Fascinating People…Meet Local Fashion Model Kelly Mittendorf

With Phoenix Fashion Week only days away, a local fashion model’s success story could come at no better time. Unless you’ve been ignoring the constant media buzz, we’re sure you have heard about local model and former Phoenix Fashion Week model, Kelly Mittendorf, who became a fashion sensation overnight. She was the talk of the town after shooting the fall PRADA campaign with famous photog Steven Meisel and her name and image as been splashed across blogs and websites ever since. She walked for Anna Sui at New York Fashion Week, as well as closing the Marc Jacobs show. Currently, she is walking in London Fashion Week, already strutting her stuff for Topshop Unique! I had the pleasure of catching up with Mittendorf and her “mother agent,” Margaret Merritt, of The Agency Arizona via email while she was in NYC. Read on for insights into this Arizona native’s jet setting life, including advice for PHXFW’s own models.

Q: Please give our readers a brief description of your modeling history/experience/background.

K:I was discovered when I was fairly young and signed with The Agency Arizona when I was 14, they’re amazing and helped me grow as much as I could in Arizona and got me in front of the right people in LA and NY.”

Q: Congratulations on landing a spread in the fall PRADA campaign! How did this come about and what was the experience like?

K: “It was booked by my NY agency, Marilyns! They partner with my Arizona agency on all aspects of my career! Finding out was really unexpected, but the shoot was so much fun and the reaction to the campaign has been great which is more than I could ask for.”

M: “As Kelly’s mother agent, I am in charge of her placement in other markets!  We placed her with Marilyns NY because it was a great agency for her. The Prada campaign originated from NY. It is a relationship you build on trust and experience with your model and can be for life. That is very special!”

Q: How has The Agency AZ helped many local models make it in the industry?

M: “Agency Arizona has great faces in all our divisions! By having strong relationships with agencies all over the world, we are able to offer more opportunities to our models to further their careers. We keep a pulse on the industry and what is the right fit for the individual model.  It is very personal attention.”

Q: How has life changed for you after shooting the PRADA campaign? 

K: “I’m most definitely busier, I decided to do online school so I can have a better balance of my career and my studies. That was the biggest change!”

Q: You were also a runway model in PHXFW last year. How do you think that experience prepared you for the industry?

K: “The industry is really different in different places, but doing a couple of shows was just a big confidence boost! I was able to prove to myself, hey, I can do this!”

M: “I have always believed in Phoenix Fashion Week’s grass roots approach! I support and believe in what they are doing for the local market!”

Q: What advice can you offer to PHXFW’s Top 40 models hoping to make it in the industry?

K: “Keep your chin up! It’s what I always say. This industry is a real roller coaster and it’s important to stay confident through the good and the bad moments.”

Q: What has been the biggest perk for you since modeling for PRADA?

K: “The people I’ve met! Prada opened a door into the industry and I’ve been able to meet amazing fellow models, make-up artists, photographers you name it, that I’ve only dreamed about before. They’re already really cool and down to earth for the most part too.”

Q: You walked for the first time in New York Fashion Week this year! What was that experience like?

K: “I was really surprised that I wasn’t nervous at all. I really looked forward to walking and felt really comfortable up there. I was really excited beforehand though, I was jumping all around everywhere.”

Q: You also closed the Marc Jacobs show, which also happened to be the last show of fashion week and had a lot of people talking. How does that feel? 

K: “It felt great! It was a big surprise and honor to close Marc Jacobs; I know that it’s a really prestigious spot. It felt amazing! His show was more of a theatre performance instead of a fashion show, it was so beautiful.”

 Q: What was it like to not only be in NY during fashion week, but walk for such prestigious designers as Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs?

K: “It’s really indescribable. It’s this weird mix of being really grateful, honored and excited to just get to meet these people who I’ve only dreamed of meeting for most of my life.”

Q: What does the future hold for you? Any new campaigns or brands you are working for? 

K: “You’ll have to wait and see!”

Thank you Kelly and Margaret!

For more information about Kelly and The Agency Arizona, visit: www.theagencyaz.com/

For a look into Kelly’s life as a high fashion model, follow her on Twitter: @K_MITT

*We love feedback! Post a comment or question about this article for a chance to win a free PHXFW t-shirt!

Articles by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week, Pictures provided by The Agency Arizona


“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

  1. I’m glad that Phoenix Fashion Week could be a part of her journey! It is definitely inspiring for the new models breaking out! Congrats Kelly!

  1. February 20th, 2012

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