Julia Frakes: When did you first know that you wanted to be a model?
Kate Somers: Oddly enough, I didn’t know that I wanted to be a model until I was one! A series of bizarre coincidences and “right place right time” instances concluded in my flying to New York to compete in Ford’s Supermodel of the World contest. I literally found out right after a highschool basketball game. Not until I was swept up in the energy and thrill of New York City did I know that the job was most definitely an intriguing one! [Kate discusses how she came to start modeling in the video below]:
JF: What do you consider to be your "big break"?
KS: To be honest, I always obtain a new rush of adrenaline every time I walk for a well-known designer, pose for a respected photographer’s lens, or travel abroad for work! Every career step that takes root sets the groundwork for another opportunity to eventually blossom into the next possibility: each job I get, I consider to be a “break”!
JF: What is your favorite fairy tale, and why?
KS: When I was younger, my dad used to tell my sister and I fairytales before bed. It may well be narcissistic, but my sister and I starred in some of the best!
JF: How do you maintain your radiant complexion? Do you have a specific beauty ritual?
KS: As customary as it may be, I follow a very conventional course of drinking plenty of water! For an external routine, I moisturize and cleanse daily, but I also make sure to follow an internal routine consisting of consuming abundant amounts of nuts, salmon, avocado, and other healthy fats. It may be quite a basic practice, but I suppose consistency works!
JF: What do you carry with you while traveling?
KS: When I travel I’m never found without a good book! It’s immensely stress-relieving to be able to temporarily remove myself from the hecticness of fashion week – and the diversion of a great story does just that! As bothersome is it may be, I am perpetually traveling with a substantial amount of homework.
JF: Any special purchases recently?
KS: I have recently purchased myself a plane ticket to Africa for this July! I will be traveling to Kenya this summer to take part in a community involvement project just outside of Nairobi. This purchase is exceedingly special to me as I have a great ardor for the development of international education. Traveling to Africa for Community Involvement has long been a goal of mine. When I was quite young, my Aunt and Uncle lived and volunteered throughout southern Africa over a period of five years. At that time the significance of their trip meant little more to me than receiving a postcard embellished with images (a giraffe, tribal beads, a stretching desert, for example) that were – to my young eyes – strange and novel. Now however, I’ve been presented with an occasion that combines my passion for travel and novel experience along with my enthusiasm for community involvement and extended ambition for international development. As a result, this plane ticket purchase is very special to me!
JF: Are there any organizations or foundations that are particularly close to your heart?
JF: How would you describe your personal style?
KS: My personal style genuinely has developed since I began working in this industry: you can’t help but absorb the undeniable creativity that exists in the fashion world. I would define fashion as individuality – the courage one has to sport their personality – (quite literally) on their sleeves. To me, I would define my fashion as, above all else, comfortable! It’s great to be able to wear a pair of jeans and converse once in awhile! When I get the opportunity to dress up my wardrobe a little bit, I love to integrate pieces altogether by melding items that I’ve had for ages with items acquired through work in the fashion industry. My style is fun but it’s always changing! I suppose I depict my mood with my choice of clothing; if I’m feeling a little more adventurous, than out come the impulse purchases! However my fashion routine is unstable principally because my life shifts often between that of a high school student and that of a person working in an industry revolving around style.
JF: Do you personally prefer runway or editorial work?
KS: I believe I prefer runway work: the enthusiasm and thrill of a backstage setting is unrivaled anywhere else. The animation and liveliness that the clothes – paired with the makeup and hair looks – establish simply transform the models into these characters. I love how the production of a show is like that of a Broadway performance: settings, temperaments, and moods are determined and the outcome is most always remarkable. [Kate takes us backstage during fashion week: video below]:
JF: Who are your favorite designers?
KS: I admire each and every designer with the courage and perseverance to present their collections. Before I started in the industry I never would have guessed the sizable amount of work and level of commitment that showing a collection demands of a designer. The resulting runway show is but a single thread in the works which are created: the time and effort that goes into the final creation really is staggering…
Some of my favourites are Olivier Theyskens (for Nina Ricci) as I love how his collections flow, as if they tell their own story; Alexander McQueen for his undeniable vision; Alexander Wang, as he clearly attests that idea trumps age in any situation; Marc Jacobs for his irrefutable innovativeness in fashion; and finally, Jean Paul Gaultier for his design narration – again, as if the fabric contains a tale in itself...
JF: Which (current or former) model do you think has the fiercest runway strut?
Rocha! She just exudes confidence on the runway, warranting
all eyes on her as she makes her entrance. She brings a certain aspect of
theatrics to a show and establishes a character when she
walks – I love that!
JF: Who are some of your favorite photographers to work with?
KS: Shooting with Patrick Demarchelier was amazing: I sincerely respect and admire his work and contributions to the fashion industry. Furthermore, he was very fast at shooting! We literally finished single shots in under ten minutes during the Lord & Taylor shoot! Nevertheless photography as an art form is incomparably diverse… each photographer’s work is matchless and unique, and thus each experience is a novel one; something that I really enjoy about photoshoots! Case in point? Shooting with Daniel Sannwald for Dazed & Confused was so memorable on account of his vision and originality. [behind-the-action video of the photoshoot below]:
JF: What is your most prized value in others?
KS: Above all else, I admire consistency in personality. When people tend to switch their character as a mechanism to fill the molds of expectancy created by different personalities… it’s not a quality that I admire. There should not be definitive boundaries to one’s moral fiber; therefore one shouldn’t have to change their traits in order to feel accepted.
JF: What is your most prized value in yourself?
KS: I’m truly grateful for my ability to adapt to new situations. This job can throw you into settings poles apart from your habitual routine and I am proud that I have learned to grow from these “adjustments”.
JF: Do you have a nickname?
KS: Not that I’m aware of! [chuckles] I’ve always been Kate!
JF: What makes you laugh uncontrollably?
KS: What I love about laughter is that for me it is never foreseen… however there are some things that defy this characteristic of surprise: my friends; a good piece of improv comedy preformed by my Improv team at school; or an unexpected comedic happening will always leave me laughing hysterically!
JF: What is your favorite meal of the day?
KS: I would definitely pick dinner! It’s a time in our household when the family can all sit down together once in awhile – save for those days of complete chaos at work, school, or in extracurricular activities. I also love the diversity in dinner “options”: it’s simple to explore new items with the range of meal choices at the end of the day!
JF: How would you rate your cooking ability?
KS: I absolutely love to cook! I believe that travel has, in a sense, developed this particular craze of mine. I love to explore the miscellany present in cooking: there is no set approach, and no particular tactic needs to be followed. Travel has sculpted this passion of mine by introducing me to the variety in global cuisine. A friend of mine recently taught me how to make sushi, and that’s one of my favourite dishes to experiment with: again, what I love is that there really are no restrictions to what you choose to make! I’m not sure how my actual ability would rate, but guaranteed, my interest with cooking would rate extraordinarily [smiles].
JF: Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
KS: I was always particularly drawn to Harper Lee’s Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. To
me, she’s incredibly emblematic of perseverance; I like the idea that
her maturity is reflected through her proceedings and not impeded due
to her age. Another of my favourite fictional characters is Alexander McCall Smith’s Mma Ramotswe from the Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series.
Mma Ramotswe’s judgments and views are always extraordinarily engaging,
and the intriguing backdrop of Botswana builds and sustains her
captivating characteristics. I admire McCall
Smith’s writing and his players are always multifaceted with so many
layers of depth; another my favorite characters jumps to mind: Isabel DalHousie of The Sunday Philosophy Club – another fascinating cornerstone of McCall Smith’s handiwork.
JF: Are there any historical figures that you profoundly identify with?
KS: Two historic figures with whom I profoundly identify would be Louisa May Alcott and Hariett Beacher Stowe. Louisa May Alcott beautifully manifests a theme of feminism through available aptitudes: although early in her career she often wrote under a pseudonym, she crafted works of literature that challenged the accepted opinions of male supremacy in the social hierarchy. She is in fact quite similar to her character “Jo” from Little Women: Louisa May Alcott refused to accept standards which she viewed as partial. I greatly admire her resolve, and thus, I greatly respect her and would identify her as a prominent historic figure. Another historic figure who I greatly respect is Harriett Beacher Stowe: her literary works, primarily Uncle Tom’s Cabin, educated thousands about the realities of slavery. She proved the notion of the pen’s weight and power, but most significantly, she encompassed the necessary courage required to tackle a conflict which was so contentiously viewed at the time.
>> For more exclusive Kate fashweek action: bunny BISOUS August 29, 2008
>> Please take time to learn more about the Free the Children Foundation: Craig Kielburger discusses his journey with his brother, Marc [video]