Sierra Quitiquit

The person you think of when you hear the phrase living in a van is not Sierra Quitiquit. Or, at least they don’t look like her. And yet, that is exactly where this stunning pro skier and model is living these days, and that’s the way she likes it. “It’s a cool little tiny home. It’s been fun cruising to jobs and have my house with me at all times and it’s perfect for surf trips” she told me when I spoke with her. So what is a gorgeous and extraordinarily talented (not to mention down to earth and exceptionally open) person doing spending her time living in a van and pretending to be a ski bum? Well, it turns out that a life of luxury and travel is a lot more work than she makes it look like on Instagram. She was kind enough to sit down with us at Ugly and tells us all about it.

Click to Enlarge [+] Photo Credits: Photography :: Armand Sanchez  Styling :: Laura Kiechle  Makeup :: Jillyn Nelson *Special thanks to Spyder Active & Fice

When I asked what she does in her limited free time her answer was simple, direct and damn near shouted at me. “SLEEP!”. But when she isn’t catching up on her beauty sleep she is constantly busy gallivanting around the globe for modeling gigs, surf trips with Olympians like Julie Mancuso or filming segments for the next year’s ski movies. All that travel and work can leave things a little discombobulated she says, sounding almost exhausted just thinking about it. Work is “a constant jumble of scheduling. Most of the time in the winter it’s dedicated to skiing and quiet on the modeling side. In the summer, pick up a bunch of work modeling and take 1 or 2 trips down to the southern hemisphere to ski”. Not that she complains. Hardly ever, in fact. Sierra is remarkably upbeat despite her relentless schedule.

Sierra’s optimistic attitude is downright infectious, and it’s all the more inspiring when you learn about her past. Hailing from Park City, Utah, she grew up skiing alongside her brothers and her father, who eventually ended up as her racing coach. Perhaps that is where she got her idea for living in a van from, as she and her brothers would shuttle from race to race, ski resort to ski resort in their modified 15 passenger van. Scouted at an early age for modeling, she instead stayed focused on the skiing, on what she loved. 

Part of my job as a professional skier is to share my stories

Despite personal family tragedies and living an uprooted life on the road, Sierra maintains an enthusiasm for life, the combination of an appreciation for the outdoors and a commitment to optimism, seems to saturate everything she does. When I asked about her outreach to her fans and her hugely admirable willingness to interact with them on social media, at ski movies and in person (like granting Ugly this interview, for instance), she paused for a moment and made sure she gave the question some serious thought. It seemed very important to her, and very personal when she answered, “well, I mean it’s choice for sure. Part of my job as a professional skier is to share my stories and in the new age of social media as a model it’s just as important to be sharing your life and your story so people can connect with you”. When I asked why she thought that way, she was just as forthcoming, “it’s important to be a real person, and share all sides of life. There is a lot of sugar coating and false advertising that goes on out there and I have always just resonated with people in this world that are honest and true to themselves and don’t always have it all together. It’s more about that authenticity, you know?”. That’s seriously how she talks, just matter of fact and always straightforward and genuine in her answers. In fact, her response sounded downright "Ugly" to me.

And if that outreach has a larger purpose outside of just staying true to herself, it’s to encourage others to do the same. While it is perhaps not her favorite subject, she treated the ever expanding list of questions about ethics in modeling with grace and tact. In fact, she hasn’t been afraid to call out the bullshit she sees in the industry on social media and was quick to tell me why: “I think that it’s a tough world for women and men alike that the only bodies represented in the industry are a size 0-6 and beyond them you are a plus sized model. I wish that the media would give all women of shapes and sizes and looks equal representation”. While it’s not exactly a groundbreaking position to take from outside the industry, someone who looks like Sierra does and is willing to say these things is particularly interesting. That’s because she sees herself as somewhat of an outsider looking in, just like all of us. “I feel like I am an outlier in the industry. I am an athlete so I have a very different build. I think in the past couple years there has been an awakening where the consumer is waking up and demanding to see ‘real’ women and I fall into that category more so than other models”. And here I was told that athletes were supposed to be dumb jocks. So much for that notion.

But for Sierra, it’s not about a philosophical line in the sand or some principled stance against the modeling industry. After all, she’s been seen on billboards in New York and as far away as Japan. With her, it seems more about realness, in whatever form that may take. Hers just happens to be a badass athlete who also rocks the modeling circuit. All in a days work.

Click to Enlarge [+] Photo Credits: Photography :: Armand Sanchez Styling :: Laura Kiechle Makeup :: Jillyn Nelson *Special thanks to Spyder Active & Fice

This fall Quitiquit is essentially doubling down on her commitment to authenticity and openness with the release of the film How did I get here? which focuses on her life as skier, model and, most tellingly, a real person. Without revealing too much to me, she described the film as “a biopic documentary” that is “about me following my dreams and the journey it took me on through modeling and skiing and the ups and downs along the way”. Along with a slick looking trailer and distribution from Netflix and iTunes, the film stands to be yet another window into the life of one Sierra Quitiquit.

But for now, it’s just back to business as usual for her.  A trip to Argentina here, a stop for a photo shoot there. She is currently working on “post production on my film… and my van. It’s my baby and it’s my project and I love it”.  Life doesn’t sound so bad when you put it that way. Keep an eye out for this beauty driving around with her home on wheels or throwing down at the nearest ski resort, if you don’t look fast, you could miss her as she sets off on her next adventure. In the meantime, make sure you check out Sierra’s exclusive Ugly Photo shoot (coming soon) and stay Ugly out there!

Click to Enlarge [+] Photo Credits: Photography :: Armand Sanchez Styling :: Laura Kiechle Makeup :: Jillyn Nelson *Special thanks to Spyder Active & Fice

You are a both professional skier and model, how does that dynamic work?

Um, well busy. A constant jumble of scheduling. Most of the time in the winter it’s dedicated to skiing, and quiet on the modeling side. In the summer, pick up a bunch of work modeling and take 1 or 2 trips down to the southern hemisphere to ski. And, always just juggling and sorting scheduling and fitting it together like a tetris puzzle.

Do you ever find that those industries aren’t compatible in some way, or do you have to choose one at the expense of the other?

Yeah, I mean I feel like the answer is that they both play off each other and they take from each other. Sometimes I feel like because I am taking time off one to focus on the other I am not fully present in the other, but I feel like it’s good to have balance in life in a lot of things and pursue a lot of different interests.

But, you haven’t been afraid to speak your mind on social media about some of the industry standards when it comes to modeling. Are there some things you would like to be different?

Yeah, definitely, I think that it’s a tough world for women and men alike that there are the only bodies represented in the industry are a size 0-6 and beyond them you are a plus sized model. I wish that the media would give all women of shapes and sizes and looks equal representation.

Do you see yourself as someone who can be catalyst for that kind of change?

Yes, absolutely. I feel like I am an outlier in the industry. I am an athlete so I have a very different build, but I have been able to cross over into fashion and work in that industry as well.  I think in the past couple years there has been an awakening where the consumer is waking up and demanding to see “real” women and I fall into that category more so than other models.

Modeling and skiing both seem pretty demanding, especially for travel. What do you do when you get some time off?

SLEEP! I love to sleep and I don’t get enough of it.  

I saw that you recently purchased a van to live out of. What is that like?  

Yeah, that’s awesome! So I’ve just been working out of LA and wasn’t totally sure that I wanted to get a place out there so I thought a van would be a good stepping stone/middle ground. I purchased this 2002 dodge van that looks like a painters van and had a contractor remodel the inside super beautifully, it’s gorgeous. I chose bamboo wood and have a bed and storage cabinets and medicine cabinets storage for food and cooler in there. It’s a cool little tiny home. It’s been fun cruising to jobs and have my house with me at all times and it’s perfect for surf trips.

You have a new ski movie coming out this fall called “How did I get here?”, tell us about that.

Yeah, it’s not really a ski film, it’s a biopic documentary. The distributors from Netflix and iTunes approached me and wanted to make a film. And here we are, in post production, and it’s about me following my dreams and the journey it took me on through modeling and skiing and the ups and downs along the way.

You do a great job of keeping fans updated on social media and connecting with them, despite tragedy and success, and the movie seems like an extension of that. Is it difficult living your life so openly for fans, and what motivates you to do it?

Well, I mean it’s choice for sure. Part of my job as a professional skier is to share my stories and in the new age of social media as a model it’s just as important to be sharing your life and your story so people can connect with you. And it’s important to be a real person, and share all sides of life. There is a lot of sugar coating and false advertising that goes on out there and I have always just resonated with people in this world that are honest and true to themselves and don’t always have it all together. It’s more about that authenticity, you know?


You ski, surf, model, climb, skate, and travel and seem to enjoy every minute of it. What is next for you?

I am in post production on my film and I am learning a lot from the editors and the producers. Mostly it’s just my van, it’s my baby and it’s my project and I love it. I also want to get down to Argentina and do a back country thing, just off the grid for a while. And I am looking forward to the Ugly Photoshoot with you guys!

 

Photography :: Armand Sanchez
Styling :: Laura Kiechle
MUA :: Jillyn Nelson
Clothing :: Spyder and Fice