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Star Style: falls for the charms (Part 3)

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Considering Katryn has been in South Africa for all three weeks this year, a new relationship must be difficult to maintain, but she says they have made it work. ‘He’s really supportive of my career and he understands when I’m travelling. He’s also really busy – always studying! Right now, he’s at my house studying while I’m working.’ She glances at her phone again and asks what the name of the road is that the studio is in. ‘I’m trying to get his mom to come visit. She works just down the road.’ When Santie Kies finally slips away from work, she has nothing but praise for the young model she has known for years. ‘She is still the same Katryn,’ she says. ‘She has a soft heart and is definitely unspoilt. She’s got class and that’s not something you can buy.’

Description: South African model Katryn Kruger,

model Katryn Kruger in South African

Despite having cemented herself on its radar, Katryn still seems fascinated by the fashion world. ‘I know a lot of girls say that they were tomboys growing up, but I really had no idea about fashion,’ she says. ‘Growing up, we would visit my grandfather’s farm and my brother and I would spend hours running around outside, barefoot among the cows. I just wasn’t really interestes in very girly things. When I started working, I knew nothing about fashion.’

Her naivety is disarming and her honesty is endearing as she giggles her way through an account of an embarrassing fashion moment as an industry newbie. ‘One of my first jobs in America was a Donna Karan show. I got there and saw this beautiful Italian woman, all dressed up and glamorous. I thought, “Oh that must be the designer.” Then this other woman, barefoot and wearing baggy clothes, started adjusting our clothes, telling us what to do, where to go and how to walk. At first I wondered, ‘Who is this woman telling us what to do? Shouldn’t that be the designer’s job?” It turned out the beautiful Italian woman was just the stylist. The barefoot woman was Donna Karan! I started Googling designers as soon as i got home so I’d know who’s who.’

It’s just as well she did, because since then she has graced the runways of Givenchy, walking exclusively alongside Gisele Bündchen; opened and closed for Valentino haute couture, and featured in the headline-making Louis Vuitton show that became the toast of Paris Fashion Week, thanks to its working stream train.

Description: Katryn Kruger in Paris

Katryn Kruger in Paris

From designers to models, Katryn is no stranger to celebrity. She’s worked with the likes of Russian supermodel Natasha Poly and Black Swan star Mila Kunis, and has South Africa Victoria’s Secret model Candice swanepoel’s number on her phone, but she quickly adds, ‘We’ve more acquaintances than friends, really,’ careful no to sound presumptuous.

But although she is still completely grounded, there are some changes that she has been forced to make, like leaving Tygerberg High School to complete Grade 11 and matric via online schooling. It was getting near impossible to work and maintain normal school demands. ‘I was studying for my final exams when I was shooting the Prada lookbook. So I was sitting next to Steven Meisel doing economics homework!’ she says, laughing at the thought.

Having lived and worked in all four of the fashion capitals of the world, Katryn is keen to bring work home in the future. She has yet to feature in a South African fashion week. She says that if she did, she would like to walk in a KLûk CGDT show. ‘I really liked their clothing from the ‘First Dance’ shoot [which appeared in the December issue of ELLE].’

Description: Katryn Kruger By Justin Polkey for Elle South Africa July 2012

Katryn Kruger By Justin Polkey for Elle South Africa July 2012

Although most of her work so far has been on the runway, Katryn confesses she enjoys editorial work more, ‘I love them both, but with shoots you can give more of your personality to the image.’ Her favourite thing about being on set, then? ‘If the team is fun, I don’t mind being on set all day. It can get tiring, but if there is a good energy it’s not so bad.’ With a cheeky grin she adds, ‘And the ELLE team is always awesome to work with!’

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