After a quick catch-up over at PAPAERMAG.com with an always chirpy and charitable Kate Somers to discuss her latest Daniel Sannwald-lensed Dazed & Confused December cover [editorial scans in slideshow below] alongside fellow smiling cutie Nathan Sutherland [get my insider scoop on all the behind-the-scenes London action here], the super-altruistic Canadian belle cheerfully took time out from her demanding academic schedule to sit down and answer your bunny's burning questions.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a model?
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?
KS:My eighth grade teacher introduced me to Free the Children and the [founders], the Kielburger Brothers. She was extremely passionate about issues in Africa, and our class organized penny drives and participated in numerous fundraising efforts which stirred a certain hope of mine to eventually help develop a solution to said issues. When I entered high school I began to seriously research the ongoing issues of education in Kenya and start my high school’s first division of Free the Children this year. I registered us as a Youth Group and we are currently participating in the “brick by brick” campaign to build a school in Kenya. Stemming from the research that I have done to learn more about the organization, I’ve since developed a great respect for the Free the Children group. Their initiatives spark community involvement interest in students across the world, but most importantly, spark the creation of students in underdeveloped countries.
JF: How would you describe your personal style?
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
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 undeniablevision; 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!
Who are some of your favorite photographers to work with?
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?
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?
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 Finchfrom 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.
Teen Vogue senior fashion editor Aya Kanai at her childhood home on The Selby
Oh golly! Apologies abound... I have been bunny hopping quite a bit and just now finally gained access to a (semi-reliable) internet source! It's the little things in life...
As The Transom pointed out in The New York Observer, I have quite a propensity for donning "a ribbon in her strawberry blond hair every day"; but truth be told, said ribbons are ofttimes vintage Hermès scarves – more specifically, twillies!
Like my beloved Bryanboy, I too have been force-fed The Economist's Big Mac Index[glance through the current index here] as a kit and find his intriguing, no doubt laborious Twilly Index disquietingly thought-provoking (though not entirely surprising). The middle-of-the-range price point of a Russian Big Mac compared to the staggeringly steep Moscow Twilly strikes me as a particularly telling juxtaposition.
This disparity was the keystone of my musings during an unforeseen journey to Pennsylvania – one that I literally embarked upon twenty minutes after a magical madcap photoshoot in my New York City apartment for an upcoming feature in the March issue of Teen Vogue.
Speaking of which, super chill and über accomplished photographer Alex Hoerner may well be the next Doctor Dolittle! It was pretty sagacious how he "persuaded" my rediculously lazy ragdoll cat Daisy to pose prettily perched in uncannily adorable positions throughout the shoot. I wonder what she'll think of her Teen Vogue debut? Meow.
It was such a pleasure to work with one of my favorite stylists, the brilliantly talented and funloving Aya Kanai! In a fresh, bold, admittedly unorthodox move, the entire production was styled exclusively with my own wares in lieu of the standard fetching of spring samples. It was supremely inspiring to observe someone else's unique take on my clothes – especially how she mixed and matched garments that I had long since been "retired" (or rather, wrongly so).
Check out Tom Selby's touching shots of Aya and her father, Kiyoshi at her childhood home in Manhattan [at top and below]:
I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting the ravishing and talented Maya Villiger (read a bit about her genius here) for a fun feature on TurnedOut.tv. Here are the results:
Julia Frakes – Art History and Journalism student at The New School, bunny BISOUS blogger, Paper Magazine fashion contributor and all-round absolute sweetheart. On my most recent trip to NY we took a chilly stroll around Chelsea, the Manhattan neighborhood she calls home, snapped a few photos and chatted about what she is up to at the moment.
I'm listening to FM Belfast, Roland Kirk, Jim Noir, Vashti Bunyan, The Chap, Hercules and Love Affair, Detektivbyrån, and James Pants.
I'm buying cozy items to stay warm like Bernhard Willhelm scarves, cruelty-free Marni rainboots, Lindsey Thornburg cloaks, Stephen Jones hats, Hansel from Basel socks, and Luella's Eastwick-witchy Ingals trapeze coat.
I'm reading Buckminster Fuller, Jane Austen, David Wolfe, Joan Didion.
I'm excited about my editor Kim Hastreiter's new Geoffrey Beane tome [Assouline] and a jaunt home to the country next month with Pure Food & Wine's Thanksgiving take-away in tow!
I'm spending time reading foreign fashion magazines with my adorably plump Ragdoll kitten, Daisy; working at Paper Magazine; perusing Chelsea's art galleries to prepare for my favorite course at The New School; blogging for bunny BISOUS and papermag.com's "Fashion Schmashion"; raising funds with Mr. Mickey for the extraordinary charity: water foundation to build desperately needed wells in developing nations.
I'm wishing for an Obama-Biden victory, an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and – on a far more frivolous note – Sonia Rykiel's bunny rabbit intarsia dress.
I'm eating frozen Durian pudding from Bonobo's, Pure Food & Wine's chili lime tortilla wraps with avocado and cashew sour "cream", One Lucky Duck's gingersnap "ice cream", and tucked upstairs at LifeThyme Market's live foods buffet with a good book.
I'm drinking Pure Juice & Takeaway's Hawaiian Breeze norwalk juice, raw cashew "mylk" with agave and cinnamon, GT's Organic Trilogy Kombucha, the green juice with added ginger from Quintessence.
I'm traveling to Paris come January for the Spring/Summer 2009 Haute Couture collections.
I'm making hand-dipped candles, raw vegan pumpkin pie, and weekly escapes to the charmingly quaint Angel Feet Reflexology in Greenwich Village (if I'm lucky)!
I'm inspired by Lynn Yaeger, Rachel Maddow, Leith Clark, Beatrix Potter, Kate & Laura Mulleavy, Sarah Lerfel, Joanna Schlenzka, Iris Apfel, Cecilia Dean, Kinga Rajzak, Marie Chaix, Jacob K., Alber Elbaz, and Charles Anastase.
In these photos Julia wears:
Moschino F/W 2008-2009 dress
VPL by Victoria Bartlett braette top
cruelty-free Elizabeth & James coat
American Apparel bi-colored tights
vintage Miu Miu "Alice in Wonderland" shoes
Lanvin vegan F/W 2008-2009 "ribbon collection" bag
Alexandre de Paris hairband
— By Maya
Be sure to check out the feature in its entirety at TurnedOut.tv.
Joe Lally explores candy-colored Americana kitch with Joey Kirchner and Sean Harju >> The Imagist
A decidedly angelical Sunniva looks straight out of a Middle Ages fairy tale (one of mermaids, Dutch flowers, princesses, and country mice) in Tim Walker's new Vogue Italia editorial >> New York Models Blog
Kaws is at it again! Mere months after his collectable i-D x Sasha Pivovarova cover, he takes the "cover reigns" again for the December issue of Eyescream Magazine [Japan] graced by coverstar Chaki Kuriyama donning Original Fake >> High Snobiety
Designer Donna Karen – co-founder of the Urban Zen Foundation and recent benefactor of $850,000 to fund the Karen-Beth Israel Project
in a year-long exploration of the effects of yoga, meditation
and aromatherapy on enhancing regimens of chemotherapy and radiation – bids adieu to Karen Elson
(and all set production, for that matter) in lieu of recycling runway
images for her upcoming Spring 2009 Donna Karen campaign due next
February >> WWD
Brazilliant! Kim Gordon catches up with mes amies Kate and Laura Mulleavy (of Rodarte, silly!) >> Blackbook
Don't forget! The presidential nominee is not the only choice
you'll face at the polls tomorrow (and yes, all 18 + non-felon U.S.
citizen bunny BISOUS readers are hereby required to vote): track your local electioncontenders >> Erica Hill's AC360° Blog