Pyper America Smith

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Tangent Vol. 2 covergirl Pyper America Smith as interviewed by Harriet Verney

 

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ALEXANDER WANG sweater, HOLLY RYAN earrings (worn throughout).

“Being internet famous is a weird thing,” says 19 year old model Pyper America Smith; one quarter of an extraordinary web-famous family. They are ‘The Smiths’ and you really couldn’t have made their rise to fame up. The four piece, icy blue eyed household are the real life Cullens from the Twilight Saga. The postcard-perfect siblings hail from quiet and family orientated Utah, where nothing much went on (or off) – that is, until the children (Lucky, Starlie, Daisy and Pyper) packed themselves and their parents off to Hollywood to find fame, fortune, or both. A conservative Mormon upbringing may have sheltered Pyper from the ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ model for fame we are so used to, but who needs that when you dub your family your rock, and your pay-check is on an upwards spiralling roll?

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UNDERCOVER t-shirt, GUCCI skirt, stylist’s own sweater.

The Smith’s jungle of talents start at the modelling campaigns they’ve dominated (Moncler, Levi’s, Gap). If you’ve ever been at a show where Pyper America is gracing the catwalk (especially this season with that hair) then you’ve heard how Pyper’s name tends to follow her down the runway in whispers. She is one of the new and few ‘IT’s’ of the internet. Her’s is a status that went straight from unknown to celebrity – not just because everyone’s grown obsessed with her stupidly good looking family, but because she has an air of lasting fame about her.

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CELINE top, PACO RABANNE coat.

Fame in all circles – the four Smith siblings also make up surf/pop/rock band ‘The Atomics.’ With Pyper on the bass, Lucky Blue on drums, Daisy Clementine and Starlie on guitar, they have just finished their debut album. There’s another box checked and ready to be sent out to the online legion of fans. “We’re still trying to figure it out,” says Pyper of their “pop alternative with a surf-y feel to it” music. Mosh pits may be few and far between at an Atomics gig but, “that’s not what’s important,” Pyper muses when I ask how wild it gets. “I love to just see how people are affected by it. I don’t want to put out music that people can’t relate too. Or that people don’t want to listen to.”

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MATICEVSKI top, TOY SYNDROME pants, OPENING CEREMONY boots, stylist’s own belt.

When sister Daisy first signed with Next Models, the rest of the Smith siblings went along for support. They all walked out with contracts. GAP campaigns, serious pay-checks and a new life and home in LA followed. Whose decision was it to move? The kids of course – “we were like to our parents – guys, come on, please.”

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NORMA KAMALI dress, GIANVITO ROSSI boots, stylist’s own belt.

Speaking to Pyper at 11am over the phone from her boyfriend’s house in LA, her voice is a morning whisper, like a doe-eyed schoolgirl who’s missed a lesson and is talking to you, hidden in her locker. Occasionally she will let out a devilish laugh, amidst pauses that leave you anticipating her every word. If you ask her a question she answers, then asks the same back to you. She switches from a headstrong business woman of twice her age to sounding her actual 19 years. She is more Faye Dunaway meets Disney than Downtown LA Darling – arrogance doesn’t take up an ounce of her persona, though an occasional touch of insecurity has.

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HOOD BY AIR shirt, RAEY sweater from MatchesFashion.com.

The currently rosé-pink haired Pyper’s first modelling gig may have been in a Kmart catalogue when she was twelve, but she never saw herself as a model; “I never even saw myself modelling when I was young, I was always like; ‘why do I have these ugly huge eyes?’ My eyes were unproportioned to my face, I kind of had to grow into them. I didn’t think I was ever gonna model, I thought: ‘people think I’m funny looking.”
Looking at pictures of Pyper she is often cast as the extraterrestrial, Icelandic blonde. Beautiful she may be, but there is something strange and inherently mysterious about her. A manga-like face houses cool blue eyes that stretch out forever, with a button nose keeping them apart and pursed pink lips which move slowly and with obvious thought. Her instagram is awash with tongue weilding selfies and ‘I just woke up like this’ bed snaps, but on stage she morphs into someone else. The cockiness is completely believable and an American confidence finds its way out – so is the Pyper off stage much different to the Pyper on stage? “Yeah, I get really shaky with adrenaline and excitement. You can just turn on this popstar and perform and entertain everyone, and then kind of like, turn off when it’s over.” Talking about her and her sibling’s music career, there couldn’t be anything more grounded or further away from the Insta fame that disinterests her so much.

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G-STAR RAW BY MARC NEWSON jacket, MATICEVSKI gown, GIANVITO ROSSI boots, stylist’s own belt.

Although often cast in feminine stories where she dons dresses and ‘girly girl’ outfits and maybe a bit of couture; in reality grime, skateboarding and getting her knees dirty is more her vibe. “I do a lot of skateboarding and I like to run around and play basketball with my brother; so I can run in the dirt and do something that maybe a girly girl wouldn’t do.” Just don’t call her a tomboy.
Still, that’s if she can find time for it. Most child stars have usually crashed and burned by the time they hit their early 20s, having bypassed a childhood. Pyper is more determined and grounded. Does she feel she is missing out at all? “My Mom always says when it comes to my home life; “Oh you want to act like a teenager but you are in this adult world.” Is she still a child then? “I don’t feel like I’m in my childhood, but I’m still growing up and learning a lot. It’s been weird to be in my second year of high school then all of a sudden be this woman who has a career. You have to realise you have a fun job and it’s not nine to five, but you still have to be a businesswoman and think about your career and be responsible. I have a hard time being responsible sometimes.” Does she ever have time to rest? “I’m so grateful they choose me, so I give it my best shot, you rest later.”
Pyper describes LA as “hustle and bustle.” There’s a scene but she isn’t a part of it. She prefers to go dancing at a disco, albeit sober.
“I don’t drink and that is a big part of nightlife, I feel like I’ve never been attracted to going out every night.’ Why don’t you drink? ‘I’ve never had the desire to. Also it’s a part of how I’ve been raised. As a Mormon they advise you not to drink, it’s just the concept of having a healthy body and being in control.” Isn’t it hard not to participate when the scene she is surrounded by is hell-bent on partying? But no, as Pyper explains, healthy living and a healthy mindset are key to the Mormon religion, and also her career.
So, she doesn’t have the pressures of getting papped falling out of a club, but are there any other pressures put on her as a young model?
“There is pressure put on me sometimes. Like, if I’m on set maybe to wear something I don’t feel comfortable in. I guess I grew up with certain standards of modesty and conservatism.” Like what?
“The way we have been raised, my siblings and I, it’s never been extreme conservatism, I don’t really think that works for some people. My parents have always said, ‘you are free to do what you want.’ So, if I’m being pressured to do something that I don’t want to do, it’s never really pressure – it’s a simple choice that I make.”

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UNDERCOVER t-shirt.

Pyper sees her acting career following in the footsteps of fellow models Cara Delevingne and Ashton Kutcher, who paved the way to the silver screen. But what else does she hope for in the future?
“I hope that I can inspire people to be creative, have fun and to do crazy things. That is what life is meant for – just go out and do insane things and learn from them. I hope that I can do movies. I’d like to keep surrounding myself with creative people – it’s so inspiring to have that as part of my job. I hope to go off and have a family, that would be cute. Just some goals in life. Keep up the legacy!”
So, sorry Instagram, I really don’t think it’s you, it’s all Pyper. I’ll raise a Diet Coke to that.

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Photography Thom Kerr, Fashion Heather Cairns & Samantha Crossley, Hair Iggy Rosales, Makeup Amber Dreadon @ Cloutier Remix, Manicure Kait Mosh @ Cloutier Remix using CHANEL, Digital Operator Pamela Grand @ Milk Digital, Lighting Assistant Gregory Broullette, Makeup Assistant Brittany Spyksma. Model Pyper America Smith @ Next Models LA.