If you look closely you’ll find Alana Monteiro in movies like “Someone Great” with Gina Rodriguez, DeWanda Wise and Brittany Snow, or “Second Act” with Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens.
Monteiro, 24, is a Cape Verdean model, singer-songwriter and actress from New Bedford. Growing up, she became heavily involved in the performing arts, danced for 15 years, and tried her hand at acting. Until she was 17, she said she didn’t even know what modeling was or how to get into the industry. In her senior year of high school, as she watched the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, she became interested in learning more.
Monteiro applied to all of New York’s top model agencies for eight months, trying to get her “in”. A friend had a featured clothing line in downtown New Bedford and asked Monteiro to model his designs. Monteiro loved the rendering of the photos and submitted them to Boston modeling agencies.
“I didn’t even know I had it in me,” Monteiro said.
Customers at Dartmouth Mall Pushed her to Become A Model
At first, she didn’t have a lot of support from her family members. She said they made fun of her, saying she was too short at the time to be a model. She was 5 feet 6 inches tall when she first expressed interest in the industry. However, while working in Dartmouth Mall’s retail stores, she said customers would always tell her she should be a model. For this reason, Monteiro tried to hide his passion and submitted his applications quietly.
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After graduating from high school in 2015, she signed with Model Club Inc. in Boston and booked local gigs like a wedding dress photoshoot. She continued to persevere on the New York road as she prepared for her freshman year at Bridgewater State University. His university experience was, however, cut short; After her first day of class, she received a long-awaited email from a New York agency and informed her family that she would be moving to the Big Apple.
Then she got a call From Wilhelmina Models
Today, 5 feet 9 inches tall, Monteiro is represented by one of the best agencies in the world: Wilhelmina Models.
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As part of this new agency, she started out with smaller gigs such as shoots for Under Armor and Amazon Fashion, but her first real big moment was Macy’s back-to-school fashion show.
Soon after, she started booking photoshoots with well-known cosmetic brands such as CoverGirl, bareMinerals, Clinique, L’Oréal Paris, MAC Cosmetics and NARS. She began appearing in editorials and on the covers of some of the world’s biggest magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, L’Officiel, Numéro, Glamor and Grazia. Additionally, she has worked on print advertising campaigns for world famous brands such as Nike, Under Armor, Footlocker, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Macy’s, Puma, Target, Reebok, FILA and more. She has appeared on the catwalks at New York Fashion Week and Miami Swim Week.
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“You have to work for literally everything you do,” Monteiro said. “If you, as a model, have a strong work ethic and a good portfolio, that’s great. It’s hard to start at the beginning, a slow start.
Most days are long but vary depending on the type of photoshoot. When working with a fashion brand, she can stay up all day and photograph up to 50 different looks. When working with a beauty brand, other models on the set spin before the lens.
“The amount of work it took to get to this point was enormous, I feel very accomplished and happy,” said Monteiro.
Before the pandemic, Monteiro said she worked several concerts a week. In March 2020, the industry shut down for a few months, but she continued to work alone on creative projects to keep herself busy. Her first photoshoot after her leave was in May for a magazine cover and she said she was so afraid of being a model again. However, the sets were clean and safe and the models and staff were tested for COVID-19. Her normal schedule resumed in fall 2020.
On set with JLo, Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Campbell and More
Once her modeling career was launched, she started acting and singing. She signed with Innovative Artists Agency in New York and worked as an extra in films like “Someone Great” and “Second Act” as well as other TV shows like “Orange is the New Black”, “Law and Order: SVU “and more. Sadly, viewers can only point out her in both films, as producers often cut scenes in which she was featured.
Although she hasn’t been credited in any movie or series, she said being on set with famous actors was just as rewarding. When she was extra on the set of “Daddy’s Home 2” with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, she said she received generous career advice if she decided to put herself in the spotlight. Plus, it didn’t hurt that she got to meet actors like Naomi Campbell on the set of “I Feel Pretty” starring Amy Schumer.
When filming “Second Act” she closely admired JLo’s work ethic.
“To be on a big set with this level of actors was very inspiring,” said Monteiro. “I said to myself, ‘if I can do this, I can do anything’. ”
Although she has enjoyed her acting career so far, she will be focusing on modeling and music in the near future.
Single “High” and New Music
Monteiro said she has been writing songs her entire life, but only started turning her dreams into reality in the past two years. In 2018, she attended the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami and, by chance, bumped into a music producer in the lobby of her hotel and traded nicknames on social media. When Monteiro posted a video of her singing on Instagram, the producer texted her and asked her to host a studio session in New York City. She recorded her first single, “High” in 2019, announcing that new music would be released in 2021. Monteiro said she actually forgot about the song until this year and decided to release it on June 30, available on Apple Music and Spotify.
“I’m more motivated and inspired now,” Monteiro said. “I’m back in the studio to record an album.”
On the morning of her interview with The Standard-Times, she said that FUN 107 performed her song for the first time. Even though she knew when it would air, she was still excited.
Monteiro has just finished filming his music video for his single. She said that although it was only a two-minute song, it took four days to get the footage they needed. The clip will be released in October.
In her spare time, she continues to write new music.
Credit Your Community
Looking back on how far she has come, she attributes a lot of support and inspiration to the community. New Bedford-born singer-songwriter Tynisha Kell remained at the top of Monteiro’s list of inspirations along with other Cape Verdean and Portuguese celebrities who have made names for themselves.
Although her family didn’t think she could be successful in the industry at first, they came to fully support Monteiro in all of her success. She is the daughter of New Bedford residents Denise Porche and Allan Monteiro and the granddaughter of Evelyn Gomes and Arthur Porche Sr. Her father is her biggest supporter, she said.