Claire Burnett

Emily Winston, Arts and Entertainment Editor

By Emily Winston, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Claire Burnett is currently a junior at Ward Melville High School and has been modeling for several years. Modeling, in addition to school work and activities, has consumed much of Claire’s time. Below, Claire reveals insight about her commitment to modeling, her inspirations, and some of her  favorite fashion trends.

Q: What Company do you model for?

A: I model for Wilhelmina. My agent is in the NYC office, but it has locations all over the world.

Q: How long have you been modeling?

A: I have been modeling for about 3 years now, but recently my career has been taking off a bit more because I have reached the age of 16. I’m now eligible for runway and I can get my working papers in.

Q: How much time is involved?

A: It’s really difficult to give a specific estimate of the time I spend modeling. Because of the nature of the business, I’m usually only notified of a job the day before I’m supposed to be there – sometimes only the night before! The average photo-shoot usually takes about 4-5 hours, though the longest one I’ve been to so far was 9 hours. Then there are multiple castings (also known as “go-sees”.) Once you get to the location, these can take anywhere from one minute to half an hour.

Q: What inspires you in the fashion world?

A: The thing that probably inspires me the most is the people and how much passion they have for what they’re doing. Even if a fashion line is the drabbest thing you’ve ever seen, as a model you are there for the designers and the team. You have to respect them for what they are doing and try to find the same passion the designers had when creating their “masterpieces,” so you can convey that in your session. It may not be important to you, but these people worked quite hard, and they chose you to represent their work. That’s what really inspires me the most: the raw passion for their work.

Q: What are some of your favorite fashion brands/ stores/ designers?

A: Call me crazy, but I don’t have a preference. Anywhere that has a hearty chunky sweater I’m all in. I guess if I had to choose though, right now I’m in love with the Cotton On brand. It’s the sweater season and they have the comfiest sweaters and flannels. To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite designer. It all depends on my mood and the context (school? city walking? out dancing?). Right now if I had to choose, I guess I’d say I’m enjoying the look of Ralph Lauren’s ads, because his designs appear simple yet elegant. His clothesline evokes fantasy worlds. It’s hard not to think that the person is either a polo player, or owns a villa at the edge of a private beach on the Bahamas.

Q: How would you describe your own style?

A: Again, there really isn’t a certain style I like to stick to because I enjoy all varieties, as long as what I’m wearing is consistent with my mood that day. I could come to school wearing a black shirt, a choker, dark-wash jeans and a flannel, and the next day I’ll wear light-wash jeans, a long necklace, and a white lace shirt. Mostly I just wear baggy sweaters though; it’s a very sporadic style, but hey, I like it!

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring models?

A: One, don’t let it go to your head. Modeling and the world of fashion is a business like any other, and requires a lot of teamwork, so it’s important to stay humble. You’re just one piece of the puzzle. Two, enjoy yourself! If you can be comfortable with your photographers, there’s more of a chance you’ll take amazing photos. If you’re having fun, they’ll have fun, and all that will come across in the pics. Three, be comfortable with your body, whatever your size. Last but not least: don’t let the industry change you. You may think that who you are has nothing to do with what you look like in photos, but actually it’s just the opposite: who you are is exactly what makes the photos come alive (that and a really good photographer of course!). If you’ve been chosen for a shoot it’s because there’s something about you that they like, so don’t worry about being yourself. I’m a pretty weird person, always have been, always will be. Yet, I’ve been told that’s one of the things they like about me. Also, you will meet so many people, see so many things (and probably be yelled at a lot), but you can’t let this industry bring you down. Stay strong and at the end of the day you can know that throughout all of that chaos you can still sit down and think that you accomplished something. You did the very best you could. What job can ask for more than that? Life is too short to squander great opportunities for strange adventures and being happy.

Q: In the future do you see yourself considering a career as a model? Is there something else you have in mind?

A: I don’t think I see myself really pursuing modeling after college, but I really enjoy it right now. It’s a great way to have strange adventures while I’m young that I can later tell my grandchildren about. I have no idea what I want to do when I’m older. It would be fun to be a marine biologist, or an astronaut, or a lion tamer (why not?), a writer (if I could spell), a toy maker (love to play), an actress (love plays), maybe even a scientist! (if my grades are good enough). I’m going to just sit back and enjoy the ride for now, though, and hopefully I’ll get off at the right stop.