Model Theresa Longo pulls back the hood on her jacket and releases a wave of platinum locks.
An older gentleman, a chrome mess of hair flipping at his temples, reacts and the only words that come out of his mouth. “Are your eyelashes real?”
Longo smiles and sheepishly says yes.
The Miss Italia nel Mondo 2011-12 for North America, and former Monster Energy Drink spokesperson is back in Toronto after spending most of November on the road, travelling from New York City following a music video shoot for hip-hop artist King Magnetic.
The local cafe is a brief pause as Longo reveals she doesn’t know if she has a moment to stop.
“I just did another video for an artist out of New York called Shah,” she says, her voice an unexpected smoky tone. “I have done a lot of music videos lately.”
The music videos are a part of her new pursuit: acting. She’s been working with folk-rock artist Rob Moir as well, playing a role in the video for his song, “The Fear”.
Longo’s a bit of a music fan, she says with a grin, but she also likes to whip out her own six string and strum chords.
“It’s just a way to be creative. It’s always something I keep to myself, a little bit, but now as I have so much experience, why would I keep that to myself?”
The music and acting are all a part of evolving her career.
“For me, modelling and brand representation, it’s always there, specifically modelling — it’s a more time-oriented thing. As you approach your late 20s things tend to slow down in the modelling world,” she admits. “I can still do quite a lot of brand representation, and music will never go away.”
Enter the opportunity to work on a feature film, Blur, currently in production with Sopranos actor Steve Schirripa as executive producer.
“It’s a story about a couple who is going across the Midwest, and the guy finds out his girl’s deep, dark secret,” she says. “I won’t give it away.”
She’ll be heading off across the border to shoot the film, directed by George D’Amato.
“I’m shooting in less than three weeks,” she adds. “It’s a fun little role. I come in around the end mark of the movie, but it’s a memorable one, that’s for sure.”
Travel has become common place for the 26-year-old. She’s been modelling since she was 16, and Longo has been across Canada, through America’s Midwest and to her motherland, Italy.
“One amazing thing was seeing where my family originated from in Sicily,” she says. “So, I was able to go there and pretty much see where my great-grandfather came from to Canada.
“I really felt connected. That’s such an amazing experience that I almost would have never had if not for the modelling industry.”
Though she lives in T.O., Longo still considers herself a Peterborough girl.
“My mom and dad are still together, they still live in my hometown, in the same house I grew up in,” she says, adding her parents, Gerrine and Chris Longo, have been the “ultimate” support system for her. “I wouldn’t do anything that I couldn’t take home to my mom and dad.”
The line for her is anything that challenges her moral standing.
“I always put my values first, and on top of that I make sure I know what I’m talking about all of the time,” she says. “It brings a certain level of professionalism to the industry that you might not always expect.
“Anything with a major sleaze factor, nudity or gratuitous violence, then no,” she adds. “I tend to keep things clean and corporate, and that’s worked for me.”