2019: The Year In Review

A new year and a new decade is upon us. Once again we cross the threshold anticipating all that is yet to come. As I look back on 2019 I am grateful for so many things, one of which is the support I continue to receive from all of you. When I embarked on this journey almost eight years ago I couldn’t have fathomed where this outlet would take me so I want to thank everyone who has contributed along the way and continues to support me.

In 2019 I spoke to fashion’s new generation Marland Backus, Veronika Vilim, Kendall Visser, Jena Goldsack, Conor Fay, Kenya Kinski-Jones, and Allie Ayers all of whom are using their influence and platform to advocate for greater change, in addition to modeling legends Elise Crombez and Meghan Collison.

Here’s to another year!


Introducing Conor Fay

Newcomer Conor Fay’s smoldering yet accessible sensuality has already landed him in the pages of Hercules, CR Men, and V Man magazines. With an impending Calvin Klein campaign coming out in 2020 expect to see a lot more of the New York native. I caught up with Conor to chat about his hopes and dreams for the future, and the surprisingly best advice he’s received.

Tell us about your childhood.

I grew up in the suburbs on the edge of New York City in a town called New Rochelle. It was a good mix of suburban life and the city. Having space and some nature that you don’t get in the city as well as city landscapes was a good mix for me growing up.

Tell us about how were you discovered.

I was discovered in Bryant Park when I was home on summer break. I was waiting for a friend and watching the people play ping pong in a park when a guy came up to me. I was a bit put off at first but took his card and ended up meeting with a small agency that he put me in contact with.

What do you hope to get out of modeling?

Honestly, I hope to travel a bit and use the free time I’m lucky enough to have because of this job to work on the things that I really want to do in life.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Just from a business standpoint I guess it would be shooting a Calvin Klein campaign coming out next year. It’s gonna be the biggest job I’ve had so far. Other than that there are tons of small moments with people and traveling that are too numerous to count or remember. Those are really the one’s that have an impact.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

It’s funny because people reading this already don’t know very much about me so I could say anything, really. I’ll say that currently I have a mouse in my apartment that I’m trying to get rid of without having to kill it. But it’s starting to look like I’m going to have to.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome with modeling?

Overcoming my unease in front of people and cameras has been the biggest challenge. I’m more at ease having my picture taken now, but I still don’t have a good awareness of my body or presence, which is what I think the people you can’t take your eyes off in photos have.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Some of the best advice I’ve received is really horrible advice from people I don’t trust or think are phony. Hearing bad advice can be just as good. So lots of the bad advice I’ve been given in life—especially in the fashion world—has been just as beneficial as the good advice I’ve received and can’t remember right now.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future?

To write and direct a feature film that plays in a major film festival.

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In Conversation With Kenya Kinski-Jones

It’s hard to talk about Kenya Kinski-Jones without acknowledging her lineage. As the daughter of legendary music producer Quincy Jones and actress Nastassja Kinski, it would be easy for Kenya to coast by on her good looks and heritage. Yet the Loyola Marymount alumna is more likely to be found mucking out stables and working with nonprofit organizations to raise awareness around climate change. From her editorial debut in a Bruce Weber shoot for Vogue Spain, to campaigns for Stella McCartney and Calvin Klein, Kenya is forging her own identity in spite of any preconceived notions you may have about her.

Tell us about your childhood.

I grew up in Los Angeles. My passion and first love was horses. I spent most of my days—from elementary school to high school—at the barn from morning to night when I wasn’t in school. It taught me a great deal about responsibility, discipline, and work ethic, both as a sport, and also just purely in the connection with such a wonderful animal. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for horses; they are very much a part of who I am. I am incredibly grateful for that time in my life and I can’t wait to bring it back because I miss it so much it hurts!

You were discovered by legendary photographer Bruce Weber. Tell us about what that experience was like.

I was with my mother and we went to visit Bruce on set in Los Angeles at the beach. My Mom introduced me to him and in between his shoot we spent a few minutes taking a couple of shots together in an alley in Venice. A few months later, I booked my first ever published shoot which was for Vogue Spain shot by Bruce. It was a day in Montauk and I was just so happy to be a part of it. The shoot was with a group of models that I love like Magdalena Frackowiak. Bruce and the entire team were so warm and kind. The way he shot flowed very naturally. It felt like we were just having a day by the water and in a barn that just happened to be a shoot. Those are still some of my favorite shots.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career?

Being a part of the ensemble for the Stella McCartney POP fragrance is one of my most memorable career moments. I cannot emphasize how thoroughly I idolize and respect Stella; for what she has not only done for fashion but also for our planet. She is truly the pioneer of sustainable fashion—and she does it in a way that has been all her own—years before it was even a thought in fashion. She paved the way for a place where fashion and sustainability can meet with integrity and style. To work with her in any way was a dream for me including the girls Amandla, Lola, and Grimes who were the coolest girls I’ve ever met.

Talk to us about your relationship with Chanel.

Chanel is a brand that I respect and admire very much. The house is truly in a league of its own. Chanel is absolutely classic while also being unexpected and contemporary as well. There’s an element of sophistication and simultaneous elements of surprise that you can’t quite put your finger on. Having a relationship with the house is an honor and so much fun.

As the daughter of two well-known parents what was it like trying to establish your own identity?

I think establishing my own identity was the same as any other person. I’ve never felt any kind of pressure from my parents in the process of unraveling who I am in any way.

You’re actively involved with numerous charities. Tell us about how you decided what charities to get involved with and your role with them. 

As climate change has become—and has been for quite some time—the most urgent crisis that we as humans are facing, I am focusing on learning as much as I can and working on making sustainable changes in my own life as best as I can. I think we begin to make a change as individuals and then as a whole when we begin by educating ourselves truly about what is going on. When we know what’s happening then you care, and when you care you take action. As of this year I have been engaging with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC )which is an absolutely incredible organization that was formed by lawyers to help protect our planet and protect our health in regard to clean air and water, as well as protecting wildlife, and land. I am also the ambassador of Climate Futures which is an app that creates a low carbon economy from which people and businesses can directly offset their carbon footprints.

What is the most common misconception about yourself you run up against?

People make assumptions about how I’ve lived my life and what it must have been like, and it’s always very far from the truth. People make very strong assumptions when they have no idea. Not everything is as it seems. People make assumptions sometimes which can suck, and I think we all go through that. When you just keep doing you and standing in your truth, hopefully people can see that their initial assumption wasn’t so accurate.

You were an English major. What one book has had a lasting impact on you and why?

I would say what’s had a lasting impact on me in regard to literature is actually a poem which is William Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality. I studied it in an English literature course and we were assigned to interpret it. I remember turning in responses to my professor and over and over he told me I wasn’t quite getting the meaning of it. I remember finally one day I understood it and I had such an emotional response. The way he writes about losing your childlike view of the world—how the world glows when you’re small and then it changes—it broke my heart. I’d never seen those emotions discussed before, let alone by the genius of Wordsworth. I worked tirelessly to understand that piece of literature after not getting it for so long so when the meaning of it came together and crashed down on me, it really had an impact on me. Not to be so dramatic—but yes—that was very impactful.

What can we expect to see from you next?

We shall see!

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Introducing Jena Goldsack

Jena Goldsack’s classic beauty—a delicate mix of both approachable and yet desirable—is the stuff of designer’s dreams. Jena’s portfolio is chock full of editorials for fashion bibles Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar in addition to campaigns for Iceberg and Versus Versace. I caught up with the Cornwall born beauty as she talked about modeling and her involvement with Sea Life Trust, a cause close to her heart.

Tell us about your childhood growing up in Cornwall.

I grew up on the beach, quite literally. We lived in a house at the back of my local beach until I turned five where the first thing I would see in the morning—if we were lucky that day—were dolphins on the horizon. We then moved just up the hill to a bigger place where I would sometimes get up early to go fishing with my dad. I was quite a tomboy—as there was only one other girl in my class—and my parents already had two daughters. Being the youngest I became a bit of a son to my dad.

How were you discovered?

I was discovered in Falmouth by another model who was quite well known in the 90s. I didn’t really take her seriously until a few months later when I sent my photos to an agency in London who I’m still with.

If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing?

I honestly don’t know—I’ve never been a planner— but I hope something to do with the ocean. I studied Ocean Science for a while online, and I studied nutrition and how it helps with auto immune diseases, so I have a couple options. I studied Media and Journalism in school too so I suppose I’ve always had a creative side.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

For me the locations are the most memorable. Shooting in the desert at sunrise in Oman for Condé Nast was incredible and the most peaceful thing in the world. I was so taken aback and happy to be there. Also, when I was shooting on a glacier in Iceland I heard and saw the icebergs flipping over. The colors were insane and it sounded like a thunder storm.

Environmentalism is a cause close to your heart. How have you leveraged social media to raise awareness around the cause?

I probably annoy some people on social media with what I share but someone’s gotta do it. Someone messaged me telling me I share “liberal propaganda,” but I don’t see how sharing facts about our environment and the climate is wrong, and for the most part people thank me for sharing useful information. I don’t want to feel like I’m forcefully guilt tripping my followers, so some days I post about it and some days I don’t.

What do you think is the defining social issue of our time?

I don’t think there is just one defining issue right now, there are a ton. In many ways we have stepped forward with things like the #MeToo movement, but in other ways it feels like we have taken a step back and become polarized with our own opinions about things like race and gender equality.

Talk to us about your involvement with Sea Life Trust.

I could talk all day about the Sea Life Trust. It is a charity where they have aquariums all over the world. I grew up by the Cornish Sea Sanctuary and earlier this year they helped move two beluga whales from an aquarium in China—where they had been captive for 11 years—and flew them to Iceland to be released into the worlds first sea pen sanctuary next year. As these whales have spent their whole lives in captivity it is not possible to ever release them into the wild. They depend too much on human interaction so Sea Life Trust came up with the idea to recreate their own environment while still being looked after. I went to Iceland last weekend to raise awareness about this and we shot a story about it. These whales love humans so much they’re like dogs—it was extremely surreal—they love their tongues being rubbed and they come out the water as much as they can to get a scratch or a rub from you. They’re literally gentle giants. One of the whale’s trainers at the sanctuary moved from Shanghai to this tiny island in Iceland just to be with his whale that he has this deep connection with. I witnessed them talk to each other, and blow water at each. There will be enough room for 12 belugas in the sea pen so hopefully other aquariums will follow suit once they’ve seen that this has been a success.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Again, I’m no planner but I probably should be. I’d love to be involved with more charity work—preferably something to do with the ocean. It’s a shame I can’t be a mermaid. I just completed my diving course so I’d like to be cleaning up the ocean like I’ve seen these divers start to do. Also, coral planting is on my list—they have coral gardens where you can help the dying reefs come back to life. Hopefully I’ll still be a model in five years—thank God for my baby face—as modelling has helped me fund my side projects, which is great.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I used to clean caravans and I won’t ever let myself forget it. A caravan park is like a trailer park for you Americans—we all come from somewhere.

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Christina Kruse: Base And Balance

German born multi-disciplinary artist Christina Kruse’s Bauhaus influenced solo exhibit closed last week at New York’s Helwaser Gallery. By integrating core elements of the Bauhaus movement, Kruse lays bare any pretense and strips away all sentiment leaving the observer with an inherent beauty in her rational approach to the subject matter. The sculptures on display offer a cohesive body of work melding wood, bronze, and brass sculptures informed by Schlemmer, referencing the lines of human bodies.

Presented in loose groupings, her sculptures punctuate the gallery against a backdrop of her renderings in pencil and chalk. These drawings—almost diagrammatic—serve to complement, rather than compete, with the architectural sculptures on display.

“The drawings to me represent the issues in each sculpture that I need to contain. Some of them are super colorful, for starters, and a little mad—everything flows, everything is all over the place. And those are the matters that needs to be contained and organized in order to create an upright, standing, solid structure. They’re basically the issues to fix.”

This cohesive body of work is a natural evolution of her photographic and collage work over the past two years. Kruse, by introducing another dimension to her oeuvre, whets her audience’s appetite for what this promising artist has to offer next.