We spoke with Kate Eff to get the scoop on what makes her one of Portland’s go to petite models. Kate is among the most influential leaders in her market. Kate’s work has an artistic & raw quality, it is clear her passion for modeling steams from the sake of making art.
Q: What started modeling for you?
A: Funny enough, my first experience(s) modeling were a few chance castings as a toddler for a local clothing company in Wisconsin- Lands' End. I was definitely too young to have much enjoyment or commitment to it (although there are some adorable catalog shots) and continued to pursue other creative endeavors, such as music and acting. With the exception of a youth fashion show and some senior portrait ads, I did not entertain modeling as much of a possibility through my teens, as I am not befitting to most industry standards for height and shape. After the end of a tumultuous and abusive relationship at 21, a photographer friend convinced me to try doing a shoot in the hopes of seeing myself in a different light. Since that friend was well-connected in the area and the shoot went well, I was able to start collaborating with other local creatives and build a valuable new network of friends and professionals....and I've been booking shoots with some regularity ever since!
Q: How do you get inspired to stay motivated in the industry?
A: The people involved in the creative industry, either as full-time patrons of the trade or those embracing art as a side project, are consistently a source of fulfillment and motivation to continue in modeling. There are so many wonderful, wonderful humans dedicated to making art and collaborating with others in a way that is rarely seen outside of the creative industry, and while there are some bad apples out there, my experiences and friends that I have gained through modeling are truly priceless. When I find myself feeling burned out or lacking creativity, nothing fires me up more than making art with friends.
Q: Do you have a most embarrassing moment while modeling?
A: Fortunately, I don't have too many with consequence-- my most embarrassing moment was probably when I was hired for an advanced lighting workshop, and as I walked towards the door while the teacher held it for me (the attendees already in the room) I fell straight on my face on the gravel walkway. Not only did I rip open my knees and tights on the gravel, but even scratched up my face and had to walk in covered with blood and dirt while everybody who had watched my trip rushed out with concern (it looked a lot worse/bloody than it really was). I was totally fine, but my pride was definitely bruised and I was bright red for a good half hour. They even added a photoshopping chapter that wasn't previously planned in order to teach attendees how to remove my multiple band-aids and scratches in post-processing.
Q: Do you have a fashion or style icon?
A: I don't think so; I usually patchwork together different aesthetics or styles that I like in others but rarely look to one individual specifically for inspiration. If there was one person whose style I consistently admired (but realistically, I never pull off) it would be an old classmate of mine- Nana Asante-Smith, who is doing so many amazing things to change the world as an attorney that it almost feels distracting to mention her consistent and outstanding sense of style. But seriously, if she's ever put together a bad outfit- I have never seen it.( https://www.parkerpoe.com/attorneys/nana-a-asante-smith )
Q: What is your favorite time period in fashion?
A: The 90's seems to be a good fit, but that may just be since I'm in Portland. I like simple and comfortable outfits that I can get dirty in, but still feel feel semi-fashionable.
Q: Who is your ideal client?
A: I like to support businesses with my modeling the same way that I do with my dollar: local, woman or POC owned clients who choose to hire me based on what makes me different from other models, and not the things that make me the same (ie I'd rather be hired for being a short, unconventional and tattoo-covered model than for being thin and blonde and European-looking) are ideal. Clients that run their business in a way that empowers the communities they serve, and, of course, those that pay without issue are what I prioritize in accepting work.