A 'model' student Kerrigan Clark finds balance between high school, jet-setting career

By Julie Gorham

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 10:28 pm

Kerrigan Clark is a junior at Lecanto High School.

She’s also a high-fashion model whose face adorns magazines and catwalks around the globe.

Travel, modeling, homework — it’s an unusual balancing act. But don’t let the résumé fool you: Clark is still a small-town girl, still worried about her first car, still worried about prom.

Almost two years ago, she got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to begin a modeling career through New Version Model Management, owned by Nick and Marianne Tamposi. She remains signed with The Lions, Oui Management and Monster Management, with hopes of gaining an England agent this year.

“It has been going really good,” Clark said. “I keep going up — I was really into sports and never thought I would be a model.”

At 17, she has been modeling for two years at Fashion Week in New York, Milan and Paris, while also gracing the cover of the January 2017 Marie Claire Korea and pages throughout the Elle December 2016 edition.

“It has been life-changing,” Clark said. “I’ve been to Paris, France, Milan, Italy, New York, New York, and I got to explore a little during a layover in Switzerland.”

While every step of the way, mom Mary Clark is with her.

“It makes me feel safe; it’s comforting — it’s nice to have company because it can be a lonely job,” Clark said of having her mom around.

And, she said, the gulf between school and work might not be as wide as one might imagine.

“Being around models is like being in high school,” she said. “There is competition, cliques and mean statements — but I stay focused on myself, my path and try to improve myself.

“Everyone thinks when I go to Fashion Week I’m pampered and treated like a princess — but it’s a lot of hours and hard work, from castings to walking everywhere in heels, disappointments and letdowns. I’ve seen girls cry in line for a show completely ready in hair and makeup because they didn’t like the look or didn’t fit the show.”

Amid all that work, she tries to find time for play.

“We missed the layover in Switzerland, and I had to spend my 17th birthday in the airport,” she said.

Right now, she is planning for prom with her friends, getting her driver’s license, buying her first car and walking the runway as a campaign model for Zara in Spain on April 10.

When she lands, she immediately starts missing being up in the clouds.

“I love being up there — I’m thinking about becoming a pilot myself — or aerospace engineering,” Clark said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time.”

Follow Kerrigan Clark on Instagram at kerrigan.clark.

Contact Chronicle reporter Julie Gorham at 352-563-3236 or jgorham@chronicleonline.com.


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