Cate Chant

Page TWO

Cate Chant
photo: Justin Borbely
Less than a year ago, Catie (as she is still known to her friends) was reading on a subway when she noticed someone watching her. "I could tell he was staring at me, and I was getting a little creeped out so I moved to the other end of the car." Photographer Justin Borbely wasn't so easily put off however, and followed the intriguing youngster to ask if she had ever modelled. "I said no, because I hadn't, and he said I should and handed me a piece of paper with his email on it... which I put in my jacket pocket and left there for about six months.

In the period that followed more people suggested Chant should give it a shot, and following an early summer meeting with Chantale Nadeau things started to happen. Nadeau introduced her to Sutherland Models, which in turn introduced their new 5'9", brown-eyed brunette to the Toronto fashion industry. Catie became Cate. Other photographers started calling. A book came together. A career started to unfold.

Once modelling became a reality Chant started setting aside time every day to work on her stride. "I was pretty terrible at walking when I first met Chantale," she admits. "I was more like a giraffe, the way they lead with their knees. But I spent pretty much the entire two weeks leading up to Chantale's showcase practicing in heels. After I got signed to a couple agencies I started getting a lot better in heels. Finally I've gotten to the point where I walk well."

Despite having appeared in one of the most prestigious shows in the world she is still driven to be better, so on a Saturday morning - one week before Toronto Fashion Week - I sat in Nadeau's home as Chant took her turn among three others looking to fine tune.

As I rested at the end of the hallway watching Chant glide toward me, pose, gaze, pivot and return, I couldn't help but wonder whether Christopher Michael was feeling more pride or relief. It was early in August that the New York Models booker pleaded for the newcomer's U.S. rights, and it's Michael that deserves the credit for promoting her as the enigmatic girl she is. It was Michael in fact, that put down his own credit card to get a girl he believed in on a last minute flight to Milan.