Prior to playing time-traveling doctor Claire Fraser, actress Caitriona Balfe had a successful modeling career, walking the runways for fashion houses like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Givenchy, and brands including Victoria's Secret.
"I was privileged to work frequently with Karl Lagerfeld in my early career as a model. Those were truly the highlights of my career back then especially when I got to work with him as a photographer," she wrote on Instagram, eulogizing Lagerfeld when he died in 2019. "He was a true icon and a creative genius. I am so grateful I was fortunate enough to meet and work with him.
J. VespaGetty Images
But not everything about her modeling experience was positive. During a recent appearance on the podcast Thanks a Million, Balfe opened up about how "tough" the industry could be.
"You're supposed to just automatically be this fun, interesting, edgy person that fashion people want to be around, but then at the same time, you have to be so skinny and so androgynous," Balfe said.
"[I was] constantly being compared to people. I think, as a young woman in your teens and twenties, that's really really hard."
She continued, detailing the criticism she faced, as a regular part of her job.
"There’s so many times where you would go in to castings or even fittings for jobs that you already supposedly had and somebody in the room would just be annihilating how you look or your lack of personality or you talk too much," she said. "All in front of you, and it’s really tough. I have so much admiration for girls who can come through that unscathed."
During the conversation, Balfe was clear that her career as a model provided her with opportunities she might not have received otherwise, but they came at a cost.
Here Is the Beehive
"In one way, it opens up so many doors and it does open your mind to so many things and it does give you an incredible education in a certain way. But in another way, it infantilizes you and it stunts you in so many other ways, and I think it takes a while to sort of like rebalance all of that," she said.
Now, of course, Balfe is an actress, not only appearing in Outlander, but also feature films like Ford vs Ferrari. Additionally, she's starting to work behind the camera; for season five of Outlander, she served as a producer, and she recently secured the rights to Sarah Crossan's novelHere Is the Beehive. She'll be working alongside Ocean Independent, the production arm of talent agency Emptage Hallett on that project.
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Caroline HallemannDigital News DirectorAs the digital news director for Town & Country, Caroline Hallemann covers everything from the British royal family to the latest episodes of Outlander, Killing Eve, and The Crown.
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Before taking on her breakthrough role as Claire Fraser on Outlander, Irish actor/producer Caitriona Balfe was a successful international model. But while her previous career was filled with glamour and glitz, Balfe recognizes that it was also a harsh, competitive world that fueled insecurity. And in a recent interview, Balfe opened up about her time as a model and described the difficult situations she faced.
Caitriona Balfe had a highly successful modeling career
Balfe started her international modeling career at the age of 18 when she joined the Ford Modeling Agency. She appeared in campaigns for some of the world’s biggest fashion houses, including Levi’s, Dolce & Gabbana, and Calvin Klein. And she walked the runway for designers like Chanel, Givenchy, and Victoria’s Secret.
During her modeling years, Balfe and other models were put in situations where they were refused pay from their employers. In 2009, Balfe began modeling for BCBG. But when the company faced financial issues, they decided not to pay her and their other models. Even though her agent advised her not to, Balfe stopped working for the brand until they reimbursed her.
RELATED: ‘Outlander’: Looking Back at Some of the Best Moments From Season 5
Balfe then moved to Los Angeles and started auditioning for films. She earned small roles in movies like Super 8, Escape Plan, and Now You See Me. In 2013, she joined the cast of Outlander in her breakthrough role as Claire Fraser.
Through five seasons, Balfe has earned several accolades, including four Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress. Along with her co-star, Sam Heughan, she now also serves as a series producer.
Caitriona Balfe opens up about the perils of modeling
In a recent interview with Angela Scanlon’s Thanks a Million podcast, Balfe opened up about her time as a model. She described how the industry’s harsh culture made models feel insecure.
“There was always people doing better and constantly being compared to people,” she shared. “I think, as a young woman in your teens and twenties, it’s hard enough.”
RELATED: ‘Outlander’: Why Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe Were Determined to Become Series Producers
“There’s so many times where you would go into castings or even fittings for jobs that you already supposedly had and somebody in the room would just be annihilating how you look or your lack of personality or you talk too much,” Balfe continued. “All in front of you. It’s really tough. I have so much admiration for girls who can come through that unscathed.”
The ‘Outlander’ star has talked about her body insecurities
When talking to Outlander co-stars David Berry and Tim Downie for their Outcasts podcast, Balfe addressed some of her insecurities filming the show’s sex scenes. Noting that her character, Claire, isn’t going to the gym, the actor suggested she has difficulty dealing with how her body should look.
RELATED: ‘Outlander’: There Is ‘No Room for Divas or Big Egos’ on Set Says Star Caitriona Balfe
“You have your own personal shame and vanity and all of those things, and you try to leave those at the door, but you also know that if you feel insecure, that’s going to hamper your ability to lose yourself in a scene,” Balfe admitted. “So it’s always this thing I’m constantly battling with.”
“Between leaving my s**t at the door and also giving myself, I guess, enough confidence to be able to walk into those scenes and not have to think about whether or not I have cellulite on my a** or whatever these things are that kind of run through your head,” she continued. “We’re not unflawed people, and it’s hard sometimes to live up to the expectation.”
For fans of Outlander, the historical romance TV series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, the name Caitriona Balfe conjures a fictional character. That’s Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, a nurse who travels back through time to the 1800s where she faces challenges with strength and ingenuity while falling into a passionate romance. As Claire, Balfe is engaged in what she calls “a grand metaphysical love story,” one that’s worlds away from her stint as a fashion model in the 2000s.
In 1999 Balfe, then 19, was studying drama in Dublin when she was scouted while collecting money for charity. Soon she had shelved her books and grabbed a ticket to Paris. Left to navigate unfamiliar terrain, she charted it with an aplomb Claire might approve of. “I have a great knack of not thinking about things and just going for it,” the actor toldBackstage magazine in 2015. “If an opportunity presents itself and it seems like a good idea, I’m just like, ‘OK, let’s do it, then I’ll figure it out.’ ” And she did.
Fair and dark-haired with a slender frame, Balfe was opposite in type to the Brazailian ideal popular at the time (hello, Gisele Bündchen), but that worked to her advantage and she became a favorite of designers as different as Ann Demeulemeester and Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Narciso Rodriguez. “She’s the kind of woman that you dream of,” says the latter of Balfe, who he called muse. “She was quite poised.., and always grounded, and smart, and funny, and knew where she was heading.”
The Irish edition of the Independentdubbed Balfe “officially Ireland’s first supermodel,” to which Balfe retorted: “Let’s hope it’s not on my tombstone.” Now that she’s an award-winning actress there’s no danger of that. Outlander, however, has reached its fifth season finale. For all those suffering from series withdrawal, we’ve collected some of Balfe’s best runway appearances. Here, 35 shots from her BC—Before Claire—years.
Irish actress and model
Balfe at an event for Outlander in 2014
Caitríona Mary Balfe
(1979-10-04) 4 October 1979 (age 42)
|Alma mater||Dublin Institute of Technology|
|Spouse(s)||Anthony McGill (m. 2019)|
Caitríona Mary Balfe (; born 4 October 1979) is an Irish actress, producer and former fashion model. She is best known for her starring role as Claire Fraser in the Starz drama series Outlander (2014–present), for which she has won the Scottish BAFTA, the Irish Film and Television Award, two People's Choice Awards, two Saturn Awards and received four Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama along with two Critics' Choice Television Awards nominations.
In 1999, while studying drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Balfe was offered work as a fashion model in Paris. She was featured both in advertising campaigns and on runways for brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, Oscar de la Renta and many others over ten years before refocusing on acting. She had leading roles in the web series The Beauty Inside (2012) and H+: The Digital Series (2012–2013), and appeared in the films Super 8 (2011), Now You See Me (2013), Escape Plan (2013), Money Monster (2016), and Ford v. Ferrari (2019).
Balfe was born in Dublin, Ireland, and grew up in the village of Tydavnet, near Monaghan, in a family of seven. Her father is a retired Garda Sergeant.
Balfe started modelling after she was scouted by an agent while she was collecting money for charity at a local shopping centre. At 18, after working as a model in Dublin for a few months, she caught the attention of a visiting Ford Models scout, who offered her the chance to work for them in Paris. Her career highlights include opening and closing shows for Chanel, Moschino, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, Alberta Ferretti and Louis Vuitton. In a three-year period, she walked in more than 250 runway shows. At the height of her career, Balfe was considered to be among the twenty most in-demand models in the world.
While living in New York, Balfe played the minor role of an employee of the magazine Runway in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada. In 2009, after a decade-long modelling career, Balfe returned to her initial career choice and moved from New York to Los Angeles, spending her first year and a half in the city exclusively taking acting classes, first at the Warner Loughlin Studios and then at the Sanford Meisner Center and the Judith Weston Studios. Balfe has appeared in the films Super 8, as the protagonist's mother, Now You See Me, as Michael Caine's character's wife, and Escape Plan, as the CIA lawyer that hires Sylvester Stallone's character.
In 2012 she portrayed Alex #34 in The Beauty Inside, a social film divided into six episodes telling the story of a man named Alex (Topher Grace) who wakes up in a different body every day. In 2013 she starred in the music videos for "First Fires" by British musician Bonobo and for "Chloroform" by French band Phoenix, the latter directed by Sofia Coppola.
Balfe was part of the main cast of the Warner Bros. web series H+: The Digital Series during 2012 and 2013, in which she played Breanna Sheehan, one of the executives of a biotechnology company that develops an implanted computer which allows people to be connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
In September 2013 Balfe was cast as the lead character, Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, on the Starz television series Outlander, based on the novels written by Diana Gabaldon; the series premiered in August 2014. She plays a mid-20th-century nurse who is transported back in time to the war-torn mid-18th-century Scottish Highlands. Both the series and her performance have received critical acclaim, with Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair saying "it helps immensely that Balfe is such an appealing actress, [she] makes Claire a spirited, principled, genuinely heroic heroine". Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Balfe is "reason enough to watch; she's a confident actress who brings various shades to her character".James Poniewozik of Time labelled Balfe's portrayal as "wry, [and] infectiously engaging".Angelica Jade Bastién of The New York Times called Balfe "one of the most stunning actresses on television".
In December 2014, Entertainment Weekly named Balfe one of its 12 Breakout Stars of 2014; that month she was also voted "Woman Of The Year" at BBC America'sAnglophenia Fan Favorites tournament.
In April 2015, Balfe received Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama and Rising Star Award nominations for the 12th Irish Film & Television Awards, and was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World". She won Saturn Awards for Best Actress on Television in 2015 and 2016. In November 2016, Balfe won the Scottish BAFTA award for Best Actress on Television and in February 2018 she won the Irish IFTA for Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama. Balfe also received four nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role in Outlander.
Balfe co-starred in the film Money Monster (2016), directed by Jodie Foster and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. She played the head of PR of a company whose stock bottoms out, causing a man to lose all of his savings and subsequently take hostages on a live TV show. Eric Hills of The Movie Waffler wrote "But it's relative newcomer Balfe who leaves the greatest impression; she's magnetic, stealing scenes even when her character is only glimpsed reacting to the situation on a background monitor. Expect to see a lot more of this Irish actress in the coming years."
In 2019, Balfe had a recurring voice role as Tavra in the Netflix fantasy series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The series, which was a prequel to the 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal and produced by the Jim Henson Company, was released to critical acclaim. Also in 2019, she had a starring role opposite Matt Damon and Christian Bale in the sports drama film Ford v Ferrari. Balfe portrayed Mollie Miles, the wife of professional race car driver Ken Miles, a role which earned her an IFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film received universal acclaim upon release and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
As of 2014[update], Balfe was based in Glasgow, having previously lived in Los Angeles when she started acting professionally, and in New York City, Paris, London, Milan, Hamburg, and Tokyo while she worked as a model. In addition to English, she is a fluent speaker of the Irish language and is conversant in French.
On 10 August 2019, Balfe married her longtime boyfriend, Scottish band manager Anthony "Tony" McGill. She announced on 18 August 2021 that she had given birth to their son.
Philanthropic work and other ventures
She is a patron of the organisation World Child Cancer. In April 2018, she ran the London Marathon raising over $41,000 in support of the organisation.
She is also a supporter of charitable causes involving refugee relief and the environment. In October 2020, a annual birthday fundraising initiative was started by fans to raise money for the environmental charity One Tree Planted. To date over $100,000 has been raised in her honor, resulting in over 100,000 trees being planted around the world.
In August 2020, Balfe launched Forget Me Not, a Scottish-based small batch gin with 25% of the proceeds funding arts programmes.
Awards and nominations
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- ^ abDuffy, Rónán. "Here is the full list of nominees for this year's (virtual) IFTAs". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
- ^"Oscar Nominations 2020". Vanity Fair. 13 January 2020. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- ^Jae-Ha Kim (16 September 2014). "Go Away With ... Caitriona Balfe". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- ^Lisa Rosen (28 May 2015). "Caitriona Balfe serves up an insider's view of 'Outlander'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- ^Balfe, Caitríona (10 June 2015). "Outlander Star Caitriona Balfe: "Ich Verfolge Deutsche Fans Auf Twitter!"". Blasting News (Interview) (in German). Interviewed by Marcel Adler. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- ^Kimberly Roots (30 May 2015). "Outlander Boss on Jamie's [Spoiler], Season 2 in France and Why [Spoiler] Went Full-Frontal in the Finale". TVLine. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- ^Rice, Lynette; Boucher, Phil; Todisco, Eric (15 August 2019). "Outlander Star Caitriona Balfe Marries Music Producer Tony McGill in England, Sources Say". People. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
- ^Garner, Glenn (18 August 2021). "Caitríona Balfe Welcomes Son with Husband Tony McGill: 'So Grateful for This Little Soul'". People. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
- ^Bernadette Giacomazzo (7 September 2016). "Outlander Season 3 News: Caitriona Balfe's Proud Patronage Of World Child Cancer". Inquisitr. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- ^"Outlander's Caitriona Balfe Ran Her First Marathon". 22 April 2018.
- ^Brzezinski, Kaylee (19 October 2020). "Outlander Fans Band Together to Make a Global Impact: Project CaiTREEna". One Tree Planted. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
- ^"Botanical Gin, exquisitely distilled and lovingly handcrafted in Scotland". Forget Me Not. TheLuckyLion Ltd. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
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- ^Hipes, Patrick (4 March 2021). "Saturn Awards Nominations: 'Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker', 'Tenet', 'Walking Dead', 'Outlander' Lead List". Deadline. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
Balfe model caitriona
.Caitriona Balfe - Runway Collection
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