Meet hometown North Dakota sweetheart – Aarika Gerette who has travelled to Athens, London and Los Angeles to pursue her dream of modeling. She has risen to be one of LA’s IT-girls and can be seen in Calvin Harris’ Blame music video!
Photographer & Stylist: Lauren Engel
Tell me about your upbringing in North Dakota
It was a place with less than 2000 people and my graduating class had 33 kids. It was really tiny. It was nice because I grew up with people really close to me. Everybody grew up with everybody. I grew up with a small town mentality and that’s nice to have when going to a big city. We would go and drive around after school for 2 hours and there wasn’t much else to do than just going to a lake.
Which spots in North Dakota have meaning to you?
There’s this one town called Medora, where they have a western themed town. And they have a Theodore Roosevelt musical and you have the old style of photos done there. And when we are in Medora we always get taffy, candy and ice cream.
How would you describe yourself in high school?
I was quite shy in middle school. In high school I had more personality and was more grown up. I actually really liked math. Math over English always. Another thing I remember that my older brother was very protective in high school so it was very hard for me to date (laughs). Everyday he was like ‘no, you cant date Alex’s sister.’ After that I attended one year in college and was going to be an accountant. But when I started modeling I changed to an online college instead.
Were your parents supportive of you doing modeling?
They still don’t understand everything and it was hard for them because of my mom and me moving to LA. But, they were very supportive of what I wanted to do. I first only went to L.A. over summer to try it out and I was planning on going back to college again in fall, but then Vision agency said they wanted me to stay and my parents said I should take this chance so I would have no regrets.
Do you think your perception of modeling changed?
Being in North Dakota I thought I would never have a chance to model. But I can now see that it´s possible.
Did you always want to be a model?
Well, when I was a little girl that was the dream of mine, but I never thought it would really happen. In high school people said I should try to go on America’s Next Top Model but I didn’t think I had a chance. Actually I got scouted through my senior pictures at the end. There was a competition through the studio in Grand Forks where I got my pictures taken. Initially I was like ‘oh sure’ but then you have to pay $100, but my parents signed me up anyway. I thought I wasn’t going to win, but every week I got into the top 50, then top 10 which got to fly to Palm Springs. There was a convention which was looking for models for senior photographers and that is where my agent from Vision LA came and discovered me.
What happened after you signed with Vision?
I worked in Athens right before London and I also worked in California for 4 years. I started when I was 18 and everything changed for me in that time and I experienced many new things and travelled to different places which was awesome.
What was Athens like for modeling?
It was totally different but also very eye-opening. I learned a lot but it also made me appreciate what I have back in the United States.
What plans do you have after London?
I plan to go back to California and afterwards to New York.
You’re in Calvin Harris’ Blame music video! Have you been in music videos previously?
Being on set was and is so much fun. Acting and modeling is similar but I would love to go more into acting and it could definitely be a future plan of mine. Right now I want to focus and do as much as I can with modeling though, but let´s see what the future brings along.
What do you do outside of modeling for fun?
I love music. I was playing the saxophone when growing up and I even played in a band. I also love listening to hip hop and I would love to start DJing, because it’s something that would make me happy.