Katie Hughes is salt of the earth. It’s an expression said endearingly when we meet those that remind us of the pure, simple good in this world — there couldn’t be a better fit for her.
A sure-to-be familiar face, our sweet Katie has fronted campaigns for some of Aotearoa’s most most beloved designers, the likes of Deadly Ponies and Benjamin Alexander, to name a few.
First scouted at thirteen, she holds a discerningly thoughtful perspective on modelling. CPC was even lucky enough to be a part of Katie’s first ever shoot back in 2018 (hello hairclip heaven!). Five years on, Katie looks back on her start in modelling and wishes she knew to relax more. “I feel that within this industry you don’t have a huge say over how successful you are, it is important to try your hardest but at the end of the day, your success is determined on your look, which you don’t have the biggest control over.” she says.
Katie continues: “When I was younger I would get more discouraged when I wasn't getting a lot of jobs but now I've learnt not to be so discouraged, everything always works out how it should!”
It’s this wiseness beyond her years that draws us in her orbit.
A lot can be surmised about one’s life by finding out who they call first with good news. For Katie, it’s her parents. The same ones who first thought it was a good ol’ Internet scam when she was first approached by her mother agency, too cute. And though Katie's family is based in both England and Malaysia, she still sees Tāmaki Makaurau as her forever home. Proof? Her last Google search was “noodles Dominion Road”.
Continuing on the tradition, we were lucky enough to spend a spring afternoon in Katie’s forever home Tāmaki Makaurau. It goes beyond hairclip heaven, baby! See below as Katie showcases the best of this season’s frills and thrills, alongside current bows in show from local favourites Wynn Hamlyn and Meadowlark. Pull over — get a dose of Katie’s sweetness below.
Where do you live now and where do you consider home?
I currently live in Auckland, New Zealand which is where I believe I will forever consider home! I've been extremely lucky to travel a lot since my family lives in England and Malaysia, but no country has ever really compared to New Zealand.
How did you get into modelling? Can you tell us the story of how you came to be signed to your agency?
I got scouted on Instagram when I was 13, I think. My agent Katherine messaged me asking if I could come into the agency. I told my parents and they looked at the agency's website where they had a disclaimer message that there had been "fraudulent scouting" recently — they then told me that they thought it was a scam, haha. But after looking at the agency's Instagram account they agreed that it was probably not a scam and me and my Mum went into the agency shortly after. I signed with them a couple weeks later!
We were lucky enough to shoot with you for your first ever shoot, what are your memories of that day?
I remember I was quite nervous because I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. But everyone was really friendly and nice so the nerves wore off. I thought the photos were really cool, it was my first time ever being photographed on film! I also remember that there was a rabbit at the shoot which was really cute :)) I felt really lucky to be featured considering I had only signed with an agency a couple weeks prior.
If you could go back in time to when you started modelling, what do you wish you knew?
Probably just to relax in general. I feel that within this industry you don't have a huge say over how successful you are, it is important to try your hardest but at the end of the day your success is determined on your look, which you don't have the biggest control over. When I was younger I would get more discouraged when I wasn't getting a lot of jobs but now I've learnt not to be so discouraged, everything always works out how it should!
How do you think you’ve changed since that first shoot?
I am definitely more confident, having gained years of experience. Hopefully I have become more mature and have improved as a model generally!
What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
Getting to travel! At the beginning of the year I was lucky to work full-time in Tokyo for two months, and at the beginning of next year I am off to Seoul for another two months.
And the most challenging?
When working full-time overseas I found it stressful having a job where the amount you work is primarily based on your appearance. I'm sure I'll learn how to manage this as time goes on.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Terrible habit but I go on my phone... My new year's resolution will definitely be to change that.
Who’s the first person you call when you get good news?
My Mum and Dad :))
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl but I wish I was a morning person. I love lying in my bed in the morning too much.
What’s the coolest or most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?
That habits and memory are unrelated, even people with amnesia are able to form new habits.
How can we make the most of our time on Earth?
Doing things you love, spending time with people you love and not getting too hung up on things that don't matter.
Can you recall reading, watching or listening to something that completely changed your mind on something?
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson was really good. It introduced the idea that we are responsible for everything that happens to us, since we ourselves choose how we react to every situation that occurs in our lives. Things can always be looked at from a different angle. I don't think this idea can really be applied to the extremities of life but I think it's a good everyday thing to remember. This book also really reinforces that it is important to choose what to care about and to not waste energy on unimportant things.
What books are you reading at the moment?
Dear Dolly by Dolly Alderton.
Last thing you searched (or should I say Googled) for?
Noodles Dominion Road.
Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel.
It changes weekly but at the moment 'Poetic Justice' by Kendrick Lamar.
Fight Club or The Godfather.
If you could teleport to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
England to see my relatives!
Katie is represented by Super