By Shannon Hiett
Kasia Pilewicz is a superstar within the plus industry, especially with her newfound fame on Cycle 16 of America’s Next Top Model [ANTM]. Although Kasia did not bring home the title of ANTM, she is most definitely a winner in our book. Kasia is no stranger to being in the spotlight. She has graced stages, film screens, and magazine pages. Most notably is the plus size spread in V Magazine with the unforgettable cat suit, leg up, and hair blowing in the wind. I love that shot and I truly enjoyed getting to know Kasia for the interview below:
Shannon: Where are you from originally?
Kasia: I grew up around Chicago. My family is from Poland originally, but I was born here; however, I grew up very Polish. I moved to New York City about four years ago.
Shannon: Do you ever miss Chicago?
Kasia: I do, but I go back quite a bit for work.
Shannon: Did you move to NYC specifically for modeling?
Kasia: Yes, that was one of my goals, but also for acting, as well.
Shannon: Do you have a preference as far as your passions go? Do you prefer acting over modeling or vice versa?
Kasia: You know, I love both for different reasons. It’s hard to say and it’s a question everybody asks, but I really do love doing both things. Modeling is such a fantasy. You get to wear great clothes and it’s a still shot. Acting I enjoy because I get to develop a character more long term. I think my modeling has improved because of the acting experience I have. Agents often suggest acting classes for models, along with dance classes, and yoga.
Shannon: How did you start modeling?
Kasia: I kind of started way back when I was a teenager, but it didn’t really take off because I look way younger than I am. I kept getting scouted because I was really tall and had a look. I had a good agency in Chicago & NYC, but I couldn’t come out to NYC enough to take advantage of the casting and opportunities. The work in Chicago was more mature and ten years ago, there wasn’t much plus juniors work available. I didn’t start working a lot until I came out to New York and got an agency here. I was available for castings and I was a little older, but still looked young. I’ve had some juniors bookings in the past couple weeks, so it doesn’t bother me when people call me old.
Shannon: Have you always been plus size?
Kasia: I’ve always gone up and down. My weight fluctuates, but I was never a skinny, small girl. I grew up being a real sized woman.
Shannon: You said that you were tall. How tall are you?
Kasia: I’m 5’10”.
Shannon: Will you stay in NYC for a while?
Kasia: I hope so, I love NYC. People either love it or hate it, but I love it. I hope to be bicoastal. There’s a lot of acting in California. So that will be my ultimate goal, plus I could stop off in Chicago to see my family.
Shannon: How did you hear about the ANTM auditions?
Kasia: They emailed me, actually. They contacted me about coming in for a semi-private audition, so I didn’t have to do one of those cattle calls, which was nice. They kind of knew of me and some of the work I had done, which was kind of cool. They had done their research.
Shannon: That’s awesome! It’s like they scouted you!
Kasia: I am a firm believe that when things are meant to be, they fall into place. Not meaning I don’t work my butt off, because I’m always working hard. My favorite saying is when preparation meets opportunity, that’s when things happen. I definitely had to go through the audition process, but I was prepared for it.
Shannon: So you had never thought to audition before?
Kasia: I went on a whim before, but it was a big mess of girls and I actually don’t even remember the audition.
Shannon: So, I watched the show and I think you’re incredible. It seems so effortless for you on camera and in front of the photographers and you can tell you’ve put a lot of work in to make it look effortless.
How has the show impacted your life since it has ended?
Kasia: I’ve definitely gained more exposure and it has taken my career to the next level. I get recognized pretty often, especially in NYC. I was really proud of how I came across on television. It’s been really positive for me because I was myself on the show and I didn’t feed into the drama in order to get screen time. People say that I have inspired them and now that I can work again, it’s helpful being a step ahead of where I was.
For more of Shannon’s interview with Kasia go to PLUS Model Magazine.