Kayley walking for Alexander Wang
When I first got into styling, my very first fashion job as an assistant stylist was for a creative shoot with then-14-year-old model Kayley Chabot. The Grand Prairie native, signed with Edmonton's Mode Models since she was thirteen years old, had just been signed with Ford in New York a few days prior. I remember Kayley was very excited and I, along with everyone else lucky enough to get to know this sweet and energetic girl, was thrilled for her. That was a little over a year ago. Since then, Kayley (now 16 years old), has walked in New York, London and Paris Fashion Week's S/S 2013 collections for designers such as Alexander Wang, Prouenza Schouler, Valentino, Georgio Armani, Jill Stuart, Nina Ricci, Erdem, Preen and Calvin Klein, just to name a few! And this is all in one season! Kayley's star is clearly on the rise. She recently returned to Alberta after Paris Fashion Week ended and will be hitting the runway for Edmonton's annual fundraiser Fashion With Compassion this Thursday, October 11th. I had a chance to catch up with the stunning model and ask her about her recent success and what it's like to walk for designer Alexander Wang!
How old were you when you started modeling and how did you get into the industry?
I had just turned 13 when I got signed with Mode. My cousin and I sent in some pictures and I ended up getting signed! Then after a couple years of development, Paul Rowland from Ford spotted me on the Mode website, flew me to New York and signed me.
Did you always want to be a model?
For as long as I can remember, yes.
Dolce & Gabbanna, Georgio Armani
You debuted at New York Fashion Week walking for BCBG Max Azria. What was that like?
It was so much fun for me! I didn't realize how much time really goes into these shows. I was shocked by the amount of people and paparazzi there. It was a new and different experience, but I had an amazing time.
You walked in Alexander Wang’s show, which was one of the most anticipated collections at NYFW. Tell me a little bit about that.
AMAZING. The clothes were beautifully made and the people were so nice. I'm so grateful for walking in the show, it felt like a dream to me!
What has been your favorite show to walk in and why?
Definitely Alexander Wang. The runway was cool with all the twists and turns; the energy was so upbeat and fun. All in all, it was just a really great experience.
Proenza Schouler, Valentino
What is it like backstage before, during and after a show? Do you get nervous before you go out on the runway?
I rarely get stage fright, so getting nervous (thankfully), wasn't an issue for me. Before the show is hair and make up, which is usually the most relaxing time. It's a good time to grab some food, have a nap while you're getting your hair done, get a nice face massage in makeup and come out of it all looking and feeling like a million bucks! During the show, there are people attacking you from every angle, making sure you look perfect. Also, there's usually someone yelling at the paparazzi, telling them to get out of the way or to go somewhere else. AFTER is what makes it all worth the time and effort. Everyone's so proud and happy with what they've accomplished, it's great to see.
How do you stay grounded when you’re only 16 years old, flying all over the world, walking in glamorous runway shows, wearing gorgeous clothing most women could only dream of wearing when most kids your age are in school learning algebra?
It's definitely different! I've had no choice but to grow up during the whole experience and become independent. I've been meeting new people everyday and have really been learning so much about the world throughout my experiences.
BCBG Max Azria, Calvin Klein
What model do you look up to the most?
I've always loved Abbey Lee Kershaw. She's worked hard to get to where she is.
Has your personal style changed much since being thrust into the fashion world?
So much! I went from wearing light, floral, easy-to-wear, very feminine clothes, to wearing all dark or black tailored pieces with an occasional pop of color. I'm really loving leather right now too.
You’ll be strutting the runway this Thursday, opening the show for Fashion With Compassion in Edmonton. Are you looking forward to it?
I always look forward to Fashion with Compassion! It's always so much fun and everyone's so sweet, I'm really excited to see some fellow Edmonton girls!
What do you love about modeling?
I love the traveling so much. Gonna be honest though, the free stuff is nice too!
What do you dislike about modeling?
Gareth Pugh, Altuzarra
What advice can you give young girls wanting to get into the industry?
It's not easy! Everything's last minute and you never know what to expect with this industry. You just have to take it day by day, hope for the best and don't take any criticism to heart, everyone has their opinions!
What’s next for Kayley Chabot?
I'm hoping that all good things keep happening, but like I said, you never know! I'll be heading back to New York soon so we'll see what happens from there.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Doing something that I love, whether it be modeling, going to school, something!
Name 5 things you can’t live without:
2. A nice comfy bed to come home to
5. Good moisturizer
Backstage at Prouenza Schouler and Dolce & Gabbana
*photos from the Mode Models blog
When I asked Mode Models Agency Director Michael Meneghetti if he always knew Kayley had that "special something" when he first met her at thirteen years old he responded with this: "We always knew she had such incredible potential, it was just about managing her right and making the correct plan for a young girl like this, not shoving her into the business too quickly. We took it slow and made good decisions so that she could have the best start to her career possible, and she did. This is only the beginning for our Kayley, she has such maturity and is so current and directional in her look, she's going to be around for a while." If her success in the past month is any indication of where her career is headed, I think Mr. Meneghetti might be right ; ).
To keep up with Kayley and her exciting career you can follow her on twitter @kayleychabot