Updated: Apr 21
GREAT COMMUNICATION LEADS TO BETTER RESULTS
KIANNA LOUISE STEPHENS
MISS SWIMSUIT USA INTERNATIONAL 2022
By Natalie Messina
1. Congratulations on winning Miss Swimsuit USA International 2022. How does it
Thank you, I'm absolutely still buzzing from it and it was a life-changing experience. I made
amazing memories, met incredible people, and made lifelong friendships and connections.
2. Tell me a little bit about some of the photoshoots that you were doing in
We had one judged photoshoot – it was for Miss Photogenic. All of the girls either had that at
sunrise or 2:00 PM. My day for that was Tuesday morning at sunrise. I was actually shooting
at nearly every sunrise because I wanted to just make the most of the gorgeous light we
had. So, I definitely didn't sleep much through the trip, but it will definitely be worth it when I
get the pictures back. I had so much I needed to shoot from brands who sent me over some
bikinis to shoot in Mexico. I think I actually shot 40 to 45 while I was over there.
3. Who was your sponsor?
I had quite a few sponsors for the bikinis. My Title sponsor was Christopher Cloos, which is a
Danish sunglasses company. I’m so very grateful, I was always wearing my sunglasses in
the shoots if I could. My bikini sponsors were Bakini Deluxe, Topaz Swimwear both based in
London UK, also Amuleto Culture and Bella Barnett which is an American company. My
jewellery sponsors were the incredible Lifecharms Jewellery & Nialaya Jewelery. I can't
thank my sponsors enough for their love and support.
4. How was your experience at the pageant?
We had the preliminary competitions on Friday morning which we started with an evening
gown choice. I wore a long orange gown that was gifted to me from The Dress Boutique
Cornwall. It is a little boutique store in my small town in England. We came on stage in
groups of 5 to walk in our gowns whilst the hosts introduced us to the judges. Then we got
off stage and changed into our bikinis and then we did the same pattern again. We did a
walk each and that was it for the day.
The next day they announced the Top 24. Well, It was supposed to be the Top 24 but it was
actually the Top 29 because some people got the same score. Everyone was in their shorts
and blazers when they announced the Top 29. I was very happy to get through, and most of
the friends I made got through as well which was really nice. I was really happy for them as
From there, we had to go backstage and get into new lines because we had different
numbers. Then we got asked a random question on the spot. We had to pick out a little
sheet of paper out of the fish bowl. I was more nervous about this part of the pageant. I think
I enjoyed the other side of it a lot more – the walking, being in your bikini, and the gowns. I
come from a dance background, so I enjoy the performance side of it. Whereas the questions – I was so nervous because you don't know what they're going to ask you. I had
the question which was, “If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?” My answer
was, “Teleportation, so it would save a lot of time traveling and save a lot of money. It's a 5-
hour drive to the airport as well, so that would be an amazing superpower to have if we could
just teleport ourselves.”
5. How did you feel when you were on stage and they announced you as the
winner? What was going on around you at that moment?
I can remember it very well. I was speechless. I could feel my legs from underneath me
starting to shake and I thought to myself… Please don't cry, I'm going to ruin all my pictures.
The last time I went, I got 3rd runner-up. I was just so happy with that, and I was hoping to
improve on that. I really wasn't expecting to win. I was prepared to be super happy for
whoever won to be able to represent the title. But when they said my name, I just had to take
a minute and actually process that they were saying it was me!
It was a big realization that my preparation was enough. You always go there thinking that
you could do more. It was quite nice to be recognized for all my hard work and obviously my
improvements from the last time I went, which was 3 years ago before COVID. I have so
much more experience now and I really love what I do. I want to take my modeling to the
next level and the next level after that. I feel I’ve been recognized for all my hard work and
6. Did you get a chance to meet up with Chaarmz Magazine while you were down
Yes, I did and I got to see the magazine. I was so impressed with it. I think the quality has
such a nice feel. I didn't get to sit down and read it because we were shooting. As I said, I
didn't actually have as much time to socialize this year because I was prioritizing getting
everything I needed to get shot. I did see the latest magazine copy and it was good. I would
love to work with Chaarmz Magazine in the future.
Well, I kind of fell into the industry. I came from a ballet background. I went to boarding
school (Elmhurst Ballet School) for six years and went into a dance career. I like the idea
that everybody is a bikini body. In ballet, you feel like your body has to look a certain way,
whereas in a bikini you could be whatever shape or size. You really can be yourself and
there will always be some kind of work. So it's refreshing that you don't feel you need to look
a certain way and it feels like there's less pressure.
My first competition is where I really found my passion for modeling. In 2019, I had my first
competition for Swimsuit UK. I entered at the last minute and I did it for confidence reasons. I
ended up winning the competition and was awarded my first place to compete in Swimsuit
8. How would you describe your work ethic as a model?
I am very professional, trustworthy, and respectful. Having started my own social media
management and modeling agency, I feel like I understand what it's like to be on both sides
of the industry. These qualities along with good communication are very important. I have so
much passion for my job and I will always do my best.
9. Can you explain the importance of communication during a fashion show or
Great communication means better results. It gives you the feeling of being prepared and
understood. For example, at a fashion show it is important to communicate any changes
such as timing changes, music, running order, wardrobe – you know you have to change
outfits because someone else’s doesn't fit or they think you should swap colours.
Communication is really important to ensure the show runs smoothly. As for a photoshoot,
communicating the day's schedule, and also certain poses. If they have any poses in mind
that they want you to do, they need to communicate that across. Maybe have some printouts
or pictures so you can talk about that. Also, if there are any themes, such as Christmas-
themed, you get into the Christmas spirit and then work as a team for the best results.
10. If given the choice between working on a high-paying assignment and working
with a leading brand or designer, which one would you choose and why?
It completely depends on the brand and on the figures. For me, working with a leading brand
or designer could be more long-term. I think most models' dreams – especially my dream –
are to be working with higher-end leading brands and being on billboards. Sometimes, being
paid a lot to do less isn’t as desirable because you work for these companies that will get
noticed and probably get paid more in the long run anyway from their experience.
11. What are your biggest strengths as a model?
My biggest strengths are my posture which comes from my many years of training at a ballet
school. This also helps my posing and I’m also super flexible. I can do some bendy shapes
so it stands out from the other models. My professionalism as well – I love what I do and I
always want to make a good impression.
12. What would you say to models who are just starting their careers?
Being on time is super important and being professional. It means that you’re probably more
likely to get rebooked. It’s more important to stay with a client long term rather than doing
lots of little jobs and it means you will be more employable. Being creative and unique as
well so you don't have to copy someone else – you can do what you want and be who you
want to be. Cut your hair how you want, you don't have to follow a certain path. Shoots
aren’t always glamorous. There's so much more going on behind the scenes than what it
looks like in the pictures. You might have to work really long hours in really hot or cold
temperatures with tons of outfit changes – just to get the shot (probably only one picture). It
is an incredible industry and you meet amazing people along the way.
13. Is it important to network to succeed as a model, do you think training is
necessary for modeling?
I personally came into modeling with no training and I don't think it's vital at all. Being
creative and unique is an important part of being successful and makes you stand out from the crowd. If you were to train with other people, you'd be more similar to someone else
rather than if you just go and experience it. If you feel like you're struggling and you don't
know where to go then maybe training is a good idea. All I'm really saying is from my
experience, I didn't train – and I found it helped me so far.
To be honest, I found networking to be probably the most important part of my career. I live
in such a small town and there's not too much going on, so it's helped me a lot to have social
media such as Instagram and TikTok. I actually get most of my work through social media.
So for me, networking is super important.
14. Explain the biggest obstacle you've faced in your modeling career so far. How did
you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle in my career so far was COVID and the lockdowns we had. It stopped
the whole world. But for us, it meant we couldn't work. I couldn't dance. I couldn’t model. I
had to think of new ventures – something keeping me busy that I was really passionate
about. So that's when I started my own model management business over these hard times
with my best friend and now business partner, Jessica Apps. We're so passionate about it
and have huge plans and goals for @sa_mediamanagement. So without a lockdown, I don’t
think we ever would have actually talked about what we want to do after we finish our
careers. So, it just means that we started that earlier. But I will say that at first, we thought
COVID was the end of the world and didn't really know what to do for work. She's a
photographer as well and the weddings had stopped, so we turned a bad situation into a
15. What is important to you and what are your goals for the future?
The most important thing to me are the people around me – my family, partner and friends.
Having so much support from them has been incredible. It makes me remember where I
started as a little kid at home and where I am now, but I wouldn't be able to do that without
the support from them. My goals are to continue modeling and seeing how far that goes
alongside dancing and growing my business whilst traveling. As long as I'm happy, that's
success to me. Since the competition, I've had quite a few travel offers, but I guess I have to
wait to see which one comes first.