Beyond the perfect photos, stunning outfits, excellent jewelry, flawless makeup, and effortless poses, there’s an entire lifetime of remarkable achievements to be admired about Berite Labelle, the Moldovan-born model and actor blazing a unique trail in the global industry. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Berite has worked with several top-tier designers, brands, and fashion agencies, establishing herself as a rare talent in a fast-paced field where passion outmatches everything else. Currently in Los Angeles, California, the ambitious artist is now working on her own short film where she’d portray the remarkable lives of two historic women – a story she wrote while studying at the New York Film Academy on a partial scholarship.
At 28 years old, Berite has lived an inspirational life propelled by passion, strength, and the sheer refusal to back down despite any antics life could come up with. She was faced with several hardships as a kid and a growing teenager, all of which are now fuelling a burning desire to build a foundation for children and young women going through similar difficulties.
Overcoming early struggles
Berite was born in Tiraspol, Moldova, a small landlocked country in Eastern Europe that was once a part of Russia. She was born to a Moldovan-Russian mother and a Chadian father. Berite has never been to her father’s home country, Chad in Central Africa, and since the first six years of her life were spent in Moldova, she picked up Russian as a mother tongue.
“My father worked for the United Nations,” Berite says. “As a result, we were always traveling, and starting again in new locations. I left my hometown at the age of 6 and didn’t see my mother for 20 years.”
When she arrived in Switzerland at the age of 6, Berite realized she was the only little girl of color speaking Russian, and of course, it was a struggle to blend in. At the age of 14, tragedy struck when her father passed away in NYC due to cancer. She was later sent to a private school in France by her aunt and guardian. Determined to make her father proud, Berite performed so well that she became one of the best at school, even though she had never been considered good enough at academic work before she turned 14.
Sadly, her father’s passing had taken an emotional toll on her.
“I felt like I had nobody left, but I had no choice: I had to support and raise myself,” she recounts. “If I could survive an upbringing without any parental guidance, I knew that I was capable of greatness. My upbringing was challenging, but I persevered. My hardship served as a constant reminder that I could create a life full of dreams. I was committed to making my dreams come true.”
Berite recalls that despite having her aunt looking after her, she missed a sense of protection somehow. She had no idea where her mother was and at 14, she couldn’t attempt to track her down. Young and determined, Berite pledged to herself that she would become such a sensational celebrity that someday, her mother would see her on television or in the tabloids.
As she got older, the many trials and tribulations of youth came breezing by Berite’s path.
“At 17, alone and maneuvering the world on my own, I got mixed up with certain relationships and habits that took a toll on my mental health,” Berite explains. “I suffered for a long time but in the end, my strength came through and I was able to pull myself out of the dark hole. This is why I’m deeply sympathetic to the plights of many people going through similar or worse struggles.”
Against all odds
Berite was so determined to push her life in a positive direction that she began to pursue a diploma, to improve her chances of landing a great job. She found work in insurance and banking before she decided to channel her energy entirely into marketing. While studying for her diploma, Berite worked as an intern for the Swiss jewelry brand Bucherer 1888. She learned to market some of the world’s most expensive diamonds and luxury watches, and this phase of her life spurred her onto a fresh realization.
“I respect and love every field I had the chance to work in, but I always wanted to be a model and actor,” she says. “If I knew how to sell diamonds and precious stones with Bucherer, why not learn how to sell my own talents?”
When her diploma was completed, she finally delved into modeling, acting, and dancing, giving everything she had to her dreams and letting her talents steer the way.
“My efforts were realized and I was talented enough to win the World Championship of Performing Arts at Long Beach, California. It’s an event created in 1996 by Griff O’Neil, CEO and former executive of the Miss Universe Pageant,” Berite said.
In the past decade, Berite has been affiliated with several top-tier fashion shows and events such as Le Bal des Créateurs in Geneva, the Dukascopy Fashion Show, organized by the high-ranking bank all over Geneva, walking for luxurious lingerie brands such as LA PERLA and Agent Provocateur, top jewelry brands like FABERGÉ, jewelers such as Benoit DEGORSKI and Tiffany’s Fashion Week Paris. She has also worked for MICHAUD SA Jewellers, a brand located for four generations on Place Pury, in the heart of the capital of Neuchâtel – capital of watchmaking – and more recently, in the famed resort of Verbier in the Swiss Alps for their catalogue.
Presently, she’s working on a self-written short film production where she will play the powerful characters of Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th-century feminist philosopher, and Cleopatra, the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt and one of the most independent and capable women in history.
“As a self-empowered woman myself, I resonated so strongly with these figures and I admire their independence and determination to thrive in life,” she explains.
Of course, living such a busy life and committing to so many activities may seem glamorous when taken at face value, but it’s not always as great as it seems. Berite explains that it does get lonely, but these are sacrifices to be made for the bigger picture. “My husband is living in Switzerland, Geneva, and I’m alone here in Los Angeles working on a career that doesn’t allow me time to spend with friends or see the sights. However, I’m committed to making my dreams come true. I’m also grateful to have a husband who always supports me in my choices and motivates me to achieve my goals.”