“Models of the Runway” Winner Interview with Kalyn Hemphill

Kalyn was the very first winner of “Models of the Runway” (the Project Runway spinoff) and was one of the students I served as a youth minister in Lake Jackson. Most people would never believe it, but Kalyn is actually a camper too – she’s the kind of girl who can sleep in a tent one night and then go to a formal affair the next. Both of her brothers have been very active in the youth programs too. Anyway, as a model in NYC and Models of the Runway winner, Kalyn has been given an incredible platform to share her faith. She allowed me the opportunity to ask her a few questions that I thought I’d share here:

How does it feel to be the very first “Models of the Runway” winner and how has it opened up more opportunities for you?

It’s amazing to be the winner of the first season of “Models of the Runway” and I feel so blessed to be in the position I am in. So many doors have opened and I just signed with Ford Models yesterday, so I am looking forward to the future with them! I am also working on producing my own web show called, “Scene Cuisine.”

Wow! Tell me about Scene Cuisine.

Scene Cuisine is a webisode series that I am producing and hosting that goes behind the scenes of parties and events thrown in the name of fashion. It explores the culinary and fashion elements as well as looking at the decorations and preparations necessary to make the occasion successful!

Sounds like a pretty big undertaking. I’m sure your acting/modeling career is a real asset for the hosting role, but producing?? Do you have experience in that too?

Yes, I’ve had some experience in hosting, but producing is a whole new undertaking. I always love a challenge though and am excited to learn about what goes on behind the camera as well.

As someone who spends so much time in front of the camera, trying to figure out what they’re looking for, I’d bet that you’ve got some natural abilities behind it too. I’m excited to see what comes of Scene Cuisine.

I also wanted to ask you about your modeling career. How are you able to express your faith in Jesus in the modeling world?

I like to think of myself as a missionary in a model’s body. I constantly am placed in situations on shoots, etc. with non-believers and I always try to shine His light wherever I go. I am also involved in “Models for Christ,” which is an amazing organization of Christians in the fashion industry. It is encouraging to see so many wanting to affect change in the fashion/entertainment world.

What does “Models for Christ” do? You said they want to “affect change in the fashion/entertainment world.” How do they do that? When you get together with them, what does a “normal” meeting look like?

Models for Christ is a “global community of professionals who are seeking to honor God as we navigate the unique challenges and opportunities within the fashion industry.” (modelsforchrist.com) We get together every Tuesday night for praise and worship, a short program/study, and prayer groups. Also we have dinners once a month with a guest speaker and those are so amazing. I was honored to be the interviewee last month!

In the modeling world, have there been any particular situations where you felt like you were being asked to compromise your faith? How do you handle those situations?

There have been a few situations where I had to turn down jobs because of my beliefs, but for the most part, my agency knows what boundaries I have and what I will/won’t do. For example, no nudity, no cigarettes, etc.

Have you witnessed other models doing things that would compromise their integrity in order to move their careers forward?

It’s amazing what some people will do to get to the top of the entertainment industry. I’ve seen girls basically give up their souls for such worldly things that will never truly satisfy. I wish that everyone could know the fullness of joy and satisfaction that comes with knowing Christ…

How do you maintain your daily spiritual life and your connection with God? (Church? Bible Studies? Quiet Times? Accountability? Journaling? Worship Music? Prayer times?)

I have found that it is very easy to get caught up in a very worldly mindset very quickly, especially in NYC, so I make it a priority to spend the first 30 minutes of my day praying and getting in the Word so that I can be prepared for the day. I also attend an amazing church with such a wonderful community of believers, and am involved with Models for Christ. Right now I am studying the book of Esther with a group of girls from Models for Christ!

Esther is a great book to study. I love the way her family plays such a strong role in her faith walk. I know your family is important to you too. In the midst of all the scheduling involved in maintaining a modeling (and now hosting/producing) career, how do you stay connected to your family?

Kalyn with her brothers - Ryan and Jayce.

My family is the most important thing to me and I try to call them every day, even on the busiest of days! Also, any excuse to go home I always jump at!

I also want to give you an opportunity to tell us about your boyfriend Chris.

My boyfriend Chris and I met in NYC, and I knew from the moment I first saw him that he was “the one.” We were in a small group together and the way he talked about God and his faith was so inspiring. His heart for service and love for people captured my heart, and still does 2.5 years later!

How do you pursue a romantic relationship while trying to maintain your strong character and witness? I would think that in the modeling world people would see you together and make assumptions about you sleeping together, etc. How do you handle that stuff?

Kalyn & Chris

We try to keep our relationship “God-centered” and have many friends who hold us accountable. We’ve made a commitment to each other and to God to wait until marriage and although it is challenging to deal with people’s opinions and assumptions, it is really only God’s point of view that counts at the end of the day.

Of all the new opportunities that you have had as the “Models of the Runway” winner, which one has been your favorite and why?

My favorite opportunity that has come out of Models of the Runway has been all the chances I have had to speak to youth groups, organizations, and even individuals. I just feel so blessed that God has given me a bit of a “platform” to speak about all the amazing things he has done in my life, and that hopefully I can encourage others with my story!

The Marie Claire Layout (Feb 2010)

Some of our Lake Jackson friends are a bit star struck over you. Do you get star struck? If so, by who and what happened?

Oh goodness! There’s really no need to be star-struck, haha! That’s very sweet though! I have never really been too phased by celebrities, although I do love to meet people I admire! I wish I had a good story!

I know you’ve also been involved a bit with Charity: Water. Is that a charity that you see yourself being attached to or do you have another charity that really gets you excited? Any that you’d like to be involved with more?

I think that Charity:Water is an amazing organization and I hope to get more involved in the years to come! I also support and am involved in Red Eye Inc, The Ronald McDonald House, and History Starts Now. The Autism Society of America is an amazing organization and I hope to get more involved with them. I feel passionate about raising autism awareness and helping families affected by autism.

Ronald McDonald House was a huge blessing to Miranda and I last year when our daughter, Kesleigh was in the hospital. I’m glad to hear you’re involved with them. It’s so cool to see you using your platform to help people and to share the Good News of Jesus. The “youth minister” in me is sure proud of you. You’re a great example and role model as you seek to “model” the life of Christ.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Are there any final thoughts that you’d want to share with the world?

I just want to share one of my favorite verses for all the readers: It offers me so much hope, peace and joy and God has really shown me the true meaning of this verse over the past few years. I hope that it encourages you as well!

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Here are a few other links to find out more about Kalyn:


Season 1 Finale Winner Interview

Kalyn writes for the Season 2 Models of the Runway Blog

Modelinia Blog about Charity: Water Event

36 thoughts on ““Models of the Runway” Winner Interview with Kalyn Hemphill

    1. Steve Corn Post author

      Thanks Roberta – I just feel blessed to know you guys and appreciate the opportunity to be able to shine a little light on the spiritual side of Kalyn that most people don’t know about.

      And by the way, she is who she is because of the Lord and because of you and Jim. You guys are such great parents to all your kids.

    2. Julia Chandler Leffingwell

      This is an amazing interview! I agree that you and Jim did a great job raising your children. I believe that Kalyn will have an impact on many, many lives in the future! It is so refreshing to see her talk about her faith so openly when so many do not do that. Great job!!!

    3. Monet Beard

      Great interview! I’m totally impressed with Kalyn.. so talented, smart and beautiful..inside and out!
      I can only imagine how proud you must be! : )

    4. Sarah Berrett

      This was an awesome interview and a wonderful testimony of who Kalyn is and that she is totally committed to the Lord! You have an amazing daughter and she is going to make a real difference in the world of modeling.

    5. Susan Larson

      Wow. All I can say is that you know how to raise great kids! You’ve all had challenges and have risen above them. A great testament to your family, faith and wisdom. I can only hope for a tenth of what you’ve got to raise my son! God bless the Hemphills!!

      1. Melissa McCormack Roberts

        It’s a blessing to know that there are spritual, beautiful, and talented women (you) out there that my baby girl will be able to look up to one day in this world 🙂 Thank you!!!

      2. Terry Brawner Verboon

        Kalyn, this was a really inspiring interview. I am so proud of you and would use you as a role model for others. I think I will foward this link to others!

  1. Alice Harmon

    It has been so exciting to follow your career. You are amazing. I know how cut throat and uncaring the entertainment business can be. You really are a light where one is badly needed. A very good example for my daughter. We are proud of you!
    Alice Harmon

  2. DeeGee Stephens

    Steve and Kalyn:

    Ditto the remarks from Lucinda Johnstone.

    Even though, I know about you, I do not know you well. However, my dear friend, Mildred Reed, loved the family.
    She often shared with me how special the entire Hemphill family had been to her. She often bragged about
    Kaylyn’s accomplishments. Yes, thanks for being a great model in more than one way. God Bless you!

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