I finally got to sit down with Kinsey, a stunning international model from Michigan, USA, who is constantly traveling, but currently residing in Cape Town (for as long as we can possibly hold on to her).
After changing her study major a few times, Kinsey realised that no particular course would give her the career she wanted most: modeling. So, she made a deal with her family to try modeling for one year… and guess what? She walked New York Fashion Week.
Kinsey has been vocal about kicking down barriers ever since and it’s no surprise that she has some strong opinions and ideas. And, they’re not to do with fashion or being in the limelight, but rather about the people. “I strongly believe that the modeling environment needs to become more diverse and more open to each other so we can learn, network and improve skills and career possibilities,” she says.
How has the modeling industry changed Kinsey’s behaviour, mental health or social media habits?
“My confidence wasn’t great. I was in a very small town and in high school if you did something different, it was frowned upon, so I used modeling to build my self-esteem,” explains Kinsey.
Kinsey feels that if those in the modeling industry were more open, respectful and kind, they could learn more from each other and break down barriers such as race, gender or height.
She explains, “if you’re studying to become a doctor you can go to classes, read a book or study. There are ways to improve yourself with knowledge but in the modeling industry, there’s only so much you can do! What you look like and how you move is your profession. I have struggled with what I can do to better myself, to be in magazines, to have people see me…”
Being shorter than the average model, Kinsey had to learn some lessons on her own. Being a pretty face isn’t enough. “I need to know the photographer’s angles to make my height look good. I have to make myself look taller and I need to move more than the tall girls,” she affirms.
Kinsey believes the modeling world still has a long way to go, but that it has the potential to be a genuine community if the competitive behaviour could be toned down.
A strong advocate for mental health, she says, “I love to sit down and meet with people and have meaningful conversations. I want to talk about our passions, our dreams and life itself. I like to get deep with people to build genuine connections.”
Based on this, she affirms that she uses her Instagram account as a type of portfolio. But, whenever she gets the chance, especially on stories, she strives to have profound and interesting conversations and share stories about mental health.
“I try to reply to everyone who comments or messages because we need to have that respect and kindness for each other. We all need an ear to listen to. I went through a stage of severe depression… people couldn’t understand how I could be depressed in Bali,” she says. Recognising in retrospect that it was depression, since then, she likes to check in to see that people are OK regarding their mental health. “Models, stylists and makeup artists should have a better and more supportive community.” she explains.
Kindness is key
In every part of our conversation, Kinsey always comes back to the point that it’s vital to be true to yourself and talk about things that you’ve been through in order to be able to support others. She’s dedicated to being someone who is relatable, and to opening up difficult conversations to the community you belong to.
Kinsey makes it clear that she wants to be there for others and finds it essential. She also sees the importance of sharing kindness, even to strangers. “I did a bikini shoot and afterwards I folded the bikini before returning it, and another model couldn’t believe I was doing that, and purposely just threw hers down on the floor. It makes me sad to see this behaviour.” The moral of the story is: Be kind.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what runway I am on, I only want to make people proud and be an inspiration to others. I want to show people they can do whatever they want.” she says. Kindness can go a long way whether it’s a genuine chat, offering support, or just being willing to open up for uncomfortable conversations.
“Don’t forget the lessons you were taught at home just because you work in a global and what’s perceived to be a glamorous industry,” concludes this small-town girl who’s bringing kindness and compassion to the big time.
For more on Kinsey, check out our GLAMSLAM recent fashion editorial shoot.
Follow Kinsey on Instagram @kinseygolden
Photographer | Migal Van As @migalvanas
Videography | William Mulders @2fellasmedia
Make-up | The Makeup Touch @makeuptouch.sa