Kel Markey: From Nada to Prada

October 30, 2013 • Fashion

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In our ongoing series, From Nada to Prada, we explore the transformative power of a hair switcheroo, as seen in the competitive world of Model Land, where an agency-mandated bang cut or a bleach job can make the difference between booking a Prada campaign or slaving away in the gray ether of e-commerce for the rest of your livelong days.

Today, we bring you a vintage success story, further demonstrating the long-term consequences of an excellent (or not so excellent) cut. So the next time your hairdresser fucks up your shit, you may hold up this article as evidence while you scream something like “You just cost me a Versace campaign, goddamnit!” Yes, whether you’re Giselle Bundchen or Gertrude Lewis, CPA, it’s a big deal. You have license to scream. You’re welcome.

Back in 2010, Floridian model Kel Markey appeared on the scene with the long, chocolaty hair of a wood nymph. The market for wood nymphs is apparently decent enough; Kel went on to book her fair share of shows during fashion week, though for a scant few heavy hitters. She booked editorials for Dazed and Confused and Flair, but she was still missing that je ne sais quoi… that sexy bitch thing. Lord knows fashion loves a sexy bitch.

Overnight (as haircuts do tend to appear in such a manner), Kel appeared for the FW 2011/2012 show season like a freshly shorn babe. If Leigh Lezark and Carine Roitfeld had a baby, it would be this new Kel Markey. Suddenly Kel looked like one of those girls in high school who you didn’t want to fuck with, who said little and did a whole lot of blank staring full of well deserved, bored judgment at annoying girls.

Since then, it’s been bye bye small time and hello big time, with a winning streak that’s continued – if not improved – the past three years. Last season, Kel walked for Kenzo, Dries Van Noten, Costume National, Versace, Dior, Chanel, Saint Laurent… You get the idea.

Apparently we’re not the only ones who have noticed the correlation. When asked in an interview with Fashion TV what the genesis of the chop was, Kel makes an argument for her place as an O.G. of this whole short hair craze going on, one that is grossly misattributed to Karlie Kloss and her ridiculously infamous January ‘13 chop. “I had it like this before I started doing ‘well,’ but I cut it a couple years ago when I started modeling. I think that a lot of other people caught onto it recently. It brings out your face a little bit, which I think a lot of the agents have realized and are now using on their new girls,” Kel explains, after which she smirks the quiet smirk of the early adopter. She doesn’t need to say what we already know: Rest of ya’ll are a bunch of raggedy ass posers.

Verdict: Old School Prada.

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Read more:
The Enigma of Making Monsters: A Chat with the Illustrator Hattie Stewart
Photoshopping the Beauty Standards Away 4 Art
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