As one of the business’ most in demand faces, Candice Huffine has blazed an enviable trail through fashion’s top tier. The Maryland born stunner has racked up an impressive roster of A-list clients and with a Vogue Italia cover under her belt as well as work in the likes of CR Fashion Book, W Magazine, V Magazine and now American Vogue, Candice is experiencing a major moment. The down to earth beauty stopped into the MDC office to talk big breaks, fashion evolutions and what it’s like to work with the greats.
I have to ask you the official model question – how were you discovered?
CANDICE: I didn’t know that was an official model question! I actually came to New York from Maryland. I came up, you know, I always say I came up on a weekend but obviously I didn’t. My mom and I must have come up during the week. We went online and then we went to every agency that we’d heard of – all of the famous ones. You know, you just pass your photos over to somebody and they pass them back and say “no,” for the most part.
It was a different process than what I had thought. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I just thought “I’m cute & I pose all the time in my front yard & yeah, I’m gonna be a model.” I was getting rejected quite a bit, of course, but finally someone came over to me and they were like, “we think that you would be really great for Plus.” Which I had never even heard of at the time, I didn’t know that was a division within the industry. I was like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m 14 years old, I’m a small girl, how can this be?” Then they showed me a book of all of these girls that they were representing, like, Kate Dillon, Mia Tyler, and I was like “Yes! Sign me up!” So I was signed to plus that day and I’m very thankful for that.
Had you always been into fashion?
CANDICE: Yeah! I had done beauty pageants before, which I thought was modeling. It’s definitely not modeling at all, totally different world. I was always kind of an “out there” dresser, in school looking back it’s so embarrassing. I just posted a throwback thursday photo and I have slouch socks, Reebok classics, cutoff shorts, I don’t know what I was doing! But, I tried it all!
It was a look! I think everyone looks back at what they wore at 13/14 and cringes.
CANDICE: I’m very thankful to my mom, she definitely let me try everything I wanted to try. She let me put a box of blonde dye on my hair when I said I wanted to go blonde. She said, “Okay,that’s not going to work for you but okay…” So, she let me experiment so I could figure out the hard way, I guess! I went through all kinds of phases. Tomboy, preppy, wore a lot of khaki’s, wore a lot of Timberlands – which are coming back! I should have saved them! I also wore heels to school, I was super into it.
What would you say is the primary difference you’ve found between the plus market and the rest of the fashion industry?
CANDICE: Well, I didn’t have anything to compare it to because I was never on the other side, but, I’m immersed in it now and I’ve crossed over. I feel like a musician who’s been on the country charts and now I get to dabble in pop! I don’t really find a difference, at all. I’m not treated differently by any means. It’s a common question I get, “is it weird being the plus size girl on set?” But it’s not. We’re in a perfect place for that now. Everyone is on board and so I do feel like the lines have been blurred a lot lately. Of course, I think that when you’re just beginning in the plus world of modeling there’s a lot of catalogue and editorials are not as common. So, in 2010 (and I had been modeling for many years before that) I was in a different place and the V magazine spread was really my first editorial. That was a jumping off point and now editorials with plus size models are plentiful. I’ve just been doing it for sometime so I see the difference and now more than ever all sides of the business are blended – which is super exciting.
Candice in Vogue by Angelo Pennetta
I just saw you walk in that great Isabel Toledo show. What was that experience like?
CANDICE: They’re amazing. They’re really inspiring and super in love and cute and just excited. The stuff was amazing, you could see a collection like that for any size, really. That’s what it’s always been about. Don’t overthink it when it comes to creating clothes for a curvier woman or a bigger woman because we want and we can wear the same things that already exist! It’s like.. please just give them to us and I think that’s what they’re about, too. I loved everything. I was like, “Okay, when can I get that.. and that.. and that..” There were bright colors and all different styles that you don’t normally see for plus.
You’ve done some amazing editorials, what would you say are your personal favorites?
CANDICE: Thank you. I mean, all of them! I know that sounds like such a cookie-cutter response, but I really do! It’s more of a pinch-me-moment, kind of a “wow I can’t believe Tom Ford just touched my hair…” things like that! I have to say that the Italian Vogue editorial will go down in history for me. I still can’t believe it. We framed it and hung it in our gallery wall, it stops me in my tracks all the time. I think, “that was really me!” I can’t imagine what that will feel like many many years down the road to look back. It still hasn’t sunk in.
The V magazine was really the jumping off point and from there it’s just been exciting and different every year. I don’t want it to stop, it’s been really good and I don’t think it will because every year there’s more opportunity for a different shape. My recent inclusion in the April issue of American Vogue was monumental for me. It had been a dream I have had since I was a little girl and was an ultimate highlight for me. The experience as a whole is one I will never forget and I will be pinching myself about it for years to come.
Candice by Tom Ford in CR Fashion Book
Absolutely. It’s definitely changed so much in the last few years.
CANDICE: I’ve seen it from the beginning, I feel like I’ve grown up in this business and I’m along for the ride. More than ever you’re seeing differences!
What’s your favorite part of the job?
CANDICE: Well, my favorite part of the job. I used to say traveling, but now I’m tired… Just kidding! I come from a family that doesn’t fly, so I would never go anywhere if it weren’t for this business. I’ve seen some amazing things and been to cool places on the bucket list that I might not ever still see again. I’ve had clients that are like, we’re shooting in Thailand! You don’t get the opportunity to pop over there every day, so I’m super thankful for that.
For the most part, I just enjoy being around really awesome people. Creative minds and there’s so much to learn from, not even just about hair and makeup and modeling – just about life in general. So, it’s exciting – like a family, really.