guest profile: america's next top model and farmer
I met Laura Kirkpatrick on Instagram. I will never stop being amazed at how small the world has become when I can say that I 'met' someone through a technology that allows people who have similar interests to connect. It's truly extraordinary. She had commented on a few of my posts which prompted me to check out her profile -- and I was delighted. Laura is a young woman who was born and raised on a farm in Kentucky, that alone is enough to intrigue me but this young woman also has a career that surprised me -- and I think it will surprise and delight you as well.
Note: The following profile was the first collaboration between myself and our newest team member, Kate Doughty. I'm excited for Kate to fly solo and take on a few more profiles like this. If you're interested in sharing your story, we'd love for you to reach out to us through this website on the about tab.
by Kate Doughty and Audra Mulkern, images courtesy of Laura Kirkpatrick
It might seem odd for a 15 year old to be paid for a entire summer’s worth of work with a heifer—and even more, to be excited about it. But for Laura Kirkpatrick it meant she was started on her dream of becoming a farmer. Laura was born on a dairy farm in Kentucky; when she was five her family left dairy farming for beef. Her family has been in agriculture for more than five generations, and now her family’s farm includes a cattle operation with vegetables, berries, fruit trees, and wild flowers that dot the living Kentucky landscape with color.
The everyday challenges of farm life—battling with bent-up old gates that are hard to open or caring for her own herd of cattle, and keeping up a positive attitude amidst a changing agricultural system—have taught her how to be persistent. But she also has found that farming fosters strength and determination.
“Being persistent is a must. There are days you don’t want to do the dirty work, but you must. There’s jobs I’ve had to tackle over and over again, and without persistence I would never have conquered them.”
Laura has taken many of those lessons of tenacity and grit and applied it to her other dream—modeling. She has been modeling full-time since she 19 and appeared on two seasons of America’s Next Top Model. She was runner up in cycle 13 and has had several modeling contracts, and even a magazine cover, but she continues farming. Laura says even if an opportunity to leave her farm life presents itself, she’ll always return.
“I also love to cook, so between that, modeling and farming that takes all my time. I’m blessed I get to do what I love every day”
Laura’s wish is for people to see how much the hard work farmers do benefits everyone, and for that work to be valued by the communities they work in. She hopes she can represent a generation of farmers who share the love of food and farming with a mainstream audience, while staying in touch with her deep Kentucky roots.
Thank you to Laura for sharing her story with us. You can find Laura
Originally published: June 28, 2016
Chuck 3 months ago
Always love hearing stories like this. Thank you Laura for sharing a part of your life with your fans.