I started modeling just as a hobby. I was about 13 years old and it was my father that suggested I go into modeling. I have always been on stage singing and acting since the age of six doing local community theater and singing at nursing homes for one of my former voice teachers. Everyone used to tell me how I would light up the stage and had great presence . I started doing photo-shoots with local photographers in somerville, and then progressed on to other photograpers. Once my braces came off at 14 I went to Barbizon to learn modeling. I was invited to go on the Barbizon Passport to Discovery Cruise which is a big competition and includes runnway, talent, jeans, swimsuit, cold read and commercial competitions. The cruise has many representatives from different agencies and once all the competitions are over, the agencies that are interested in you send you notification for callbacks. I did really well in the competitions I placed top five in my age category for the Jeans and the Swimsuit competition. I signed with one of the agencies from NJ called Drakebook.
I came to do some work with Ilona Szwarc and The American Girl Doll project by my mother and I responding to a casting we saw on-line for a photographer doing a series about the American Girl Look-A-like Dolls. We did a photo-shoot that took place in my house. Ilona Szwarc is a photographer from Poland and she had moved to New York a few years ago. She was doing a project on American Girl Dolls. She was fascinated with the dolls which are made to look like the owner. A looks-like-me doll. My mom helped me submit my photos for the project with my personal story about myself, that I have a language based learning disability and even though I perform and sing and model, socially I have a very hard time when it comes to socializing amongst my peers so I do not have many friends. I was selected for the project and she came to my house and took pictures of myself with my doll. It was amazing. I was standing by my radiator, above me was a picture of my grandparents, and I was holding my doll. She noticed that I played with the dolls eyes a bit, and then told me to do the same thing over again. That was the image that was selected for the world press photo of the year award. The selection was in Amsterdam and it was amazing to see the judges comment on my image. It won 3rd place out of 100,000 photso submitted!
How do you find pojects and photographers to work with?
So far a lot of my modeling has been either through various networking sites like Facebook and Model Mayhem. As I have been getting more experience, as more and more photographers have been contacting me for shoots.
Who do you look up to in modeling?
I like Tyra Banks because she is a good business woman and I like heidi Kloom because she worked so hard to get where she is today.
What are some of the challenges getting into modeling?
The biggest challenge I had was mostly my height. Agencies are concerned about height and in my age range it calls for taller girls so I wish I was a little taller. It’s much harder to get represented without the height they require. It also seems like my age range, 15-17 is very hard to get work, a lot of the castings are for 18 and over.
Where do you find your inspiration for modeling?
I like doing my hair and makeup. I love looking beautiful! I especially like the comments on the photos when people say things like … “Kayla you look so grown up!” It is gratifying to do something creative and get a lot of good response from it. What inspires me as a model is seeing how creative everyone involved is. It is amazing how the Hair, Makeup Artists and photographers come up with so many different types of inspirations.