LADIES WE LOVE | Supermodel Charlotte McKinney
Posted: Mar 11 2015
Ladies We Love is a new inspirational interview series with amazing women from across the globe.
This week Designer Vanessa Rivers dishes on overnight sensation, Charlotte McKinney...
From bikini model to dancing diva, Charlotte McKinney is the new "it" girl you need to know about. 'Dancing With The Stars' Season 20 cast member, supermodel Charlotte McKinney, is known by millions for her curvy physique in the recent bare-all Carl's Jr. Super Bowl ad. Dubbed the "Next Kate Upton," McKinney also shows off her natural assets as a model for SUMMERLOVE SWIMWEAR.
"Charlotte McKinney - with her glowing personality, and natural, curvy physique - was an obvious choice for a model who embodies the essence of our chic, eco lifestyle line,” says designer and founder Vanessa Rivers.
"I first connected with Charlotte back in January 2014," explains Rivers. "I was searching for a Miami based photographer and a swimwear model for a shoot for my new line. I wanted a natural bombshell look, like the Beach Bunny Swimwear models. I was going through photos online and becoming a bit discouraged, when I came across a jaw-dropping photo of Charlotte McKinney."
"It blew my mind how gorgeous Charlotte was, and that at the time she was relatively unknown. I couldn't even find her name anywhere. Luckily this photo was connected to a photographer's website - MannyPerezPhotography.com. I quickly contacted Manny and said I loved his work and I wanted to hire him to do my shoot. I also said I had to have this model and asked if he could he help me get in touch with her? Manny was so kind and professional. He got right back to me and said he would do my swimwear shoot, and put me in touch with Charlotte.
Charlotte was so sweet, and got right back to me as well. She wanted to do the shoot, but she was working in Mexico until the day before, so there was no time to do a fitting. I was very worried that our sample bikinis, which were all a size small, would not fit her large bust. But I also knew Charlotte was the perfect model for our line, so I decided to take a chance and book Charlotte, along with another model, Joy Corrigan."
"Despite getting food poisoning in Mexico, Charlotte still showed up to our shoot at the W South Beach on time, and with a great attitude," explains Rivers. "From the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew Charlotte McKinney had the looks to become a very successful model. And after only a few minutes into our shoot, I realized she also had the personality and talent that would make her famous someday. There was a moment where I was standing next to Manny, watching him photograph Charlotte, when he paused, turned to me and said, 'That girl is going to be huge someday.' I just nodded my head in agreement," says Rivers. "Charlotte works a camera with an effortless confidence that is intoxicating. As a designer, it's an exciting thing to watch."
But she wasn't always this confident. McKinney told Esquire last year, that she dropped out of school at 17, partly due to being bullied for her looks. But she was able to move past that and explained in her interview, "I'm embracing what I have. I'm curvier with big boobs. I'm not high fashion. I don't do runway. You won't see me at Fashion Week."
"It's a good message for girls around the world. You don't need to fit a mold. You don't need to be stick skinny, or 5'9 to be a successful model," agrees Rivers. "We are all different and all here on this earth for a purpose. Being yourself is the greatest thing you can be, and embracing what you have, and who you are, is a beautiful thing.
The look of our SUMMERLOVE SWIMWEAR is California beach babe meets jet-setting siren. I wanted a naturally curvy girl to embody that, so I set out to find a new Kate Upton. You can imagine my excitement when I found Charlotte McKinney. I really admire Angela Chittenden, the designer of Beach Bunny Swimwear. I love how she makes her brand all about empowering women with the way she promotes her models (like she did with Kate Upton, and more recently Samantha Hoopes). I want to do something like this with my line. I want to help other girls see their dreams come to fruition. You only live once. You just have to go for it!"
McKinney currently lives in Los Angeles, California. She was raised in Orlando, Florida and has worked for many years as a model, but initially struggled to find success at an agency. It wasn't until last year, when her Instagram began to gain a big following, that she was discovered and signed by Paul Marciano for GUESS, which launched her career. McKinney was then chosen to be the latest, sexy burger-babe for Carl's Jr. Thanks to her rancy Super Bowl commercial, which stired up controversy and now has over 10 million views on YouTube (more than Heidi Klum's Burger ad, Kate Upton's Burger Ad, and Kim Kardashian's Carls Jr ad), McKinney became an overnight sensation (watch her GMA interview > here).
And there are certainly more exciting things to come! One of McKinney's big dreams is to be in the Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and I am sure we will see that dream come to true next year. In the meantime, be sure to check her out on 'Dancing With The Stars' Season 20, premiering March 16th 2015.
Want more Charlotte McKinney? Check out Exclusive Outtakes from her shoot...
PHOTOGRAPHY: MANNY PEREZ | HAIR & MAKEUP: PEGGY MACKEY | VIDEO: NEWBORN STUDIOS
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