|Photographer - Amber Von Cure / Hair - Imari Jamison / Cloth - Linda Tijerina / Make Up - Amanda Gleason|
Melvi - What are the things that's keeping you busy these days?
Kat - When I'm not teaching home school, I am involved in writing for a nonprofit homeless project called “The Stone Pillow” (founded by artist Seth Camm) and of course creating as much art as possible in my free time.
Melvi - Would you like to share with us a few things about your modeling career?
Kat - For me, modeling worked in two parts : The commercial end was definitely work, definitely jobs and in no way define who I am as a human being or artist. The creative art photography end in which I wasn't paid but was able to express myself as an artist were the only real reason I even set foot into the industry. That's where my passion was, the blood, sweat and tears. I've modeled for too many companies (national and global) to mention them all, but I can list some of the "bigger" gigs and publications ; MAXIM Magazine - online [Holiday Hotties Segment 2009], The San Antonio CURRENT, Essay Magazine, Study Breaks Magazine -several times - [I was also the 2008 Cover Girl], ECHO the zine (for which I also wrote several articles and a few of my creative works were published as well), The Biker Guide (Florida-Based Magazine) and for companies like (but not limited to): Toni & Guy, Salon Rouge, Vintage House, Red Skye Comics, Marcos Orlando, Bombay Ranch, Rockin' Bones Clothing Co., Hampton Bodywerks, Gibson Guitars, Ducati. I've also been painted, drawn and animated by artists all over the world.
Melvi - Beside modeling what are the other things you have been involved in?
Kat - I'm not sure where to even begin on this one. I am a writer and have been published numerous times. And of course I create art to have, to give and to sell almost every day. But I also balance all of it with philanthropy. Charity is a primary focus for me and my family, giving really. So I get involved with various projects which seek to help children, homeless and animals here in my city.
Melvi - If there's no photo shoot or other things to do, then how you will spend your day?
Kat - Adventuring. I am completely unpredictable and often find excuses to just walk out the door and start looking for found art scraps or sketching out a new design for the next thing I'm going to build, or simply creating with my 5 year old autistic son & 15 year old stepdaughter who is also an artist. We even sing songs together and make comedic videos. Essentially, the party doesn't start until we arrive!
Melvi - How do people respond to your work?
Kat - I get extreme love or hate responses. There has never been a middle ground for me, which is in itself a good thing. I now have fans from all over the world and they are pretty die-hard. I've just been honored to have created such ripples in the pool of the universe, to see that I stir others to get up and want to create too. It's my underlying goal; to be infectious with my drive to create, to live it. I feel the world would be a better place if more people were so impassioned.
Melvi - How did you progress yourself in this industry? Would you like to share few words on this?
Kat - I never let anyone “handle” me. I have been a free agent my entire life. Freelance (at least for me) is the only way to go. I didn't want to be “famous” nor did I have any interest in becoming monetarily wealthy. I wanted to have an experience of a lifetime.
So, on my own terms I learned photography and photo shop, the ins and outs of the industry and literally educated myself into such a powerhouse that I didn't “need” anyone else to propel me forward. And it wasn't until I got to that point that bigger name companies began to recognize and request me. In other words, I had to do it MY way or not at all, and it continues to work quite well for me today. In living this sort of work/art philosophy, I've been able to stay in that tricky middle ground of being “known” though not exactly “famous”, I have my anonymity when I need it for daily things like grocery runs, but fans occasionally recognize me when I go out and about in entertainment settings. This is not an easy thing to do, but it's priceless to me.
Melvi - What do you want to accomplish from this industry?
|Photographer - Brian Barbier|
Kat - Changing the world. All of it. I wish to shake the very foundations of what everyone thinks about reality and about how we should be treating each other. And I know people listen more when they recognize the voice, when they come to know you enough through your patterns to see that they really can put stock in what you are saying either literally or through your artwork (modeling, etc.). There is no other reason for me to model---not even as a creative outlet, as I already make art like breathing. It is to achieve influence and change only, as I know I am not going to be here forever in this form and must make as much of the time given to me as I possibly can.
Melvi - How would you describe your style? What is fun and interesting about your style?
Kat - A lot of people have tried to pin me as "grunge" or a gypsy. To be honest, I am true-blood bohemian through and through. I dress myself based on my feelings, not so much appearance. I suppose my artistic nature can just be seen in everything I wear, even my kick-back clothes (as you are sure to find a paint mark or torch burn or glitter explosion somewhere on the garments). OH! And I keep my nails short on purpose so they don't get in the way of sculpting and typing; true story. And I only paint them because the ink and paint stains pretty much stay under my nails. That is one thing about me that my girly friends have poked at me for over time. In truth, I am a very masculine-minded human, very tomboy at heart, even if my style doesn't always reflect that.
Melvi - When you first started modeling how serious were you about this profession?
Kat - Funny story; I only even started modeling to use myself as a subject for my photo shop studies. After publicizing just a few things I did for fun, for learning, I began to receive requests from photographers in Hawaii (where I was living at the time), and later from all over the US, to model for them. I felt silly at first and had no interest. As time went by, my significant other talked me into giving it a try. In fact, as an artist, I had almost looked down on modeling as not to be taken seriously. It wasn't until I was in the thick of it and receiving bigger checks, working harder and meeting serious people that I began to completely change the way I viewed modeling. Now I have a firm respect for it, when it is used in a way that does in fact seek to insight thought and catalyze change.
Melvi - Who are some of your favorite local models, designers and photographers?
Kat - This has to be my very favorite question because I feel as though I may be good at what I do, but I'm just a kid on an adventure. To me, the real heavy-hitters are our San Antonio bad asses: Jade Noir, Stretch Photos, Chrisitine Elaine Eakin, Mandi Gallegos, Rex Hausmann, Nik Soupe, Tommy Munster, Lesley Fielding, Kadiva Alcorta, Claudia Martinez, Jessica Melendez, Seth Camm, Ivan Leos, Mike Nesloney to name a few, but I could fill up an entire page. The point is, this city is so completely ripe with talent that I have always seen myself as a big fish in a small pond filled with other big fish. Ha!
Melvi - How do you communicate with the media out there? Are they professionally interested to help models like you?
Kat - Actually, I have a lot of close friends and lovely colleagues in the television and film industry who often collaborate with me on the occasional artistic or charity endeavor. I've always had a good rapport with stations since I began shooting stills behind the scenes during filming on various things back in 2008. Now, it's a "just a phone call away" situation.
Melvi - What kind of atmosphere do you look forward in your shooting?
Kat - Even if it's the most serious project, I need it to feel like I'm just hanging out with open-minded good-humored people. I hate overly-clinical feeling jobs. When the crew and photographers are too stiff, it becomes work for me and though I may put on the facade that I'm completely professional and friendly, I am hiding my irritation and inner conflict. I need the atmosphere to be uplifting and humorous, not draining and institutional.
|Photographer - Jade Hernandez|
Melvi - What is your opinion on the current state of modeling around the world?
Kat - To be honest, my world views are a bit expansive. (Not trying to answer deeply, but I am only what I am.) I can see through every artistically expressive outlet coming from these current times that human beings still have a lot of maturing to do as a species to begin with, and the modeling industry reflects that point the best. I think that society has become like a spoiled brat who isn't entertained unless they are being absolutely jolted. And thus you get a bunch of "art for shock" that literally becomes a pissing contest between artists and institutions on who can create the most absolutely useless and nonfunctional (though shiny and shocking) substance and call it art. I think the industry has forgotten art's key purpose to begin with (to be the voice of those who cannot articulate) as the focus continues to shift from political statements to sponsor advertisement and flat-out regurgitated brainwashy fluff. Overall, not impressed BUT so hopeful for the future as there are many artists who are digging their heels in and getting up to do something about it. Gives me goosebumps to see what happens next. In the end, I believe art wins.
Melvi - How much do you believe in this statement: "Success depends more on what you know than whom you know."?
Kat - Again, a tricky question...it depends on what your personal definition of success is to begin with. As a scientist, I have to say that the success of any effort depends largely upon the forward momentum and demeanor of the subject in question. Who you know isn't going to help you if you're an egotistical douche bag. Nor will what you know help you if you don't attempt to convince anyone to let you get your foot in the door socially, either. In my personal findings, success is determined by choice alone. Everything is a choice, failure included. We can choose to educate ourselves at a trade and become efficient and invaluable...and we can also choose to be really friendly and kind to that studio executive who knows the creator of that show we're trying to get on... It's not difficult. It's people who decide to make it difficult for themselves or others.
Melvi - How has modeling changed other aspects of your life?
Kat - It's made everything more fluid, even down to meeting new people and receiving opportunities that most people don't. It's added much travel experience to my life, put me in situations where I am able to learn more about cultures and social psychology. It's grown me in so many ways and for that I am grateful.
Melvi - What have you learned from this industry?
Kat - It's given me perspective, having seen "the other side of the looking glass". I get that the entire world is just a construct, everything is smoke and mirrors, and human beings really are all equal. I've seen magic and I've seen depravity. In all, I've learned more about who we really are and why we're really here and modeling strangely has been a giant vehicle for that.
Melvi - Name at least 5 things that we don't know about you or didn't come up in this interview.
Kat - 1.) I can draw and write backward, forward, and upside down with both hands and feet.
2.) I have an affinity for decoding and translating, often going through ancient text and esoteric diagrams to study, to learn...and it just soothes me.
3.) Strangers come to me for help almost every day, reaching out often anonymously from here to the other side of the planet for advice and guidance and THAT is what I view as my true purpose.
4.) I have gone from the suburbs to homeless to living in a condo on the side of a volcano, I've touched the ocean floor and flown planes through the clouds (still learning, dad's a pilot), I've died on the table and had to be resuscitated at 17 and have been living every day like the adventure it should be since then. All that to say, I have lived many charmed lives in one and I am only 34.
5.) I have enough journals (dating as far back as age 7) to fill a library wall, and I am far from done telling my life's story. I do this because I know there is a bigger point to all of this than most of us are aware of; I know people can sift through all of it long after I'm gone and hopefully find some of that meaning in the pages...
Melvi - From your experience what are the things that make a good model and good photographers?
Kat - The same things that make a good person; humility, honesty and openness. Egos stifle projects, misleading can taint a career and closing off from the world can turn the audience against you. This is the soundest advice I have. Those three key components are necessary.
Melvi - What will be your advice to those people who are just entering in this field?
Kat - Make sure it is what you really want before you invest a single moment of your time or resources. Truly look into what it demands from you and make sure you're willing to deal with that.
Melvi - Ok, this space is for you. You can say anything here like, a message to our readers, or things that we forgot to ask or you felt like sharing with us.
Kat - "We birth our ideas, nurture and then send them out into the world. there is an innate understanding that once we release them, they no longer belong to us. Very much so are our works our children, we who are the artists and the thinkers and the scientists... We have to be willing to let them go. And if we prepared them well, surely what comes back to us will sound like praises and feels not so dissimilar from the way a parent feels, swollen with pride for their children. The greatest story ever told is us. It's all of us. Never stop telling it. " ~K. Day
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