Colleen Kloster: Your New Fashion Model BFF

Colleen Kloster

In a time when everyone is obsessed with looking like the girls on TV and in magazines, we at The DM decided to dig a bit deeper and show you the people behind the beautiful faces we all admire. Beauty is only skin deep, y’all. Inner beauty is the new black.


When you think of models, most people don’t picture someone who is approachable, funny, and slightly nerdy. Yet Colleen Kloster, a stunning model with Factor Women, is on an undeniable upswing in the modeling world, while somehow maintaining all of the charms of the girl next door. Her modeling career has allowed her to travel internationally and meet amazing people, but Colleen doesn’t let the prestige go to her head. We caught up with Colleen Kloster right before she hopped a flight to India for her next modeling gig and asked her a few questions to get to know the girl beneath the couture clothing, and now we totally want her to be our new runway model bestie. You might want her to become your’s, too.

DM: How did you get discovered as a model?

CK: I was discovered in 2009 by Nadine O’Malley, a local designer and an amazingly glamorous woman. She and I met at a park district football game where I was one of the volunteer coaches of the cheerleading team her daughter was on. Nadine, the creative force behind Nade Baer, was just ready to launch her first collection. I was fifteen and had no clue what I was doing, so I’m a little green in the photos, but I still love them. Shooting with her was one of the first times in my gangly life I felt really beautiful. I still covet a scarlet wool single breasted beautifully tailored coat she made. I wish she still was designing, but it has been a couple years. Nadine has experience in modeling and the pageant world, so she was a great person to learn from and work with. She inspired me to actually give modeling a shot and from that I tried out for the Mario Make Me a Model contest through Mario Tricoci Salons. I made it to top five out of all the contestants in 2010. Mario and his team were amazing to work with. The opportunities borne from the contest really taught me how to handle myself in front of a camera, and what modeling as a job is actually like. Those two years led me to my Runway Agent, Bridget Halanski, who stuck her hand out, and before even introducing herself, she asked me how tall I was. That was the day my career with Factor Women Model Management started.”

Did this girl just say she got discovered at a football game?!? I love her already. Despite being gorgeous enough to catch the eye of an awesome designer, it took a while before Colleen started to actually feel that she was beautiful. That’s something most girls can relate to… we feel you Colleen!

Colleen Kloster

In Paris for Ralph Rucci

Colleen’s career opened up a new world of opportunities for her, eventually leading to her modeling in Italy. This amazing experience led to her strutting her stuff in front of some of the most notable fashion icons in the world. We got all up in Colleen’s business about this amazing trip and asked her to share some of her favorite pics from her time in Milan.

DM: Who did you model for in Milan? How long were you there and what part of Milan did you stay in?

CK: I am signed with Women Management in Italy. I arrived on September first and was there for two months to the day. I actually flew home on Halloween, which was great because I had a whole row to myself. The model apartment I stayed in was located on the north side of the city close to Centrale F.S., a huge railway station. The apartment itself wasn’t the most glamorous of places, but it was really nice, clean, and safe. I was also blessed with wonderful roommates from all over the world. They were nothing like the horror stories you hear and see in the residences. My experience there would have been nowhere near as amazing without the girls. My dad has this joke that the true blue friends my sisters and I make are the fourth Kloster daughter, and my Israeli roommate, Stav Ben Zur, definitely fits the bill. While I was there I got to work with Vogue Italia, makeup company Pupa Milano (a makeup company we did videos with), a couple of other Italian magazines and some retail clients. I was able to work on the international level; I worked in the Ralph Rucci Showroom in Paris, Schwarzkopf in Germany, and a Turkish Vogue editorial in Istanbul. It was a total whirlwind and I am eager to do it again.

Colleen Kloster

Stav and I at the Dsquared in Milan

DM: Were there any favorite looks that you wore on the runway in Milan?

CK: I didn’t work a lot of runway jobs in Milan, I usually end up booking more print and commercial work. The most memorable live event I did work was an up-and-coming designer cocktail party for Vogue Italia that was attended by Anna Wintour and Franca Sozzani. They gave me about three extra feet of hair and made it all frizzy, it was spectacular.

My favorite outfit from Milan hasn’t been published yet, so I don’t have images but it was this midnight blue velvet pantsuit that they used as a base for a few thousand dollars worth of diamond jewelry.

Did she just casually mention that Anna Wintour attended an event she worked in Milan? How is it possible to mention that without gushing or name dropping?

Runway fashion shows and photo-shoots are all fine and good, but one of the best things about working internationally is having the opportunity to see an exciting new part of the world. We asked Colleen what she loved most about the city and were lucky enough to snag a few pictures from her as well.

DM: Did you have time to explore Milan while you were there? What was your favorite locale or experience? 

CK: Rarely is anything directly booked in Milan, so models go to casting after casting to meet clients and audition for jobs. I think my grand total at the end was close to 180 castings in all. Each audition was in a different location, so I got to see all of Milan mostly by getting lost. Milan is amazing, but still very much a city, and I enjoy places with a little slower tempo. Outside of Milan, my favorite place to day trip was Venice. That most definitely made my top ten list of favorite places in the entire world. There’s old magic there and it’s incredible to soak in all the culture. I will be back there before I’m 25, you can count on it.

Colleen Kloster

Snapped by Stav in Venice

Colleen Kloster

Venetian Sunset


DM: As a model, you usually have other people styling you. But how would you describe your personal style?

CK: My personal style draws from a lot of inspiration sources; my work attire is an Audrey Hepburn meets Wednesday Addams in a giant turtleneck sweater. In my real time off (not model off-duty time, because that’s totally work, too) I’m a big supporter of the normcore movement, i.e. whatever is on top of my clean laundry bin and the occasional sundress in a happy color. If I won the lottery, I’d be in Diesel Black Gold leather pants and delish 1960s Givenchy in a heartbeat.

Colleen Kloster

Photo by Brian Whitley

You heard it hear first, folks. “Normcore” is an actual thing. Even models are doing it.

DM: What type of content can people expect to see on your social media? What do you like to share?

CK: My social media is pretty much Instagram. You can find me at @colleenkloster (I’m real creative with my usernames.) I try and post different kinds of images. Definitely work pictures, some behind the scenes, food once in a blue moon, friend snaps, and the occasional sarcastic silly-ism. All in all I try and post things that make me smile or chuckle. I try not to take it too seriously with the hashtags and the followers and the heavy editing. I see Instagram as a postcard. A shot or two and a short bubble documenting where my brain is at that day. There might be one too many pictures of my dog, but she’s really cute and I just can’t help myself!

DM: Staying fit is important for a model. But what food is your guilty pleasure?

CK: As weird as it sounds my guilty pleasure is mushrooms. I’ll take them any way I can get them, but my favorite is when they are sautéed in garlic, butter, and a little white wine and then heaped on a medium rare steak. When I was staying in Italy, I would work late sometimes and I’d get back to the apartment and make a whole bunch of mushrooms and eat that.

DM: What’s next for you?

CK: Well as we speak I’m packing for my flight to India tonight, but on a bigger scale the beauty of my job is that I don’t know what’s next. It’s a blessing and a curse that there are always surprises, however I know that I’ll be happy with whatever comes next.

DM: What advice would you give an aspiring model?

CK: Don’t take no for an answer. Persistence is the key to success, as you will get ten no’s for every yes, if you’re lucky. Keep yourself grounded in reality, it is so easy to get sucked into the lifestyle, and that’s not always a good thing. I surround myself with a mix of people ranging from models to college friends to my sisters, who I can always count on to keep me from getting a big head. Know that you will become a somewhat public figure and people will know what you are doing, so you have to be careful with your image. The last piece of advice I would give is that you can never untake a picture, so don’t compromise yourself with something that will follow you forever.

Colleen Kloster is a warm, sincere young woman, whose inner beauty is far greater than the outer beauty that has flown her around the world. And that’s why we adore her. Follow her on Instagram at @colleenkloster and keep up with her evolution from a small town girl to a household name.

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Nikki Lynette

by Nikki Lynette

Founder of The DM. In addition to being Creative Director of The DM, Nikki Lynette is a Chicago native who loves all things badass. She is a thriving indie recording artist whose music appears in tv shows, commercials, and film. Find her being offensive on Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, Instagram, YouTube, and every other place where interneters be interneting.