Alyssa Riley has been modeling since she was 14, when she landed her first-ever job for Kohls. In the decade since, she’s modeled for Covergirl, Guess, Saks Fifth Avenue, Crest toothpaste…the list goes on. “Chicago was the closest city with the most opportunity, so I graduated from high school at 17 and signed with Ford Models so I could fully devote myself. It’s been an interesting world to grow up in,” says Alyssa, “but my family keep me grounded—my parents are my biggest fans. I’m thankful to them for trusting me at a young age and for being there when I needed them.”
A Capricorn whose nicknames include Lys, Toad or Jubilee (“long story”), Alyssa aptly fits the model profile: outgoing, ambitious, confident and street-smart, though “I’ve been known to walk on set wearing something backwards every once in awhile,” she admits.
Growing up in Ohio, Alyssa was an athlete—she played volleyball and was trained in classical ballet—and a “pro babysitter: I love kids and taking care of people.” After bouncing from city to city for work, her life is more settled now. She lives in New York City and spends a lot of time in New Jersey, where her boyfriend lives. “I’m obsessed with cooking and being outdoors—my happy place is Montana—so it’s nice to have an escape from the city. I love weekends spent relaxing at the house, having amazing wine and cooking dinner for friends,” says Alyssa, who credits her great-grandmother for teaching her to cook and bake.
In her downtime, Alyssa is likely reading a good book (currently The Hôtel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris) or having a Sunday Netflix marathon in her favorite Calvin Klein boy shorts and sports bras (“I wear them as pajamas”). Says Alyssa, “My favorite campaigns to shoot are swim and lingerie. I absolutely love the beach and working outside; I feel my most beautiful when I’m on the beach in my bikini. And I always feel sexy and confident shooting lingerie, especially anything from For Love & Lemons. They make such beautiful detailed pieces. To me the contemporary department is the most fashion-forward, cool and appealing.”