"I was doing extremely well as a commercial model, saving money and travelling, but it got to a point where I was starting to get content. I was like, no Joan, you need to aim higher.
"I switched agencies [to IMG] and that was when I got the Givenchy Haute Couture exclusive. I remember coming out of a fitting after I met with Riccardo [Tisci] and I got it. It was the 'a-ha!' moment of euphoria. I was like, 'Joan, this is it', and I got goosebumps.
"And that changed everything. After that everyone saw me in a different light and for that I'm always grateful to him because he was the one who was able to reshape my image."
Although the Puerto Rican fashion muse has been "super tired" on the job after working 12 hour days, she has "never complained" and continues to work hard "with a smile" on her face because she wants to enjoy every moment.
She told ES magazine: "I remember telling myself, 'Make the best out of it, go hard.' I had to do the looks at 3am, 12 hours straight, and being super tired and jet lagged, but I kept telling myself, 'This is what you wanted, Joan' and I never complained. I did it with a smile and gratitude because when you want something so badly, when you're so hungry, you think, I'm going to take it."