After a twelve-year hiatus, 42-year-old Keri Claussen has signed a fresh contract with Ford Models, and who doesn’t love a supermodel comeback? Back in 1995, Clausen was the star of Victoria’s Secret’s first-ever fashion show in New York, and she continued to make a name for herself walking alongside the original supers like Cindy Crawford and co. at Chanel and the rest of the big name houses. In 2005, she decided to put her successful career on pause to raise her daughters. Now Claussen is back with a new perspective, and we caught up with her on the topics of flying first class with fashion’s elite, aging gracefully, and how the modeling industry has changed since her time away:
How were you first discovered?
“I was discovered by an agent from New York while enrolled in a modeling school in Nebraska. I was 13 and still had a mouth full of braces. It’s beyond me how they were able to look past all of the adolescent awkwardness, but it got me out of Nebraska and I got to travel the world.”
Do you remember your first booking as a model?
“I was asked to be on the cover on the now defunct Sassy magazine. I was still in braces and in the photo, I was kissing the American actor Jon Cryer on the cheek. I remember that kiss causing a lot of drama back home with my 15-year-old boyfriend.”
When did you get your big break?
“The show season of 1993 was really big for me. I think I did over 20 shows that year. I remember getting a phone call from my agent confirming Chanel, Chloé and Karl Lagerfeld. I was over the moon. I had busted my butt and paid my dues at that point and it felt amazing to feel the gates opening for me. I recall that I didn’t do Fendi that year because there was a lot of fur in the collection and, for personal reasons, I had to say no. It was not a popular decision with my model agency and was quite a moral dilemma for my 17-year-old self. I also remember me and my friend, Shiraz, telling Robert Cavalli to go fuck himself and walking out of his show that year. To this day, I’m not sure why we were so dramatic.”
What’s your memory of that first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show?
“It was early in 1995 and was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York. I remember that my agent initially thought it was of questionable quality and I almost didn’t do it for that reason. We needn’t have worried, however, because the whole gig was top-level. Everyone involved—from the stylists to the makeup, hair, and production teams —were the crème de la crème of New York fashion. The vibe backstage was electric. There had never been a high-caliber show where supermodels walked down a runway in underwear before. I remember being very relieved that all my looks had accompanying silk robes—you know, for butt coverage.”
What prompted you to take such a long break from the industry?
“I stopped modeling towards the end of my first pregnancy back in 2005. After my daughter was born, full-on motherhood took over me and all I wanted to do was be with my kids. My highest aspiration was—and still is—to be a mother.”
What’s the reasoning behind your comeback?
“That’s a good question. I have a deep reverence and gratitude for the opportunities modeling provided me when I was younger—creatively, financially, socially, and in regards to travel. At this point in my life, I’m motivated financially to give my two daughters the best opportunities. It’s expensive to raise kids in Los Angeles and it doesn’t help that we like to eat sushi and dream of traveling far away.”
What are your career highlights to date?
“Show season in the ‘90s was always special time. It was a bit like a traveling-circus-meets-rock-band-tour. The crowd I ran with was fast and social and we would waltz into a city and own it for a week—or so we thought. Other highlights include: shooting in the crumbling, yet majestic streets of Havana, Cuba with Sante D’Orazio; jumping on a bed in my underwear at the Ritz Hotel in Paris for a Wonderbra shoot with Ellen von Unwerth; reclining on a motorcycle carved out of ice (literally freezing my ass off!) with David LaChapelle in an industrial freezer, shooting haute couture in Rome with Guy Bourdin, and being flown first class from New York to Paris for a ten minute meeting with Luc Besson for Chanel.”
How has the modeling industry changed since you first started?
“Where do I begin?! When I started, it was the era of Kodak film, polaroids, pay phones, and filofaxes—everything was analog. Now, it’s a whole new digital world. Besides how technology has revolutionized the entire fashion world, the biggest change I see in the modeling industry is how social media fuels a model’s influence and appeal. The necessity of a highly-followed Instagram account feels new and very foreign to a ’90s girl like me.”
What would you like to achieve as a model this time around?
“In a nutshell, I’d like to work with extremely kind, creative, and fun people while making really decent money that affords my family extra freedom to live well and travel. I also have ideas for designing a comprehensive orientation series for new, young models in the business. It would be my way of giving back, offering the guidance and mentorship I wish I could have had when I entered a very grown up world at the tender age of 13.”
What’s your personal approach to wellness and aging?
“My attitude around aging is bring-it-on. My experience is that life just keeps getting better and the alternate to living is dying. That said, I consciously try to attend to each area of my life on a regular basis to keep myself in tip-top condition. I’m a fan of Cardio Barre, organic, locally-sourced food, being in love, CBD oil, Natura Bisse skin care, dance parties, radical integrity, forgiveness, women’s circles, and sex.”
What causes are you passionate about outside of fashion?
“I’m passionate about the environment, sustainable living, and respect to all human beings. For all these reasons, this past November, my boyfriend and I took a trip to Standing Rock. We raised money before we left and were able to work closely with the tribe elders to acquire winter necessities for the Oceti Sakowin Camp. It was a profound and life-changing experience on many levels.”
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
“In ten years, I see myself fit, healthy, happy, and free. I’ll be even deeper in love with my current partner and maybe we’ve opened a coffee shop or are raising a baby. My daughters will be out of the house on their own and I may even have a step-grand-baby. Work-wise, I imagine I’ll be supporting women in some kind of way. And gardening—I’ll definitely be gardening.”END
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createdAt:Thu, 30 Mar 2017 15:25:17 +0000