“It was during the summer in New York during an oppressive heatwave so we were forced into the shadows, which created a paradoxically cool and cinematic feeling that for me, encapsulates New York. We shot at the end of the afternoon in the West Village.” Get to know gorgeous Kiersten Wood of VNY photographed by Jonathan Benbaruk. Make Up done by Val Laskarides.
Kiersten, what inspired you to be in front of a camera?
After a marathon viewing of America’s Next Top Model, my older sister, Paige, had a life altering epiphany: photography was her calling, and I just so happened to be a convenient mannequin at her beck and call. Ever since then, I’ve been honored to become the artistic medium for designers and photographers alike.
How many selfies do you take in a day?
Honestly, it depends when the urge hits. It’s a good selfie day if I decide to take my hair down from my daily messy bun, or if I’m going out with friends. Most of my selfies are goofy ones being sent to my sister, which pretty much happens once a day!
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
If we’re using technical definitions, I’d say I derive my energy mainly from within. Growing up, I always had my nose in a book, but I also enjoyed being around close friends and family.
Which song makes you cry when you hear it?
I’m a sucker for Louis Armstrong. “What a Wonderful World” gets me every time. Whenever I get caught up in the whirlwind of New York City, I’ll blast the song and it seems to suddenly put everything in perspective.
“Growing up, I always had my nose in a book, but I also enjoyed being around close friends and family.”
The most important person in your life?
I’ve tried narrowing down the myriad of influential people in my life to one person, which is quite a challenge. Every member of my family had shaped who I am, my aspirations, and my self-confidence. My sister’s free spirit has given me wings, reminding me to always dance in the rain, star gaze, and drive with windows down while singing loudly to Taylor swift. My mom has given me roots, always supporting me and empowering me to achieve my dreams.
Is there anything you want to achieve before your 25th birthday?
I’d love to have a voice in the public sphere by the time I’m 25. I have a lot to say, especially in regards to women supporting women, so I’d be honored to make a positive impact in any way I possibly can. I’d like to be there for anyone who needs an extra boost of encouragement or words of support. I’d love to spread kindness and light, sending the message that everyone should feel comfortable speaking their truth, and that we should all have each other’s backs!
What has been the best life lesson so far?
In middle school, I had a really tough time with kids in my grade, and I was severely bullied in sixth and seventh grade, but I’m actually grateful for the experience because it taught be to always put things in perspective. It sounds like a cliche, but there is always a bigger picture, a future ahead, and endless support from family and true friends. I am grateful for them every day.
Creative Director/Photographer: Jonathan Benbaruk
www.jonathanbenbaruk.com – www.instagram.com/jonathanbenbaruk
Model: Kiersten Wood – www.instagram.com/kierstenwood_
Make Up Artist: www.instagram.com/vallaskarides
Agency: VNY www.vnymodels.com