Selfie of Fashion Model Britt Kline in front of her painting

Britt Kline, A fashion model from Beech Creek, USA @official_brittkline //

What was the situation in which this photo was taken?

I was celebrating my first abstract painting, by taking a selfie with the perfect sunset lighting.

Could you tell us something about what you do?

I’ve been working as a fashion model in New York and abroad for the past four years. Recently I’ve decided to transition into something else that will utilize my Bachelor of Arts degree and allow me to be closer to my family. At university, I concentrated on English creative writing and the Spanish language.

How did you first become interested in it?

I first started modelling when I was 5, and expressed a desire to be like the kids in a Christmas toy catalogue. I had no idea what was in store for me as I graduated from the mall to a high fashion model. Around 8 or 9 I got an American Girl doll named Josefina who had a story based in Mexico. That lit the fire for my fascination with the Spanish language and Latin/Spanish culture. By the time I was a teenager, journaling kept me from spiralling out of control. In the end I majored in my two favorite classes, English and Spanish, hoping to turn joys into jobs.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

For the longest time, I loved getting to collaborate with creative individuals and getting to evolve into a different character once the hair, makeup, and wardrobe did their work to create an image desired by production or the designer. I had the most fun at runway shows or editorial shoots. Unfortunately, a lot of times the fun creative aspect gets lost in all the behind the scenes drama of the industry.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a writing project that I started sometime in 2012. It’s nearing completion and soon I will be seeking a literary agent and publication opportunities. I am also beginning a mixed media collection of acrylic and glass/ceramic tile paintings inspired by natural scenery on Earth as well as far away galaxies. Painting is my favorite hobby. I don’t consider myself an artist, I just find peace in creating something that may make myself or someone else think outside their normal shell or smile for a moment.

What are the challenges in what you do, and how do you overcome them?

I’ve been treated for anxiety and depression since the age of 16. That underlying darkness usually creates storm clouds in whatever career or project I am working on. I got off of my antidepressants in 2012 shortly before turning 21. Being 25 now, I learned a lot of coping mechanisms and find writing, painting, and yoga to be the greatest medicines. Anxiety still plagues my work even though the depression is at bay. I am riddled with self-doubt and flooded with inner monologues of questions and debates. Modelling is tough on the average person, so it could easily run someone with mental illness into the mud. My hope is that transitioning into the field of writing will allow me to share my experiences with others and inspire them to seek professional help or independently take steps to become the best versions of themselves and break the stigma of living with mental illness.

Could you describe your personal style?

As a model, I was constantly being told how to dress to impress a certain client and what designers are “in” at the moment. It caused me to lose myself a bit as I was constantly dressing for others and not myself. At home, I never wear heels. I also don’t care about what designer is on the label. My style is about functionality and comfort. I love ripped boyfriend jeans, flannels, and t-shirts.

What is your present state of mind?

I am relaxed. At home, snuggled in a valley with nothing but birds and crickets to break the silence, the occasional scurry of one of my cats running through the house stirs the tranquillity, but never fully disturbs the peace. Maybe I will paint today? Maybe I will begin the job hunt? Or maybe I will write? All that is certain is that I will be following my feet wherever they lead.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Currently, nothing. I enjoy the peaceful sounds of my surroundings. In general, I listen to a lot of Florence and the Machine, A Tribe Called Red, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Drake and more. I don’t limit myself to any genre. I like to listen to a little bit of everything depending on the mood I’m seeking to establish.

Which artists or designers inspire you?

Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Antoni Gaudí, Sylvia Plath, Alexander McQueen, Grace Coddington, and Lewis Carroll.

What is the purpose of art, in your view?

The purpose of art is to free spirits. The artist frees themself by releasing the visions, thoughts, or emotions within. The art aficionado is freed by losing themself in thought or appreciation. Art frees our spirits from mundane existences and gives them something to feel.

How do you spend your free time?

When I’m not working, I visit family members or help them with different tasks. I enjoy cooking and having camp fires with my boyfriend of 6 years, Erik. We occasionally walk our cats outdoors on leashes. Sometimes, they get hooked up to a zipline to run a little more wild. I recently started exploring nature photography. Mostly I just read, write, paint, and daydream.

Photo of Model Britt Kline taken by photographer Manny Roman