Angel Rivera, the CEO of Vera Wear and creator of an emerging fashion empire, is a hard man to pin down. Between preparing for 2022’s The Vera Wear Project, his nationwide model search, and working with designers across the country to develop a brand that is already selling millions around the world, Angel is pretty busy these days. He agreed, however, to take a break from his packed schedule to talk about his plans for the model search and about how a guy from the Bronx created a fashion-entertainment brand whose clothing is described as the epitome of sexy-casual.
“2022 is going to be huge for Vera Wear,” Angel believes, settling back in his chair. His office is decorated with pictures of previous winners of The Vera Wear Project, including Colombian Daniela Giraldo and Venezuelan ROXYD. “We’re really excited about the competition because last year, we had thousands of women audition. We’re anticipating a record number of applicants this spring, and with the depth of talent across America, that means the next face of Vera Wear is going to be very special.”
Angel started the competition, he reveals, because he wanted to use the power of his company to help undiscovered talent break into a notoriously difficult industry. “It is tough to become a top model,” he confirms. “Yet, I have met so many women who have the looks, the intelligence, and the charisma to really light up the camera. All they need is a chance to show what they can do, and their world can really open up for them. That’s why I am so stoked about The Vera Project next year – it’s got the ability to open doors for the winner because of the incredible prizes we’re going to offer.”
As the competition’s Lead Judge, Angel will join his peers from across the fashion and entertainment industries to award the winner a cover on a magazine or publication. “They will also enjoy a contract with Vera Wear that will be worth up to $100K as well as their own cosmetics or perfume line,” he confirms. “It’s an incredible opportunity for any woman who is at least 18 years old and lives in America.”
Angel first started Vera Wear ten years ago when he had nothing more than a passion for fashion and a conviction that he could build a strong company. He shakes his head a little when he remembers the rocky start they had. “We had zero sales – none. As for social media, forget it. We had just as many followers. I believe in being positive, however, and I don’t give up easily, either. We pushed – and pushed – and we slowly but surely grew. We found our niche and cultivated our brand, and now we’re very respected in the fashion world.”
Key to the company’s growth has been an increase in its exposure to the public. “The dam broke a few years ago,” Angel reveals, “when I was interviewed for a high profile case, ‘Casey Anthony.’ From there, I did several interviews and then appeared on E! True Hollywood Story. That was wonderful publicity for me and for Vera Wear, and since then, I have continued to build my brand.”
Today, his dedication to his company and to fashion has led Angel to have more than 1M Twitter followers and 100K on Instagram. “The Instagram page for Vera Wear has more than 80K. I think it’s because people really resonate with our message that through fashion, all women are gorgeous.”
The Vera Wear Project, Angel believes, has the potential to be shown on a streaming project. “Fashion, whatever your particular style may be, is a universal interest, and people are very curious about who will be the next face of Vera Wear. There’s something a little romantic, don’t you think, about not knowing if the winner will come from Omaha, Anchorage, or a small town in Mississippi. It’s generating so much interest in the competition that I think it’s inevitable that it will get picked up.”
Will Angel be taking over the throne that Tyra Banks relinquished? “I hope so!” he laughs. “I want to be America’s Top Model Scout. It would be a ton of fun!”
For more information on how you can enter The Vera Wear Project on February 2, 2022, please follow @Angelluisr & @Verawear on Instagram for updates.