Calvin Klein could hardly have picked a more unconventional model than Myla DalBesio for its new Perfectly Fit underwear campaign. More than a pretty face and giraffe legs, the Brooklyn-based artist produces multi-disciplinary works that skewer, she says, “American trash culture.” One performance piece from 2011, called Young Money, saw her accost volunteers with aggressive lap-dances. Topless (a state she seems entirely comfortable with), she opened champagne bottles with her mouth and writhed in wet dollar bills on the floor.
Racy performances-cum-cultural critiques aside, the curvy 27-year-old has been modeling for some time, most recently signing with Ford. Mostly she’s shot with art-minded photographers including Ryan McGinley, Roe Ethridge, Mark Seliger, and Terry Tsiolis, and for alterna-titles such as Dazed & Confused and Oyster. As both insider and outsider, she has mixed yet sharp views of the industry. “There is a lot of dark shit that happens,” she told Bullett magazine. “But that’s like 1% of it. The reality is that 99% of the time, it’s fucking amazing.”
Myla describes herself as an “in-betweeny,” meaning, at size 8-10, she’s not thin enough to be a typical size-zero model, but not large enough to be considered plus-sized. Nonetheless, she looks pretty fantastic in the campaign, lensed by Lachlan Bailey, alongside Lara Stone, Jourdan Dunn, and Ji Hye Park. That they appear together without overt body-image messaging is encouraging, a message in itself. If only there were more girls like Myla, audacious and opinionated.