Our FANG girl Kelsie Leach recently competed for the Miss Teen USA crown. We caught up with her during her whirlwind schedule juggling various modeling jobs, the Miss Teen competition, and yes: HIGH SCHOOL!
· What were you doing right before you started this interview?
I just returned home from cheer practice.
• Fun! Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up? You are still in High School right?
I was born June 19th 1994 in Santa Clarita, and I have lived here all my life. I’m a senior in high school, and a flyer on our varsity cheer team. Our squad competes competitively, and has taken several National titles including the past two years. I’m proud to be part of my school’s winning tradition.
· How did you get into modeling?
I entered a local pageant and was awarded the title Miss Teen Santa Clarita Valley. I had heard about the Miss Santa Clarita Valley Scholarship Pageant and thought it would be something fun to try. Little did I know the doors it would open for me! The Miss SCV program is a community service based program, and as a title holder I was given the opportunity to be part of several city events. I’ve had the privilege of working with some wonderful organizations including Special Olympics, American Cancer Society, MDA, and Circle of Hope. I was recently awarded special recognition from my city’s Mayor for serving over 1,000 hours of community service. Some of these events also included modeling. One of the largest shows is Rescues on the Runway. It’s a charity event held each year to help raise funds to rescue animals from local kill shelters. Fashion designers participate with the event, and I get to showcase their latest fashions on the runway. A photo shoot is also involved and the photos are used for the designer’s promotions, advertising, and marketing. This exposure led to other offers for me to do print work. Charlotte Wild owner of Sirena Models saw me at an event and asked me to join her agency. Thank you Charlotte to leading me to FANG! J I love being in front of the camera! The best part is seeing the finished print knowing that I represented the outfit well and provided the best image possible for the designer. That’s easy with FANG because the clothes are so fun and playful making it easy to get into character.
• Tell us about running for Miss Teen USA?
I was approached last June when a Miss USA recruiter saw me at an event. At first I was hesitant and declined, but then I started to think about the opportunities it might provide if I were to win the title. I knew I wanted to continue my work as a print model, and being crowned Miss Teen California would definitely provide some exposure. So, after the interviews and official acceptance as a contestant was finalized, my campaign began! I created my FB Fan Page, shot a video, had several photo shoots, wrote dozens of letters, continued to participate in community events, learned routines, and met numerous new people within the industry. Six months later, I was standing on stage with Miss USA, Alyssa Campenella receiving an award! It was an amazing experience, and despite not taking the main title, I’m proud of the title I won and the journey it took to get there. I learned so much about myself, my priorities, values, and what is most important … being me!
· You won Best Swimsuit! What was that like?
Honestly, I was shocked! lol I knew I had done well in the preliminary … I felt comfortable, but out of 125 girls I had no idea where I would come in. I froze at first, when I heard Kelsie Leach. It wasn’t until they said Teen Santa Clarita that I started walking toward the center of the stage where Miss USA stood holding my award. After being photographed, I walked to the end of the runway. I felt my chiffon gown billowing behind me, and I felt like I was walking on a cloud!
• How was your experience with FANG and photographer Eusebio Hernandez?
Eusebio is awesome! He has a genuine talent behind the camera. His work proves that he has all the right traits of a great fashion photographer. He has passion, shooting for the right shot – not just any shot, he has vision and is able to communicate well to his models. His personality is fun and energetic, and he has a recognizable style that complements FANG’s fun, free-spirited image. I had a great time during our photo shoot, and look forward to working with Eusebio again!
• How would you describe your fashion style?
My style is very fashion forward. I like keeping up with the current fashion. At the same time, I’m always adding or changing a little something to bring a more personalized look that fits my personality. I’m all about fun, feminine, trendy, yet timeless. Accessories are key for me! They complete the look and dictate the mood of the outfit. Belts, shoes, scarves, jewelry … They all add texture and bring additional color and style. Something eye-catching in an accessory can make an ordinary outfit more interesting and standout.
• What kind of music do you like to listen to? Favorite artist?
I like a variety of music. It depends on what kind of mood I’m in. Some of my favorite artists are Adele, John Mayer, Katy Perry, The Fray, Coldplay, and Jessie J.
• Oh Adele. Love. So, Is there a boy in your busy life?
No, not right now. But I’m looking forward to this New Year and what may happen!
• Ha! Always good to make some time for looooove. Have you ever had a star struck moment in Hollywood?
Yes! Just last month I was on the lot at CBS Television City in Hollywood, and Paula Abdul approached me! She took me by the hand and said, “You’re so beautiful!” I felt so dumb after I blurted out, “Thank you. You are too!” What?! I was definitely captivated in some kind of star-struck trance! Haha! Luckily, the conversation continued and I was able to some-what redeem myself! Haha!
• Wow! Paula? That’s awesome! What is your guilty pleasure?
Dove dark chocolate ……. It’s my substance abuse! lol
• If you could Time travel, where would you go and why?
I love this! I think it would be so fun to travel back in time to different eras just to dress up in different fashions! Grecian, Victorian, Antebellum, Roaring 20’s, 1930’s Hollywood Glamour … Of course I’d take Eusebio with me for some radical photo shoots! lol
• Who is your style icon?
Audrey Hepburn. I think she was an amazing woman! She introduced a style of her own that people still imitate today. How awesome to have your name represent a legendary STYLE. (The Audrey Hepburn look …. Hmmmm …. The Kelsie Marie look!)
• Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
Most people don’t know that I created a product, established a business name, and started my own .com business when I was 14. I started KelsieMarie.com and launched my first product; a designer laptop case for girls in 2008. I have a second product in the making, and I’m hoping to add it to my KelsieMarie line late summer.
• I did not know that. It seems like at such a young age, you have accomplished a lot. What is next for our Fang girl Kelsie?
I definitely feel I am just beginning! I love the track I’m on, and my goal is to continue pursuing my modeling career. I’ll be graduating this May and hope to spend most of this summer in front of the camera! I’d really like to become a spokes model in the fashion industry. Promotional modeling through print, radio and television would be exciting! September will find me in college studying for my degree in fashion design and business management. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve already been given, and I’m looking forward to continuing my career as a model. Thanks FANG for allowing me to be your “Girl”!
That was fun! THANK YOU Kelsie! We are very proud of you and cannot wait to see you in your next project! FANG IT UP!