all photos by michael dumler/on abbot kinney


model citizen: cailin russo

so much more than a bieber video babe.

by michael dumler

You've seen their faces on the runway, campaigns, and all over the internet. Now get to know the models behind the clothes in this new weekly feature. 

The internet might know Cailin Russo for starring in not one, but two Justin Bieber videos--click here if you need a refresher--but trust us when we say she's so much cooler than your average music video girl. The 20-year-old California native shoots for brands like American Apparel and has an eclectic personal style to match (not to mention, a killer septum ring). You can score fashion inspo for days, months, or even years from her Tumblr and Instagram alone, but before you get addicted? Meet our newest girl crush and see her exclusive photoshoot by On Abbot Kinney below.

ModelCailin Russo

AgencyNewmark Models 

How did you end up modeling? Were you always in front of the camera?

I guess I was always in front of something, and I sheepishly always liked attention. But I never would have thought I would be a model. Especially through my early teens I had some serious self-esteem issues. (#beingapreteenisfun...) As a kid I was a total weirdo always wanting to be involved in crazy arts and crafts and magic. A lot of magic-- I had a book of spells that I would try and do all the time. Good spells though, make love potions and all that stuff. I was always caught in between wanting to be an artist (painting) and being a scientist growing up. Obviously I had another path coming along.

What are your thoughts on branding? How do you consistently stand out amongst a sea of beautiful people? 

Honestly, I don't know. There are SO many beautiful unique people in the world. I could say I make myself stand out by a.) being myself and making sure everyone sees my own true quirky little attributes that make me Cailin and b.) not holding back anything. If I think a pretzel fits in my life and I should share it with the world then that's it. (Which can get me into trouble) 

Many people think modeling is easy. They don't understand the athletic approach to it. What does a day consist of for you as far as working out? What is your favorite way to exercise?

I love cardio-- which is crazy--but I think it's the easiest. Your mind escapes for 20 minutes to an hour of your day to run away with you. I also like taking classes and being involved with a group because I've always liked a lot of people in my surroundings. 

I sometimes meet girls who were scouted with such little interest in fashion that they don't know or care how they dress. Are you well versed in fashion? How would you describe your overall style?

My overall style is funky. It's all over the place. Not too boho, not too grunge, not too Kawaii. It's very eclectic like me. Which actually may describe it better...eclectic 

Do you have any pre shoot rituals?

Drink caffeine, whether it's tea or coffee or whatever. You need to have something pumping you up. 

This industry is full of ups and downs, constant surprises, and constant rejection. What makes the good parts worth enduring the bad?

I guess when the good stuff does come up, you stop dwelling over the bad. And at one point you just have to face facts and know that what is supposed to happen will happen. Otherwise, it's not for you.

Do you want to model as your end goal of a career? If so, how will you ensure that happens? What is your dream job as a model?

My dream job as a model is doing a Marc Jacobs perfume ad. His simple unorthodox campaigns seem to really fit me in that perfectly commercial-uncommercial way. Back to the first question, modeling is not my end goal career.

Have you made any good friends through modeling? 

Hell to the yes. All my friends I have made from modeling, and my booker is one of my best friends! From photographers, to other models, to production people, stylists -- I think to myself everyday that I am so blessed to be in this industry to meet these people. They complete me. My friends are all random but come together via fashion, passion and love (wow, that was corny) but it's true! 

If you could only walk or shoot with one designer/photographer for the rest of your life, who would it be?

For the rest of my life?! Oh man, I don't know....for designer, I would say Valentino, but also Alexander Wang because I love dressing casually, too. For photographer, I think Ted Emmons and Zoey Grossman capture me very well. I am dying to shoot with Ellen Von Unworth though, and also Olivia Malone. I think we could pop shit off.  

A person's jewelry says a lot about who they are. What is your everyday jewelry?

I lose a lot of jewelry. But a few pieces I always have is a gold necklace my mom gave me with my name on it, a watch my boyfriend gave me two Christmases ago (I love watches) and other earrings my grandma passed down. Otherwise I think the more the merrier! I obviously have my septum pierced. I love rings but I'm terrible at keeping them. I love chokers and spikes and hoops....and random objects, like corky eyeballs and dragons on things.

clothing by levis, garrett leight, unif. photography by michael dumbler of on abbot kinney.