Meet the Model: Exclusive Interview with Sabrina Perlleshi

NY Elite Magazine: Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Sabrina Perlleshi: My name is Sabrina Perlleshi and I am an American-Albanian from Westchester, New York. I am 21 years old and attend Marist College. There, I study fashion merchandising and have a concentration in product development. I also have a minor in fashion design and plan on pursuing a merchandising/ product development or fashion design job with a luxury evening wear or ready to wear company upon graduation. I have successfully completed four NYC internships throughout the course of my college career including; assistant styling and photography at Fadil Berisha Photography, WBC Showroom, David Meister (fashion design) and Coach (product development).

Further, I have been signed with Axis Models since my senior year of high school. I would always tweak my busy semesters to leave room for one of my favorite hobbies in order to make money and develop a brand for myself. Since then, I have also done a lot of free lance modeling on the side. For example, I participated in weekly live beauty segments for Amazon’s Style Code Live show in NYC. Moreover, I also participate in intramural volleyball and various fashion clubs at Marist. Back in January, I also competed in “Miss New York USA 2017” which was a lifelong goal of mine. I ended up placing in the top 20 out of 169 women for my first time. Likewise, I consider myself a conceptual/ motivated person and passionate about all things fashion, art, beauty and photography.

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Photo: Fiton Gjonbalaj

NY Elite: Tell us about your career as a model. How did you get started?

Sabrina Perlleshi: During the summer of 2013, I visited Kosovo with my family for vacation. I was in a supermarket with my mom when I was scouted by the president of “Gecjan Fashion Group” (model agency), Ilir Geci. He encouraged me to attend a casting for “Miss Universe Kosovo 2013”. My vacation took a huge turn when I relocated to Pristina in order to attend castings, fittings, practices, video and photo shoots. Almost everything was directed in Albanian which is my second language. I was trained by top Albanian models, ended up placing in the top 10 and was also titled “Miss Photogenic”. I was photographed by famous New York photographer, Fadil Berisha. Shortly upon my arrival back home, he connected me with Axis Models Inc. and I also began freelancing on the side. I soon began to intern for him as an assistant stylist/ retoucher where I learned the trick of the trade by examining and interacting with various famous models and designers.

NY Elite: Tell us about what type of modeling you are doing?

Sabrina Perlleshi: I am pretty flexible when it comes to types of modeling. I particularly enjoy commercial, runway, beauty and fit modeling.

NY Elite: What does fashion mean to you?

Sabrina Perlleshi: Flashing multiple brands and constantly following trends is not fashion to me. A cheap T-shirt might have been made on the same assembly line as an expensive one. The only difference may only be the logo. It’s also not what one wears but HOW they wear it.

NY Elite: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Sabrina Perlleshi: So far, some of my highlights include being featured in Vogue Italia, doing a runway show for Teen Vogue and walking in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

NY Elite: What is one of the most interesting shoots you have done?

Sabrina Perlleshi: I once did a shoot for Katerina Bocci’s bridal dresses at the London Hotel in NYC. Shooting bridal dresses made me wonder how I would ever be able to top my own wedding dress in the future.

NY Elite: What was your first big break in the industry?

Sabrina Perlleshi: My first big break in the industry was having the chance to be the cover girl of “Kosovarja” magazine back in August 2013. This was a huge step for me, especially since I was only 17 years old.

NY Elite: What has been your favorite job so far?

Sabrina Perlleshi: My favorite job so far has been modeling for Sareh Nouri at Bridal Fashion Week in New York. I got to stay in a beautifully decorated penthouse for 4 days where it took place. I also really enjoyed working alongside Frankie Grande and former Miss USA (Rachel Smith) as a beauty model for Amazon’s show called “Style Code Live”.

NY Elite: What is your dream modeling job?

Sabrina Perlleshi: My dream modeling job is to travel internationally and become a campaign model for various top fashion designers in the world.

NY Elite: How would you define your personal style?  

Sabrina Perlleshi: My personal style is pretty alternative. I dress according to how I feel that particular day. I consider myself overall pretty feminine/ glamorous. I also highly value vintage garments and accessories. 

NY Elite: What makes your fashion unique?

Sabrina Perlleshi: I  wear some of the garments that I make myself.

NY Elite: Other than modeling do you have any other aspirations?

Sabrina Perlleshi: I hope to one day become designer/ creative director of my own evening wear company and showcase my work throughout all the major fashion capitals.

NY Elite: Who are some of your favorite models and designers, and why?  

Sabrina Perlleshi: Some of my favorite models include Olivia Culpo, Bella Hadid and Tyra Banks. They are all effortlessly stylish, exotic and hardworking. Some of my favorite designers include Zuhair Murad, Yves Saint Laurent and Jonathan Simkhai because I prefer designers who are detail oriented.

NY Elite: What are some of your goals as a model and in life? How do you see yourself progress in the field? 

Sabrina Perlleshi: Modeling started off as a hobby of mine until I realized that I could make a profession out of it. My goal this year is to land a big contract with one of my favorite agencies. Focusing on finishing school and having a degree is also crucial to me. I see myself progressing through hard work, constant change and never giving up on my goals no matter how far of a stretch they may seem.

NY Elite: How has modeling changed other aspects of your life?

Sabrina Perlleshi: Modeling has allowed me to network with designers, photographers, influencers, directors and more, which heavily contributed to my related field of study and personal development. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone especially when competing at Miss Universe Kosovo and Miss New York USA.

NY Elite: What advice do you have for other aspiring models?

Sabrina Perlleshi: My advice is to continuously keep your audience engaged with posts. Doing varieties of shoots also helps develop a well rounded portfolio. Also, never feel discouraged if you don’t get a call back from a casting, just try again! Most significantly, find your own secret to making ordinary into extraordinary!

NY Elite: Share three interesting things about your city and culture.

Sabrina Perlleshi: Living 35 minutes outside the city has given me multiple amazing opportunities. I feel blessed to have pursued modeling and a degree in fashion especially because New York highly influences my preferred genre of music, interest in art and design. The beauty of it all is held responsible by the idea that we are a melting pot of different races, nationalities and ethnicities. Plus, we can’t forget about NEW YORK FASHION WEEK!

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