“The biggest thing I’ve learned is to not give a f - - k.”
Model Selena Forrest is reflecting on the past year-and-a-half, the time in which she’s gone from anonymous high schooler to one of the style world’s most in-demand faces. “The industry is all about people and their opinions,” the 17-year-old tells The Post. “And I really don’t care [what people think].”
Forrest’s unfiltered attitude comes off less as adolescent sass and more the preternatural self-assurance of a kid who’s seen some things. More than a decade ago, Hurricane Katrina forced Forrest and her family to flee their Lafayette, La., home. The catwalker doesn’t remember much about that period, other than having to stay in a shelter, which she “kinda thought was fun,” she says, “because I really didn’t understand it.”
The family ended up in California, jumping from city to city and eventually settling near Los Angeles.
It was there that, in early 2015, the 5-foot-10 beauty was discovered — in the middle of getting busted for carrying alcohol on a beach trip with her brother and cousins.
“A security guard stopped us to check out the ice chest, and during that time a lady walked out of a restaurant and asked me if I’d ever thought about becoming a model,” she says.
Having heard that line before, Forrest was skeptical and brushed her off. (In retrospect, she says, “I feel like an a–hole.”)
But this time, the opportunity checked out. The woman, a scout, eventually put Forrest in touch with her agency, LA Models. The would-be cover girl’s only setback was her braces, a complication sidestepped when she found a pair of pliers and — gulp — removed them herself.
The risk paid off. In February, Forrest scored a contract from the even more illustrious Next Models, which reps Kate Upton, just a few months after opening Proenza Schouler’s spring 2016 New York Fashion Week show.
“I was excited but also supernervous,” she says of her breakout moment. “I’m a really shy person — well, I used to be. And my knees were shaking before the show.”
Despite not liking heels and being “pretty self-conscious” about her runway walk, Forrest has since been cast to strut for nearly every major designer. This past season she appeared on 52 catwalks, including Valentino, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and has graced the pages of i-D, Dazed and Vogue Italia.
Add to that back-to-back ad campaigns for Proenza Schouler, plus one for DKNY, and it’s easy to see why industry benchmark Models.com was quick to put her at the top of its Hot List.
It’s also understandable that Forrest is currently enjoying time off back home in California, where she lives with her family when she’s not in New York City or being whisked abroad.
What’s next for the supermodel-in-training? Forrest is happy to share her hopes for the distant future, which include starting a foundation for teenagers who need support outside the home.
Just don’t ask her what she’s doing next week.
“I don’t really know what’s coming up,” she says. “You never know until the day before . . . model life.”