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Fashion Week Model Escapes Pickup Scene in Cobble Hill

By Heidi Patalano | February 5, 2014 8:12am
 One model explains why Cobble Hill is the perfect place to hide.
Kel Markey's Cobble Hill
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COBBLE HILL — Models will soon descend on the runways of Lincoln Center and at venues across the city for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but one place you wouldn’t be looking for them is in Cobble Hill, where 23-year-old model Kel Markey has lived for the past two-and-a-half years.

Before she took to the catwalk — she’ll do 50 to 70 shows by the time New York, Paris, Milan and London fashion weeks are through this season — Markey spoke about her Brooklyn 'hood.

One unexpected benefit? In Cobble Hill, she said, she doesn't get hit on all the time.

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Q: When you’re out in your neighborhood, do you get a lot of attention from strangers?

A: Not really. I don’t really look like a model that much. I’m not the tall, blonde, bronze girl. I tend to blend in pretty well. People tend to look at me more sort of wondering why I live in this neighborhood, I think. I’m too young and too out of place.

I don’t think anybody comes for pick-ups to Cobble Hill. People are taken, or have families or something. But I like that about it. It’s pretty calm. You can just sort of be and talk to people. No one’s ever aggressive about hitting on you or getting something from you, like if you were on the Lower East Side or in Williamsburg.

Q: What are your favorite restaurants around the 'hood?

A: We eat a lot at Hibino, which is this amazing little Japanese place on Henry Street. There’s Bocca Lupo and Strong Place. There’s this awesome little Vietnamese place that just opened up where we go for lunch a lot called Hanco's. It’s a really fast, in-and-out place, but it’s pretty awesome. I always get the sandwiches and the summer rolls and I’m a big fan of bubble teas.

Q: Previously you've walked in shows for Phillip Lim and Proenza Schouler. Where are you at with your preparation for Fashion Week?

A: You start a week or two weeks before with casting and seeing clients and then you move on to fittings, which are usually a day or two before the shows and then you do the shows and hop on a plane and you go to London or Milan.

Q: Is there a common misconception about Fashion Week that you'd like to correct?

A: I think people think that it’s really breezy, just walking down the runway and I think it might have been maybe in the '90s, but nowadays it’s just an oversaturation of models specifically in the market.

With technology, everyone’s really trying to get something from everything — there’s makeup brands, blogs, street style. It’s just such an incredible time. Everyone’s trying to document it and use it for advertising or publicity. It’s really intense and wearing and so hard on young girls. That’s one of the things that blows my mind.

I know a lot of people have problems with girls that are 15- or 16-year-olds doing shows and I understand that it’s incredibly wearing.

You don’t get time to sleep, to eat.