Last summer I had the pleasure of photographing rockstar model Celesta Hodge from Elite Model Management LA. Now we have a rare interview by the one and only, James Clayton.

James Clayton: I’m on my way to meet Model/Actress Celesta Hodge for a lunch interview at the Bel Air Hotel. She’s peaked my curiosity, there’s always an element of innocent intelligence and allure in her work. To my surprise she’s already seated in a booth sipping an Arnold Palmer. Silly me always assuming models are late. Her warm smile puts me at ease.

JC: “Mind if I record the session,” I ask? 

CH:”You mean, whatever I say can and will be used against me?”

Her laugh is infectious and I find myself laughing perhaps a little too hard. Pull it together I tell myself!  

JC: “So how long have you been modeling?”

CH: “Oh gosh,” she says with sigh and a rye smile, “as far back as I can remember. I had a huge trunk full of “dress up clothes” and I would sneak into my favorite place in the house. My mothers closet, and steal her high heels somehow managing to swagger down the halls and not break my neck in the process. I was constantly putting on fashion shows and dress up parties with my little friends. But, professional modeling I started when I was six. It just kind of took off from there. I was always dying to travel and my parents were very supportive and open-minded. I spent a lot of time working in Paris, Milan, London and New York. I feel like those places represent my childhood now.”

JC:”I know you were raised for the most part in Palo Alto California.  Do you call California home, specifically Los Angeles?”

CH: “I do. I’ve always had a fondness for The City of Angels. Nature is such a big part of Los Angeles and it keeps me calm and grounded and it’s also close to my family.”

She orders the burger medium well with a side salad and no bun. 

CH: “I only started eating beef for the first time in my life six months ago. Poor cows” she says. making a sad face. 

JC: “Wait, you never had meat until 6 months ago! When were you born?” 

CH: “I was born in 1990 and raised strictly vegetarian. I don’t like the idea of killing innocent animals it eat! It sounds so barbaric but I have more energy now.”

JC: “What is a Sunday afternoon like for you on a day off?”

CH:”I love going to art galleries and art shows. I’ve always been obsessed with the arts. Probably growing up with an architect father had something to do with it. Not to mention my mother, who always has an ongoing art or craft project. From drawing, painting, furniture, weaving, silkscreening there’s always a new endeavor. I’ve always been fascinated with expression through art and form.”  

JC:” I enjoyed your role in The Bag Man. Can you tell me about your experience getting beaten up by a heavyweight actor such as Robert De Niro?”

CH: “He can beat me up any time,” she giggles. 

“He was truly lovely and so professional. I even got to play with his beautiful Bernese Mountain dog that was in some scenes. I think he was bigger than the Shetland pony I had as a child!”

Sadly lunch is already coming to an end, I don’t want our interview to end. 

JC:”You want to have a cigarette in the garden?” I ask. 

CH: “Oh, I don’t smoke.”

JC: “You don’t smoke and you’re not late, are you sure the entertainment businesses for you?”

She laughs that infectious laugh of hers. 

CH:”there’s no business like show business, so I’ve heard.”

She’s not what I expected. She’s more than I expected. I didn’t ask her if she had a special someone in her life on purpose. Some things are better left to the imagination. 

Los Angeles CA September 29th 2015

Photographer: Jay Marroquin | Hair & Makeup: Amber Rose | Model: Celesta Hodge from Elite Model Management