Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Dana Taylor

American newcomer Dana Taylor is a study in contrasts with dark brooding hazel eyes and brown hair offset by an immaculate dewy complexion. Beneath Taylor's simmering sensuality is an intriguing elegance and sophistication that lend her a beguiling high fashion edge. With a 178 cm athletic physique, high sculpted cheek bones, and a tempestuous pout, it would be all too easy to categorise Taylor as a model more suited to commercial clients in the ilk of Victoria's Secret. However with IMG Model Management steering the course, Taylor's emergence as a Calvin Klein exclusive during the Fall/Winter 2013 season is not so surprising. Taylor's ensuing spectacular runway appearances at Erdem, Antonio Berardi, Byblos, Dolce & Gabbana, Aquilano Rimondi, and Neil Barrett amongst others, landed Taylor squarely on Inoubliable Model Army's Top 10 Newcomers list for Fall/Winter 2013. Taylor took a breather recently to give Inoubliable Model Army the lowdown on the realities of modelling, her reputation as a "little devil", and her thrilling turn on the runway for Calvin Klein.

Dana Taylor
Photographer - Andrea Bowman Carter
Source - thefashionspot.com


Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Dana, thank you for taking time out to chat with Inoubliable Model Army. Congratulations on landing a Calvin Klein exclusive at the Fall/Winter 2013 collections! Would you mind filling us in on a bit of your back story?
DT: I was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago Illinois, called Downers Grove and have lived there my whole life. I'm 19 years old and have been modelling for 4 years. My dad is a photographer so when I was young I always saw the beautiful pictures of all the people he had shot. After observing this process, I started having my friends over and doing runway shows up and down our driveway and having photo shoots at our house. From the beginning of my life I was always around cameras. I always begged my dad to let me model and one day when I had a day off from school he surprised me with printed pictures and said "Get ready, I'm going to bring you to an open call." We went to two different open calls in Chicago. The agency I really clicked with was Ford Models, and they offered me a contract right on the spot. Two years later when I was 17, my mother and I travelled to New York to meet with several agencies. IMG impressed us and immediately felt like family. It was an easy choice to go with IMG Worldwide.

Inoubliable Model Army: Your look is somewhat ethnically ambiguous and is reminiscent to the nineties supermodel Claudia Mason. What are your ethnic roots exactly?
DT: My background is mostly Lithuanian. My mom is 100% Lithuanian and my dad is a mix of Lithuanian, German and so the story is told some sort of Canadian Plains Indian.

Inoubliable Model Army: Seven girls were featured as Calvin Klein exclusives this season. What was involved in the casting process with casting directors Maida & Rami, and what was your initial reaction when you found out that you had been confirmed?
DT: Words can't describe how I felt! I was beyond thrilled, it was like a dream come true!

Calvin Klein Exclusive - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Filippo Fior
Source - style.com

Antonio Berardi - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Filippo Fior
Source - style.com

Dolce & Gabbana - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Filippo Fior
Source - style.com


Inoubliable Model Army: There has been a sudden rash of American models killing it on the Fall/Winter 2013 runways. Yourself, Juliana Schurig, Athena Wilson, Caitlin Holleran, Jasmine Tookes, and Martha Hunt are reshaping concepts of modern American beauty. How does it feel to be part of such a definitive group of women who are redefining modelling's landscape and what is your personal take on modern day American beauty?
DT: To even be considered as a person amongst a group of models who are challenging perceptions of American beauty is quite an honour. I guess a fundamental part of American beauty is just being kind of easy and carefree. We dress casual and comfy, sometimes sporty with a fresh natural look. And yes, we do like to dress up too. I feel that the new generation of American beauty is about being confident, together young women who don't need to wear lots of make up and are natural. Natural is in now!

Inoubliable Model Army: Prior to modelling you were a competitive synchronised ice skater. Have you been able to apply the discipline and competitive nature of elite sport training into your modelling endeavours?
DT: Ice skating was so much fun. I really do believe ice skating has helped me with modelling in more ways than one. With ice skating you learn a lot about your body and the way it moves and what it looks like in motion. That has helped me immensely on photo shots and commercials. Also elite sport training requires discipline which is important as a model in terms of being on time, working hard for the client, and being a team player.

Inoubliable Model Army: The show season can be particularly confronting for newcomers. A big aspect of getting through the shows is the support garnered from your fellow models. Did you find the time to bond with any other newcomers this season and what have been your most memorable backstage moments of the season?
DT: This season I met so many amazing models and I have become very good friends with many of them. As I travelled through Europe, I kept running into the same girls. It's great to have someone whom you can just relax and have fun with, and who knows how much work this industry requires. My most memorable backstage moment would be at the Calvin Klein show. We were all getting ready in the line-up and I looked around and realised, wow, this is real and I'm surrounded by some very famous and nice top models! Hilary Rhoda, Carolyn Murphy, Karlie Kloss, Iselin Steiro, Elise Crombez, Suvi Koponen, and more! I thought to myself "How did I get the honour of walking in NYC's biggest show with these amazing models?" I felt great at that moment and so happy to be to be a part of it all.

Dana Taylor
Photographer - Andrea Bowman Carter
Source - thefashionspot.com

Dana Taylor
Photographer - Unknown
Source - models.com


Inoubliable Model Army: Every show season brings a deluge of newcomers looking to get the nod of approval at castings. What do you feel are the most vital factors for wowing casting directors and designers during the casting process?
DT: At every casting I have ever walked into I have just been myself. I feel I am a very confident and outgoing person so I just let them see that in me. I think personality is the biggest thing to show at castings as well as confidence. All models are naturally beautiful, so let your inner beauty come out as well!

Inoubliable Model Army: You are represented by modelling powerhouse IMG who have a reputation for creating high fashion opportunities for models who may have been previously overlooked by the industry. How instrumental has IMG been in your high fashion crossover?
DT: IMG has been wonderful and supportive in helping to launch my career. They have worked very hard with me in all aspects of learning about the industry and in promoting me. IMG is like family to me and I feel honoured to be part of their team. Thanks IMG!

Inoubliable Model Army: There has been a trend towards models in their twenties hitting their stride professionally later in life. Do you feel that being in your late teens gives you an edge in handling the pressures of modelling, and what are your thoughts on the CFDA's ban on models under the age of 16 on fashion's runways?
DT: I feel maturity comes with age. Being a little older these days does help you achieve more in modelling. I believe you need to travel and experience the world of modelling to gain the experience needed for this business. Then you are able to present yourself better armed with greater knowledge. My thoughts on the CFDA's ban is if a girl is under 16 but has the confidence and a supportive team behind her and wants to do runway, let her go for it!

Dana Taylor
Photographer - Andrea Bowman Carter
Source - thefashionspot.com

Dana Taylor
Photographer - Andrea Bowman Carter
Source - thefashionspot.com


Inoubliable Model Army: What are the biggest misconceptions about models and the industry that you would like to set straight?
DT: I think lots of people think modelling is easy and effortless and some don't consider it a real career. Modelling is a career and it is a great one at that. It'a a real job and we do put lots of time and hard work into it. Models have to work long hours to bring ourselves to the top just like any other professional job. We have to eat healthy all the time and exercise a lot to stay in top shape. We have to juggle castings, fittings, go sees and long days with lots of travelling. It is a lot of work but it is great and I love it. It's a great career!

Inoubliable Model Army: How does it feel to have made it onto Inoubliable Model Army's Top 10 Newcomers list for Fall/Winter 2013?
DT: It is so exciting for me to be featured in the Top 10. I'm beyond happy!!! It feels great to be recognised for all my hard work that I've put in and that my efforts have paid off! Thanks Inoubliable Model Army!!!

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
DT: What makes me unforgettable? I think my look is very unique and that it makes me someone to remember. On top of that try forgetting my personality! I'm a fun, confident, positive person who is up for any challenge big or small that comes my way. I am very outgoing and my parents would call me "a little daredevil". You should see me snowboarding or wake boarding. I'm the one all of my friends come to to confide in when they need someone to talk to or need a shoulder to cry on. I have a kind heart and I believe I have as much inner beauty as I do exterior beauty.

Dana Taylor
Image courtesy of IMG Model Management
Source - models.com

Dana Taylor
Comp Card courtesy of IMG Model Management
Source - thefashionspot.com

Special thanks to Lisa Di Ruocco at IMG Models New York. For more information on IMG Model Management, please log onto www.imgmodels.com

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