We’ve met a lot of people shooting editorials for iLHP. We’ve had hockey players, actresses, rockstars, and even Harvard doctors. Now, we can add improv comic to our illustrious list of models. Meet Kayla Barr. A beautiful brunette based out of New York and Los Angeles, who so happens to remind of Lana Del Rey and can probably bright anyone’s day with her smile and charisma.
We took our plastic Holga lens around Venice Beach earlier this year, chatted, and got to know Kayla a little bit more. Here is what she had to say.
iLHP: Hi Kayla, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Kayla: Thanks for having me! Sure! I grew up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles – and then went to USC for undergrad and grad school, lived in Studio City for a few years. Now, I live in New York City. I’m an actor, writer, producer, and improviser – basically I just love making other people smile and laugh!
iLHP: Improv? Very cool. Can you tell us more about that?
Kayla: I started really studying comedy improv a few years ago at UCB (Upright Citizen’s Brigade) in Los Angeles. I took classes, had practice groups, and later formed a team called Kiss the Girl that performed around the LA improv scene. We actually just had our second consecutive year performing at the Del Close Marathon (DCM) improv festival here in New York that’s hosted by UCB NY which was really fun! Improv is one of those things that no matter how nervous I may be before going on stage, I always leave with a big smile on my face.
iLHP: When did you start modeling?
Kayla: I began modeling casually several years ago. Friends would ask to take photos of me for their photography portfolios, and since I’d been used to having photoshoots here and there (having grown up a dancer and then an actor), it was something I’d always loved and been comfortable with. It’s so fun to just live in the moment and create something beautiful with a photographer – I love that collaborative process.
When I started my fashion and beauty blog, Blush and Bangs, a few years ago, I began working with a photographer regularly and that’s what really allowed me to open up more freely and creatively in front of the camera. That lens has the ability to capture so many things at once: thoughts, emotions, ideas, fleeting moments…it’s a total rush – and I love it!
iLHP: Could you compare your two passions? Improv versus modeling, whether or not you find them to be similar or different and whether you think improv helps you in your modeling?
Kayla: While there are obviously vast differences between improv and modeling, there are some interesting similarities and reasons why the two complement each other in a way. I suppose I never even realized that until you asked me this question! But in both arenas you’re absolutely living in that very moment.
You can’t plan ahead or control every element of the situation, you have to let go, be free, and trust your partner (in improv that’s your scene partner and in modeling that’s your photographer).
In both my improv scenes and in modeling I like to keep everything grounded and play as honestly as possible. I think that’s what makes a scene funny, the realness and honesty, and likewise, a photograph is beautiful when it feels truthful – not fake, gimmicky, or over exaggerated – just real.
iLHP: What kind of challenges have you faced while modeling? (and how did you over come them?)
Kayla: I’m not a runway model, and I’m not a waif either. I’m a woman with a figure, and in this industry that can be a rarity. At times I’ve struggled with thinking negatively about my body and why I’m not super skinny, but I’ve learned to accept my body and love it. That’s not to say that I don’t have my insecurities or that I don’t take care of myself, because I do, but I also know it’s okay not to be a 0-2.
Additionally, I’ve learned how to dress to my shape, and for posing I know my angles and what light works best for me (practice makes perfect in that case). Oh! And confidence goes a long way, that one took me a while to get a hang of for myself, but over time you grow more comfortable in your skin and it gets easier!
iLHP: Is there any brand, photographer, or person you’d like to work with in the near future?
Kayla: I’d love love love to work with Nylon magazine and Nylon online. Their content is fantastic. And I’d love to collaborate on a shoot with Chuck Grant – her work is stunning. The end.
iLHP: Thank you for your time Kayla! We wish you the best success in NYC. Any parting tips for part-time models?
Kayla: Thanks again for having me, this was fun, and sorry if I rambled too much…it happens sometimes with me insert monkey covering its eyes emoji