Last month, I spent some time with Cheyanne and her mother, Diane, hanging out at the mall. We talked about America’s Next Top Model, Marilyn Monroe, and fashion style.Seichi Photography:I am joined by Cheyanne, my model of the month for October and her mother, Diane. First of all, Congratulations! Cheyanne Birt: Thanks! Thanks for picking me. SP: We’ve done a couple shoots together in the past. A high fashion look and the second one was a more casual summer series. Which style do you prefer? CB: I prefer the high fashion shoot. Both pictures from each shoot turned out really good, but I like the high fashion because of the dresses and all the makeup. The concepts are different and unique. SP: We’re sitting here at Starbucks. What’s your favorite drink? CB: Caramel macchiato. That’s the only kind I get here. I like a lot of different coffees, but this is my favorite. SP: You didn’t go for the seasonal pumpkin spice latte? CB: No, does that have cinnamon in it? I don’t like cinnamon. SP: What are some of your favorite foods? CB: I love Mexican and Asian foods. I love tofu. SP: You don’t eat meat? CB: No meat, I’m a vegetarian. Its been ten years now. SP: What’s the reason? CB: I just don’t like the taste of meat. I feel bad for the animals too, but mostly it’s the taste. SP: (to Diane) So is it a little more difficult for you to cook with her being a vegetarian? Diane: Actually, none of us in the family eat a lot of meat. We don’t eat beef or pork, its mainly fish or chicken and turkey burgers. Its healthier, I think. SP: I tend to agree. Over the last couple years, I’ve cut out a lot of red meat from my diet. I try to stick to chicken or turkey. DB: Yeah, definitely. SP: (to Cheyanne) Along with being vegetarian, is eating healthy important for you as a model? CB: For me personally, I watch my weight. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with plus size models, though. I think its great. I’d rather be healthier than too skinny. SP: There has been concern in the past that the fashion industry sometimes creates an unrealistic body image and that has led to topics of eating disorders. Do you feel any pressures from your experience in modeling or have shows like America’s Next Top Model addressed the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle? CB: I guess there’s still a little bit of pressure. Some designers will ask for insanely skinny models. America’s Next Top Model will include plus size models in their competition to say, “Hey, its okay to be plus size”. You can still be successful. DB: I think they’re healthy, too. Its nice to see them work with different body types. SP: ANTM is your favorite show right? CB: Yes, its my favorite. SP: I’ve seen a couple cycles of that show. Were you drawn to modeling because of that show? CB: I’m more drawn to the show because of modeling. I didn’t even know about the show when I started modeling. DB: Its fun to watch the different photo shoots that they have the girls do and the outfits that they wear. SP: Do you learn from that show? CB: All the time. I’ll get inspiration from it. I’ll also go through magazines like Vogue and bookmark pages of poses, makeup and different styles so I can always go back and study for my next photo shoot. SP: (to Diane) I know when we first met, you mentioned that Cheyanne likes to go through magazines and has specific ideas for wardrobe and style and poses for her images. Does she get carried away? DB: No, I think its helpful to be prepared. She has an idea of the clothes that she wants and the look she’s going for. SP: Do you have any influence on her fashion sense? DB: I think we’re totally different with our ideas of fashion, but I used to sew a lot and I’ve made a lot of dresses years ago. She’s worn some of them in her photo shoots since I can’t wear many of them anymore… CB: (interrupting) Her style is a lot more feminine and girly. Mine’s a lot more edgy. DB: She likes the dark colors, the blacks and browns. I like color. CB: Yeah, she likes color. SP: When Cheyanne expressed that she first wanted to pursue modeling, how was that for you? DB: Well, I’m not sure, I think at first I was a little hesitant about it. But when I was younger it was something that I thought about doing, but I didn’t really have the resources to do it. Now that she’s started to do it, she seems to be comfortable and natural at it. She loves it. So I’m supporting her 100% and I know it can take her many places. It makes her happy. I’m having fun with her, I enjoy supporting her. CB: I’m also trying to do some fashion designing. I’ll draw and create the outfits and she says she’ll help me make them so I can start a clothing line. DB: She took a fashion design course in school and aced it. She’s got some good ideas. SP: (to Cheyanne) So, you’ll be starting your own clothing line soon? CB: I want to, if she’ll help me with it. I don’t know how to sew very well. DB: I enjoy sewing, she likes to design, so I guess it could work. SP: We’ve talked about your commercial appeal and great potential for print marketing. Is there a certain brand you’d like to be the face of? CB: I don’t really have a specific brand, but I love Hollister and Guess. Any of them would be awesome. I could walk through the mall and see my face on posters and ads. SP: If your clothing line is successful, then you could just be your own brand. CB: That’s true. I could open my own store. SP: Then you could hire the models. CB: Yeah, I could. That would be fun. DB: There you go! SP: What would your style be? CB: Edgy and dark. They’re not that girly. The designs anyway. DB: (to Cheyanne) You should have brought some of your designs with you. SP: Who inspires you? CB: Brooke Shields. She’s one of the very first ones that I heard about. SP: That seems suprising. Brooke is more my generation. If that. CB: Another one of my inspirations is Marilyn Monroe. I saw some of her pictures and I love them. DB: There have been lots of recreations of her images. CB: Yeah, the one with her dress flowing. She’s was a model right? DB: Actress. CB: But she did a lot of pictures, too. SP: Do you like that hairstyle too? CB: I think it’d be cute for a photo shoot sometime. I wouldn’t cut my hair like that now though. But for a photo shoot, yeah. SP: What makes a model successful? CB: Being dedicated to modeling. That’s what I try to do. Work hard and learn what you can. SP: Is posing easy? CB: At first it was awkward. I studied magazines and watched ANTM and its become easier and easier, I don’t have to think about it as much. SP: I read an article a while back about how actresses have become the face of the fashion industry. That make up and hair product companies are moving more towards actresses to market their products, leaving models fighting for less jobs. Do you think that’s true? CB: I think there’s still a market. Models are still celebrities so there’s always something to promote. SP: Would you venture acting? CB: I’ve thought about it. It looks fun. I want to, but right now I’m focused on the modeling. SP: (to Diane) Would you support her in the acting too? DB: If that’s the direction she was headed. Sure. We’ll see how the modeling world goes first. SP: In a way you are an actress when you get in front of the lens. CB: Yeah, that’s true. SP: When I work on a concept as a photographer, I like to paint a scene and a mood for my models so they can “act” out the photo. DB: Especially the photos from different eras. CB: Like Marilyn Monroe. SP: What are your goals? The five year plan. CB: I’d like to be signed to a modeling agency. Maybe modeling for Hollister, to start with. DB: Working a lot. SP: And getting paid. CB: Definitely. And getting paid. That would be nice. DB: (laughing) Yes. That would be nice. SP: What kind of advice do you have for young models? CB: Just be aware of who you work with. There are some sketchy people out there. It can be a dangerous business to be working in. Always have someone with you. SP: (to Diane) Anything to add? DB: That’s key right there. Having an escort, do your research. And support your child. SP: So Cheyanne, next time you’ll have to bring some of your outfits. Designed by Cheyanne, made by Diane, and shot by me. DB: There you go! CB: Yeah, lets do it! SP: Congratulations again! I look forward to working with you again. CB: Thanks again for picking me! DB: The pictures are beautiful. Thank you.