Suitcase Series: Kate Heussler, Founder of The Model Masterclass
After a 10+ year career as a model and 15+ years as a branding specialist for some of Australia’s favourite brands, multidisciplinary Kate Heussler launched her online business The Model Masterclass to teach the next generation of aspiring creatives the business skills they need to succeed in the fashion and entertainment industry.
Kate is known by her industry for her signature smile, effortless and elegant style, and her straight talk, strong work ethic approach to coaching. Passionate about fostering a safe space for aspiring models and influencers to thrive, Kate combines her knowledge, qualifications and expertise across brand management, marketing, social media strategy and public relations to deliver a world-first in online model education for her clients, no matter their age or experience.
The Model Masterclass philosophy is as ingrained as Kate’s personal brand. Proudly independent and specialised across all disciplines, it’s the coaching you need to pursue a once mysterious career now an attainable one with Kate’s unique brand strategy.
In this week’s Suitcase Series, we take a sneak peek into Kate’s travel psyche…
What’s been your most memorable trip and why?
My adventures through South America. I’d spent the better part of a year saving and planning the trip. I’m not one to ever travel on credit, which means I can always enjoy and savour every moment without guilt or stress when I come home! Given the location, logistics and a number of different places and experiences I wanted to have, I worked with a travel agent in Sydney to ensure everything was going to be safe and secure. When I go on holiday, it’s either full high-end, or off-the-beaten-track. For Peru it was the 43km Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, in Bolivia it was the homestay on Lake Titicaca, and in Brazil, it was the nature camp in the Amazon Rainforest that made the 38hr combined flights worth it to get there. I was very fortunate the altitude didn’t affect me and I was just home from my month-long trip when I read news that a significant portion of the Inca Trail had been washed away and hikers were stranded.
What’s your favourite ever hotel?
It’s been my most luxurious travel experience to date. The Intercontinental Le Moana in Bora Bora, French Polynesia. Somewhere between the kaleidoscope of colourful fish swimming in the turquoise water below the glass floor of my bungalow, the candlelit dinners under a night sky of twinkling lights, the gentle breeze on my face and the relaxing in a hammock under a palm tree, time simply stood still and the worries of the world faded away. It was 10 days of scuba diving, stand-up paddle boarding, massages, sleeping with the sound of water lapping a few short steps away, endless tropical food, white sand and clear water as far as you can see, and the most memorable photo I have in my album – cuddles with a stingray!
It was my social media profile picture for a while and the no. 1 question I was asked was “Were you scared?” Not at all. I was feeding her with close supervision of locals who had been interacting with the fever of stingrays for years and I was very mindful to feed her with as little touching as possible. They actually give great hugs, who knew!?
Where or what is your escape?
France. I have travelled there predominantly for work – and am yet to be kissed under the Eiffel Tower haha. The food, fashion, architecture and language are mesmerising and I would go back in a heartbeat.
If you could go anywhere tomorrow it would be…
Santorini, the supermodel of the Greek Islands. I’ve never travelled to that part of the world though I know there are so many islands to explore there. The candy-coloured houses carved into the cliffs, boutique wineries, and screensaver-worthy aspects – the romance is calling me!
What’s your idea of a luxury wellness holiday?
Anything involving idyllic sunsets and sunrises, daily massages, and an endless supply of fresh, gourmet and locally sourced nutrient-dense food. Not visited by a lot of people at any one time and preferably no wifi. Take me there.
My top bucket-list destination is…
It’s a tie between seeing the Northern Lights (Norway, Finland or Iceland), or a safari through Africa.
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
Marilyn Monroe. Grace Kelly. Audrey Hepburn. The stories they could tell of fashion, showbiz, life and love would keep me entertained and inspired for life. Keith Payne VC AM; he’s our last living Australian recipient of the original Imperial Victoria Cross. I would love to hear about his time as a Soldier, his life, and his advocacy for veterans’ health and welfare.
What is your jet-lag recovery tip?
This is especially important if I’m travelling internationally (I know my body always takes some time to recover from a long haul). My career has prepared me to not only look good on the outside but also feel good on the inside. It took a lot of trial and error in the beginning though I now swear by my ‘timezone, hydration and sunlight routine.’
As soon as I’m on the plane, I adjust to my destination. This means my sleep, waking hours and eating habits change for the arrival destination as if I am a local, not the place I have left or am used to. To help reset my internal clock, I always try to expose myself to sunlight during the day and avoid bright lights at night. This helps regulate my circadian rhythm so I feel more alert during the day. I always carry a 1L refillable water bottle with me to stay hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of jet lag. Sounds boring though avoiding alcohol and caffeine also helps.
What is your suitcase stalwart?
Packing cubes and a suite of matching luggage – three different sizes to suit the trip they’re needed for. My favourites are American Tourister, July and Romwea. They nest inside each other for a minimalist living (I’m all about efficient spaces). My Louis Vuitton Keepall Bandouliere has been a solid travel companion for years now. She’s for special occasion weekends away.
What is your number one packing tip?
I learnt this as a teenager when learning fieldcraft and survival skills as an Australian Air Force Cadet: “if you can’t carry it, don’t pack it.” This valuable piece of advice, instilled by my Australian Army instructors, has served me well in my subsequent backpacking, flashpacking and hotel-hopping years, for both work and pleasure. I always keep my hand luggage/carry-on to a weight I can comfortably lift over my head, and my suitcases to a weight I can lift at least an arm’s length off the ground. My outfits are organised and packed together and each item can mix/match with another piece so I’m not over-packing.
I never travel without:
My laptop and iPhone with noise-cancelling air pods are always a given when I travel, you won’t ever see me separated from them (mostly because my work/life blurs so much). A lightweight ‘easy to pack down and stash in my carry-on’ jacket, as the air conditioning on aeroplanes always feels chilly to me. A compact clear case of emergency essentials (throat lozenges, nasal spray, tablets for pain relief, hydralyte electrolyte effervescent tablets and my vitamins), all packed with Tetris military precision to not take up too much space in my handbag. Lip balm. A great book – I’m currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.
In my beauty / toiletry bag I always bring:
I don’t leave home without a quality cleanser and moisturiser (my favourite Cactus Skincare or Aesop blends easily fit into my travel bottles so I’m not taking up too much space) and my no. 1 anti-ageing go-to: sunscreen. If the destination requires me to be ‘model ready’ (ie for photos and media) I’ll also have a tinted moisturiser handy for a ‘clean skin’ look. My makeup kit isn’t too far behind if I need to get myself ready vs a professional beauty team being there.
For more information about Kate and The Model Masterclass, visit: