Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Caitlin Holleran

The Fall/Winter 2013 runways are being assaulted by a new battalion of American beauties whose aesthetic is a far cry from the blonde hair blue-eyed Christie Brinkley look of the Eileen Ford era. The current wave of American catwalkers trouncing the Brazilians, Russians and Danes, are a hybrid mix of cultures which are a veritable representation of the diversity of the American populace. Sixteen year old Californian Caitlin Holleran is one of the compelling newcomers whose hard to place looks are finding relevance amidst an endless parade of runway roadkill. Holleran made a stunning impact during her international catwalk debut last season, appearing as a worldwide exclusive for Hedi Slimane's debut Saint Laurent collection. All eyes honed in on Holleran as she eclipsed her fellow catwalkers with her beguiling runway presence and unflinching takes no prisoners glare. Holleran's amazonian 175 cm frame and her broad nose, prominent cheekbones, haunting grey blue eyes, and attenuated curled upper lip call to mind a young Carmen Kass. Holleran is certainly an anomaly in an industry which is quick to categorise its brood according to ethnicity. Holleran's blend of Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, and Irish ancestry leaves a visual imprint which lingers in the memory long after the final runway walk through. Holleran took time out in between appearances for Preen, Jenny Packham, Louise Goldin, Jasper Conran, and MM6 Maison Martin Margiela at the Fall/Winter 2013 collections to chat exclusively to Inoubliable Model Army about landing that Saint Laurent exclusive, modelling's irresistible pull, and the beauty of imperfection.

Caitlin Holleran
Photographer - William Lords
Image courtesy of Cast Images

Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Catilin, thank you for taking the time to chat to Inoubliable Model Army. You're the newcomer who is on every influential casting director's radar this season courtesy of your worldwide Saint Laurent exclusive last season. How are you enjoying your debut season in New York and London so far?
CH: I loved being in New York! It's a big change from California but very easy to figure out, unlike London (which is where I am now)?

Inoubliable Model Army: Fill us in on a bit of your background. How old are you, where in the United States are you from, and how did you fall into modelling?
CH: I'm sixteen years old, I was born in Washington state and raised in Sacramento, California. I got started in modelling after I begged my mom to take me to an open call - she finally gave in and took me, which is how I met my mother agent, Cast Images.

Inoubliable Model Army: You were definitely a standout at the Spring/Summer 2013 Saint Laurent show. What was involved in the casting process and what was your immediate reaction when you found out that you had been confirmed? How was the actual experience of walking in the show and were you able to interact much with Hedi Slimane?
CH: For me, the casting process was my mother agency making many videos of me walking in a swimsuit and heels! Sometimes I even went in two times a week to make a new video. Actually being confirmed was amazing. I couldn't believe it until the show was over. Walking in the show was like something out of a dream, it was so much fun. Once I got to Paris, I got to see Hedi a lot during the whole process. He was at the castings, fittings, rehearsals, and of course the show, plus he was taking behind the scenes pictures. He was very nice and walked us through everything that would be happening while we were in Paris.

Inoubliable Model Army: There has been a great deal of talk recently about the power that casting directors wield with regards to exclusives, which have the ability to make or break a new model's career. What are your thoughts on exclusives and do you feel that they have an overall positive or detrimental effect on the industry?
CH: I think it can be both positive or negative... it all depends on who the designer is, what point you are in your career, and what type of exclusive it is. It truly can make or break your career.

Saint Laurent Exclusive - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Monica Feudi
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MM6 Maison Martin Margiela - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Amanda de Simone
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Preen - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Jenny Packham - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Amanda de Simone
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Inoubliable Model Army: You are part of a new wave of American girls including Juliana Schurig, Martha Hunt, Athena Wilson, Courtney Shallcross, Dana Taylor, and Louis Parker who are helping to redefine concepts of American beauty. What are your ethnic origins and what is your definition of modern American beauty?
CH: I am Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, and Irish. I think it's hard to define American beauty because we all originate from so many different places. I would say confidence and personality define American Beauty, it's what's on the inside that counts.

Inoubliable Model Army: The show season can be pretty daunting especially for newcomers. How have you been coping with the punishing schedule of castings, round the clock fittings and shows?
CH: I've been trying to get plenty of sleep and pack snacks to eat on the go.

Inoubliable Model Army: Every show season brings a staggering number of new faces looking to breakthrough to the elite level of modelling. What do you feel are the most important factors for wowing casting directors and designers?
CH: Your personality and attitude. You have to be easy to talk to and be positive.

Inoubliable Model Army: What drew you to modelling initially and are there any preconceived notions about the industry which have been dispelled since you have been modelling?
CH: I was drawn to modelling because of the excitement of being part of the fashion industry, which I've always loved. You get told it's Go! Go! Go! And that it will be such a change from your everyday life. All of the excitement appealed to me. I did think it would be more glamourous than it is... so much happens behind the scenes that it definitely isn't what I expected. Many parts of the model life are definitely NOT glamorous but I enjoy it all anyways.

Photographer - Alex Covo
Image courtesy of Cast Images

German Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Greg Kadel
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Tantalum Magazine - Unknown
Photographer - Billy Winters
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Inoubliable Model Army: Has your personal style changed much in the time that you have been modelling and which designers are you currently obsessed about?
CH: My personal style has changed. I feel like my style is more dressy casual with lots of black (like most models) and definitely more expensive. The designers/labels that I'm currently obsessed with are Burberry (no surprise since it's been my favourite since I was little), Rag & Bone, and Helmut Lang.

Inoubliable Model Army: What has been your most memorable modelling experience to date?
CH: Walking for Hedi Slimane by far!!

Inoubliable Model Army: Models often have to develop a bullet proof confidence to deal with the physical scrutiny, criticism and sometimes rejection that comes with the territory. How do you handle this aspect of your profession and how have you evolved as an individual as a result?
CH: Rejection is a huge part of this business as you can go on 15 to 20 castings a day and you may not book any jobs. You have to learn not to get your hopes up so you don't get disappointed. I think this side of my profession has shown me part of the real world and helped me mature faster.

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
CH: That's not a very easy question... I'm still young and working on finding out who I am. What I've found is that I'm not perfect, and I love that about me. Life is too short to try to live up to other people's expectations. I try to be optimistic and just be my dorky and silly self :-)

American Beauty
Photographer - Unknown
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Photographer - Michael Beauplet
Image courtesy of Cast Images

Photographer - Unknown
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Special thanks to Amber Collins at Cast Images, and to DNA Model Management. For more information on Cast Images and DNA Models, please log onto and

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