By Inês Soares

Born in Porto and only 21 years old, Sara Sampaio is one of the highest representatives of Portuguese fashion today.

Regularly featured in the most important international fashion campaigns, Sara Sampaio has been asserting herself as one of the world´s most high-profile models of her generation.
Brands like Victoria´s Secret, Calzedonia and Blumarine are some of the latest additions to her portfolio.

From New York, where she currently resides, she came to Portugal to be the face of the Portuguese Shoes 2013 campaign.

How did you get started in the world of fashion?
When I was sixteen, I won a competition (Pantene Hair) and a contract with Central Models, one of the most important Portuguese agencies. Since I was still studying, I only did some part-time work. When I got into University, I moved to Lisbon and began working more regularly. That is when the opportunity to go to London appeared, and I soon joined Models 1. Then there was Paris, where I stayed for nine months, and, finally, New York. I have been constantly on the move, "from one place to another."

What was your most defining work, or the job you enjoyed the most?
There are several that are special to me. Perhaps having been given the opportunity to work for Victoria´s Secret, for Calzedonia, having participated in the Blumarine campaign... One of the jobs I loved doing was in Hawaii, for Italian Elle. We had photo shoots all across the island, and it was a lot of fun. Different jobs leave an impression in different ways – it can be the location, the people, the team...

Do you prefer photography or the catwalk?
They are two very different ways of working. In photography, there is more leeway and you are even allowed to make mistakes. If a photo does not come out perfect right away, we can always try again and again. The catwalk is "that one moment," and if you happen to fall [laughs]... But you are also closer to the public, which is something I enjoy a lot.

What are your objectives for the near future?
To continue working with Victoria´s Secret. I obviously have other dreams, but, working as a model, you never know what will happen tomorrow. Anything can happen... It is better to live just one day at a time.

A dream?
To be on the cover of French and Italian Vogue, and to feature in major worldwide campaigns.

What does it mean for you to be the face of the Portuguese shoes campaign?
It is great being able to be a part of a campaign like this, which helps promote the name of Portugal abroad and contributes to make Portuguese footwear known internationally. Portugal – like Europe in general – is going through such a complicated stage, and it is nice being able to show that we can also make good things.

What is your favourite brand of shoes?
I really like Luís Onofre – he is an amazing footwear designer. In my opinion, he is one of the best in the world.

Do you usually follow Portuguese fashion?
I mostly follow the new talents. Elisabeth Teixeira and Diogo Miranda, for example. They are not afraid to take chances, they show new, fresh things, and I hope to see them taking their careers to an international level. Young people hold the key to our future!

How do you define your personal style?
I may put on a pair of jeans with a top and a jacket, just as easily as I can dress in something sexier to go out. Some days I am grungier, others more classical. It depends on my mood at the time.

If you had to give a piece of advice to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?
Do not be afraid to take a chance, and move abroad. Unfortunately, Portugal is still very limited in terms of fashion. It is also necessary to be aware that it will require a lot of sacrifice. Being away from home a lot of the time, receiving a lot of rejections. It is not a profession that should be taken lightly or as a way to reach stardom or fame. It takes a lot of work to be successful in the world of fashion.