Twenty year old Sessilee Lopez was a fashion industry favorite from the second she slinked down her first runway, at Vivienne Tam’s Fall 2004 show. But it wasn’t until 2008, when she landed the cover of Italian Vogue’s “The Black Issue,” (if you don’t have it, get thee to Ebay–it’s a collectible) that the Florida-native suddenly became famous famous. Along with Arlenis Sosa, Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman, Lopez was suddenly catapulted into the Black model elite, landing the most in-demand runway shows (including Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Lanvin and Victoria’s Secret), and campaigns (think CK One and Bennetton).

With her strong brows, killer cheekbones and sultry, curving smile, Lopez is one of fashion’s most lauded faces–but in September, it was her new, bobbed hairdo that stole the spotlight.

Here, the sepia-skinned goddess chats with us about going from short to long hair, and back again–plus, she reveals what’s in her makeup bag and who makes the cut as her all-time-favorite model.

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