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Holly Kagis Will Convince You That Modeling is Art

Scratch the surface of modeling and you’ll soon find that there’s much more to it than pleasant aesthetics. For many top models like Australia’s Holly Kagis it’s about personal growth and experiencing life. Kagis has an internationally successful and busy modelling career but it’s not the exact path she intended for herself. She says that, though unplanned, it has culminated in a personal evolution and an exciting journey. The Aussie model’s ventures into dance and acting have combined with her intensity and skill on the runway, resulting in a signature style and leading to offers from designers across the world and at some of the most prestigious campaigns and fashion events on the globe. Holly has been seen working with names like Mac Cosmetics, Victoria’s Secret, Jordache, L’Oréal, and others. Sometimes life offers the greatest surprises when you’re looking the other way, which is precisely what happened to this acclaimed model: she’s learned a greater appreciation for the artistic side of the profession along the way.


Years ago, Kagis was immersed in dance and stage training when she was discovered by Sylvia Giacci and persuaded to model for Perth Fashion Week. With trepidation, Kagis accepted and was soon placed to open the headline show of the entire event. The demand for her soon took her away from studies at University; there’s little time for properly hitting the books when on a shoot for Cosmopolitan or working with great Australian designers like Lisa Ho and Wayne Cooper. You might expect this type of association and accolades to lead a model to become self-focused but in the case of Holly it led to an appreciation of the talent around her and the combining of creative approaches involved. Being featured on the runways at LAFW, NYFW, Shanghai fashion week, Sydney fashion week, Perth fashion week and numerous events of global prominence has given this Australian talent a great deal of perspective about the depth of her industry.


A photo shoot is an artistic and collaborative creation. Anyone who has taken part in, or witnessed a photo shoot for the well-known brands with whom Holly has worked, can attest to the decidedly international composition of the team. Characteristic #1 which indicates that modeling is a verified art form is the vetted mastery of artists from different mediums collaborating. Characteristic #2 is the fact that the modeling industry evolves as does all art forms. Models from the seventies, eighties, nineties, and all eras exhibit ideas and looks indicative of that era. Referring to the current iteration, Kagis remarks, “I like the direction the industry is heading right now where there’s room for people from all walks of life. I was lucky enough to see Madeline Stuart at work at NYFW and it was inspiring. It feels like the fashion industry is becoming more inclusive and open minded which is so important. It’s very different, even compared to when I started years ago. I think the ‘Me Too’ movement has encouraged girls in industries with very little job stability, like acting and modelling, to speak up if they feel they need to. Body positivity has impacted the industry for the better, it’s now illegal in Paris to hire models who are too skinny. The way agencies speak to models is also totally different.” Characteristic #3 in confirming modeling’s artistic merit, is its appreciation and utilization by other art forms. As a recognized international model, Holly has worked on a number of film and television productions including Bold and The Beautiful (CBS television Daytime Emmy Award Winner), Nocturnal Animals (Golden Globe winner and recipient of an Oscar nomination for Michael Shannon), Sunrise Australia (the country’s most popular breakfast news show) KTLA and E! News to supplement her editorial achievements like the cover of the Daily Telegraph (major Australian newspaper), Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Cosmopolitan, amongst others.

Holly Kagis sees modeling as simply another extension of being a creative individual. Creating a moment for a photograph, or on the runway, is just like creating one in dance or film. When questioned about why her career has blossomed with such universal praise she remarks, “I think it’s a combination of things. My look, yes, but also my unique experience and my dance and stage training. I’ve always strived to improve my work over the years. It can be a lot less glamorous than people think. I think there’s a perception that models just get to turn up on set and get pampered but there’s a lot of hard work that goes into it. I think before I started modelling I thought it would be a glamorous job but I’ve found it takes a lot of mental and emotional strength. When I worked on the film Nocturnal Animals (Focus Features) which was directed by Tom Ford and starred Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom was predictably the most glamorous human I’ve ever met, even after 13+ hours on set. His attention to detail was incredible, it makes sense that the film is so visually stunning. It was an honor being chosen by Tom Ford for my role in the film.”

Written by Kelly King
Holly Kagis Will Convince You That Modeling is Art Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:05:00 PM Rating: 5
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