Caitriona Balfe enjoyed a hugely successful career before she became the well-known actress she is today. Caitriona Balfe is best known for her role as Claire in the Starz series Outlander.

But before we knew her as Claire Fraser, Dublin native Balfe was on runways around the world. Acting was always the Irish woman’s passion but a chance counter in a shopping center led Balfe down a different path, although she would eventually find her way back to acting.

While she was collecting money for charity, Balfe was approached by a model scout. She was young at the time and began working as a model in Dublin.

A few months later, she caught the attention of a visiting Ford Models scout. They offered young Balfe the opportunity to work for them in Paris.

From there, she went on to work with huge fashion brands and appeared on runways around the world. As a model, Balfe has worked with Chanel, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti and Louis Vuitton.

It is estimated that she appeared in a staggering 250 runway shows, proving to be a massively in-demand model during her time pursuing that career. While Balfe enjoyed huge success as a model, there were also downsides.

Speaking on the podcast Thanks a Million, she revealed that the industry can be tough. “You’re supposed to just automatically be this fun, interesting, edgy person that fashion people want to be around, but then at the same time, you have to be so skinny and so androgynous,” she admitted.

“[I was] constantly being compared to people. I think, as a young woman in your teens and twenties, that’s really really hard.”

She added: “There’s so many times where you would go into castings or even fittings for jobs that you already supposedly had and somebody in the room would just be annihilating how you look or your lack of personality or you talk too much. All in front of you, and it’s really tough. I have so much admiration for girls who can come through that unscathed.”

Balfe’s transition into acting came after she began taking classes again. Her first role was minor but it was rather fitting, considering her background. Balfe appeared as an employee of Runway Magazine in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.

Having moved to LA to take acting classes, she went on to appear in a slew of movies before landing her leading role in Outlander. In 2021, she appeared in the Oscar-nominated Belfast for which many people argued she should have received a Best Actress nomination.

By Ivaylo Angelov

Ivaylo Angelov born in Bulgaria, Varna graduated School Geo Milev is Tvserieswelove's Soaps Editor and oversees all of the section's news, features, spoilers and interviews.