Since quitting school 3 years ago, Kaci Beh has walked in London Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week for designer brands including Aigner and Dolce & Gabbana. She has also graced the covers of Harper’s BAZAAR and Nuyou magazines.
The 21-year-old head-turner travels every few months to European cities such as Milan, Paris, and London for her modeling gigs. She’s also recently completed a shoot in Thailand for popular fashion retailer Pomelo.
While a jet-setting and camera-facing career seems glamorous, Kaci says it comes with some sacrifices. “I leave my favorite foods, family and boyfriend behind when I go overseas.”
Kaci is among a new wave of Singaporean models who are benefiting from a growing demand for local faces in international fashion shows. Others like Layla Ong, Vivien Ong and Diya Prabhakar have also walked for high-fashion labels.
Kaci started modeling at 18, a year after she dropped out of a retail management course in Temasek Polytechnic. She felt that she wasn’t cut out for business.
“If I didn’t drop out of school, I honestly wouldn’t know what I’ll be doing now. I definitely wouldn’t have kickstarted my modeling career,” the 1.8m-tall model said.
She secured her first gig after participating in a casting call by local modeling agency Basic Models Management.
“When I first started out, I was quite nervous. Every gig is different and you can get really anxious if you don’t know how to pose or walk yet. As time passes, it gets easier,” she said.
Having modeled for more than 2 years now, Kaci said the most rewarding part of her work is seeing the final product in print after her long shoots.
“Shoots can go on for hours. Even if you feel like death, you still have to look good in front of the camera because everything is based on your looks.”
She said modeling has also given her more confidence. When she shot to 1.77m at 14 years old, she used to feel very insecure for standing out among her peers.
“Back then, I wouldn’t dare to look at people on the streets because I knew they were looking at me. But ever since I joined modeling, I’ve dealt with people staring at me and I’m able to handle that more now.”
While many parents would have stopped their children from quitting school before earning a diploma or degree, Kaci’s parents are supportive of her career. In fact, her younger sister Karen is also with Basic Models.
Unlike some young models who prefer to work on a freelance basis, Kaci explains why being with an agency is important.
“Having an agency protects you from difficult clients and gets you gigs. If you’re a freelance model, it’s really hard. My booker Bonita pushes me a lot and sets goals that I’ll achieve one day,” she said.
Kaci’s dream is to do a full fashion show circuit — walking the international runways in Europe’s 4 major cities.
“Modeling is more than just a career. It’s something that I’m actually passionate about.
She added: “If you really want to be a model, just go for it. Don’t waste your youth because there’s only a limited period of time that you could actually be a model.”