WITH LOVE, KIRRA
Kirra Hughes is tall and svelte beauty with angular features. Her legs go on for miles and miles – they seem to be the longest legs in the world! Her mesmerizing face draws one in with fantastic eyes, full lips and bleach blonde hair. You would think that Kirra struts all the big runways in Paris, Milan and London, with a body that so many fashion designers would crave to complement their high-end creations. But this New York City gal has much more than modeling on her mind. She enjoys spending her days as a scenic/prop designer, as well as sketching quirky drawings in her spare time. Kirra resides in a cozy Brooklyn apartment that she shares with her just as talented and beautiful model/musician boyfriend, Spencer Draeger. The thought of what their offspring would look like sends shivers down one’s spine. But for now they seem content to be the proud parents of 2 joyous and hysterical cats named Jerry and Clarence, which are showcased in many of the couples loving and humorous Instagram stories…
We absolutely fell in love with Kirra at first sight, knowing immediately that we had to collaborate on a photoshoot with her for Ponyboy. Luckily her gracious friend Missy Papageorge offered her stunning New York Soho loft as the location for our shoot. Her glorious apartment was packed with the most beautiful designer clothing, which was featured on Kirra, as well stupendous artwork (superstar photographer Mick Rock’s prints filled every wall)! Thank you, Missy! Photography Alexander Thompson.
PONYBOY: Where are you from? Tell us about your background.
KIRRA HUGHES: Half Mexican, half Welsh. I’m from California, born and raised, more specifically a small beach town in San Diego called Encinitas. It’s beautiful, but I hate the beach.
PONYBOY: What was your childhood like?
KIRRA HUGHES: I’ve always been very independent even as a kid, grew up a little too fast. Was always getting into trouble. I was the black sheep in a family of surfers. Definitely not an easy kid to raise, props to my parents for putting up with my crazy ass.
PONYBOY: You’re very creative. Love your drawings! How did you get into art?
KIRRA HUGHES: Thank you! My mind is always racing with a million ideas at once. For a long time I’d start multiple projects at once, never finish them and forget them. For me, it became “art” when I was able to finish a project and not throw it in the trash. I’m now surrounded with at least 6 projects regularly and each one always gets finished. The chaos and clutter of what I’m working on is the most thrilling part of it all.
PONYBOY: What brought you to New York?
KIRRA HUGHES: My entire life I knew I’d end up here even when I had never been before. When and how I had no idea. Waking up in the middle of the night at the age of 22 and buying a one-way ticket for no reason is what got me here.
PONYBOY: How did you get into modeling?
KIRRA HUGHES: I never really experienced being in front of the camera until I started dating an aspiring photographer. I wasn’t used to it, felt uncomfortable and was the biggest stubborn brat every time I’d hear him say, “look at me”, knowing there was a camera over my shoulder. But once I saw the photos after being developed it was overwhelming. Got rid of that shield and embraced/welcomed the vulnerability.
PONYBOY: Do you enjoy modeling? Tell us some of the pros and cons that you’ve experienced with modeling.
KIRRA HUGHES: I absolutely love it. I don’t see it as modeling, I see it as an opportunity to create something new and beautiful. Pros: I love a challenge to show a part of myself not seen before. Cons: Ecommerce.
PONYBOY: You and your musician/model boyfriend Spencer Draeger were photographed for a Kooples campaign. How did that come about? Tell us about that experience.
KIRRA HUGHES: They reached out to us on Instagram. We both got the message at the same time and ran out to each other screaming and dancing in circles. It was pretty crazy. I had never been to Paris and after that DM we were flown out a few days later. It was such a fun experience and the Kooples team was great. Thankful that my inability to walk straight in 6-inch stilettos on the cobblestone streets of Paris added to the vibe.
PONYBOY: How did you and Spencer meet?
KIRRA HUGHES: We met at Goldie’s, a local bar we’d both go to regularly. It was a crowded night. He was in the back corner sitting at the bar with a little space next to him. I squeezed my way through the crowd. Made fun of him for drinking a pineapple cider, which turned into a good 5 hours drinking and talking, and a piggyback ride back to his place.
PONYBOY: Your career of choice is as a scenic/prop designer. How did you get into that?
KIRRA HUGHES: Our house is filled with obnoxious things I’ve built. When covid hit I started doing my own set designs in the house for virtual shoots, constantly making things even though we didn’t have the space for any of it. It was the only way I could stay sane. When I told my friend Ashley it was something I actually wanted to pursue, she introduced me to my now boss at 11th St workshop and that’s all it took. I absolutely love it.
PONYBOY: What’s life been like for you and Spencer with the coronavirus?
KIRRA HUGHES: I moved in with Spencer a couple months before coronavirus hit and we were put on lockdown. So living together was still new. You’d expect a lot of relationships to have issues being locked in together all day every day. But it’s just made our relationship grow. We’ve been working together on so many projects that we didn’t really have the time to do before. Having two creatives under one roof that work in different fields has just opened up so much opportunity and endless ideas collaborating.
PONYBOY: Would you describe yourself as a “Cat Lady”? Tell us about your fascination/love for the feline species.
KIRRA HUGHES: I am 100% a cat lady. When I’m not talking to Spencer I’m talking to our cats, Jerry and Clarence. Writing that felt normal, reading it freaked me out. hah. But my love for our crazy boys is indescribable. The amount of sweaters I make for them definitely has gotten a little out of control. That should say enough.
PONYBOY: 2021 is quickly approaching. What are your expectations for the new year?
KIRRA HUGHES: It’s hard for me to place any expectation on the new year with what’s going on in the world. For the first time since covid hit, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again, working my ass off and not stopping. I just hope I’ll be able to expand that and work with others and hopefully get a damn break from NY.