In her Screen Test for the July issue of W, Smalls tells Lynn Hirschberg, “I did some modeling competitions in Puerto Rico when I was about 13, 14. So first … out of your town, they pick a group of girls, then out of that group, you go to San Juan, which is a bigger city, and then you compete with all the girls from all of the different towns in Puerto Rico. I was a semi-finalist. And I lost. So losers sometimes end up winners.” She also talks about getting her teeth fixed (upon an agent’s suggestion) while going to college, making people believe she’d wear clothes that she necessarily wouldn’t, and checking out the Victoria’s Secret catalogue when she was younger.