What inspired you to get into the modeling industry?
After going through my teenage years in conservative Northern Virginia in the 90’s and trying to express myself some rather interesting outfits involving Laura Ashley and Doc Martin combinations, I knew that I was destined to work and live in a community that embraced diversity! That’s probably one of the reasons I ended up in NYC, and therefore working in fashion. The idea that I could work and travel, while meeting new people, really appealed to me.
How did you start your career? (We read that you first started as a “fit” model and then made the transition into “plus” modeling.)
I was studying International Relations at NYU and playing with my new city friends at the same time. After I graduated, I needed to work while I decided if I was going to pursue the law degree I always thought I wanted. Instead, thanks to a dear friend and stylist, I ended up in an episode of House of Style and in a music video. She also directed me to fit modeling, which I was paid for in clothes! I was hooked. I started plus modeling in Miami–it’s a pretty typical tale, I was at a party and I met a booker who told me I should try plus modeling, which I had never heard of before. I called him up, and ended up working with his agency immediately! The rest is history.
What are the differences between a straight, fit, and plus model?
Straight size models are your runway models, who have crazy proportions that allow the clothes to hang on them like hangers. Thin, tall, narrow hips. Fit models are a perfect size for runway–usually a 4; for catalogs, a 6-8, for plus, a 16-18. I was a 4 at the time–narrow, but, at 5’9″, not tall enough for runway. Plus models are now basically an 8 and up in NYC; in other markets, you need to be a “full” 12-14 (not 10-12) because in the American markets, you need to be able to fit in sample size 14, which is usually pinned to a fit model who is a size 18. It’s all crazy! Basically, the most important part of any of these divisions of modeling is that you need to be perfectly proportioned in order to wear the clothes well. A pin here, a clip there–it will work wonders, whether on a size 2 or 12. Oh, and the differences in the models? Well, plus models are the coolest, the most fun, and the best to work with, of course!
What advice would you give to aspiring models?
Do it! We live in an amazing, changing world where women and men of all sizes and ethnicities are showcased–it’s not just about one look anymore. But be realistic–no one loves the grunge look anymore. If you are going to visit a potential agency, it is absolutely imperative that you are pressed–that is, clean hair, clean face, clean look. You’re more likely to get noticed if you keep it simple. Remember, modeling is not acting–it’s your job to make the clothes look good, not to be the star of the show. Behind the scenes–stay professional but be charismatic! It’s a tough business and there is a lot of competition, so a client will remember the girl who is on time, looks well rested, and has a great laugh and smile. Networking is the single most important factor to focus on when you are working as a model–talk with other models about their agencies, communicate with the makeup artist, stylists, and production crew, and stay friendly! It will always benefit you to learn more about the business.
What do you love about your job?
I love the travel, but it can be a true challenge. That’s my most honest answer! I’ve been lucky enough to live and travel extensively through modeling. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to make friends around the world, and–more importantly–to be able to visit friends and family. If I worked a typical job with two weeks off a year, I would never be able to visit my friends and family as much as I have over the past 10 years of modeling. On the same note, I’ve been booked for a big job the same weekend as a friend’s wedding, and had to take the job. It’s totally Murphy’s law–as soon as you plan time off, or a vacation–you’ll get that job you’ve been waiting for! Since you essentially work for yourself, it’s very difficult to say “no” to any work, because it’s just as easy for the client to work with someone else, and you may not get the opportunity again. I also love the community of modeling–especially in the plus community, which started out much smaller than it is today. Now, there are genuine superstars, and plus girls are in mainstream magazines throughout the US, like V Magazine, Glamour, and Vogue. In Europe, plus girls have been working and recognized much more than they have here in the States. I say, it’s about time!
In terms of your career, what has been the best advice you have ever been given?
Stay out of the sun! It is not your friend. You may think it makes you look fresh and youthful, but the reality is, the sun sucks the beauty and moisture out of your skin and replaces it with spots and wrinkles. I’m a water girl–I grew up sailing and going to beaches. I LOVE the outdoors. But now, I wear a hat and SPF 100. My friends think I’m crazy! But you know what? I’ve noticed a big difference–so wear your sunscreen!
Photo taken by- http://www.jessicalavoiephotography.com
Out of all of the places your modeling career has taken you, where has been the most memorable?
Modeling made it possible for me to live seasonally, following the warm weather and sunshine. It also gave me the ability to work and live in the Netherlands, and when I went to live there for a summer a few years ago, I met my amazing husband! So now we live between the US and Europe.
Do you have any funny modeling stories you would like to share with us?
WOW. There are so many fun stories–honestly, it’s a great job, you get to meet so many people and typically you are all thrown together in a small room with clothes, makeup and hair, so you can get a little loopy after a while. Maybe when I had to do a wedding shoot and I looked like something Axl Rose threw out in the garbage? Rocker hair with extensions that didn’t match, and a wedding dress?!!? A makeup artist that wanted to SHAVE my eyebrows? That was a nutty day.
Please tell us about your blog, Miami Style Watch!
MiamiStyleWatch has been evolving since 2005! It’s about everything I love in Miami, and beyond. I’ve re-named it EverythingCaroline, because it’s really more about what I like, rather than just Miami. It’s a big world out there! I’m just moving my focus more to travel and writing, rather than simple blog entries–one of my best friends has been pushing me to write a book, so I think I’m going to use my blog as a test market.
Have you ever struggled from self-esteem or body image issues? If so, what advice would you give to young girls and women who are currently struggling?
I went to all girls’ school growing up, so I was lucky enough to be surrounded by other girls going through the same issues, but minus the boys. Sports were a requirement, as well, so between volleyball, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, I pretty much ran off most of my issues. I dieted like everyone else, of course, but I have a wonderful mom who told me (and still tells me) that I am perfect just as I am. When you hear that enough, you actually start to believe it. I love food too much to ever deprive myself for too long. My advice to women who are struggling with issues would be to look around and make sure that they are surrounding themselves with positive influences and good people–the best thing you can do for yourself is to choose to live your life with people who you love. For girls, I have to say that the best thing is to look forward, and realize that your hormones and emotions are haywire because you are growing into your body! Many of the details that you don’t love about yourself will probably end up being your favorite parts once you get past your teens.
What do you wish you would have known in high school?
I wish that I wasn’t in such a rush to “grow up!” Our school was very competitive, and I was on a fast track to a top college, so I never stopped to breathe, take time, and think about what I really wanted. But then again, I was 17 when I graduated. Does anyone know anything then? Where you ever teased or bullied? Totally, completely, 100% bullied. I rode a bus to school for 6th and 7th grade and there were a bunch of boys that absolutely tortured me. I would sit at the back of the bus, or the middle, or the front, and they would yell things at me–really awful, hurtful things, and I would just take it. What could I do? I would just wait until we got to the girls’ school so I could get off the bus and start my day. Those same boys would prank call me later on, and then walk by my house. It was some sort of Neanderthal way to get my attention, I suppose. I never told anyone of authority about it because it made me sad and I was embarrassed. One of the boys that teased me grew up to be a rocker, performed in South Beach, invited me to his show, and dedicated a song to me. Really? But life goes on, it definitely made me stronger, and I’ve learned how to talk to my kids (when I have them) about dealing with bullies. And after that, please–you think dealing with a tough agent or client is difficult? I only need to put myself back on that bus and remember–in the grand scheme of life–it just doesn’t matter.
How do you define beauty?
Life is beauty!! Everyone is beautiful if they are good to others! I believe in energy, life, and love–how would it be possible for anyone to judge another. But modeling isn’t just about beauty–it’s about marketability. It’s nothing personal. One person’s definition of beauty is so very different from another’s–that is why it’s so important to have your own conviction, and to believe it yourself.
What makes you uniquely beautiful? (what do you love about yourself and why?)
I have a fierce determination to get what I want, and I will literally stop at nothing until I’ve succeeded. Not in a weird, psycho, stalker way–I just don’t understand the word “no!” What is a fun fact about you? I talk to my cats–a lot, and often. They are brother and sister, 14 years old, and I got them on a road trip from NYC to LA one year. I bring them everywhere with me–they’ve been on the road from NYC to Miami over a dozen times, they’ve flown across the country, and we all flew to the Netherlands last year to live for the summer. I had been on the trans-Atlantic flight so often, the airline attendants knew me–and they gave my cat his own seat!
You consider yourself a “healthy-nut”, what does being healthy mean to you?
Watch what you put in your body, and on your body. I rarely eat packaged foods–I’ve been a “pescetarian” (vegetarian, but I eat fish) since I was 14, so meat, pork, and poultry are not a part of my life. Believe it or not, this eliminates a lot of bad choices when you go to a restaurant. My favorite foods are fruits and vegetables. I don’t really eat dairy, and I’m also a believer in a raw diet, so I try to eat as fresh as possible. That said, I’m not at the farmer’s market at 6 am picking out the best tomatoes, but I do love my Trader Joe’s!
What would we find in your make-up bag?
My girlfriend just turned me on to L’oreal primer. It’s amazing. Other than that, eyelash curler, mascara, Nars blush (which I all too often use as eyeshadow, too). And lip gloss always. And, of course, sunscreen.
Do you have any quick make-up tips to share with us?
Wash your face, don’t forget the sunscreen, condition your hair, and wear mascara.
What is your signature scent?
It’s from a little French company and very hard to track down… a little secret.
What are you most proud of?
That I have maintained a close relationship with my family and friends for my entire life, and I can pick up the phone and call any one of them and know that we’ll have a great conversation.
Who is your role model or hero? Why?
I don’t have any particular role model, but I do admire strong women whether or not I believe in their politics, it’s the conviction that impresses me. In books, I always gravitate towards strong female leads.
What are some of your favorite books?
Wow, I read a lot, and it’s not all intellectual. I am a big escapism; I think it’s from being raised an only child. Right now, I’m reading the Game of Thrones series, but there is a long list of books that I often re-visit, as well. I love fantasies! I also happen to adore Jane Austin, especially my favorite, Pride and Prejudice.
Who do you have on speed dial?
About 10 people who I talk to on a regular basis, including my husband, my mother, my father, and my best friends.
What is your most treasured possession?
What music is on at home?
Lush is one of our favorite online radio stations, mostly female vocals with an electro beat. I’m definitely into bluegrass, and I also love rock, but that’s more for driving, running, and biking!
100%, definitely, absolutely–shopping, reading English tabloids–the Daily Mail is my favorite, Page Six every morning, and Philip Galanes “Social Q’s” in the NY Times. Also, I always read about real estate, wherever I travel. The best kind of window shopping!
On a day off in Miami, what would your perfect day consist of?
Wow, that’s a difficult question–there are so many wonderful ways to spend a day in Miami! I recently had an amazing Friday there–we started with cafe con leche and empanadas at Charlotte Bakery (one of my Miami vices!), followed by lunch and an afternoon of swimming at the Soho Beach House, a quick stop at the Mondrian Pool, a pass-by Monty’s Happy Hour, and then dinner at Burger & Beer Joint. All on bicycle, of course!
Who is your style icon and why?
I can’t help but love watching Kate Moss. Also, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michelle Williams, Diane Kruger, and Diane Keaton. I absolutely adore Dolly Parton, though I don’t think her style suits me :) Funny enough, I don’t dress like any of these women!
How would you describe your style and what is your go-to outfit?
Creative Caroline. I’ll wear almost anything, as long as I don’t think anyone else is wearing it. My go-to outfit is definitely a dress with a jean jacket and sunglasses. If it’s cold, then skinny jeans and boots with a huge scarf.
What is your go-to statement accessory?
Sunglasses, my wedding ring, and a smile!!!
Where do you love to shop for clothes?
Everywhere! Favorite pair of jeans? I’m totally digging a pair of Joe’s Jeans I just bought–distressed cargos with zippers and padding and fun things like that. They’re tight, but I’m not really into baggy clothes. When you have curves, you want to show them off, not hide them! I also have a great pair of William Rast for Target skinny jeans in a great wash that I’ve been rocking.
Are you an online shopper? What are your favorite sites to shop from?
eBay is pretty amazing, but sometimes I get “eBay goggles” and end up buying some weird stuff. That’s why I use eSnipe- you set a price and it bids for you. Sooooo key to preventing bad shopping decisions!
Do you have a favorite model? Why?
Maggie Rizer is gorgeous–I went to a Victor & Rolf exhibition in Antwerp that featured her in one of the rooms, and it totally changed my perspective on her. They did an entire show with only her–under layers and layers of clothing. It was spectacular. Tilda Swinton is from another planet and we should love her for that. I think Cindy Crawford is absolutely amazing, and epitomizes healthy living. I also think Kristy Hume is ethereal. My favorite plus model is Tara Lynn–she has an amazing figure and a face to match. And that new girl, Lindsay Wixson, has the most amazing lips ever!
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
Still working, traveling with my family, and loving life!
What are you passionate about?
Family, friends, and living life to its fullest.
What is one of your most favorite childhood memories?
Sailing with my family, going to the beach, enjoying the outdoors. Playing with my little brother because he was the cutest baby ever!
What are you passionate about?
Family, friends, and living life to its fullest.
What are you excited about right now?
I’m looking forward to an amazing summer! Thank you for this interview!
*Thank you, Caroline!