Irish Model, TV and Film actor Caolan McClafferty only really decided the fashion industry was for him after dipping and dabbing into a lot of different industries. His modelling career started because he was told he could never make it in that industry; it became more of a quest of self-motivation and intrigue. After just four months he was modelling for a major fashion brand and it all kicked off from there. The passion grew more and more and he began to look at the industry as a whole. This is what Caolan had to say in his interview with Globe Entertainment UK
How did you get your first break…what actually happened?
I have had a lot of amazing things happen with my career as a model in a very short space of time. But my first BIG break, believe it or not was this year in February. Now I have worked with some big brands and household names like ASOS, but to be headhunted for London Fashion Week [LFW] this year was really it for me. It led to so many great opportunities for me, and to say the least it has brought me to walk in African Fashion Week and soon to be Pakistan Fashion Week! The “Big Break” is something I believe that comes at the right time, when you are ready to be dedicated.
Models always have to deal with an audience who have high expectations. What goes through your mind before you mount the runway?
At first, I used to get really nervous before performing. But I learned to take it all in eventually. I really relate to the phrase “don’t let nerves get the better of you” – being nervous is a wonderful thing. It means you are passionate. It means you care. So yes, I still get nervous before a performance, but in the best possible way! I absolutely love the thrills and chills of taking the expectations of my audience and taking it up a notch… or ten. One thing I do repeat before going to the catwalk is this, “you have already smashed it!”
Some models have said they feel disadvantaged because of their race. Do you have any such experiences?
Now this may sound patronising coming from a white model, but yes actually I have! Of course I have mentioned that one of the fashion events I performed at was African Fashion Week [AFW]. To say I was “disadvantaged” is a very strong word, but I have experienced the feeling of being a minority. This really gave me an insight to how other races can feel during events such as LFW and I really do believe that a model is blank canvas; it doesn’t include race, gender or sexuality. Being a model is about adapting to art and fashion. I was one of three white models at the whole event, but African clothing and culture is something I have a huge interest in and something I want to embrace. I used that to my advantage.
What are some of the challenges you are confronted with as a model?
Making that first leap is probably the most challenging part. Being prepared to invest a lot of time, energy and money is something you really need to be aware of and of course working for free. A lot of the foundations of becoming a model is building you portfolio which is not an easy thing because through that you have to recognise what kind of model you are. The fun part is that when have gotten to the point where you get to pick and choose the work you do, you get paid to update your portfolio. And every model should know that this is something vital in their career – constantly improving their portfolio, it is how we sell ourselves, right?
How does your modelling background affect your sense of fashion? Do you have better tastes or bad tastes?
I think it is safe to say we all look back at some photos and think “what the hell was I wearing?!” But since indulging into a career as a model my style has significantly changed. Not to say it was bad before – I have never really had a “style” in the sense that my genre of clothing will go by how I feel at the time. You may find me in a suit on a Monday, a snapback on a Tuesday and a cowboy hat on a Wednesday!
But being in the fashion industry has definitely influenced how my style comes together, and honestly, has made me a lot braver in my choices.
In what ways does being a model affect your personal life?
Well, in all honesty, the industry has become my life in a way. As you know I am also an actor, writer etc and making this work successfully means that career comes first. Of course family, friends and urgent matters will always come first because what is a world without company? But it has become seldom that I get out to relax and catch up with friends and going back to Ireland? Well let’s just say I try my best to get home once a year.
What have been some of your achievements so far?
Aside from my first big break this year as I mentioned, achievements have come in an abundance to say the least. Working with brands such as ASOS, American Eagle and the amazing upcoming designer ‘Cruz Bueno’ have been an absolute treat for my career.
What are your ambitions?
As I mentioned previously, my ambitions are simple – to become a household name. I aim to smash through what they call “the top”. My bucket list is literally being ticked off month by month. I aim to be known for my name and not my career or “That Irish guy…”. I’ll let you in on a little secret though. A real benchmark for me, something I really dream to achieve is to become Mr. Dior. That would be the point where I can officially say that I have made it as an actor.
If I wanted to be a model, what would you say to me?
If you want to become a model for the fame, the money or the vanity of saying “I’m a model” – forget about it, you’ll never make it. But if you love fashion, art, and have a real drive to get up when you’re knocked down and try harder, take this advice: Be prepared to work until you drop. Be prepared to forget about these “limits” we are taught because frankly, there is none. Only the ones you set yourself. And never forget, imagination is the beginning of creation.