BRITT KLINE – Interview

photo by Manny Roman, courtesy of Britt Kline

Britt Kline is an American fashion model best known for winning America’s Next Top Model Cycle 16 in 2011. Being involved in modeling since the young age, Britt’s dreams of walking the runways and gracing magazines all over the world came true after signing for the first time in New York City to IMG Models. After taking a break from modeling in 2012, to attain her Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Language and English, she returned to modeling part-time in 2013 with the help of mother agent, Manny Roman. By 2016, Kline has walked the runway for Balenciaga and Prabal Gurung, to name a few, and was featured in editorials for various Vogue editions, Interview US, Elle Vietnam, and many more.
Recently, she made the decision to retire from modeling, pursue a career in education, and finalize some of her very exciting projects, which she talks about more in this interview.

Where does your career stand right now?
My career as a model has entered what I consider retirement. I’ve chosen to pursue a more financially stable career working in higher education. That’s not to say I won’t ever model again. Modeling will always be something I enjoy, it just isn’t my number one priority or main source of income any more.

photo by Alexander Neumann for Vogue Mexico 2011, courtesy of Britt Kline

Can you tell more about your writing project? What do you write about?
In the last few years, I’ve become more passionate about and focused on my writing. I started a memoir about my journey as a model while I was studying at university and I’m in the final editing stages now. It started as a way for me to process my experiences and evolved into something I realized other people were interested in. My goal is to eventually get it published. Since elementary school, my writing has always been autobiographical in the form of poems, essays, and memoir. Along with painting, I view writing as one of my preferred forms of art therapy.

photo by Greg Harris for Interview Magazine 2014, courtesy of Britt Kline

What does fashion mean to you?
In one aspect, fashion is creative expression. Fashion allows people to express themselves and not just dress themselves. However, at the same time it can be superficial and exploitative in the sense that high-fashion is unavailable to the majority of the population and that commercial fashion often takes advantages of resources, whether human or environmental. The fashion I most enjoy is vintage. Finding lost gems in the corners of dusty vintage shops and accessories with stories makes fashion thrilling.

photo by Vincent Peters for Vogue Italia 2011, courtesy of Britt Kline

What was your perception of the fashion industry before you became a model? And how has it changed since you started your career?
Honestly, the most simple way to explain it is that the fashion industry is like a snow globe. I admired the beautiful glittering scene from the outside and desperately wanted to be in. Once I was in, I realized the appeal vanished once you were being blasted by blizzarding paper snow, trapped inside a glass sphere that’s constantly being shaken around and turned upside down by others. The industry is a perfect place for some people, I just didn’t fit in well there.

Balenciaga Resort 2015 (l), Tome SS/17 (r), source: vogue.com

Did modeling influence you as a person? Is there something you learned as a model?
Modeling, like anything you do in life, influences you whether you realize it or not. At times modeling made me insecure, it made me confident, it made me proud, it made me skeptical, it made me pessimistic, it made me believe in dreams, it made me want to be a better person, and ultimately showed me who I am at my core. I learned an endless amount of things as a model. Including the above lessons on self, it also taught me a lot about the world and the different personalities and motives of people.

What part of your career are you most proud of?
There are a lot of career highlights that I’m proud of like walking my first fashion show in Philadelphia, winning America’s Next Top Model, walking for Balenciaga, and traveling abroad alone, but what i’m most proud of is not letting the industry control me. There were many times I tried to be what the industry wanted, but I never sold my soul and I always stood my ground. I can proudly say I left the industry on my own terms and not because I couldn’t get work, was bullied out, or broken.

photo by Jason Kibbler for Numero Magazine 2016, courtesy of Britt Kline

What advice would you give to your former self regarding modeling?
Don’t let this define you. You are so much more than your image.

How do you see yourself in the future?
The same, but with more wrinkles. I imagine I will always be who I have been; someone who works hard, feels deeply, loves nature, and pursues happiness and adventure in life.

* To follow Britt on social media, visit her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Page.

N.G.
2017/02/13

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