by MIKE CHAIKEN
Model Kylie Frink found herself in familiar environs on a recent Saturday afternoon.
But she had a different role this time.
John Casablancas Modeling and Career Center in Rocky Hill held its Westbrook Top Model Search at the Westbrook Outlets on Aug. 28.
But rather than walking for agents this year, Frink had a homecoming of a different sort and was serving as the host for the afternoon.
However, Frink was familiar with the event. She had walked before top modeling agents several years ago.
When Frink walked, she did not win the event. All the same, she drew the attention of agents and Tina Kiniry, owner of the local modeling agency. And Frink said, with Kiniry’s help, she was eventually garnering modeling gigs.
Now, Frink, who is from Colchester, Conn. is signed to Wilhelmina Worldwide. She has modeled for Michael Kors, Seventeen magazine and Christian Siriano. She also was featured on a season of “Project Runway.”
Frink, though, is garnering a good deal of attention these days as a model for Victoria’s Secret.
Frink’s role with the venerable brand is a bit of a groundbreaking moment. Victoria’s Secret, historically, has been criticized for using models for marketing that did not reflect the reality of most women’s bodies.
But Frink is a curvy model. As such, she represents Victoria’s Secret’s efforts to offer a more diverse image.
Frink said she already had been modeling for Victoria’s Secret Pink when she made the transition to Victoria’s Secret proper.
“This was like every girl’s dream in the early 2000s– to model for Victoria’s Secret,” said Frink. “I’m really proud to be part of the brand now. And the way that they are really showcasing, the diversity of women.”
That said, Frink also recognized the brand took a “long time” to make this shift. However, the model said, “I’m really proud to be part of them now and (be part of) what they’re doing now.”
Victoria’s Secret is part of a larger trend in the fashion industry of including women of all sizes in their marketing. Old Navy recently announced it no longer was going to have a plus-sized section for women. Instead, all sizes for women will be held in one department.
Frink is excited by the changes.
“Throughout my career… that’s something I’ve always advocated towards with every producer, every creative director I’ve ever worked with” that there shouldn’t be this division of women based on size, said Frink.
For women considering modeling careers, who aren’t the stereotypical sizes– the size zero and 6 feet tall– Frink said her success should tell them the boundaries are evaporating.
“I always said with this job that I’m not conforming to a measurement anymore,” said Frink. “I did that when I was younger and I felt like I’m so secure with myself as a person, I want to be an advocate for the girls (who thought they might not fit the model mold).”
If you’re interested in modeling, no matter your shape or size, Frink said, “Go for it. Why not? You have nothing to lose… I always say if you don’t try, you’ll never know.”
With New York Fashion Week due to begin soon, Frink said she intends to walk in some of the shows. She didn’t know what brands she would be walking for when she was interviewed. She explained casting for fashion week tends to be last minute.
Beyond the runway shows, Frink said she has some exciting news on tap and couldn’t wait to announce what will be going on next in her career as a model.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN