Interview by Marek Bartek

Model Heather Kemesky first hit the runway as a sunny southern California teen, but a series of inspired evolutions led to her coming out on the runway and coming into her own. She carries herself with a confidence that’s undeniably cool and an inner peace that’s practically palpable, and from that peace, Heather has found the power of creativity, creating, producing and publishing photo and collaged narrative works.

earrings MODEL’S OWN

Your journey in the fashion industry has seen remarkable transformations. You went from a sunny southern California teen to the bold black-haired tomboy. How do you see your personal style evolving over the years,also in terms of self-expression?

I have gotten this question before and maybe my answer has morphed as I have grown up, but I have always felt more myself in short hair. I had it when I was younger also. I’ve never been connected to my hair like that, I love growing it and chopping it all off again. It feels refreshing. 

Can you tell us about this process, what were the biggest drivers and how you’ve come to define your signature look in the fashion world?

I have been uninspired by my look at time or haven’t felt like myself. It’s important to keep yourself interested in yourself so the rest flows, because it’s so easy for people to see you a specific way and keep you in whatever category that may be. And I’ve always felt more interesting than the question above, talking about being just a sunny southern California girl, which I always will be at. But it’s good to be able to be a chameleon as well. Sometimes you have to show people what else you can be or they won’t see it themselves. 

Even nowadays, many people have very particular views on women and how they should look or behave. You break these rules and do it with a very cool and confident presence. What does confidence mean to you and what role does it play in your work?

Confidence comes from within. Of course people’s views can play an effect on how you feel about yourself, but if you took every comment to heart, you would be carrying a lot of things that aren’t true in life around with you. That’s heavy. Believing in yourself feels like cliché words to say, but they are true ones.  

It’s one thing for you to embrace who you are, but it’s another thing for the industry you work in to do the same. How do you navigate the fashion and modeling industry, and what insights have you gained throughout your modeling career?

I don’t navigate it. Sometimes you are in, sometimes you are out. Hard to know why. And sometimes you will have a strong season or a slow season. 

You made your runway debut in Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2016 show and have since been a regular fixture in major shows. Could you share a memorable or defining moment from your runway experiences that has left a lasting impact on you?

It will always be my first show that made a lasting impact on me. I was told by my first modeling agency ever that I would be too short to ever walk a runway. I said to them “Watch me, one day I will”. And I did. It was exclusive with LV and I was so proud and so honored. Thanks to Ashley Brokaw, Nicolas Ghesquière and DNA models for believing in me too for that. 


One more honorary mention, which is your first magazine cover appearance on the cover of Numéro China in November 2015. What did that milestone mean to you and how has your perspective on your career evolved since then?

I loved that story with Txema Yeste, to this day I think of it being so nice. One of the big reasons I love modeling is for the fantasy and bringing characters and stories to life. For example, like Tim Walker who I haven’t worked with, but have loved his whims, imagination and work so much since forever. 

On this Numero shoot, a world was created and I played the character in it. I love that more than being myself on a set. Also, we evolve every year. I was young, but now I have more aspects and age of myself to give.

Besides being a model, you have recently dived into the art of photography and collages. What do thesecreative outputs represent to you and how do they drive your creativity? 

It’s not recent, but more something I’ve done in the last 10 years, little bits here and there. It’s something I want to dive into much more actually. I feel called to express myself more being on the other side of the camera. I have much to explore in that and it feels like such a beautiful journey I see myself doing more of. 

What do you want to share or communicate with your work? 

Whether it being myself in a photo or taking a photo or designing something for someone to wear, I want people to feel seen or comfortable being who they are, or empower different sides of themselves they didn’t know they had. 


What inspires your photography and how would you describe your photography style?

I am inspired by everything around me. Even if it’s boring, it can be beautiful. I’m excited to shoot subjects I don’t know and also feel just as uncomfortable and learn. In those spaces we find ourselves also. I’m in full exploration, it’s something new to me to discover and I’m excited about that adventure.  

2024 just started. Do you have any special goals for this year or any exciting projects you are working on thatwe can be looking forward to seeing? 

I’m currently working on a jewelry collaboration and excited to share that this spring. It’s felt really good to do thatagain, after putting breaks on my own brand. Also, my life shifted in a beautiful way, I feel a lot of new things brewing, be it connections I’ve made or places I plan to move to. So, a beautiful new year ahead that’s a surprise.

full look THE ROW

talent HEATHER KEMESKY @heather_kemesky
photography DENNIS TEJERO @dennistejero
styling DIONE DAVIS at Born @dionemdavis
hair ANTON ALEXANDER at Streeters @_antonalexander
makeup INGEBORG at Call My Agent @ingmakeup
casting BRONSON VAJDA @bronsonv
assistants CHRIS PEREZ & SHARMEEN CHAUDHARY @thechrisperez @sharmeen.c
editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
interview MAREK BARTEK @marekbartek
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen