Today for Model Monday, I’m doing a Model Spotlight. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some models who have blown me away with their hearts, souls, and personalities, even more than their physical beauty. In fact, the above black & white photo of her inspired me to create a Model Spotlight. It's a Selfie that she took on her birthday this year. I gasped when I came across it on Instagram, because, well, it's beautiful, and it's so 'Kim'. She hashtagged "birthday suit" in her caption, which I loved, because of its nod to not only her birthday, but to naked truths, as well. Her entire caption is as beautiful as her photo.
Kim and I met at a runway show booking in 2008, and the minute we started talking to each other, I didn’t want to stop. She is naturally warm, friendly, and down-to-earth. Always smiling and quick to laugh. Truly happy with herself and her life. When you read her answers to the questions that follow, you will understand why.
I have come up with ten questions for Kim, the same ten questions I will ask models in upcoming, subsequent Model Spotlights. My intention is for beginner models (and anyone else who’s simply interested) to get to know models who have had successful careers.
Thank you, Kim! Love you lots.
1.What agency / agencies are you with, where are you based, and how long have you been a model?
Select Model Management
Based in Chicago
I’ve been modeling for 22 years
2. How did you get into modeling, and at what age?
My sister’s friend was a plus size model before it was commonplace and thought I would be perfect. I worked in corporate America at the time but at her urging, I was willing to explore modeling. One day I traveled with her to Milwaukee just to meet some of the other models and see a show. I was backstage meeting everyone and one of the dressers thought I was one of the models. I let her know I was just there to watch. It turned out that one of the models was stuck in traffic and happened to be the same size as me! They asked if I would mind doing her first look. I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity and I was surprisingly very comfortable doing it. They just told me to smile and walk with confidence. The other model was able to finish the show, but after the show, the producer told me I was a natural and to get with an agency ASAP. Everything took off really fast. I signed with the agency that my sister’s friend was with. I thought I would work my full time job and just do fashion shows on the weekend. At my first official runway job, I met a Fashion Editor for a plus size magazine. She ended up calling the agency the following Monday and booking me for my first print job with the magazine. She also connected me with all of the top agencies in New York and I ended up signing with Wilhelmina. I eventually had to quit my job to pursue modeling full time.
3. What were you like as a child between 5-9 yrs old?
I am the youngest of five children. I looked up to my brothers and sisters and wanted to do all of the things they were doing, but I also did a good job of entertaining myself. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, so the simple things in life made me happy...family trips, barbecues and picnics, roller skating, bike riding, jumping Double Dutch, playing kickball, playing with my Barbie dolls and going to the candy store (it’s a wonder I still have teeth😬). My brother was a DJ and I would spend hours on end making up dance routines to his mixes and imagining myself on stage. I honestly had a happy and carefree childhood. We didn’t have as much to worry about as children do today.
4. What’s your favorite photo shoot or modeling booking you’ve ever had?
Every shoot is a blessing and a “mommy break” for me, but if I had to pick one, I would say my booking in Hawaii. It was a three day shoot and it felt nothing like work. We were literally in paradise and that was the only booking where my husband ever accompanied me. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really great clients and crews and we had such a great time and captured some beautiful images.
5. What would you and your agency say are your best assets as a model?
I would say it is probably my smile, quiet confidence and that I have a classic look and style. Also, even though they aren’t physical attributes, I think that my genuineness, humility, professionalism and dependability have all played a part in my success and longevity in the industry.
6. What would you say are your best assets as a human?
It’s pretty parallel to those as a model. I am the same person on and off set. I feel that I am diplomatic and kindhearted. I have my parents to thank for those traits.
7. What are your favorite kinds of modeling jobs?
I love location shoots, but those are few and far between nowadays. Hopefully we can get back to those one day.
8. What is your favorite thing about being a model?
It’s truly a happy space. I’ve met so many great people and I love how everyone comes together to create something beautiful. I also like being my own boss. Being a model has afforded me the ability to stay home and raise my kids but contribute financially. Also, now that they are older I have the flexibility to have another job and still model.
9. What do you think the general public misunderstands about models?
I think they think we get paid tons of money to just sit and look pretty. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Just to get into the business you have to be extremely goal driven, disciplined and determined. When you finally land a job it can be very taxing physically and mentally. You are doing your best to give the client what they want and it’s not some mindless task.
Also people think models are superficial, spacey and think everything revolves around us. Most models are really down to earth, have brilliant minds and are active in their communities and various causes. As I stated previously, some of us have other jobs and responsibilities to juggle as well.
10. What advice would you like to give beginner models, or people who aspire to become a model?
Do your research! There is a wealth of information and inspiration that wasn’t available when I started modeling. Go to open calls and absorb all of the free advice you can get. There is room and space for everyone. The industry is more inclusive than it’s ever been. Don’t compare yourself with others and get too caught up with what everyone else is doing. I know it’s hard not to (social media is a gift and a curse), but when you truly focus on yourself and doing the work, good things automatically come your way.
**find Kim on IG @kimhurley_sneed