Kae Kae Qi can thank her unique blend of Cambodian and Chinese heritage for her stunning and versatile look. Kae Kae joined StarNow in 2012 and has since worked internationally with major brands including Valentino Red and Moschino, as well as appearing in Vogue UK and Vogue Italia.
What was your first role/shoot/gig?It was for L’Oreal Matrix, they cut and coloured my hair bright red for a shoot and runway to showcase their new range of professional red hair colours. I was really nervous but excited as it was my first runway and photo shoot.
How long have you been on StarNow and how has it helped you?It has been a few years; as a new comer to the industry, it’s not always the case that you attend an open call and get signed with a top agency instantly. StarNow has been instrumental in connecting me with people in the industry from the very beginning, particularly in Australia.
What is the most extreme change to your personality, hair, body weight etc. that you have done for a role?I think more than anything, modelling has given me the opportunity and challenge to adapt my personality to a range of briefs on and off set. Through modelling I’ve discovered parts of myself that were previously unknown and it has also encouraged me live a more healthy and fit lifestyle, though some think otherwise.
What was the most challenging role or shoot you’ve worked on, and why?The most challenging job I recall was a location shoot in Bournemouth, a seaside resort in England. To this day, I have never felt so cold in my life; we were at the beach in the middle of winter and had several looks to shoot. I was wearing nothing more than a flimsy dress. In the fashion industry, a lot of summer looks are shot in the wintertime and vice versa in summer.
Who is your role model?I have many; most of whom are people I know of well in the industry, it still amazes me how hardworking and persistent some people are in pursuing their purpose, often after countless setbacks. Individuals like my friend Michael Creagh, a successful fashion photographer based in New York, is always willing to share his expertise and experience with others. They’re truly passionate about the work and help others realise their goal, I have a lot of respect for people like that as I too share the same philosophy – together we rise.
Do you have any special skills not listed on your StarNow profile?I can cook well, though I don’t do it often, it’s like a natural skill. I’m also a good listener, many of my friends call me their life coach.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?Know the reason why you want to do it, it should contribute to your life in a positive way and be aligned with the person you want to become. Look at the bigger picture and understand that most likely you may not want to/be able to model forever so have a plan for later.
What has been your favourite project you have worked on?There have been so many! But I really enjoyed working with the team behind Palabra; they’re a cool eco-friendly brand based in New York. We shot their campaign at a historic 1800's rope factory in Brooklyn and they contribute a portion of their profits to literacy programs in Latin America. Social and environmental consciousness is not something I see often in the industry, so their mission inspires me a lot.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?Dream big but be grounded in reality. Understand the process, it’s not enough to be positive and optimistic for things to happen. You must do, and most likely you have to do more than others to get where you want to be. It’s not always comfortable but it’s worth it, if it’s what you really want.
What are your plans for 2017?Continue to pursue my passion, grow, learn more about myself and help others along the way.