By Matt Parker
New face British model Cali is set to light up the runway this season walking for German Fashion Designer Marina Willms. More or less fell into modelling Cali but is already working internationally with a growing portfolio of editorials and cool brands. She has also amassed an Instagram following of 77.7k.
We had a little chat with her to find out more!
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Cali White and I am from London. Well, actually my name is Chryssiana but people have a difficult time saying it so I go by Cali instead.
How did you get started in modelling?
I started modelling properly around January, I would say. I mean I had done a few bits and bobs here and there but for whatever reason, I didn’t really consider myself model material. I should have been more confident because I remember one of the first modelling jobs I did was an editorial called “Post Blue” by this amazing Russian photographer Daria Belikova for Schön magazine and it was truly beautiful. Should have nudged me into motion!
I remember I think it was my first published editorial and it was me, Daria, the stylist who I think was called Ekaterina Belaya and the makeup artist who was called Tom Fraser. Oh goodness, they were all so lovely. We went somewhere on the coast line of South England, I think near Brighton by some cliffs and it must have been February or January of 2016 – it was absolutely freezing! And everyone was so concerned and looked after me so well – the complete opposite of what you hear about the fashion industry when you aren’t in it. I remember we all met at Victoria station and then we took the train altogether and then when we returned Daria and Ekaterina came for dinner with my boyfriend and I. I still keep in contact with them all regularly and consider them my friends.
To really think about it actually, I have to say that kind of experience is really common in and yet unique to the fashion industry.
How do you find the industry as someone who is new to it?
Perhaps I am just very lucky, but it is very rare for me to have a bad experience – I would say 98% of the jobs I do, I have a fantastic time and I stay in touch with 90% of the people that I work with. We help each other – send each other jobs, go for dinners and lunches. It’s lovely to work in such a social field if you’re an extrovert!
How has your personal life influenced your career?
In fact, I have to say that I owe these friendships my international modelling career.
A friend from when I lived in France messaged to ask if I could do a photoshoot with some friends of his from Germany in London. On that shoot, I made the most wonderful friends – notably one Mr Evangelos Rodoulis and one Miss Marina Willms whom I try to see at least one a month and in fact fly to Germany to see and work with regularly. Circling back to Evangelos, when we first met we became fast friends bonding over being Greek and similar personalities – I really have to say that I owe him a lot; some of my favourite feathers in my cap are ones that he gave to me – together we have shot a couple of stories for Vogue Italia, we have done beauty editorials for magazines such as Hachi, Neo2 and Elegant… really he is the most wonderful person and friend and I owe him a lot.
What are your highlights so far?
I must say is the people I meet and the relationships I have been fortunate to built.
Like another favourite person to work with would be Lily Harte – she’s a really fab character who always has pink hair and is up for doing something fun! So anyway, I did a shoot for her a while back for her university project and we really got on. We liked each other so we took a few snaps on film which came out absolutely stunning and a few months later she asked if I could take part in a small fashion film that she was putting together for the university. At the end of the shoot, she asked if she could grab a few snaps of me for her graduate collection and lo and behold we ended up in Teen Vogue! What a lady. Ace photographer and jewellery designer – and she supports the football club I live next to!
Another gem I work with is a fantastic, very under the radar photographed called Fred Wilkinson frequently as well. We did an editorial around a year ago and since then when one of us has an idea of something fun to shoot, be it fashion or otherwise we get together and make it happen. Well, he makes it happen, I just get to be a part of the fun. We made a really great fashion film (all about me haha) for Noctis a few months ago and Fred has something really great in the pipeline coming out soon as well. If you keep your eyes peeled you’ll spot me in it, too.
What do you enjoy the most in your career?
I have to say my passion is really high fashion and beauty editorials, however, I love all styles. One of my favourite shoots is one that I did with two other models for Nike / High Snobiety by Christopher McCrory focusing on works by MiniSwoosh. I also did another really great androgynous shoot with Smokey Taboo. It’s great to look feminine and pretty but I have to say something about streetwear, wearing minimal makeup, just looking like myself – it’s really empowering and feels really sexy to be completely honest! On that note, I gotta give an honourable mention to my good friend Steve Emery. Steve’s a film photographer and he never has any expectations, just a film camera and a want to grab a pint after (which I am very much on board with) and with that he produces what many people say is their favourite parts of my book.
Anyway, I suppose that’s me more or less. I hope I haven’t bored you to death.