Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin: Singer/Songwriter, Record Label Owner, Jewelry Designer, Fashion Model and Seventh-Generation Descendant of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt
AM: Ms. Vanderbilt Costin, it’s an honor to have you with me today. Thank you for your time. You are a singer/songwriter, record label owner, jewelry designer, and fashion model, and are a seventh-generation descendant of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. Does your famous last name have its disadvantages, and may in-turn make certain assumptions about you because of the Vanderbilt legacy?
CVC: [You know] there have always been advantages and disadvantages, socially speaking, and it’s a very delicate balance between both. I am very proud of my family’s legacy, and everything they built and represent in American history, but I was raised to never take advantage of my last name unless it was for something positive, like raising awareness for charitable organizations or contributing to the preservation of my family’s work.
AM: Prestige Magazine dubbed you the “Rebel Heiress”. Do you feel it is an accurate description
CVC: I like the two words separately, just not necessary together or in relation to me [smiles]. I think everyone has a little rebel in them – for me, I don’t conform to what people may believe about me, so you could say I am rebellious to anyone that assumes I might act a certain way because of my family. But heiress is a very strong word, and one with literal meaning that I don’t feel comfortable confirming its relation to me either way, but I will say that I am very proud to be a Vanderbilt and I am proud of my family and family’s name. But I have always tried to live my life for me and to build a name for myself outside of the historical merit of my family.
AM: You started modeling at the age of 30, as well as appearing in NY Fashion Week and LA Fashion Week. Did you encounter resistance from the fashion industry because of your age?
CVC: I actually started starring in commercials at the age of 6 if you can believe it! My first commercial was shot at Los Angeles Airport, so it was quite the experience as I’m sure you can imagine! I was living in London, but would visit my dad in Los Angeles often as much as possible. Recently though, yes, I did walk in Malan Breton’s SS17 runway show during New York Fashion Week this past fall and it was fantastic!
AM: Why did you start your own independent record label, C&R Productions? I know you have performed with Mya, Tweet, Vanessa Carlton and the late Joe Cocker. For your next single or album, do you have in mind who you would like to collaborate with?
CVC: After leaving my last record label, I wanted to be my own brand and my own artist. I felt it was very important to manage my whole process of licensing and touring. The state of the music industry has to not only do with being an artist, but an entrepreneur. I wanted to show if I would have success with my own label, that I would then be able to sign other artists, too. I would love to collaborate with Katy Perry and Madonna – they are two gifted artists that I would love to perform alongside one day.
AM: I know you lost your beloved mother, Serena Vanderbilt McCallum to ovarian cancer. You are
a passionate advocate for ovarian cancer research and educating women about the disease. What should women know about this disease and how can our readers help in the cause of fighting for a cure?
CVC: Women should know that ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer, and for many women who don’t understand this, the symptoms can be similar to the feeling or be recognized as having PMS or going through your menstrual cycle. My biggest advice is that always, even ages 18 and upwards, be sure to be checked yearly and that you should know your body and never be afraid to ask a doctor for more information. The Ovarian Cancer Coalition of California has a great website for women to use as a tool for more information and their famous expression is “until there’s a test, awareness is best”. It is very important for you to be knowledgeable and to spread awareness when and as much as you can.
– Ms. Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin
Photo credit: Andrew Werner
Styling credit: Montgomery Frazier