Women’s Wear Daily sat down with model Hailey Clauson to talk about what has already been a pretty lengthy career for her, now 19 years old. As of 2010, Clauson was “the modeling industry’s darling du jour,” as WWD put it so accurately. She walked in nearly every major runway for Spring/Summer 2011, including Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Lanvin; she was a sophomore in high school at the time.
She talked to the trade publication about getting started at age 13, her many controversies (being casted for CFDA President Diane Von Furstenberg’s show in violation of the CFDA age guidelines and that lawsuit with Urban Outfitters), being too curvy for runway shows, working with Terry Richardson and more …
WWD: How did you get started in the industry?
Hailey Clauson: I’m from California. I went to an open call in L.A. and was like, “Might as well see what happens.” It started from there, and I signed with Ford when I was 13. Then I moved to New York when I was 15, and I did my first show season. I’ve lived here ever since.
WWD: You’ve made WWD headlines a couple of times — there was the DVF controversy, and then the Urban Outfitters lawsuit [more about the Urban Outfitters suit here] …
H.C.: The fashion world loves to hear about a young model… even Brooke Shields, back in the day. At the time, I didn’t really understand why it was such a big deal, but now, with the DVF thing, I totally understand why she was upset, although nothing was ever lied about. I think once people start catching on in the [mainstream, mass media] instead of just within the fashion world, it makes people freak out a little bit.
WWD: And then you took a hiatus from modeling.
H.C.: For shows, you have to be tiny. That’s why I was 16 [when I was] doing them. It was hard because you’re young and you’re constantly trying to live up to what you’re expected to be, and you don’t want to show up to a shoot unconfident. So I took a little break and went home and kind of figured out more who I was as a person. I was like, “OK, this is how I look now — I can’t be 16-year-old Hailey anymore.” It made me understand that I can own myself — if you believe in yourself, then other people around you will believe in you, too. A lot of girls are curvier and going for that sexy, curvy thing. I got some meat on my bones and that’s OK.
WWD: And you’ve worked with Terry Richardson a bunch…
H.C.: I just shot with him again a few times. My experience personally with him is that he’s actually kind of shy. I worked with him when I was 17, and he was very respectful of the fact that I was underage. He was making sure I was OK and comfortable.