Why Model Turned Swim Designer Alyssa Smith Says ‘There’s No Perfect Beach Body’
Even before Alyssa Julya Smith was a model and actress, she had plans to create a swimwear brand. “I don’t like looking like anybody else,” Alyssa said. “And I wanted to create swimwear that would reflect that mentality.” She worked in a bikini boutique until Miami last year, when she met Leah Shlaer, the founder of Shlaer swim. Shlaer, who draws inspiration from 60s and 70s St. Tropez glamour along with the color palette of her hometown, Santa Fe, immediately bonded with Smith. Within a year, they developed and launched LEZARD, a swimwear company for models, fashion lovers, and girls of all beach bodies alike. In celebration of their Miami Swim Week anniversary, LEZARD’s muse, model, and founder reflects on the experience of becoming a professional beach babe.
Where does the name LEZARD come from?
My partner and I named the brand during an inspiring trip to France. Lézard is French for lizard and the expression to ‘sun oneself.’ However, the name means much more to us than a basic translation. A Lezard girl can adapt to any environment all over the world—she’s an explorer and can make her home anywhere.
What makes the perfect bikini?
It’s all about the material, about how it feels on your body and a timeless but unique shape. I never want to wear what everyone else is wearing—I’m just not that girl. The perfect bikini is special and is something not everyone has.
What’s your favorite piece from the new collection?
This is a hard question because I love every piece in the collection! Also, since we’re constantly adding more styles I have a new favorite every month. However, if I had to pick one right now, it would be our signature Black Lace LEZARD One-Piece. It’s versatile and a standout piece at the same time. It can be worn to the beach or styled as a body suit with jeans. It is effortlessly sexy and is a functional must-have for every #LEZARDIAN.
You’re the brand director and the model for the brand—how do you juggle it all?
With deep breaths! Just kidding. I’m having so much fun learning the ins and outs of the industry while in turn building a business. I am lucky that I have such a great partner who shares the creative vision for the brand. Throughout my twelve year modeling career, I’ve developed a desire to expand into the behind-the-scenes and development process as well. Being a Communications major from USC, I am passionate about marketing, digital media and public relations. LEZARD has allowed me to bridge the gaps between many of my passions including modeling, swimwear, branding and marketing.
Any advice for aspiring models out there?
My advice would be to not take anything personally. The modeling industry is extremely fun but can be brutal if you don’t have thick skin. You will never be everyone’s cup of tea, so enjoy the ride and don’t try to be something you are not. Confidence is more appealing than physical beauty anyway.
5 tips to the perfect swim body?
First tip, there is no ‘perfect swim body’. The ‘perfect’ body varies since everyone’s body is different. However, I have always been a believer that feeling healthy and happy in your own skin is the key to looking your best. What works for me is drinking a lot of water, cutting down on sweets and gluten (my biggest challenge), walking often, focusing your workouts on abs, arms and booty and lastly, soak up some rays! A little bronze goes a long way.