rather than inflated by them. She speaks at length about loving yourself and staying true to who you are, sentiments that — from anyone else’s mouth — might sound clichéd. But Pavon’s convictions are undeniably authentic, making her that much more endearing.
Her confidence hasn’t always come easily, though. Her curly mane, now her defining feature, at times caused her to feel like an outcast growing up. “They don’t embrace curls;” she says of her native Mexico, “for them, I’m like an alien.” Things became challenging in a different way upon moving to New York, Pavon entering a whitewashed industry that straightened her hair in an effort to make her look more Caucasian. Despite this, Pavon’s self-assuredness never wavered. “I’m very secure with myself, and I think that people feel that from me sometimes,” she says. “When you are secure in yourself and you love yourself, people feel that energy from you. I love my hair. And I love how I am. Some people might not like who I am but I’m happy how I am, my hair and everything.”
Pavon’s close-knit family has also been a source of strength during tough times. “I’m really lucky because my family has always supported me,” she says. “Even on the worst days, they were like: ‘No, don’t be like that, everything is going to happen.’” Having counted her sister as a roommate for a decade, and with a mother who’s actually visiting her in New York at the time of our interview, it’s clear that family is extremely important to Pavon, having been instrumental in helping keep her grounded throughout her whirlwind of a career.
(LEFT) All clothing archive JOHN GALLIANO for DIOR
(RIGHT) All clothing BALENCIAGA, hat archive JOHN GALLIANO for DIOR, hand piece ANGOSTURA, necklace BULGARI, chain PIAGET
All clothing archive JOHN GALLIANO for DIOR
All clothing BALENCIAGA, hat archive JOHN GALLIANO for DIOR, hand piece ANGOSTURA, necklace BULGARI, chain PIAGET
Similarly close to Pavon’s heart is her Australian Shepherd, Kahlua, who I am more than happy to see photos of when she whips out her iPhone to adoringly show me. Dog ownership has inspired Pavon to study holistic medicine for animals, which she plans to write a book about in the near future, and she also makes weekly deliveries of treats and toys to her local animal shelter, even bringing them her old bedding now that the winter is approaching.
From the outside, the fashion industry might seem like a cold, unwelcoming place, and — in some cases — this perception certainly rings true. It is bright lights like Luz Pavon, however, that provide the antidote, sharing their positivity and kindness whenever they can. “I definitely want to put a message out there,” she tells me as I wrap up our interview. “Never stop believing in yourself, […] you can make the change. Be sure of who you are, and love yourself how you are. That’s it.”
(LEFT) All clothing HYUN MI NIELSEN, shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, jewellery CHANEL, ANGOSTURA, BULGARI (waist chain)
(RIGHT) Clothing JORDAN BOOTHE STUDIO, shoe MANOLO BLAHNIK
All clothing HYUN MI NIELSEN, shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, jewellery CHANEL, ANGOSTURA, BULGARI (waist chain)
Clothing JORDAN BOOTHE STUDIO, shoe MANOLO BLAHNIK