MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the fashion world, being a “Guess Girl” is a huge honor. Models like Claudia Schiffer, Anna Nicole Smith and Drew Barrymore have all represented the iconic denim brand.

Last week, Valerie Carpender of Forest Lake made it to the top five in a contest to be the next Guess Girl. But she may soon be known even more so for her work in the art world.

“If you’re going to have a piece of artwork in your home, have it be big and special and bold,” said visual artist Carpender.

Just like her art, the Forest Lake native is big and special and bold. Her seven-year modeling career took her to the top of a Guess Girl model search last week.

While her success is booming in the modeling biz, her true passion is art.

“I have always been an artist,” Carpender said. “It is the thing that I find rewarding.”

Carpender’s pieces are inspired by beauty.

“I pull a lot of my inspiration from my job working as a model. They aren’t of people in particular. They are figures from my imagination,” Carpender said. “But I like to play with our culture’s obsession with fantasy and reality.”

She’s building her career as an artist one piece at a time, already selling about one per month.

“Most of my artwork is larger than life. It’s meant to be the focal point in your room and get your attention,” Carpender said. “One of the most important things I’m trying to convey with my artwork is what true beauty is. And true beauty is something that comes from the inside.”

Carpender should know. She works with some of the most beautiful women in the world. And she says the outside beauty means nothing when it’s not also found on the inside.

Valerie Carpender’s work can be found here. Her pieces cost between $1,500 to $6,000.


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