Chances are, you’ve seen ModCloth model Kayli all around the site, lending her radiant smile and signature red locks to stunning outfits and charming campaign imagery. Below, we get in-depth with the unique spirit and creative energy behind one of ModCloth’s most widely-recognized gals.
What, to you, makes the perfect outfit?
The look of “the perfect outfit” is always changing, because my mood changes. The perfect outfit coordinates with how I feel. Sometimes I’m feeling nostalgic and want to wear something that reminds me of childhood, a past vacation, or time with an old friend or relative. Sometimes I feel like playing a character and want to embody traits that I admire in certain people from a book or film. Sometimes ultimate comfort is key. Most of the time it ends up being a blend. It just has to feel right.
You know how sometimes you can love a certain outfit, and another day that same outfit just doesn’t feel right? It’s because we are always evolving and shifting our moods, and so the same outfits don’t remain appropriate. Usually for me it ends up feeling most right if I take a moment to use my creativity when getting dressed rather than throwing on the first thing I see. I don’t agree when people look at fashion as superficial or vain. I think it’s a way of showing how you feel on the inside. We have these bodies that we are born with, that are composed of DNA that we personally had nothing to do with creating. Our parents simply gave them to us, and it took none of our creativity. What we choose to add to our bodies and present to the world in terms of fashion, are our brain and spirit’s way of determining what we want to express to people.
The way someone dresses says something about them. There are times when I can’t seem to put on anything but a white t-shirt and jeans, because I feel I need to cleanse myself of outside influence, re-center, and have a blank slate to figure out what is to come next. Then, I usually go through some small spiritual discovery, and my desire to wear something loud/interesting returns. Lol, that was quite a rambling all to say that there aren’t any specific style rules of thumb to go by. No magazine can give me the right cookie cutter aesthetic advice. The perfect outfit expresses how you feel on that given day. It makes you feel like an individual.
What are you passionate about?
Creating things. Anything really. Music, doodles, sewing garments, poems, comedy skits/videos. Even if that creation isn’t a masterpiece, it just feels good to make it. It didn’t exist before, and now it does! Whatever the creation is, you’ll find it serves some sort purpose. It might teach you something about your subconscious. It might be totally silly and make you or someone else laugh. It might simply be an exercise of the brain or hand that will keep you sharp for some future creation. Or, once in a great while, it turns out to be a little masterpiece. And in those moments, it’s oh so very satisfying and has the ability to touch someone right in the heart.
When you’re not on set, where might we find you?
I’m commonly amongst the trees in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park, admiring their beauty, soaking in the fresh oxygen they provide, seeking inspiration, and detoxing from electronics. I also spend a lot of time at home with my 2 cats playing and listening to music. And of course, it’s always wonderful to spend time with friends and family.
What have you learned from being a model?
That it’s totally possible to take control of the way you feel. It’s not always easy, but possible. For example: we all have days where we just aren’t feeling our best in terms of joyfulness or physical appearance. On days when I’m experiencing a low, I feel ugly, and it’s not ideal to have a camera staring me down, magnifying the flaws I’m seeing in myself in that moment. I’ve learned though, that I can choose to overcome it. If I focus on happiness, and look at myself as a friend, I feel a sudden peace, and my photographs start turning out so much better. You actually look different based on the way you feel. I start wondering, if I can physically see a difference in my exterior appearance based on my mood, what is that mood doing to my internal organs? I have no scientific evidence to support this, lol, I just think it makes sense that if I’m witnessing this physical change when I become positive, there are probably other positive changes that I can’t even see. In the same way, negative thoughts are probably detrimental to my organs.
Many times, I think that when people wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or it’s one of those days where everything tends to go wrong, it’s as if they think this bad day is just happening to them. As if they have no control. They are a victim that just has to get through it. It’s a belief that they sit with, and in turn, more frustration falls upon them. I think if someone is capable of simply observing how they are feeling, they become capable of harnessing their emotions and can thus change their feelings into whatever they want them to be.
What’s the biggest goal on your bucket list?
I would love to someday be able to make a living as a musician. The existence of good music is one of my favorite parts of the human experience. Obviously, there are countless opinions on what “good music” is, but when you are truly touched by those special sound waves, there are few better feelings. It would be nice to get to spend more time in the realm of making more of those heart sounds. My brother and I have a recording project we call Creature People, but we get to spend such a small fraction of our waking hours working on it. He lives in Illinois where he has a full-time job, and I live in Pittsburgh where I am constantly pulled in different directions balancing a freelance lifestyle. It would be incredible to get to drop everything else for a while, and see what would come out of pouring all of my energy into Creature People.