Kate Moss – who turns 50 on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 – was just 14 years old when she began her modeling career. Complicated beginnings.
More than 30 years of career, 300 magazine covers, hundreds of fashion shows for the biggest brands and dozens of advertising campaigns… Kate Moss began her modeling career at just 14 years old. The rest is historical.
She was discovered by Sarah Doukas, founder of the Storm Model agency, at JFK Airport in New York. “I got on the plane and Sarah's brother came up to me and said, 'Have you ever thought about becoming a model?' Kate Moss explained in a 2018 interview with the Press Association.
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Kate Moss, 19, in 1995 © Fairchild Archive/Penske Media via Getty Images
“I was small, had crooked legs and crooked teeth. Nobody thought of me: “She is the prettiest girl in school.” “I was just very thin, which for me was more of a defect than anything else.” She started, but the beginnings of modeling for the person nicknamed ” the branch” were not easy.
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Fake photographer and leak
“I was alone… I didn't let my daughter start so young, I was just thrown into the adult world,” commented Kate Moss. A hostile world. At the “BBC” microphone in 2022, the English top model spoke of several traumatic episodes, starting with a shoot with a photographer for a lingerie catalog.
“I had a terrible experience. I was probably only 15 and he said, “Take your top off.” So I took my top off. He said to me, “Take off your bra,” then I took my things and ran away. I had tears in my eyes,” said Kate Moss. “I think it sharpened my instincts. I can spot a fake photographer from a mile away. »
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At 16, Kate Moss was chosen to appear on the cover of The Face and posed nude in front of the lens of Corinne Day for the magazine's pages. Images that make her uncomfortable today. “I see a 16-year-old girl and it was really strange to ask her to take off her clothes,” she told Vogue magazine.
“But they said: If you don’t do it, we won’t hire you again. So I locked myself in the bathroom, cried and then I went out and did it. I never felt very comfortable with it. […] I hated my breasts! Because I was flat chested. And I had a big birthmark on one of them. »
Kate Moss continued: “That photo of me running on the beach is something I'll never forget because I made the hairdresser, who was the only man on set, turn his back on me.” » This is not the only time in her career that she had to take off her clothes despite her reticence.
A little later, 18-year-old Kate Moss was chosen to appear in an advertisement for Calvin Klein with Mark Wahlberg – who was not yet an actor but a rapper – under the name Marky Mark. Advertisement in which she only wore jeans and white panties. And she doesn't have any “very good memories” of filming…
“He was very macho and very self-centered. He was well surrounded and I was just a model,” she told the BBC. And added that she felt “completely” objectified. “Vulnerable and scared. I think they took advantage of my vulnerability. I was quite young and innocent. Calvin loved it. »
I take care of my models
To protect young models, including her daughter Lila Grace Moss-Hack, Kate Moss founded her own agency, kM Agency, in 2016. “I said [Lila], you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. If you don't want to do this shoot, if you don't feel comfortable, if you don't want to be a model, then don't do it. »
“I take care of my models. I make sure they're on set with agents so that if they get taken advantage of, there's someone there to say, “I don't think that's appropriate.” I don't know if it's universal, but it absolutely is, what I want and can do,” explained Kate Moss.
Kate Moss and her daughter Lila in New York in May 2023 © Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic