“I remember he got me a starter pack, The Who, Michael Jackson—all the classics,” says Devon Ross referring to her father, Craig Ross, and his vinyl record gifts that served as a crash course in music history. Craig is a trusted source on the topic, and a far more interesting one than any school teacher, known for his talent as Lenny Kravitz’s lead guitarist. “I spent a lot of my childhood on tour with him, my parents are pretty free people, I started homeschooling on the road and I would travel a lot as a kid”. If having a touring musician as a father wasn’t influential enough, Devon’s mother, Anna Bauer, was a model in the ‘90s—also known as the golden age of supermodels. Parents aside, Devon is a star in her own right pursuing a modeling career in her teens that’s taken off in the last few years gracing the catwalks for Gucci, Valentino, and Simone Rocha to name a few. She’s recently been in front of the camera for a different type of gig—acting and got the role of Revina in the upcoming HBO limited series Irma Vep (set to come out later this year) which is based on Olivier Assayas’ 1996 feature film of the same name. It’s as if the stars aligned for her first acting gig with Irma Vep being shot in Paris (fashion’s capital) and Assayas, who much like Devon’s dad lived during the rock’n’roll heyday, directing the reboot.
While Devon’s professional life sounds fashion-focused and far removed from the touring environment she grew up in, music couldn’t be more prevalent in her life naming rock ‘n roll musicians from the ‘60s like Keith Richards and Jim Morrison as her beauty and style influences. “I loved growing up around music I think it’s really shaped who I am today because I’m still equally obsessed with it if not more since I’ve grown up.” In Devon’s spare time, you’ll find her playing music at her West London home with her boyfriend Earl Cave, or playing guitar—which she taught herself—onstage with her friend Camille Jansen. Devon has that je ne said quoi cool factor of the ‘60s musicians she admires with an unwavering sense of self that’s more inspired by legends of the past than today’s pop culture zeitgeist.
We caught up with Devon on her recent trip to LA to discuss why she loves Keith Richards and George Harrison, all things Irma Vep (from casting to being onset), and how her globetrotter childhood shaped who she is today.
You were born in Toronto and moved around to the Bahamas, New York, and Europe. How did growing up around the world shape the person you are today?
I’m not afraid of change. I think that’s a big thing I’m pretty comfortable with and also meeting new people. I developed a sense of awareness for myself early on, being around older people and just being introduced to that at a younger age matured me.
What lesson did you learn from your father about music that you’ll never forget?
To do everything myself, he’s a really independent guy and [my parents] always taught me to do everything myself. I taught myself guitar [and] even though it’s nice having him there as a guide I did most of it myself.
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Is there anything you learned from your mom about modeling that’s been impactful to your career?
She taught me so much about modeling, I feel like [in] the modeling industry you need to be taught things more than [in] the music industry. It’s good to know the rules [and] what to expect. The industry changed a lot since she was in it but she definitely taught me a lot about being on set, no phones on set, and things like that.
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What role does music and fashion play in your life? How does each serve you?
Music is everything to me. I’m always thinking about it, if not always listening to it. I think music and fashion go together pretty well cause all of my influences are musicians from the ‘60s and always have been.
You’ve previously said one thing you would change about the world is to bring back George Harrison. Why George Harrison and if you could ask him one question what would it be?
That is so hard, I would ask him so many questions—teach me a song maybe. Why bring him back? His spiritual side, he was so in touch with nature and with what was going on in the world. He was real about everything and that’s why I said that I would bring him back because I think he would be a great person to have these days [laughs], he doesn’t take bullshit.
In a Vogue interview, you named Keith Richards as your beauty muse. Why are UK artists from the ‘60s a source of inspiration for you?
My dad’s obsessed with them, [so] I grew up already having an interest but as I got older I got more and more into it and Keith has always been my #1—everyone knows he’s the coolest. I find it funny that I say he’s my beauty muse [laughs] because he’s far from beautiful but to me, he’s beautiful because he’s so natural and doesn’t what other people think and I think that’s real beauty.
Did your love for those UK artists influence your decision to move to London?
Definitely, growing up I was always obsessed with England. It’s like [how] people in America are obsessed with England [and] people in England can’t wait to go to America. I spent the first few months there going to all these rock’n’roll sites, seeing studios, and seeing Jimi Hendrix’s house. It’s still like that for me whenever I drive by Abbey Road I get so excited—living in London is just a big rock’n’roll museum.
You recently performed with Camille Jansen, how did that come together? Do you have any upcoming plans to make more music?
We’ve been best friends for years since we were teenagers and we’ve always talked about making music together. Finally, we got in the studio and did a record together which was so fun. Now I’m in LA and I’m taking a break but when I go back to London I’m going to go full force [and] start a new project.
You attended the Saint Laurent show at Paris Fashion Week this year and you’ve said that would be a dream brand to work with. What is it about Saint Laurent that you love?
I’ve always loved Saint Laurent, even when I was a kid I thought it was the coolest—if Jim Morrison was alive today he’d probably wear Saint Laurent. It’s always that rock vibe but also so classic, everything they make is not [dependent on trends] it’ll last forever. I think that was my 5th show and I have so much fun every time it’s like going to a rock show.
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How did the process of casting and being on set for Irma Vep differ from modeling? Were there any similarities you found comforting?
The audition process is different, they ask for a tape and I’ve never done a self-tape before. I was like this is a long shot but I’m trying something new and then I got it. Definitely comfortable on set in general, the only thing that was different is the camera is catching everything—it’s not just stills—you have to really be aware of where the camera is and that was the learning curve.
Do you remember the moment you found out you got the part?
I remember this so well, I just got out of a doctor’s appointment and my agent called me and I was like what?! I did not expect [that]. We were all [wowed] because it was my modeling agency as well, I didn’t have an acting agent, so it was like a first for all of us.
What did you love about filming the series?
That was my first acting gig, so it was the ultimate crash course for acting [laughs] but I’m so grateful that I got thrown into it that way. I learned so much because everyone that I was working with like Alicia [Vikander] they’re all well-seasoned actors, I made sure to watch what they were doing and take notes. We shot it in Paris and it was amazing to be in Paris for 5 months.
I feel like that’s the dream if you’re going to be in your first TV show is to shoot it in Paris.
I know I was like Paris, are you serious? It’s too good to be true but the director Olivier [Assayas] was amazing and it being my first job everyone really helped me out and it was a great experience.
The aesthetic of the 1996 Irma Vep film is aligned with your personal style, did you connect with the visual style of the remake?
Olivier definitely gets the vibe the first time I met him we immediately got along and we were talking about London in the ‘60s. He was there for so much of it [so] he totally gets that and we shot in the most beautiful locations in Paris and the clothes were really cool.
Do you remember your first big fashion purchase?
I was in Milan, it was my first [long modeling] trip and I was walking in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II [shopping] mall and I bought this red velvet Gucci bag. Whenever I think about giving it away I’m like no I have to keep this forever.
First CD you ever bought?
I don’t remember a CD but on my [8th] birthday my dad got me a few vinyls and it was the B-52s, Abbey Road, and The Wiz soundtrack—I loved The Wiz.
Social media has changed the landscape for models and musicians, how would you describe your relationship with social media?
I have a pretty healthy relationship with social media, I’ve never been one of those people that feels the need to get it out of my life. I’m not addicted to it, [but] we’re good friends. I haven’t ventured into TikTok yet, I don’t know if I will but Instagram I’m with.
Who would be in your dream group chat? Dead or alive.
Lou Reed, George Harrison—love to have a chat with him, Patti Smith, Jimi Hendrix, [and] Chuck Berry, I could go on forever.
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