Interview with The Retired Models

To have grown so quickly in such a short amount of time and have done it almost entirely by accident is shocking and humbling. All of a sudden we own a company and are like wait we literally just wrote down our lives.

000000352147abie_shippeefitTell us about yourself
Abie:
I’m 20 years old. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. I moved back to NYC when I was 18 with one dollar and a dream and spent the past two years trying to build an amazing resume and figure out what I really want. I’m in the middle of getting my real estate license, which is fairly random of me.

Megan: Hiiii, I’m Megan Kennedy. I’m from South Florida and I’m also 20 years old. I began a career as a model when I was 15 and retired when I was 19. Although it seems like it was short lived, it feels like it was forever due to all the craziness I experienced. This past March I decided to write a tell-all book about my life as a model but when I started to draft an outline, I realized that my life is still pretty insane and the madness is far from over. I created the blog as an “open journal where I mixed my past with my present”. Luckily, I journaled throughout the years and kept all of them so it was really crazy to relive it all and share it with the world. I kept a lot of things inside and had barely told anyone about what actually happens behind the scenes. It blew up overnight thanks to my supportive friends promoting the page. I had another job as a hostess and started to slack and Abie came to the rescue asking if she could do a guest post. After reading her article, all I could think was, “yaaaaas, she gets it!”. We partnered up a week later.

Who in the fashion industry has inspired you the most?
Abie: Stefani Pappas (stefanipappas.com). She hails from the Papadakis Photography family and was one of the first photographers I shot with in New York City. She made me an outstanding model and we literally made magic together. I would stay with her family in Barrington, Illinois and we would just shoot all day, every day. To this day there are photos on her computer we haven’t even seen because there were just so many.

Stefani was interning for Greg Kadel when I first shot with her. She’s wildly talented, brilliant and drop dead gorgeous. More than that, she’s a creative genius. Her work pulls feeling out of you and demands to be felt. It’s truly amazing.

As a 14 year old behind the camera, I had a bad habit of giggling uncontrollably when the camera got too close to my face in beauty shoots. To break this habit, Stefani set her camera shutter to wait a minute before shutting(?). When normally the camera goes *click* *click*, it was now going *click*……………*click* and if you moved at ALL, the photo would turn out blurry. She would put the camera on a tripod and lower it down to just above my face and I would not be allowed to come out of the room unless the photos weren’t blurry at all. It broke my habit in a day and I was beyond comfortable in front of the camera. She really believed in me and always pushed me to be the best model I could be. I’ll always cherish her for that.

Megan: Tavi Gevinson. I feel like people probably think I have a weird obsession with her because I am constantly mentioning her. I mean, I guess I am obsessed but WHATEVER.

I first heard about her blog Rookie Mag when I was just fifteen. I fell in love immediately and decided to find out more details on who started it. I was blown away after finding out that she was a year younger than me and had started blogging at the age of 12! TWELVE YEARS OLD. Her website, StyleRookie, began attracting 30k viewers a day and requests from Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times.

What amazes me so much about Tavi is that she stayed in school through all of this. Every free moment was dedicated to her website and she’s now a respected writer, magazine, actress, and stylist at the mere age of 19.

What have been your two greatest achievements? One in modeling and one in blogging.
Abie: As a model I always say that my biggest success came in the form of the people I met. To be able to come back to this city 5 years later and have people waiting for you that made it feel like you never left is an amazing feeling. It also was so invaluable when it came to starting to do other things in the industry. Hey I wanna be a booker, good thing I know a bunch of people that want to teach me how to do that. Hey I wanna be a stylist, great thing I know photographers that need stylists. It was like everything was a possibility strictly from the network I created at that young age. It still amazes me to this day.

Megan: In terms of “wow-moments”, I would say that the past weekend was nonstop “wow”. I never really understood the extent of the blog’s popularity and future potential until we had our meetings and were told by esteemed bloggers/business people that our blog was a “billion dollar idea” and that they want to work with us. US!

I created the blog out of sheer boredom and never imagined it would become my career. Having these meetings made me think, “Okay Megan, this is real and this is your new life, get fucking with it”.

As for modeling, I would say that it would be getting on a billboard. Seeing myself in a modeling photo blown up and on the side of a building was incredibly surreal. What was even crazier was when the little Japanese girls would come up to me and chant the name of the brand I worked with and ask for pictures. I knew that nobody back home would believe me so I recorded it on my phone. I passed by a group of school girls and softly said “hello” to them and was greeted with screams and “SOOO KAWAIII!!!!”.

What’s next for The Retired Models?
Abie: We, as a team, have some really big things in the works. To have grown so quickly in such a short amount of time and have done it almost entirely by accident is shocking and humbling. All of a sudden we own a company and are like wait we literally just wrote down our lives. I believe in fate now and that sometimes your course will just lead you to the thing that was meant to be. I’ve never felt more at home than I do sitting in a conference room with Megs reading each other’s minds and improving the other’s thoughts before they even think them.

Megan: DITTO, ABS.

xx,

Abie & Megan

theretiredmodels.com

@theretiredmodels

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