Water­loo’s Val Cloes is an as­pir­ing writer

Grand Magazine - - HOLIDAY ISSUE - BY BRIAN WIL­LIAMS

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.

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