We decided to make the January 2009 issue of PLUS special by scouting for a new face from the Directory, someone we think will be making a mark in the industry! While there are many models in the PLUS Model Magazine Directory that we think are on the brink of great careers, we decided to feature Katie Reed, an aspiring model who is about to take the industry by storm. We will be following Katie’s progress throughout the year as she visits agencies, goes to casting calls and tries to reach her modeling goals.
Get to know Katie…
[Maddy] When did you decide to become a plus size model?
[Katie] When I finally realized that my body is beautiful the way it is and came to know that it’s not a tiny body that makes an editorial photo, it’s the attitude. Modeling is my passion and I didn’t want to ruin it by constantly trying to lose weight.
[Maddy] Tell me about the steps you took once you decided to become a model.
[Katie] Well, I was raised in Tucson, Arizona where modeling jobs were hard to come by. I was 14 years old, always on the internet, trying to find opportunities for fashion shows or contests going on. I didn’t know of any professional photographers so I had friends do mock shoots with me, which got me really comfortable in front of the camera and taught me which angles worked best for me. I read books to learn how the industry worked and studied the poses in magazines like W and Vogue. I practiced my walk a lot and would record myself so I could critique and improve it. My best friend, Julie, had done modeling before. She gave me advice and helped me get the ball rolling. I auditioned for America’s Next Top Model and made the semifinals, but unfortunately didn’t hear back after that. Last year I created an online modeling profile, which lead me to working with a lot of photographers, not to mention PLUS Model Magazine! Finally, in October, I made the move to LA and here I am.
[Maddy] How many times have you tested with photographers?
[Katie] Wow I’ve never counted, but over the past 5 years I’ve shot a little over 50 test shoots.
[Maddy] Did you ever consider trying to become a straight size model?
[Katie] Yes, in fact up until I was about 16, I was considered, by industry standards, a straight model. When my “woman body” showed up, I freaked out! I thought my dream was over unless I lost the inches. I was in a Weight Watchers meeting when I thought, “What am I doing here? I love my body!” In the end I got to keep my dream and my butt.
[Maddy] If you were asked to change your look (dye your hair red, cut it, etc.) would you?
[Katie] Absolutely, as a model you have to be versatile and willing to change your look constantly. I wouldn’t mind looking like a ‘Chia Pet’ for a while if that meant getting to model for an amazing designer.
[Maddy] What have you learned about the modeling industry so far?
[Katie] That no matter how passionate you are, how much experience you have, or how tall you may be, there’s always going to be someone telling you that you’re not good enough. Clothing is not designed to fit the model. The model is designed to fit the clothing. I want to change that.
[Maddy] Have you done any modeling jobs so far?
[Katie] Since being in LA, this has been my first job. My very first paid modeling job in Tucson was passing out samples of Charmin toilet paper. If you can imagine it was very glamorous!
[Maddy] Do you feel you have a strong portfolio at this point?
[Katie] Yes but I always want to improve.
[Maddy] When do you plan to visit the agencies?
[Katie] As soon as possible!
[Maddy] Have you prepared yourself mentally for what may happen?
[Katie] Yes, but I’m going to keep knocking on doors until they change their minds.
[Maddy] What are your ultimate goals in the modeling industry?
[Katie] To be signed with a major agency and have the opportunity to travel all over the world! I want to walk and shoot for high fashion designers that have never hired plus models before. I want to open up people’s eyes to the fact that a measurement or a number is not what makes a person beautiful.
Fun Facts about Katie:
Heels or flip flops: Flip flops
My favorite food is: The breakfast burrito from Viva in Tucson
Item I can’t leave home without: My Soft Lips Chapstick!
What style describes you best: Bohemian, glamorous, Punk, Girl next door: Definitely girl next door