Some people think that modeling is based on cheek bones and waist size, perfectly coiffed hair and cosmetics. That’s never been less true than it is these days. Present day models are proving that more than ever… it’s about attitude. This doesn’t mean micro aggressions and egos but rather relates to the models ability to capture a mood and a moment that is congruent with the designs they are presenting. Australia’s Holly Kagis has appeared on the most prestigious runways in the world, in films which have received Oscar nominations, and on the covers of the most iconic fashion publications of all time. Her notoriety has skyrocketed in recent years and it’s likely that a good portion of this is due to her combination of dance, stage, and modeling ability. She’s the outcome of an artistic experiment that’s made her a captivating voice, or perhaps face, in the present day modeling and fashion industry. For someone like Kagis who fully embraces the uncertainty of where her life’s adventures will lead her, the notion of it being unplanned is one of the best parts.
The runway is where you’ll most regularly find this Australian beauty. She’s commanded attention at the fashion world’s leading events. New York Fashion Week, Los Angeles Fashion Week, Sydney Fashion Week, Shanghai Fashion Week; all have been a part of Holly’s resume and benefitting her frequent flyer miles. She’s walked for Hale Bob, Chanel, Diana Couture, Siwy Denim, Nazia Rahman, Fernando Alberto Atelier, Lulu Harazin, Elliatt, NNCY, Alexandra Propescue-York, Elle Zeitoune, Avery Verse, DA by Daniel, Atelier Nicola D’errico, La Piacentini, Empire Rose, Nana Judy, Pin Up Stars, Cotton Inc., Fernando Alberto Atelier, Santina Nicole…the list goes on and on. While she’s often seen in couture gowns, she concedes that she’s a huge fan of denim and the casual look. She’s worked closely with the iconic label Jordache (“They fit me really well so I love them") as well as a host of denim brands like Paige Denim, DSTLD, Nana Judy, Bettina Liano, and Level 99. Kagis appeared at this year’s LAFW, presenting denim label Siwy Denim’s “Democracy on the Dancefloor” collection. She reveals, “In my early days as a model, I was sometimes intimidated by people in the fashion industry who I admired. I’m a hard worker. At some point I began to relax and find my own way; that’s when it became second nature and things really took off…by being myself.”
Most success stories occur when imitation ends and self-discovery begins. Holly’s career attests to this and she places a lot of that identity in her Australian roots. This goes deeper than her first appearance at Perth Fashion Week (where she opened the festivals headline show), appearing on the cover of Australia’s Daily Telegraph as a finalist for Miss Universe Australia, or featuring on morning show institution Sunrise Australia. The model communicates, “I think a great work ethic is something a lot of Australians have. We’re adventurous and take setbacks really well. Call that determination or call it stubbornness, we’re driven.” In terms of her career, that’s led Kagis to appearing in the world’s leading fashion publications like Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, just to name a few. She caught the eye of top fashion designer Tom Ford who cast her in his Focus Feature film Nocturnal Animals featuring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon (for which Shannon received an Oscar nomination). Ford’s casting Holly in the film proves this notion that her bright personality is something which emanates naturally from her.
When you spend all of your time flying from continent to continent, immersed in the frantic production backstage and then are suddenly whisked onto the runway…life can be unsettling. Knowing who you are not only makes you successful in front of the camera but away from it as well. Holly Kagis has worked with the most lauded names in her industry because they recognize her embodiment of a confident and multifaceted woman that they want to project. Victoria’s Secret, L’Oréal, MAC, Chanel; all have sought out Holly because she brings the magnetic qualities of the greats…most importantly self-awareness.