The weather was rapidly gathering into a storm as we picked up Katharina at her agency. We knew we might have little time for the pictures, so we bolted to Mauerpark. On our short walk, we still had the time to talk about school systems and making life-time experiences living abroad, before the storm eventually broke in and we found shelter under the Gleimtunnel.
Katharina, as we met, you had just been through 26 castings in 4 days. Your step counter recorded 13 kilometers on a single day. Now, someone tell me again yours is a glamorous job! How do you keep your focus and energy up on such days?
Those few days were pretty hot and full of castings and walking! We had over 30°C but I still really enjoyed all the walking around and meeting all those new people. This being my first fashion week, everything was new to me so I have been paying tons of attention to every detail. As I consider modeling as my job, a job I really want to do, I am trying to do the best I can and that only works when I am focused. Keeping your energy up at those temperatures is not always easy. I make sure that I drink plenty of water because of the high temperatures and all the walking. What also helped me to keep my energy up was that I had the privilege to go to a lot of castings with a group of friends, some I met on the first day of castings, some I knew from before, we also met at night. We not only laughed a lot during the days full of castings, but also pushed each other through the few minutes when we were not in a good mode.
You have been scouted for the first time as you were in the States, but you did not pursue it until you came back to Germany. Was modeling something you ever considered before? What was your reaction back then?
Yes, I was scouted when I was 15 years old while on a shopping spree in New York with some friends. The agency president stopped me while I was passing the check-out line and gave me her Business Card and asked me to come to see her in the agency. I was very surprised and excited, because I just did not expect it. The friends I was with really wanted me to go to see the agent but I did not pursue modeling back then. I was a member of the track and field team of my high school during my exchange year and was really busy with practice and meets. I did not really start to think about modeling until after I was scouted but then my priority was to graduate from high school first so now that I did, my main focus is on modeling.
The little necklace you are wearing shows your connection to the United States. You have been living as an exchange student for a year there and found a true second family. In which state have you been staying? What aspects of American life and culture did you enjoy the most?
My necklace has a little pendent in the shape of the United States. It was a present of my host family. As one of my favorite jewelry pieces I tend to wear it quite often. I feel like I am closer to my second family when I wear it, even though we are many miles apart. My host family is living in New Jersey where I spend my exchange year. When I arrived I was overwhelmed, because almost everyone welcomed me with open arms. The people there are really friendly and open-minded. During that time I really enjoyed the relaxed lifestyle which I sometimes miss in Germany and the really good relationship within the community. Everyone supports each other. I experienced it first hand during Hurricane “Sandy” when everyone helped with cutting the fallen trees back or sharing the house with friends, because they lived in the flood zone.
Is such an exchange year an experience you would recommend?
YES! I would absolutely recommend going on an exchange year to everybody. It was one of the best times ever. I gained a new family, new really good friends and so many priceless experiences. It is a really good way to learn about a new culture and lifestyle but you do also learn so much about yourself when you are away from your normal environment for a year!
You have been to an all-girls school, I have been to an all-boys school. We, as boys, must have been quite a wild bunch, but we developed very deep friendships that are still lasting over time. What are your personal pros and cons of single-gender education?
That is right, in Germany I went to an all-girls school, while I visited a coeducational school in America. I am really happy that I had the possibility to experience both educational systems. I could not choose one over the other, because to me both have pros and cons. One really important positive aspect of being on a girls’ school to me was that girls did not hold back their talent in male dominated subjects such as chemistry or physics. They had the chances to show their potential in such subjects without being afraid to be laughed at if they made a mistake. Also I felt like it was easier to communicate in class because there was nothing you really had to be afraid of. Another positive point of an all-girls school is that you can concentrate more on your lessons because there are no boys you have to impress. What I didn’t like about being on a girls’ school was that there was a big competition between us girls. It was not about who was best in school, but more about who was wearing the newest clothes or had the most expensive bags. I feel like there would not have been such a strong competition if we had some boys in our classes. Another thing that I think might be missing with boys in the classes is the great hysteria. I don’t think so many tears get shed in coeducational school as I saw during some years. Over all I would say that single-gender education is useful in some grades while in the higher grades I think it would be more useful to have boys in the classes. Another way that I think would work well is to separate boys and girls just in some subjects.
I guess having been abroad for one year and growing up with so many girls around you have the best chances to master future home sickness and life in model apartments. Is working abroad on your books? Where would you love to go?
That could be right! I am lucky that I am not a person that gets homesick really easy. I sure do miss my family and friends after some time but thanks to all the social media, phones or Skype I can get in contact with them when I miss them. I would definitely love to work abroad! I hope to be able to go to as many cities or countries as possible because I love to discover new places. There are some cities I have been to on my private travels, which I would love to go back to for work, like London, Paris or New York. Also I hope that I can visit places I have never been to through modeling. As I am planning to keep modeling full time for the next years, I hope to see many new places and meet many new people.