Cat­walk to

De­ter­mined young model Ken­dal Schuler knows what she wants from the de­mand­ing in­dus­try and is not afraid to go af­ter it. On the eve of her big­gest as­sign­ment she talks to Joeleen Bet­tini

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Feature -

Ask her where she gets her movie-star good looks from and model-in-the-mak­ing Ken­dal Schuler gives a hearty laugh.

Def­i­nitely not her dad, she jokes: “He’s not a looker”.

The cheeky re­sponse gives a fleet­ing glance into the 16 year old’s youth­ful world, a world that can be eas­ily forgotten amid the ex­cite­ment of a bur­geon­ing in­ter­na­tional modelling ca­reer.

Stand­ing at an im­pres­sive 176cm, the blue-eyed, blonde-haired beauty cuts an im­pres­sive fig­ure.

Even in her well-worn school uni­form, with her un­brushed hair hap­haz­ardly swept un­der a faded elas­tic head­band it’s easy to see how this lo­cal girl has cap­tured the at­ten­tion of pho­tog­ra­phers and tal­ent scouts at home and abroad.

In the five years since her dis­cov­ery, Ken­dal has ex­pe­ri­enced a side of life most peo­ple could only dream of, from trav­el­ling the world to spend­ing an en­tire evening “chat­ting” with uber­hunk David Beck­ham.

She says the lat­ter en­counter was a de­vel­op­ment she never would have dreamed of when fronting for her first modelling com­pe­ti­tion at the age of 11. Her face lights up as she re­lives the glam­orous red-car­pet event in New Zealand.

“We sat on the lounge with him for about three hours, we got along quite well,” she says with mock com­po­sure.

“He wasn’t speak­ing to us the whole time but most of the time. He was just mak­ing small talk. I asked where Vic­to­ria (Beck­ham) was and he said that she was away on a tour and I was like: ‘Oh and how are the kids?’.

“He was ask­ing me ques­tions too about my modelling and what I want to do, so it was nice for him to talk nor­mally. We kind of didn’t want to get up and lose our seat so we just stayed there the whole time.”

Ken­dal was in New Zealand for a fash­ion shoot with agency Red Eleven and UK pub­li­ca­tion Cos­mopoli­tan Bridal.

It was her sec­ond over­seas job in four months and her first as­sign­ment work­ing closely with a male model.

“It was a one-day shoot. We did about 12 wed­ding dresses and they were all about $12,000 each. It was huge,” she says. “It was my first shoot with a guy so I was a bit ner­vous and didn’t want to get close. We had to hold hands and cud­dle up to­gether. He was 20 some­thing and I was this lit­tle 15 year old but he made me feel re­ally com­fort­able.

“I learnt a lot over in New Zealand. It was a re­ally good learn­ing curve for me and not only in modelling but in life and in be­ing more ma­ture about things.”

Though she’s still wait­ing for a copy of the Lon­don-based mag­a­zine, Ken­dal has been pre­oc­cu­pied with the suc­cess of her other multi-page fash­ion edi­to­ri­als fea­tured re­cently in New Zealand mag­a­zines Remix and Fash­ion Quar­terly.

All three shoots, she says, have been good prepa­ra­tion for her big­gest modelling as­sign­ment to date – a two-month cast­ing tour through­out Los An­ge­les, New York and Paris with Amer­i­can agency IMG Mod­els.

Ken­dal se­cured the mam­moth trip af­ter win­ning the In­ter­na­tional Model of the Year award in the Tam­blyn Young Model Dis­cov­ery Quest in Bris­bane late last year.

“It’s good that I’ve had that ex­pe­ri­ence trav­el­ling by my­self (to NZ) be­cause my big trip over to New York is go­ing to be way scarier,” she says.

“I fly out from Bris­bane in May, land in LA where I stay for a week, then it’s off to New York for about three weeks and then I fly over to Paris.”

Ken­dal says the agency will pre­ar­range some shoots for her in each of the lo­ca­tions but it’s up to her to find ex­tra work while she’s there.

“I may end up with a con­tract, I may not. It de­pends on how well I do,” she says. “It’s a meet and greet ba­si­cally.”

Though sur­pris­ingly con­fi­dent for her age and ac­cus­tomed to trav­el­ling alone, Ken­dal re­veals she’s a lit­tle ner­vous about the trip.

“Cast­ings over there will be so dif­fer­ent to what they are here. Cast­ings in Cairns are so easy, you don’t even get ner­vous.

“In Bris­bane it’s a bit scarier. There’s al­ways about 300 girls. You walk in and ev­ery­one looks you up and down. “But you have to deal with that.” Cop­ing with the highs and lows of modelling is some­thing Ken­dal seems to have eas­ily mas­tered. How­ever, she ad­mits she wasn’t al­ways so pro­fi­cient at ac­cept­ing de­feat. Her first pub­lic ap­pear­ance was in a com­pe­ti­tion to be­come one of the lo­cal faces of The Pier in a mas­sive ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign. The win­ners would ap­pear in gi­gan­tic posters to be seen by thou­sands.

“I got through all the fi­nals but I didn’t get it. I was all up­set and walked away and then they called out my name. Ap­par­ently I’d won this big con­tract with Viviene’s (Model Man­age­ment) in Bris­bane through Louise Or­bons (Or­bons Academy).

“They said to me af­ter­wards: ‘You’re way too pretty to put on a poster’ but I was 11 years old, I just wanted to be on a poster. They gave me this con­tract and it didn’t mean any­thing to me at the time.”

As it turned out, it was this “un­for­tu­nate” turn of events that launched Ken­dal’s ca­reer as a young model and she soon came to re­alise the im­por­tance of not see­ing re­jec­tion as a set back.

“As I got older I un­der­stood more about it, so it was cool,” she says. “You’re al­ways go­ing to get re­jected and some­times you’re go­ing to get cho­sen. You just have to re­mem­ber not to take it to heart.”

The down-to-earth approach she has taken to her work and her life is just one of the Cairns beauty’s many at­tributes tipped to help her in her quest for modelling fame. In­dus­try stal­warts are al­ready tout­ing her as the next Jen­nifer Hawkins and as a con­tender for the Miss Uni­verse ti­tle in years to come.

“I like Jen, she’s very down to earth and she still has time for other peo­ple,” Ken­dal says of the com­par­i­son.

How­ever, she’s not


she will fol­low in her pre­de­ces­sor’s foot­steps.

“A lot of peo­ple have asked me about en­ter­ing the Miss Uni­verse or Miss Teen awards but I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to do it be­cause you have to get up there and talk about things like world peace and that’s not me.

“That sounds hor­ri­ble I know but it’s all about modelling for me and I just don’t want to fake it. I don’t want to be some­thing that I’m not.”

Ken­dal says she plans to fin­ish school with the op­tion of go­ing to univer­sity. How­ever, her ul­ti­mate goal is to se­cure a po­si­tion with one of the world’s most pres­ti­gious la­bels, Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret.

“It’s a high one,” she laughs. “But I can get there if I’m ded­i­cated. Ev­ery­one I speak to says I’m go­ing to ei­ther do bikini work or Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret. High fash­ion isn’t my thing. They are very strong look­ing, very an­gu­lar, where as I’m more com­mer­cial.”

Con­sid­er­ing what type of modelling she wants to pur­sue isn’t the only thing on Ken­dal’s mind when it comes to her pro­fes­sion.

“There’s so much to think about when you’re on a shoot,” she says. “You have to think about what your face is like, what your body is like, what your body is do­ing. You have to know what an­gle is good for you.

“Then you’ll go to a dif­fer­ent shoot and the look is to­tally dif­fer­ent. You have to change it all, you don’t want to get that same look re­peat­edly, so it’s hard.

“Peo­ple think ‘oh yeah it’s just modelling, you just walk down the cat­walk’ but it’s so much more than that.”

In as­pir­ing to­wards a ca­reer in what she knows can be a fickle in­dus­try, dom­i­nated by in­flated at­ti­tudes and shrink­ing dress sizes, Ken­dal says the most im­por­tant thing for her to re­mem­ber is to stay true to her­self.

“I do need di­rec­tion, I’m only 16,” she says. “But then I’m al­ways go­ing to need di­rec­tion from my par­ents, no mat­ter what age I am. But if some­thing’s not right, I’ll know and with the sup­port of my fam­ily and friends there’s no way I’m go­ing to fall into that trap.”

Pho­to­graph // Marc McCor­mack; Hair // Jewel Hair Bou­tique, Grafton St, ph: 4041 4130; Make-up // Rachael Gre­gory, ph: 0439 749 440, visit: www.rachael­gre­; Styling // Riyani Mar­torejo, Tuba Rose, Grafton St

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