Waterloo’s Val Cloes is an aspiring writer
If Val Cloes ends up writing a novel, it could very well be a fictional crime story with a fashion model as a main character. The aspiring writer would have plenty to draw on as she develops her characters.
She has worked fashion shows – locally, the Fashion for Life “White Party” fundraiser, and, in Toronto, at Fashion on Yonge – and has experienced the less-visible role of testing samples for a clothing company so they would know what to order.
She also hopes modelling leads to travelling opportunities and working in Europe. Those types of experiences will help as she decides how to describe the scene of a fictional crime.
She had a taste of this travel and modelling combination in 2016. When she told her Toronto-based agency, Lang Models, she was going on vacation in Mexico they connected her with a photographer they know who was spending time there. That led to a shoot in Mexico and one of the photos from it ended up being used by Italian Vogue.
No matter what the setting of the novel, there are sure to be police involved, so she can draw on the experiences of her parents, who both work for the Ontario Provincial Police. Her father, Mark, was once a SWAT member and her mother, Leasa, is one of the people who transcribes incident reports filed by officers.
Or, maybe Val will go another route, indulging her interest in “cheesy” romance novels and penning one of those.
Entering the world of journalism is another option, one that could see her use insights gained from her time in the modelling industry to carve out a niche as a fashion writer, swapping photos for bylines in magazines.
No matter what she ends up doing with the English major she plans to earn at the University of Guelph, it won’t surprise Meaghan Dietrich.
Dietrich, the owner of Gemini Models in Kitchener, is a big fan of 18-year-old Cloes.
“Whether she’s modelling or a journalist, she’s going to go places,” Dietrich says. “She’s going to do amazing things. I think we’ll have a lot of fun watching her career develop.”
Working as a model in Europe is not for everyone, Dietrich says. Maturity, organizational skills and an engaging personality are a must, which is why Dietrich thinks Cloes would be successful in that world.
Plus, along with being blessed with the ability to wear the sample sizes of clothes created by designers, “she’s got great bone structure.”
Cloes was raised in Waterloo and graduated from Bluevale Collegiate Institute.
Growing up she played rep soccer for Waterloo. These days, she plays in a women’s recreational league and juggles a customer service job at Best Buy with firstyear studies in Guelph.
The youngest of four children – one brother, two sisters – her first exposure to modelling came about age 12 through a program at Cameo Models in Waterloo, at the urging of her mother.
“I was really shy and she wanted me to break out of my shell,” Cloes says.
She joined Gemini at about age 13, eventually moving through its advanced and elite programs. Gemini is considered her mother agency and the opportunities gained through it led to signing with Lang.
It will be interesting to watch how far the fashion industry takes Cloes.
“People like Val, this is just the beginning of it,” Dietrich says. “It’s a great industry to be in. It always keeps you on your toes.”
Sounds like there will be no shortage of material when it comes time to write that book.