Standing apart from other kids at school can be difficult for many, but Dilone—whose real name is Janiece Altagracia Dilone—relished being the tallest girl in her class. At the urging of a cousin, the Dominican-American tried modeling and immediately signed with DNA Models and never looked back. Today, she works with renowned designers like Versace, Coach and Stella McCartney while rocking the covers of Vogue, Allure, and just recently: InStyle. The New York-native also had the esteemed experience of walking the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Paris and just recently announced that she will be participating in the 2017 show taking place in Shanghai.
As she makes her mark in the world of fashion, the model spoke to People Chica about her aspirations, who inspired her haircut and much more.
When did you get started in the modeling industry?
My family was preparing for my uncle’s funeral. His daughter, my cousin Jeanette (who I’d never met before) is a stylist from New York City, came up to me and insisted [that] I get into modeling. A few years later, I signed to DNA and that’s when it really took off.
Did you always see yourself modeling for a career?
Yes! I was always the tallest in whatever class I was in. I would watch America’s Next Top Model and found comfort in relating to other tall humans. I always wanted to put on a show for people, I wanted to be an entertainer and I found I could bring joy and laughter to people in this way!
What has been your favorite runway experience?
Versace Summer/Spring ’17. The music was hot, the runway was three minutes long, the heels were high and the energy was powerful! I remember getting off the runway with so much adrenaline that I didn’t even realize that the back of my ankles were dripping in blood. I just wanted to go out there and do it again!
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Your hair seems to be a part of your look. What made you cut it off?
I cut [my hair] four years ago. I saw a photo of Linda Evangelista before I even really knew who she was and used it as reference. Back then I would straighten my hair a lot. I’ve finally learned how to embrace and manage my curls with my short length.
Tell us about the moment in which you found out that you’d be modeling at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show?
My best friend and hair and makeup team were over when I got the call from my agent. I was getting ready for a Dior dinner. I laughed first, then fell to the floor and screamed. I thought it was a joke!
You come from a big Dominican family; how is the support from them?
I have 9 siblings (5 sisters, 4 brothers). We’re very close and in each other’s businesses. I’m lucky to have had their support from the beginning.
Any dream projects?
I’d love to start recreational programs for children where they can dance, sing, write, act, draw and play sports. I find giving children the room to express themselves to be more important than any academic program. I also see myself acting and/or teaching in the future.