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The role of the model in popular culture is to remind us of our humanity. They’re like long, gorgeous rulers keeping the distance between earth and some luxe utopia where nothing does, indeed, taste as good as skinny feels and every door opens before you even knock. We watch them jetset from New York to the Maldives like it’s so casual, so blasé; our fascination endures.
When the pandemic forced countless brands to close their physical storefronts, online shopping became the way of the world. This illuminated the unsung ubiquity of the e-commerce model, who may not be plastered on your Pinterest boards, but who has gotten you through hard times in quiet whispers of “add to cart.” E-commerce models strike a unique balance between accessible and aspirational. Like, here are people who are paid to be hot, but we’re wearing the same outfits. It’s easier to see yourself in the e-commerce model. And to see ourselves in anyone, even in fragmented delusions, tends to strengthen our affinity.
If one retailer defines the millennial women’s online shopping experience, it’s Revolve. Got a wedding coming up? Revolve. Thirtieth birthday celebration in Miami? Revolve. New remote job that simply *requires* comfy-chic matching sets? Revolve.
Last June, a TikTok of a Revolve model went viral—screenshots of her posed in a variety of outfits set to Cardi B’s famous interview quote:
“I don’t even have time for my love life, to see my family, I don’t even have time for nothing. I’m working every single day. I’m depressed. I shouldn’t even be feeling that way.”
The comments section exploded in a collective a-ha moment. Who IS this woman we all see more than our own family? Then she went viral again last month on Instagram in a meme reading, “This girl really carries the weight of online shopping on her shoulders.” Nearly 100,000 likes on Instagram.
Meet Ludi Delfino, the Brazilian model and holistic health coach who’s stolen our hearts. Modeling for Revolve for over 10 years, Ludi is one of the most recognizable e-commerce models in the game.
I sat down with Ludi over Zoom to chat going viral, insecurity and the modeling industry, all things wellness, and everything in between. Spoiler: she even shares her current picks on Revolve for a little model off-duty inspo.
We’ll start with the most obvious. How did it feel going viral (twice!)?
It made me feel so good. I don’t think I read one bad comment, and it really made me feel great because there’s so much pressure on social media. Sometimes I get attacked for being too skinny. I had a personal trainer who posted a video of me and people went crazy saying I was sick and unhealthy. To see people recognizing me and saying positive things was amazing. The next day I was shooting for Revolve and everyone was making the best jokes about it.
I think we can all say, off the cuff, that you’re the face of Revolve. How did you get into the industry and to where you are now?
I was a teenager. My mom and dad put me in classes because I was so shy and had horrible posture. I was like, “hell no!” But then my cousin and I made it a little competition and stayed with it for those three months. I’m from a small town in Brazil, and this brought me to São Paulo. Then I started traveling, first to Asia, then to Europe, and then I came to the US. I’ve been here a good 13 years. At least 10 of those I’ve worked for Revolve.
So you’ve been this busy… for 10+ years!
Since going viral, people have DMed me asking if they Photoshop the outfits onto me. I’m like no, I actually shoot every outfit. During the pandemic, I was there for four months straight, five days a week. I was also graduating from my health coaching program. It really was like that TikTok, “I have no time for nothing.” I’m married, so luckily my husband was doing the cooking and keeping me healthy while I was working and studying.
Give me a quick rundown of a day with Revolve. What’s your routine?
I have a 5-minute journal that I love—I’ll write about gratitude and how I want my day to go. Quick shower. I always do lemon water and run out the door. Breakfast is usually overnight oats that I eat at work while I’m getting my hair and makeup done. At Revolve, we do big numbers. Today I shot 136 outfits. You have a 45-minute lunch, and then get touch-ups and keep shooting. I’m done by 4 which is nice, but then I have at least an hour drive, so I’m gone 10-11 hours. I listen to podcasts and my school stuff in the car. A lot of models won’t do e-commerce because it’s hard on your body, but I’m just so glad to be working.
I want to talk to you more about the holistic health coach aspect of your life. How did you get started on that journey?
I was inspired for many reasons. I lost my mom a few years ago to cancer. At the time, I tried helping her research ways to stay healthy, like avoiding sugar because it feeds cancer cells. I also tried to eat healthy while modeling when I was younger when things were harder with money. You’re traveling and they only give you, say, $200 a week to eat.
So I started my health coaching journey in 2020 during COVID. I had a bikini brand and we decided to shut down because it became too much with the pandemic. But I was just so used to working and being busy that I needed to pursue something else that I’m passionate about. I signed up with IIN. It’s online, but they’re based in New York and one of the best health coaching schools. It took a year to complete. There’s so much pleasure in helping people feel better and change their life. Now I’m working to become a personal trainer, too. Learning something new is always challenging, but this is hard because English isn’t my language. It’s translation on top of all the memorization. My goal is to offer full programs that include workouts.
What’s your favorite form of movement?
Pilates has changed my body. I also enjoy little 20 minute workouts from Alo Yoga, going on hikes, and I play volleyball pretty much every weekend. Volleyball was how I met my husband. I think if I’m not moving my body and working out, oh man, it’s tough. I feel like shit.
How has being a model and working in the fashion industry impacted your mental health?
Overall, it’s pretty harsh. People are judging you every day. In Japan, I was a little curvier. We’d go to a casting and they’d line us up and one time I heard them calling me overweight. Sometimes you feel like you’re never good enough. Even with things like skin; I’ll break out from tanning. Or they’ll comment on my hair, and I’m like, I’m blonde, and imagine having a hot iron in your hair five times a week. There will always be bad days, but I remind myself no one’s perfect and you don’t need to be. You still get to travel, meet amazing people, and wear great outfits.
What are your favorite qualities about yourself, one physical and one non-physical?
Once you get to know me I’m pretty funny and silly. I don’t take life too seriously. Physical, I like my legs. I always wish my butt was a little bit bigger but then I wouldn’t want my legs to change!
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
That I eat.
What’s your favorite food?
For indulgence, a burger. I’m doing a gut protocol right now, so I can’t have beef. But I usually eat healthy. I have three meals a day and maybe a snack or shake. When we go out to eat, I have to have sushi. At home, I love grilled steak, shiitake mushrooms, and broccolini. I also love avocado toast. My weakness is chocolate. A brownie.
Pandemic-related or not, what’s a realization you’ve had in the past year that’s impacted your outlook on life?
The importance of being connected with people. Hugging people, kissing people. We’re talking about health, how eating badly can cause disease, but loneliness causes disease, too. I’m blessed to be married and have my husband. But not everyone has that. We need friends and closeness.
Do you go out much?
Fuck going out, I’d rather sleep. *laughs* I went to a party for the Super Bowl and I was like, “What am I doing here?” I’d rather enjoy my day playing volleyball on the beach than be hungover. Sleep is so important. I get my eight hours. My husband and I joke about who’s going to get to sleep when we start having kids.
Do you have a nighttime routine?
I’ll eat, clean, prep juice for the next day. With school, I come back to the guest room and study. I try 30-40 minutes before sleep to avoid screens. I read a book or journal which really helps.
Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how do you take it?
I am. I’m obsessed. In this gut protocol, I did a bunch of testing to show what’s good for your microbiome. I got the results and coffee was on my avoid list. [shudders] When I do drink coffee, I love a touch of almond milk or coconut creamer. I could go the rest of my life without chocolate or anything as long as I could have my coffee.
How would you describe your personal style?
I like to be cool, but I like to be sexy. I love a good crop top to show my abs. A good pair of jeans and a blazer. I also live in sweatpants. I work with Alo Yoga so I have all their stuff.
Your bathroom’s on fire and you can only save five beauty products. Go!
Coconut oil. It’s good for everything, like removing eye makeup and oil pulling. I actually had to stop putting it on my body because I was getting oil marks all over the walls. Native deodorant. I’ve tried so many natural deodorants and this is the one that works for me. Indie Lee toner. It makes my face feel so refreshed and clean. Beauty by Earth face self-tanner; it’s a natural brand. My face is so much lighter than my body and this saves me. And this concealer from Kosas, I could not live without.
And lastly, what are your picks on Revolve right now?
Image: Revolve; @takeyourzoloft / Twitter