When your mom is Christy Turlington (and you look just like her), success as a model is pretty much written in the stars. But Grace Burns is not one to be swept along by fate. At 18, and in college, she’s only just starting to do her thing in front of a camera, all the while honing her own vision with her old school Rolleiflex and feeding her brain with the wisdom of Susan Sontag, Leonard Cohen and George Sand. HommeGirls hung out with Grace recently on set, and discovered that while she’s game for just about anything (see photos on these pages as proof of that), she’s also (in the words of her favorite Jeff Buckley song) So Real.
You only recently started modeling. Why now?
Grace Burns: I was officially allowed to begin modeling at 18; that was the age my mom always had in mind, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I remember denying the interest to anyone and everyone because I hadn’t yet told her. However, I’d longed to be 18 for some time. My first job was last January, after my birthday, after I had gotten into college!
If you could have your portrait done by anyone, who would it be and why?
I would LOVE to be photographed by Luo Yang! I love the way she captures both the power and bravery of young women while also alluding to their vulnerability and insecurities. Every image is individual, both in content and emotion. Her series Girls is just stunning; I hope to inspire others in the way that work has galvanized me and my photography.
If you could take a portrait of anyone (living or dead), who would it be and why?
It would be an absolute honor to photograph Vivian Maier with my Rolleiflex! Her story is astounding yet heartbreaking. While I appreciate and respect the rather private life she led, I also wish there were more images of Maier herself. While it would be incredible to be the one to take the portrait, I’m biased and simply just curious to see her from another perspective, as the subject through someone else’s eyes.
You have $5 to spend at a bodega. What do you buy and why?
I would buy lollipops or a bag of those little ginger candies. I always have something like that in my purse.
What’s your most prized fashion possession?
Those little Heaven by Marc Jacobs best friend’s rings. I just got them and cannot wait to surprise my friend Mia with them for her birthday! We’re both Scorpios, just a few days apart and we’ve been away from each other for school! I can’t wait to see her reaction!!
Advice you would give to your 10-year-old self?
I could use a lecture on confidence from my 10-year-old self, though I would definitely give her a hug and a kiss too.
First fashion show you ever went to? (And what you thought of it!)
The first fashion show I went to was actually Marc Jacobs, funnily enough. It was 2019, and I came from my freshman year basketball playoffs, changed in the car, and arrived at the show. The whole evening was surreal for me, witnessing the magic of his presen-tation up close and watching my mom make her return to the runway. I remember the darkness of the room, the dramatic string orchestra, and the single spotlight on the runway; my heart was beating a hundred times fast, and I pinched myself the whole way through.
A book that changed your life (or at least your thinking)?
I can’t pick just one! Literature has shaped and guided so many aspects of my life recently, especially this past year… On Photography by Susan Sontag was given to me by mom while I was creating my magazine. Sontag inspires transparency and questions the difference between images and reality. Her words resonated with me deeply, for I’ve always found photographs more real than reality itself. I read Winter in Majorca by George Sand (also given to me by my mom) when traveling over the summer and desperately wished I had written it myself. It’s safe to say my copy is practically illegible under annotations and sketches.
Last but not least, I’d categorize Leonard Cohen’s Flame as an ode to intuition and the freedom to declare it, for better or for worse. Reading this book displaced me from my reality; to occupy the mind of someone so unlike myself, to reside inside another’s’ desire, evoked a sense of spontaneity, universality, and anonymity I try to bring about day to day. I wish I could take credit for dis-covering this book of poetry, lyrics, essays, and portraits, but it was recommended to me! Loved this book for redefining literary structure and leaving me in awe and in tears. It reads like his valedictory while avoiding concluding remarks.
Songs currently on heavy rotation?
Rotating through so many songs right now! So Many! Loving my music, though; from the looks of it, it appears I’m going through some sort of crisis…
Jeff Buckley, “So Real”
Echo & The Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon”
Fountains D.C., “I Love You”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Food for Clouds”
The Smiths, “What Difference Does it Make?”
Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man”
The Stone Roses, “I Wanna Be Adored”
Simple Minds, “Someone Somewhere (In The Summertime)”
Richard Hawley, “There’s a Storm a Comin’”
The Waterboys, “The Whole of the Moon”
Angel Olsen, “All Mirrors”
The Mysterines, “All These Things”
bring me out of my comfort zone.
What is your idea of HEAVEN?
Heaven is being surrounded by loved ones. All my friends and family are scattered around the world, and I wish I could see them all for much longer at a time and more frequently.
Heavenly Grace by John Yuyi in HommeGirls Volume 8
Makeup KIKI GIFFORD
Hair JOEY GEORGE
Nails ALEX SMITH
Set Design ROBERT SUMRELL
Casting THE ESTABLISHMENT
Production STARKMAN & ASSOCIATES