has admitted to feeling ‘objectified’ throughout her modelling career, starting with one experience when she was asked to stand topless in front of a casting agent at the age of 15.
The supermodel was scouted on a flight from New York to when she was just 14 years old, and soared to prominence when she appeared on the cover of The Face magazine two years later. Despite her young age, Kate went on to join the likes of Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Elle MacPherson as one of the golden supermodels of the 1990s.
However, Kate, now 48, has revealed there were many uncomfortable moments during the early days of her career that left her feeling sexualised.
She has recalled one incident where she was asked to meet with a photographer who worked for an underwear catalogue.
‘He said, “Take your top off”, and I took my top off, and I was really shy then about my body,’ the runway icon told Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
‘And he said, “Take your bra off”, and I could feel there was something wrong, so I got my stuff and I ran away.’
Despite being shaken by the incident, Kate believed it ‘sharpened’ her instincts and she can now ‘tell a wrong ’un from a mile away’.
Kate’s cover shoot for The Face propelled her career but she didn’t have the easiest experience working with late photographer Corinne Day.
She recalled: ‘I cried a lot. I didn’t want to take my top off. I was really, really self-conscious about my body, and she would say, “If you don’t take your top off I’m not going to book you for Elle”, and I would cry.
‘It was painful because she was my best friend and I really loved her, but she was a very tricky person to work with. But the pictures are amazing: she got what she wanted and I suffered for them, but in the end they did me a world of good. They changed my career.’
Two years later, Kate starred in a Calvin Klein shoot alongside Hollywood superstar Mark Wahlberg, but has now revealed she took Valium before the photoshoot to ease her nerves at going topless.
When asked if she felt objectified, Kate admitted: ‘Completely. And vulnerable and scared. I think they played on my vulnerability. I was young and innocent, and Calvin loved that.’
She added of Mark: ‘He was very macho and it was all about him.’
Kate set up her own modelling agency in 2016 and ensures that her talents are accompanied on photo shoots to avoid any uncomfortable and inappropriate moments.
Her daughter Lila, 19, has also embarked on a career in the fashion industry but Kate reminds her to say no to anything she doesn’t want to do.
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