By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
When she was a McNary High School student, Alesha Cubitt was likely most memorable because of her hair.
She changed colors and styles regularly, even went so far as to shave it.
“I was a complete tomboy,” Cubitt said. “I was actually really shy, I did track in high school and always got last place. I wasn’t great at school, but I got through it.”
After graduating, Cubitt found work as a line cook at Emerald Pointe Senior Living Community. She was still working there in 2014 when she finally got around to sending some photos to Portland’s Muse Models agency. For years friends and associates had encouraged the 5-foot-10 Cubitt to give modeling a shot.
This month, with her natural copper locks grown out to her shoulder, Cubitt is on the cover of a major Japanese fashion magazine, Spur. The cover is the result of her second international modeling trip and it’s her second cover on an overseas magazine.
After connecting with Muse Models and garnering more than a little excitement about her look, Cubitt was sent to New York City where she got her first real taste of the modeling life and connected with Next Model Management, the agency sending her to the far-flung corners of the globe.
“I went to do some testing shoots to get myself out there and I just kind of hung out and practiced how to walk,” Cubitt said. “I learned that one of my feet kind of pointed in when I walked and I had to learn a whole new way to walk. It’s a lot harder than it looks, but I’ve gotten better at it ever since.”
She put those skills to work on her first international modeling trip to Australia earlier this year where she was part of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
“So far, I really like doing shows. I like photo shoots, but the adrenaline of trying to fit into what the designers want as far as attitude on the stage is fun,” she said. She stayed Down Under for a month-and-a-half while working runways and taking part in fashion shoots.
“The best part was staying at Biondi Beach, which was just beautiful,” she said.
Cubitt just returned from her second international modeling trip, which took her to Tokyo.
“This was the trip that just sealed everything for me, the one that made me want to see how far I can take this,” she said. “The city was just so beautiful with parks and lights and shopping,” she said.
A typical day in The Land of the Rising Sun saw her spend much of her time attending casting sessions for commercial, modeling or runway work. When she landed a job, it sometimes meant burning the midnight oil.
“Sometimes a job might only last two hours, but some might last 14. We also got to travel outside the city. I visited Mt. Fuji twice on fashion shoots,” she said. “Working with the photographers was great because they were really open to helping me learn.”
She also had a blast trying different cuisine, like barbecued eel, but her go-to meal was salmon sushi from 7-11.
She said that her biggest challenge, and the challenge for most models, is maintaining certain desirable measurements that will keep her on the short list for new jobs.
“Trying to be a certain size is the hardest thing. As long as I work out and eat right it comes more easily, but I run and do pilates and yoga to maintain it,” Cubitt said.
Aside from the physical changes that have come with maturity and tending to her body, the 22-year-old said the changes in her personality are the most welcome ones.
“I’ve learned to grow up a lot. I really had to manage my own money when I was overseas. I can still be really shy, but modeling has made me more confident and I realized I didn’t have to be nervous all the time,” Cubitt said.
While she’s still new to the business, her goal is to start modeling in New York and, with luck, end up on the covers of magazines her family can buy right here in Keizer.
“I would love to be on the cover of Vogue or take part in a campaign for one of the major designers,” she said.
Until then, the best – and sometimes most surreal – part for Cubitt is flipping through fashion magazines, both the ones she’s a part of and even the ones she isn’t.
“I used to go into the stores and flip through the magazines and think how cool some of the things were. Now I flip through them and I recognize the girls in them. Some of them are even friends,” she said.