Landsborough teenager Caity Sanderson has been leading two different lives, but now it’s crunch time. Nikkii Joyce discovers this Coast teenager wants to be more than just your regular pretty face.
It’s pouring rain and ahead of me is a 200-metre dash and no escape. Sitting in the driver’s seat of my very dry and very warm dual cab, I look despondently down at my knee-high mustard boots and floor-length floaty floral skirt, thinking my 45-minute earlier self was out of her chic but daft mind.
‘The price I pay for fashion,’ I mutter, steeling myself before running out into the torrential downpour. Chump change really, I soon discovered, sitting in front of an old but very young friend whose capacity to make a hessian sack look like Marc Jacobs couture could cost her everything she knows.
It’s been two years since I last sat down with supermodel-in-training Caity Sanderson and I am lucky enough to catch her during a study break. I am taken aback by the physical transformation. She’s much smaller than I remember which makes her doll-like green eyes appear even larger, and her hair is longer and a much more rich, burgundy red.
But the new maturity in her outward appearance has nothing on what I discover has been going on in the inside. For one, her ability to express her opinion has only doubled in size.
“I actually don’t like getting direction from the photographers,” the budding actress says as we scroll through her lookbook (the term for an agency’s collection of photographs now all compiled on an iPad). “But on one recent shoot I was given a lot of direction, I love being pushed, it helped refine the photographs and has helped me for future shoots.”
It’s been a big year for Caity. Not just because she is studying for the most important grades of her life. But then add a requested appearance by premier Aussie designer Alex Perry himself walking in his collection, not one but four shows in a very successful Sydney Fashion Week debut (and subsequent appearance on the Vogue website) and lastly, being signed to one of the biggest international names in the business. You’ve got to wonder what else is on the cards.
“I might not be the most interesting looking girl or the most perfect looking blonde babe or whatever. The way I work is different to lots of girls,” Caity says, revealing she has been confirmed with New York agency Wilhelmina Models, one of the most prestigious names in the business. “I want to have longevity in this business. I don’t want to be that one who has 60 million jobs in the first season. If I can be loved by a select few for a long time that is what would make me happy.”
Mum Karen proudly divulges that Caity found work as a barista at McDonald’s while in Sydney to pay for her own accommodation. “It was amazing, it was lovely. All these people watching your little girl teetering along,” Karen says of witnessing one of her daughter’s shows.
Equally as proud is Summer Fisher, the modelling scout and owner of Gold Coast-based agency Busy Models who discovered Caity more than two years ago. It was Fisher’s second visit to the Sunshine Coast, discovering the now internationally-renowned Marc Jacobs muse Codie Young only weeks earlier. “Caity is a super hard worker and Wilhelmina’s would be a great fit for her because they work with girls who have a great commercial look,” Summer says.
Does Caity feel intimidated by the ever-growing international success of the regular Vogue cover girl? “I’m glad that Codie has paved the way for some of the Busy Models. People know the Busy brand and are more accepting. Codie, without realising it, has made it easier.”
But Landsborough teen Caity explains she is still undecided between two lives – both of which she says she has worked incredibly hard for. Taking the New York contract means missing milestone events such as graduation and possibly uprooting her family, including twin 12-year-old sisters Lucy and Emma, for mum Karen to act as Caity’s chaperone in New York.
Caity admits that watching her older brother, Sam, enjoying university life makes her crave a certain normalcy in her future.
“Then again this is not something that just happens. It is what I’ve worked so hard for. I don’t love anything as much as I love going down that catwalk or being in front of the camera.”
It’s sure to be a journey to watch.