پنجشنبه 30 مرداد 1393
Via telephone from Los Angeles, Kelly Mittendorf is friendly and lighthearted as she talks about her college major and Biology 101 prerequisite class. In person she’s all feline ferocity and razor cheekbones, a distinctive look that landed her a Prada campaign at only sixteen years old. But before she was being shot by Steven Meisel and closing shows for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Mittendorf was an Arizona teen who never really fit into the high school scene (good thing she received her first campaign call during math class—it ended up being her last day). Here, Mittendorf talks about being discovered by the pool, leaving school, and never looking back.
I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s a tight-knit community. Everyone has been really supportive [of my career]. I don’t look like typical models that the people in my town are used to seeing or their fantasized version of a model—I’m not blonde or super bubbly. In a way, it kind of opens people up to different facets of the industry.
I was discovered in Phoenix at a resort swimming pool when I was eleven. I was goofing around and being quite reckless so someone approached my parents and said, “If your daughter is a model you have to be more careful and look out for her.” The woman ended up being a scout. It was kind of crazy. I didn’t sign to an agency when I was eleven, because although models start young, I was a little too young. I ended up signing to a New York agency when I was sixteen.
For me, high school was like that scene in Mean Girls when they go around and describe the different lunch tables. I’d probably be one of the wallflowers because I’m awkward. I got along with people but I didn’t have one group of friends. I knew that high school wasn’t the end of the world and that it was a couple years of your life that you have to move past.
One day, I was in math class and my mom called and said “Kelly, you just booked a Prada campaign.” I said, “I don’t believe you! That doesn’t happen! You’re horrible!” I started crying. My mom picked me up, and that was my last day of school. Before then, I was a normal kid in school in Arizona.
As for the Prada campaign, the whole experience was really amazing. It was Steven Meisel and Pat McGrath. It was really crazy but nice where everyone knew each other so well, and there was this understanding that we were young girls. It was pretty much the first time that any of us were doing anything and they made it really fun and easy.
Since then, there have been lots of good moments. My first season, I closed the Marc Jacobs show, which was really cool because he is amazing to work with. Also, I’ve gotten to travel to places that I’ve always wanted to go to but I never knew anything about.
Right now, I’m studying mass communication and media studies at Arizona State University. I’m also looking into studying forensic accounting. It is something that my grandfather introduced me to. You have to go to court and present cases—it is kind of crazy. But I love my job as a model and all the people I get to work with in fashion. I’d like to explore different aspects of the industry before I jump into something a little bit more normal, like a 9 to 5.