At New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria earlier this year, there was a model that caught our eye. With their head of red curls, Kaleb Orchard was a striking presence on the runway – an example of a model with personality whose look, and vibe, brings the clothes to life.
Hamilton-based Kaleb has been modelling for about five years, signed to agency 62 Management. “I started super young when I was 15 with my first job being for The Warehouse haha,” they say. Their proudly natural curls have seen them cast on various shoots and in shows, including for Zambesi and Kiri Nathan.
“My hair definitely plays a big part in my modelling and is a defining characteristic of mine,” says Kaleb. “Stylists and designers are way more drawn to cast me when my hair is looking the way it is now, whereas I went through a pretty quiet period of not being booked as often when my hair was short and blonde.” That look was part of past experimental hair moments, which includes a 2000s buzz cut, a quiff and pink curls. They say they’d be keen to try the bleached 2000s buzz cut again, “but I really don’t know if I could go through with it!”
Is your hair high maintenance? Do you have to work hard to get it looking like it does?
It honestly can be a little hard to maintain my hair everyday. My hair is definitely not looking the way it does in my shoots and in my photos all the time as it can take some work for them to look their best and I don’t always have the time to style it.
If your hair is curly, you always have to work twice as hard to make sure you’re protecting it by using the correct products and having the right routine due to the fragile nature of curly hair.
The colour is divine. Is it natural?
The colour is currently not natural unfortunately! My natural colour is not too far off what it is now as I am a natural ginger, but I like to go for a super vibrant copper look to enhance my curls and really make them pop.
You can really see the difference in the way my curls look right after I get them touched up as they glow and capture light in the sun. I’ve been going to Rodney Wayne salon lately for touch ups, maybe every few months, to maintain the deep and fresh colour. It's been a real battle for me to try to find the perfect copper colour and they just get it right everytime!
Your curls are really defined – has it always been that way? What do you do now to take care of it, and make them so great?
They definitely have not always looked this defined and healthy and that’s mainly because I went through a real trial and error period throughout high school. I was trying to understand my hair better and figure out what it likes and what it doesn’t like, as well as trying to find a good balance between having enough moisture and enough protein.
I’m always making sure I deep condition at least once a week, washing it a maximum of twice a week, and going in with an effective and strong protein treatment every three months.
How would you describe your relationship with your hair - today, and in the past?
In the past I had a not so happy relationship with my hair. Growing up I always felt the need to keep it short, straight, and masculine, as I hated the way my curly hair looked. I wanted that It boy quiff, which was heavily influenced by the likes of Luke Hemmings from 5 Seconds of Summer at the time.
It wasn’t till high school that I let go of the straightener and gel and really embraced my natural texture and the health of my hair. I did go through a rather experimental era, and dyed it almost every colour there is, including having bright neon pink curly hair. I’ve even had a bleached 2000s buzzcut at one point!
But my relationship with my hair today is a super positive one as I’ve really come to love it in its natural state. It's honestly never looked as good as it does now in my whole life.
Who ‘does’ it?
That all depends on how I’m styling my hair at the time and what I'm doing. Most of the time I’m styling and doing everything to my hair myself but if I wanted to do Liberty spikes or something crazy, I always get my friends to help out as I have a lot of hair to work with and I’m a perfectionist.
How often do you get your haircut?
I honestly have not had a haircut ever since I cut it all off so it’s been about two years. I’m trying to grow it out at the moment, to see just how long I can get it. I am thinking about getting a trim relatively soon though my ends are a little damaged.
Talk to us about products and your routine. What do you use and how do you use them?
Lately I’ve been trying out new products just to see how my hair reacts to it and I’ve come to love a few. I usually always get a shampoo and conditioner that’s curly hair friendly so making sure there’s no silicones and sulphates.
My favourite number one product to use is Shea Moisture’s Curl and Shine shampoo and conditioner. If I'm washing my hair I like to use a conditioner to detangle my hair before using shampoo. This makes it so much easier to get the shampoo distributed in my hair.
After washing my hair I use a deep conditioner, and a really good one I recommend is the Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly mask.
To style my hair I usually use Shea Moisture’s Curl Smoothie. This really elevates your curls and gives it amazing definition and shine, it’s definitely one of my favourite hair products of all time!
Another product I’ve been using lately is Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Envy Cream. This curl cream is super amazing as well. It really helps when I want more volume.
The biggest miracle product for my curly hair however is the Two-Step Protein Treatment by Aphogee. This strong protein treatment has saved my hair in the darkest times! I’ll usually do this treatment when I experience some breakage and dullness with my curls as it seriously transforms them and enhances your curl definition a TON.
Does the way you care for your hair change with the seasons?
Honestly my hair routine stays the same no matter the season. However my hair can be a little drier in the winter months so I tend to use deep conditioners more frequently and switch to super hydrating curl creams.
How did you learn about your hair? Who taught you about hair grooming?
I learnt about my hair through a lot of trial and error. I’m still trying to understand it to this day but watching YouTube tutorials by influencers with curly hair similar to mine has definitely helped a lot in terms of my product knowledge and learning about what’s good for my hair and what isn’t.
A YouTuber called Jayme Jo in particular taught me a lot of what I know today through her videos. She does a lot of videos about styling dos and don'ts, product recommendations, and managing overall curly hair health.
Who else do you think has great hair?
I think this model called Solly Wilson has some extremely beautiful hair. I just remember coming across one of their videos on Instagram and just being so obsessed with how amazing it was.
Any other good hair tips or thoughts?
Some important distinctive rituals I have with my curly hair are I always scrunch my hair upside down after using my styling products, I almost always let my hair air dry, and I always use way more than the recommended amount with all of my products.