Modeling in a New Age

Interview with Model and Designer Misha Kurita

Model+Misha+Kurita%2C+wearing+custom+pants

Kyle Schwer

Model Misha Kurita, wearing custom pants

Misha Kurita is an artist born and raised in San Francisco who loves to explore different mediums. She finds inspiration in nature as well as her community for her writing, clothing, and other forms of artistic expression.

For you as a student, as a model, and as a designer, how have the events of last year affected you?

I would say I take a lot of inspiration and joy from being outdoors and in nature, I think it‘s hard for everyone to be kept indoors, you’re comfortable there, it’s a space you’re familiar with but it’s not always inspiring or taking you out of your comfort zone and you are not being greeted with new inspiration or new ideas. It’s also impossible to collaborate, people are getting used to working with one another on the Internet, it’s definitely different.

That’s a great answer, reflecting on the past year with modeling, what has that looked like for you?

Mostly it’s been collaboration I do with photographers that’s typically not paid, it’s just a photographer who wants to do shoots for fun and it’s usually over Zoom. It’s very weird, posing in front of your computer screen and someone is taking a photo of you through their computer screen. It’s cool though, I think it’s representative of the time, the photos and the styles are more relaxed and you can’t have some big elaborate photoshoot, so it’s usually you on your porch in your own outfit, which is more comforting.

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That’s really interesting, as a follow-up, regarding the DAMchic shoot, how does it feel getting a bit back into a more traditional modeling environment?

It’s really fun, I think I have realized how much I love collaboration and collaboration through art, creating art with other people. There’s definitely an element of closeness in age and we have some similar interests and because of that there is a sense of community that is born in a shoot closer within your age range and have similar aesthetics and ideas, it’s really fun to do and I think it feels more like friends creating art together instead of professionals trying to achieve a goal.

Most definitely see that,and agree as well, how has your design process changed during this time?

I have become much more reliant on the Internet and social media for creating mood boards, usually I really like to go out in nature or into my city and take photos of all the colors and textures, but being at home it’s been more about watching movies and [browsing] Instagram, even Pinterest boards, and I have also spent more time learning to draw digitally, so there is definitely a shift of what I am focusing on and what I am looking towards and try to figure out online portfolios, making that shift toward the Internet and the future.

Model Misha Kurita photographed at Deepwood Museum & Gardens (Kyle Schwer )
I am sure most creative people could agree with you, with inspiration coming largely from Instagram and Pinterest. How do you think that being a designer impacts you as a model?

I think that I have a much deeper appreciation for the work that goes into the styling, [and] clothing construction even, I think I really do appreciate more the small details in the garment I am wearing or a vision someone wants to create. I know within my own clothing I want to have this feeling, a general experience of what this clothing is supposed to give to other people and I realize that in a photoshoot you are participating in a vision in that sense of feeling that you want to create when people look at the image, and so there is definitely an element of respecting the vision of the designer or the director that I didn’t really realize before, I think it makes both of those better and more special.

Oh I love that, I definitely think working with you was fantastic because you were such a natural, I don’t know if that’s stuff you have seen before or if it was something you’ve done in the past, but it made the process so easy and just a very enjoyable time. It’s surreal to see a concept that I have been working on the past month coming to fruition with someone who has their own vision and it collides with mine to make this very beautiful marriage of ideas that made it work so well. My last question to you now is simply how do you think modeling is gonna change moving forward? Is it going to go back to normal or do you think this time has at all altered that sense of normal?

I wanna say that with quarantine in the process of photoshoots being altered, there’s going to be more and more of a shift away from general conventions of what a model is, what they’re supposed to look like and how they’re supposed to behave. They have definitely been transformed by quarantine, there’s always been this sort of unspoken rule of having to be really thin, you have to be really cool with everything and down to do whatever someone tells you. I think that there’s a shift because having to do everything over the Internet has relied on communication and collaboration with models, it humanizes them in a way. I think that oftentimes when we look at a photo we don’t realize that the person in the photo is a human being with thoughts and feelings that they have brought to the photo and I think that’s changing, and I think people are starting to realize that it is a creative outlet and that modeling is a expression of creativity and expressing oneself and not just a pretty image.