Kate Bell has been modelling since before most of this generation’s crop of models was even born, and she’s got the stories to match. Known as much for her skills as an entrepreneur and yoga instructor as her long-standing portfolio, Bell shares with us the inception of her innovative work with Qantas airlines and the describes craziest thing to ever happen to her on set.
The Chic Edit: You began modeling in the 90’s, before Instagram was the main casting tool for models as it is today. Can you tell us how you got started in the industry?
Kate Bell: I actually started working as a model in 1989! I know right, before most people were born! I had a girl-crush on Jerry Hall and wanted to be like her. I also did a June Dally Watkins Modelling and Deportment course. They told me I had potential, so I met with Ursula Hufnagl (owner of Chic) whose agency worked in association with the multinational agency Elite, and they took me onboard. I finished my HSC and started working. A year later, I was in New York, then Paris, Germany, London and on we go for 30 years!
CE: What advice would you give to young models just starting out?
KB: At 16 or 17, we’re not listening to anyone. I think young models entering the fashion and advertising industry are so switched on, (something I so wasn’t!) they know all the “do your research” and “know your industry” stuff. I’ll just add, “do your best’ and “turn up on time.”
CE: Can you tell us a personal story from your modeling career? (the wildest/most shocking/embarrassing etc.)
KB: You said modelling in the 90’s was before social media? So all I’m gonna say is, “what happened in the 90’s stays in the 90’s!”
However, one bizarre week-long shoot out of Germany on Waiheke, a tiny island in New Zealand, does stand out for me. Waiheke has five ley-lines/earth energy channels running through it. Pretty much all talent, production crew, (married/single, gay/straight) had passionate, life-changing love affairs, culminating at the wrap party around a huge fire, complete with fire dancers. It was a riot!
CE: To what do you credit your lasting good looks?
KB: Thank you, that’s kind of you to say. I look like my parents and a reflection of my thoughts, choices, and actions. I enjoy living a healthy, active life.
CE: What drew you to the practice of yoga? When did you know you were “hooked,” so to speak?
KB: When I was a little kid, Swami Saravasti, a yogi who lived near us, had her own show on TV. Then at high school, I chose yoga for phys ed. and I tagged along with my big sister to yoga classes at Dural Squash Courts. At 16, I bought Light On Yoga, the veritable bible of Iyengar Hatha yoga & began teaching myself. Around the same time, I started modelling and traveling a lot, which meant loads of time hanging out by myself. Yoga kept me company, or I kept myself company through yoga. I still do.
CE: How do you believe you’ve helped people as a yoga instructor and bodywork professional?
KB: I teach, motivate, and support my clients in their own practice of yoga and I’m constantly learning from them. Yoga is an approach to life, a cultivation of health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental, and social) through a deeper sense of awareness. Bodywork is like the “cherry on top”–luxurious and stress-relieving sessions designed to improve overall health.
CE: How do you utilize Chi Nei Tsang massage?
KB: CNT is a style of abdominal massage that soothes stress and gut issues and enhances the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
CE : You pioneered “Qantas Comfort Zone,” an in-flight yoga technique that keeps passengers comfortable throughout their flight. Do you have plans to do anything like this again in the future? How did this idea arise?
KB: Made in collaboration with Walkabout Films, Qantas Comfort Zone was a world-first, five-show series broadcast on all Qantas international flights between 2003-2009. The series subsequently lead to the creation of the airlines mind/body strategy that included Qantas Comfort Zone–an airline channel devoted to well-being. I was Concept Creator, Co-Producer, Writer, and Presenter. I’m totally open to doing travel-based presenting/writing/co-producing again.
CE : What’s next in the multi-faceted career of Kate Bell?
KB: Dunno! More of the same I guess! Just getting better at everything and always learning new tricks.
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