FROM A HUMBLE UPBRINGING IN WEST VANCOUVER TO SIZZLING ON EARTH’S MOST EXOTIC BEACHES, BOMBSHELL SUPERMODEL KATE BOCK JETS TO EVERY CORNER OF THE WORLD FOR BUSINESS, PLEASURE, AND
It should come as no surprise that a call time of 4:30
AM for a magazine cover shoot has supermodel Kate Bock’s name attached to it. This workaholic needs to be camera-ready in the season’s sexiest swimwear by 6 AM so she can strut her stuff on the beach with famed photographer Derek Kettela. Immediately after the eight-hour session, she’s on a flight to Cleveland to cheer on superstar boyfriend Kevin Love in game three of the NBA Finals (the Cavs won that game, by the way, with Bock sitting courtside). But being a model isn’t as glamorous as most people think, the Ocean Drive cover star says. At this moment, she’s sitting in her apartment talking to me—the air-conditioning is currently broken. She wasn’t around when it broke; she won’t be around to fix it. Summer heat is not her thing—the blonde stunner grew up in West Vancouver, Canada, a far cry from the exotic beaches that magazines like Ocean Drive, Sports Illustrated (she was voted Rookie of the Year in its 2013 Swimsuit issue), and Elle have taken her to. But her humble upbringing instilled in Bock a work ethic that has her flying all around the world for shoots, brands, and appearances, from Victoria’s Secret to Salvatore Ferragamo to Vogue. Here the 24-year-old model chats with Ocean Drive for our annual Swim issue.
How were you discovered?
I grew up in West Vancouver, Canada, and I was always super tall, gangly, and thin. I was a 12-year-old swimmer, and my agent is actually from the same area. She spotted me, and it was literally the next week that I started working with Abercrombie Kids and at mall fashion shows. When I finished high school, I moved to Paris. Modeling was kind of like “I’ll try it; it sounds so cool,” and then here I am, still doing it.
It seems like most models had this awkward stage when they were younger…
I was so much taller than everyone in my class. There was maybe one boy my height, so I definitely wasn’t in the slow-dance world at that age. I had braces, I had it all—i never thought of myself as beautiful. I was really into sports. I played baseball and soccer and I was a swimmer and I played field hockey. I never really thought about modeling, and then when I was discovered, I was like, “Oh cool, someone might think that of me.” I was too young to have ever dreamed about it yet. But once it came into my life and I started doing auditions, commercials, and modeling jobs, I got into it and didn’t want to stop.
What was it like being 18 in Paris?
Ultimately, Vancouver doesn’t have much of a [modeling] industry, unfortunately. When I first moved to Paris, I lived in a tiny model apartment with two bunk beds and three roommates. We had five, 10, 15 castings day after day, and we didn’t have smartphones then; we had our Macbooks and we’d get the faxes of our schedule and roam around the city from casting to casting with our little metro map.
Who were the models you looked up to at that time?
Amber Valletta, Carolyn Murphy—i’m going to name all the blonde, blue-eyed models. But I looked at Sports Illustrated and I still remember thinking they were so beautiful and they got to go to all these exotic places and do Maybelline ads. I remember thinking they were all so glamorous and amazing. Then I kind of got to enter that world, and definitely in the beginning [I realized] this industry is not glamorous at all. A lot of people imagine that models are flown private everywhere and have an entourage of friends with them. The reality is you’re going to castings day in, day out and nervous that you aren’t going to work or have money, and clients maybe not being super nice or speaking your language and kind of looking at you and talking about you when you don’t know what they’re saying. It can be really tough.
Is it a weird dynamic being from West Vancouver and now being a Sports Illustrated model posing in bikinis on exotic beaches?
Even sometimes now, when my good friends look at a picture they’re like, “I can’t picture you doing that. It looks good and you look great, but not like the person that I know or grew up with.” You just kind of slowly but surely get more comfortable. By now it’s just second nature, but I did not grow up wearing bikinis and practicing any of these poses.
What is your fitness routine? How many times a week or how long?
I really like to switch it up. I travel so much—in the last three months, I don’t think I’ve stayed anywhere more than three days. So whether it means going on a run or to the hotel gym or finding a Soulcycle nearby, or a yoga or Pilates studio, I like just to find whatever I can, because I get bored if I do the same thing. So [I’ll] meet a friend for coffee and then do a class or just go on a run because it’s sunny out—it just depends where I am. I try to do something every day; it makes me feel good starting the day with a workout.
How have Instagram and social media changed the way that you operate?
There are two sides to it. It’s kind of amazing because in the past you would have your agent to promote you. Now you have the ability to promote yourself and make sure there are always updated pictures. I’m not sure people even look at books and Polaroids from agencies as much anymore, because you can look at someone’s social media and really get a sense for how they look— with makeup, on the beach, in the studio, in a picture, in a fashion shoot. You can really see variety through their social media, so it gives you a chance to own your promotion. But it’s also something you really need to keep up with and maintain. It’s like another job, to make sure you’re up on your social media and posts of the day and content and what you’re trying to sell. You don’t ever stop. I don’t know if that’s the best, but you also get some control over yourself, which is good.
What’s your view on plastic surgery?
I come from a world where that didn’t really exist. That was never part of how I grew up. I don’t think I knew anyone who had it; it was never even a discussion. Now that I’m older, I hear people talking about it and doing it
all the time. I don’t really know how to keep up with that, and I don’t even know who did or didn’t have it in some cases. I guess, whatever you want to do to feel good, but I’m also just a scaredy-cat: What if you did something and it went wrong?
So tell me about your belly chains, the Cattura Jewelry.
I always have dainty gold things all over me, and I saw body chains coming around a little bit, and so I started wearing one. Then I had a jeweler make me a couple different versions. I would wear it to Soulcycle with just a sports bra and I would have the gold sparkling on my back, or I would do yoga in a sports bra and leggings and girls would see it and ask where I got it, so I just figured I may as well make some more of these.
Even the most beautiful people have insecurities, right?
I would say I’m probably the same as anyone else. When I’ve been having wine for a week on vacation or taken some liberties in my dessert eating, I don’t always feel the best and I want to do my extra little workout or get back on track with a weeklong cleanse of eating super healthy. You can always see in another girl something that you wish you had, and I even find it funny: I have model friends and I’ll see them in a certain way, and I’ve always thought like, Oh, she’s so lucky, she has the most amazing, longest legs or the most beautiful eyes or whatever it is. And then you end up talking to them and they see something in you. It doesn’t matter who you are; everyone has an insecurity or something they wish was better.
What is a message you have for young girls who want to get into modeling?
You have to work hard and keep at it, but it’s not necessarily going to happen in a day. People are not always the nicest and you won’t always have the easiest time, so if you really love it, you stick with it and keep working hard, and like anything else, if you give yourself the chance to succeed, you will. It doesn’t happen in a day for most people, though it does seem to happen [in a day] for some of the social media stars! But overall, it doesn’t usually work like that.
How do you juggle being a working model and spending time with your boyfriend with his NBA schedule?
Luckily, it’s not very far. Cleveland is only like an hour-long flight from New York. So I go back and forth between here and there and jobs, and then sometimes meet him on the road if it makes sense, so I see him pretty often even though we live in different cities and both travel for work. We make it work, so that’s kind of fun.
What do you love about Miami?
I go to Miami a lot. I was just there with girlfriends for a weekend to visit. We went walking around Little Havana. It’s so cute, and I like getting coffee and walking around there. There are like 800 hotels in Miami Beach that have beautiful pools to lay out by—but you can swim in the ocean! I actually shot there once and saw an outdoor wakeboard park [Amelia Earhart Park], which I would be very curious to try. It looks super cool. I mean, I’ve never done that! I wakeboard behind a boat at home in the summer, but I’ve never seen a park like that—it’s so cool.
Swimsuit, Adriana Degreas ($294). The Village at Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, 305-368-8686; adriana degreas.com. Hat, Eugenia Kim ($495). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161; neimanmarcus.com....