Friday, April 5, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Ciara Turner

San Diego native Ciara Turner popped up on Inoubliable Model Army's radar during the Spring/Summer 2013 season when she opened for New York designer Mandy Coon. Fast-forward six months on and Inoubliable Model Army found itself in Turner's midst at the Fashion Palette fittings in the lead up to Mercedes Benz Australian Fashion Week. Eighteen year old Turner is blessed with the kind of glowing All-American good looks and an athletic 180 cm frame with runner's legs that seem more suited to stalking the runway. Turner's strikingly chiselled jawline, glacial blue/green eyes, and rebel without a cause demeanour in front of the camera's lens, make for an alluring combination that is the very antithesis of preconceived notions of All-American beauty. Turner's unconventional beauty and exaggerated features are perfectly in sync with what Inoubliable Model Army searches for amongst the sea of bland prettiness in high rotation each show season. Don't let looks deceive you though for behind Turner's stern faced poker expression is a distinctly laid-back California vibe, a friendliness, and openness to those around her which will surely win her plenty of supporters as she navigates modelling's minefield. Turner caught up recently with Inoubliable Model Army to chat about her love of Sydney, the diversity of American beauty, and making chase around Pottery Barn.

Ciara Turner
Photographer - William Lords
Image courtesy of Priscillas Model Management

Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Ciara, thank you for taking the time in between castings for Mercedes Benz Australian Fashion Week to chat with Inoubliable Model Army. You were one of the standout faces at the Fashion Palette casting where we met two weeks ago in Sydney! Can you fill us in on a little bit of your background?
CT: No worries! Right now, I'm 18 soon to be 19 in June. I was born in Colorado but moved right away to California, which is where I grew up. I was a runner growing up and studied hard throughout school to get into a great college. Things changed however really late in my senior year, I started modelling last year in June.

IMA: How were you initially discovered and what was your initial reaction to being scouted?
CT: I was running around the mall in San Diego with my friends wearing baggy sweatpants, ugg boots, and a colourful long sleeve shirt (I was really fashionable back then) and Butterfly from DNA Model Management spotted me and chased after me into Pottery Barn. I had thought about modelling growing up after being scouted a few times, but my mom wanted me to wait until I got older. I was really excited about it but also wasn't sure because I was supposed to be going to college in a few months.

IMA: You debuted at the Spring/Summer 2013 collections in New York, opening for Mandy Coon and walking for Suno, Hache and Veronica Beard. Do you enjoy the runway element of modelling and was it daunting to open a show during your debut season?
CT: I absolutely love runway. It is such an adrenaline rush and I really enjoy it. It was definitely a little frightening opening for Mandy Coon but also such a great experience and I am really grateful for having had the opportunity.

Mandy Coon - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Suno - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Hache - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Unknown
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IMA: You're represented by DNA in New York and have been based in Sydney, Australia since January this year where you are placed with Priscillas Model Management. How has the transition been coming from New York to Sydney, and what have been the highlights of your stay so far in Australia?
CT: Sydney is a lot more relaxed and reminds me of home in San Diego. It's nice to get a little break from the craziness of New York. I have really loved being in Sydney. It's been so much fun to travel around and to meet new people! I think a highlight for me that will help me most with my career is the aspect of bringing my personality out. I was really shy when I started modelling and the team at Priscillas have been amazing at helping me to come out of my shell.

IMA: There has been a recent proliferation of American models including Juliana Schurig, Athena Wilson, Wylie Hays, and Ondria Hardin, whose unconventional beauty is redefining ideals of American beauty. What is your definition of American beauty?
CT: I think people are moving away from the typical beautiful face and steering more towards a different kind of beauty, faces and a type of beauty that haven't been seen before. America is so diverse with a mix of cultures, so I don't think there's really one type of beauty that is prevalent. Which is why I think the more "unconventional beauty" is starting to emerge because America is a real melting pot of people from varying cultural backgrounds.

IMA: Your high cheekbones, square jawline, and compelling mix of androgyny and in your face beauty immediately caught IMA's attention at Fashion Palette. What is your ethnic background and did you have an awareness of being beautiful growing up?
CT: I am almost entirely German. I was a really quirky child and I wasn't really into beauty. I was just focused on school and sports (track and cross country) and having a good time with friends.

IMA: You recently appeared in the Fashion Palette show in Sydney which showcases established and Up & coming Australian designers. How was the experience walking in the show and what are your general impressions of Australian fashion?
CT: I thought it was great that new Australian designers got to show their work at such huge show. It was neat to be a part of it. I like Australian fashion, it reminds me of a mix of home in San Diego and NYC. It's beach meets city.

Easy Chic
Image courtesy of Priscillas Model Management

Beach Meets City
Image courtesy of Priscillas Model Management

IMA: You're portfolio of editorial work includes test shoots with William Lords and Anthony Friend, as well as appearances in Volt, Jump, Curve, and Girlfriend. How do you approach editorial shoots and do you feel that modelling ability is innate or does it rely more on practise and on the job rope learning?
CT: When I get to a shoot, I look at the references and ask the photographer what kind of vibe they are looking for. Every photographer has something new to teach and I learn something new at every shoot I go to. I definitely think the more you do and practise, the better you get!

IMA: Each show season brings a deluge of newcomers hoping to break through to modelling's elite ranks. With your return to the international runway circuit coming up in September, what will your approach be heading into castings?
CT: I really hope so! I think at the Spring/Summer 2014 shows I need to stand out and show casting directors that I really want it. There are so many girls every season and to be noticed you have to have a cool personality and shine about you, otherwise you blend into the background.

IMA: What are the biggest personal challenges you face as a model and how have you evolved as a result of your exposure to the industry?
CT: I think the hardest thing is to be away for so long without seeing family. Personally I have become more confident and mature. I graduated and two days later flew to New York. It was such a big change so fast and I think it has been really good for me in terms of figuring out who I am.

IMA: How would you describe your street style and which three designers do you feel best represent your personal style?
CT: I'm still developing my sense of style but I have been trying to be a bit more edgy but still comfortable. I love Saint Laurent (especially Hedi Slimane's debut collection), Alexander Wang, and Ralph Lauren.

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
CT: Hmmm... I think my long legs help me to stand out. But more so me as a person. I have a big heart and genuinely care about the people around me.

Legs for Days
Photographer - Yuki & Joseph Paradiso
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Photographer - William Lords
Image courtesy of Priscillas Model Management

Volt Online
Photographer - Barrett Sweger
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Special thanks to Ebonie Ray and Courtney Tracey at Priscillas Model Management. For more information on Priscillas, please log onto

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