Looking unusual is beautiful
“I was really all over the place,” confesses the 19 year old when we asked her about childhood ambitions, “but knew I wanted to do something creative - art, clothes, photography, and travel.” Scouted swimming at her local pool at age 11, her first full time modeling season was embraced with a Prada ad campaign shot by Steven Meisel. Since then, the gap-toothed model’s portfolio has expanded to include catwalk appearances at the likes of Anna Sui, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Mulberry and Yohji Yamamoto as well as prolific editorial appearances channelling characters from pop art doll to metal girl to tribal warrior for magazines like French Revue de Modes, L’Officiel, and Vogue. In person, the American is sharply hilarious. Just check her out on social media and read witty texts like her tumblr subtitle of ‘I will cleverly entitle this later’, you’ll surely be smitten with her contagious charisma, too.
Here, Miss Mittendorf talks with Playing Fashion on her home town in Arizona, everything about being a model, and how to look good her way.
I GREW UP
in a fairly small town in Arizona and it will always be home. It's special to me because it's my little paradise, so opposite of work life that it keeps me grounded.
I START MY DAY
begrudgingly and with vats of coffee before getting out of bed. My pre-shoot routine isn't much different than my normal day routine since I usually find out about shoots the day before. I do make sure to take time to moisturize my skin properly and drink water throughout the shoot. I never leave the house without all three of my cell phones, chargers, a good book, headphones and my polaroid camera.
I USUALLY KILL TIME BACKSTAGE
by checking up on all of my social media which feels like a second full time job as I'm on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and (my favorite) Tumblr.
THE MORE EXTREME THE MORE FUN.
I was told to be a bird once, trapped in an abandoned warehouse and that was a bit strange based on the freezing cold location we were in. I loved playing jewel thieves in a house in upstate New York and a knife wielding psychopath. I've had nothing but good experiences. One of the best times I've had on set was shooting an old Hollywood inspired story with Ellen von Unwerth and an enthusiastic monkey that enjoyed dancing on bars in LA.
I AM HAPPY TO ADMIT
that my mother is always right about pretty much everything and I learn that usually after the fact (laughs). She's taught me a lot about common sense, standing up for yourself and working hard. There's several people that I look up to as industry role models such as Grace Coddington, Coco Rocha and Eva Chen who are so savvy yet so graceful and wonderful to be around.
YOU SEE THIS FAÇADE OF FAIRYTALES
told through the pages of a magazine when you're on the outside or just starting, but being a part of the industry really teaches you that first and foremost, it's a business. Really it's blood, sweat, tears and negotiations and it makes you appreciate it much more.
REJECTION IS REJECTION.
I can't control other people’s opinions so if I don't work for what they're doing, fine. It's part of the business. If I were a salesperson I couldn't expect every person I spoke with to buy my product and it's the same as a model. In that sense it's not personal to me. For me, ”beauty" is interchangeable with "interesting". I think there are stereotypes for beauty but I don't really pay attention to them because it's so subjective.
MY PERSONAL STYLE IS VERY SIMPLE
usually various forms of black on black on black. I love Alexander Wang for basics and my Givenchy bag is my prized possession because it's such a classic. Right now I really like drop waist skirts as a change from high waisted and tight fitted (summer come faster!).
I NEVER WEAR MAKEUP
unless I have to. If I was going out I'd moisturize my face, use a tinted moisturizer, a swipe of mascara and a Chanel red lip.
THE BEST THING FOR YOUR SKIN
is to keep it clean and moisturized. Obviously, plenty of water. A make up artist told me about the many uses of coconut oil and it has been life changing for me and buy it by the tub from Whole Foods. I like Boots or Clinique moisturizers, Clinique or Nars tinted moisturizers and YSL Touche Éclat highlighter for under eyes.
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER
I played lots of different sports. Now I love being on the beach, jogging, pilates and yoga, but for all the love, all the money in the world, I would not stop eating burritos.
HAPPINESS IS THE JOURNEY!
The biggest luxury for me at the moment is spending time with loved ones (and my dogs) at home on the couch.
Photography by Robert Harper; styling by Justine Josephs; make-up by Dorita Nissen; hair by Jose Quijano; model: Kelly Mittendorf / Elite London; photographer's assistant: Pablo Marks; casting director: Megan McCluskie.
Opening Image: grey glitter shirt by Yifang Wan.