Today, I bring you the nitty gritty on international model and devoted self-trendsetter Cara Parrish, a 21 year old beauty who’s not afraid to strike her own path and create her own opportunities. I was able to get the down low on Cara’s future projects, her take on the modeling industry, and discuss some of her favorite hobbies (comics, Trike fans!). So sit back, relax, and take notes – there’s no telling where this motivated self-starter might show up next.
Justin Umstead: So Cara, it’s evident that you’ve been active in the modeling scene for quite some time, but we’ve also seen you popping up in music videos and hosting hip-hop events around town. On top of all that we also hear you like comics and you can throw down with some of the best of them in some Call of Duty. Tell us, is there anything you can’t do???
Cara Parrish: I’m Supergirl! Just kidding. I’m Cara with “C” instead of Kara with a “K.” Meaning she can fly and I can’t…yet. Believe it or not, I can’t even ride a bicycle. I’m also painfully shy if you take me out from behind a camera or a microphone. I don’t let anything keep me from being an opportunist though. I firmly believe experience builds us.
JU: What inspired you to get into modeling and what do you enjoy about it the most? Where do you see it going as an industry in the future?
CP: I was approached by a local photographer and asked to shoot for his portfolio. He shared images with colleagues. It just kind of branched out from there. I started getting involved with agencies and then shooting nationally. I enjoy the push creatively. I love photographers with a unique vision. My favorite experiences modeling have always been when a photographer comes to me with an innovative concept then lets me work freely inside of it. Collaborations should always reflect the model and the photographer. As an industry, modeling has taken a major turn digitally. Whereas art modeling and print modeling used to be a line commonly crossed, this divide is widening. Now, older forms of photography are strictly art – for example Polaroid film. I have only had the opportunity to shoot with a Polaroid photographer once and it remains one of my favorite collections of images years later.
JU: Modeling can be some really tough work – a lot of time and effort go into it. What do you think is the most difficult part of modeling?
CP: Modeling is much more [strenuous] than most people I’ve met assume it is. It’s not as glamorous as it’s made out to be, basking under bright lights and balancing in uncomfortable poses only to watch someone Photoshop your every flaw. It’s unnerving if anything. It’s also a great deal of traveling; a lot of empty hotel rooms away from friends and family. Most of the time I’m in a city just long enough for the shoot or event, etc. I don’t really get to experience the places I’m in very often. It’s certainly an industry that requires thick skin, so to speak.
JU: What are your highest modeling goals and aspirations? What scenario would make you the happiest professionally?
CP: Lately, I’ve moved away from modeling and more towards business and film. I wish to expand myself as a brand. I’m breaking into television later this year. My clothing line, Death To Ordinary, which is a collaboration with my designer and dear friend, Marcus Price, will also be available later in the year. I never lay out a strict “goal” or “life plan.” Those are silly. If we predict what our life holds we will keep ourselves from a greater life than we could’ve imagined.
JU: So you’re breaking into television?
CP: Yes, I will be on an MTV show set to air in December. Since the cast list hasn’t been released yet I can’t give you the name of the show. Post the completion of that show I am looking at other opportunities in the television entertainment field specifically reality television. Reality television seems to be the easiest way to break in. From there I am hoping for more hosting opportunities. It’s all up in the air at the moment pending the results of the show I have already filmed. So, we’ll see where it takes me. I am excited for this new adventure.
JU: How do you approach new trends in fashion? Do you like to adopt early or are you selective in what you add to your repertoire?
CP: My younger sister is a cosmetologist and very fashion conscious. She used to tell me I always dress like a homeless person from the 80’s. I’m seldom aware of new trends. I’m a “going out” person more so than a “staying in” person. So I’m inspired by street fashion over magazines or television. I prefer online smaller label or thrift store shopping. That’s one of the reason I’m so ecstatic to start my brand, Death To Ordinary. I’ll finally have clothing that I actually really want to wear. Death to Ordinary is designed by my business partner and I based on clothing we wish was readily available. Right now ,every pair of shorts I own except for one pair of brown leather biker shorts have been upcycled, bleached, or cut up. I do have that signature feminine affection for shoes though. I’d marry a pair of Jeffrey Campbell flag booties and live happily ever after.
JU: Do you have a favorite brand? If so, what sets it apart from all the others?
CP: I’m a huge fan of J Brand jeans. Anyone who knows me knows finding a pair of jeans that fit me is agonizing. I’m very petite, 5’3. Not many denim designers build jeans for girls who have curves on a small frame. My measurements are 34-24-36. I like to brag that I’m almost the exact measurements from “Baby Got Back.” J Brand jeans have a perfect cut and stretch to accommodate girls with well…assets. I love street wear brands and local boutiques. In Morgantown, I love my friend Christina Deantonis’s store Altered Ego. She keeps some edgier pieces there than you can’t typically find in this area. Philly has an awesome shopping scene and Pittsburgh has the Time Bomb shop. SHOP LOCAL!
JU: Who is your favorite comic book icon? What is it about him or her that keeps you coming back for more?
CP: That’s a tough question. Emma Frost introduced me to the comic world. She’ll always be my number one female heroine/villain. Felicia Hardy and Cassie Hack are very close seconds though. I like antagonists. Deadpool won my heart over the first time I saw him. I love my good guys with a bad streak. I like a sense of comedy in writing styles. My favorite comic characters are the ones who know they’re badasses, but don’t always come out on top. It makes them more relatable to me.
JU: Do you have a particular comic series you follow?
CP: I followed Hack/Slash the closest for the longest time. I jump around a lot though. I’m always intrigued by stories I’ve never read before and characters I don’t already know much about. I might get laughed at for this one, but lately I’ve been reading/catching up on the Marvel Western series. Being raised southern with the idea that cowboys and superheroes are damn close to the same thing is probably to credit for why I like this series.
JU: Your modeling has surely taken you all over the country. Where are your favorite places to travel and visit? Where are your favorite photo shoot locations?
CP: Someday I will plant my roots in Philadelphia. That city won my heart over the first time I visited. It’s so rich in underground culture. It’s like the people there just have bravado about them. As a city it’s less afraid to be creatively daring. I have loved every photographer I’ve met there and every shoot I’ve shot there. As an entire state Tennessee is my favorite – after West Virginia of course. It has the perfect mix of city to country. I’m fond of city shoots more so than beach shoots. Anywhere rich in texture and props. I’m notorious for posing with or on props every time they’re available to me.
JU: Have you ever been out of the country? What countries have you been to and which would like to visit next?
CP: I’ve only been to islands and Canada. My favorite international shoot thus far was in Aruba. It was spur of the moment with an English photographer I had never met. The location was absolutely gorgeous on the local side of the island. That being said I’d like to visit New Zealand, Brazil, Botswana, and Puerto Rico next.
JU: You are easily one of the biggest supporters of local music in Morgantown right now. Which industry bands or groups do you listen to the most? What is your favorite genre of music?
CP: I take that as a major compliment. Thank you. I discovered rock when I was playing my step-mother’s records in her old bedroom when my grandmother would babysit me. I’d prance around in her Ron Jon Surf Shop t-shirts and bounce around to her 80’s rock collection. It’s stuck with me since then. I love music with an old school feeling to it like The Gaslight Anthem. As I got older hip hop kept slowly creeping into my life. I’ve grown to love Common, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, and Atmosphere. I’m a huge fan of classics. I have Elvis Presley’s signature tattooed on the back of my right thigh and I can spend entire days listening to Otis Redding and Johnny Cash.
JU: You definitely have a wide variety of interests – but do you have a hobby you think might just surprise us?
CP: I started writing poetry when I was very young. I’ve actually been published nine times. It’s something that I do when I’m in a very emotional state or when I’m in a very tranquil period of my life. I haven’t had much tranquility lately. It’s something that I hope I never stop doing. I’ve put my life and my face out there for the whole world, but the day I put my words out in the world will be the bravest day yet.
Now that you have the scoop, make sure to head over to her fan page here and support all the hard work she’s been doing. I’d like to thank Cara for the interview and we here at TricycleOffense.com look forward to watching you succeed in everything you do.