It’s been almost six years since Kate Stoltz (born Kate Stoltzfus) made her debut on TLC’s Breaking Amish, leaving her conservative and simple upbringing behind to explore what the rest of the world has to offer. Though the now-26-year-old’s decision to leave her Pennsylvania community didn’t go over well at the time, the brunette beauty, who currently lives and works in NYC, told In Touch in an exclusive interview that she’s once again close to her family.

“My family and I have become — we’re on much better terms now,” she revealed at the launch of her 2018 see-now, buy-now luxury women’s wear collection. “I really enjoy going home and seeing them. They’re always very welcoming to me, so I’m definitely thankful for their support.”

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Though Kate began her career modeling, even scoring a spread in Maxim, she transitioned to design after securing a spot at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “When I went to FIT, I was going to classes full-time and there’s no way I could do classes and go to castings, so I decided to just focus on this because I feel like this is my future,” she told In Touch.

“I think fashion just gradually kind of crept into my life,” she added. “I’ve always been a very creative person, like I was very fascinated with sketching and colors and just working. I sewed my own clothing as as child, starting at nine years old, and I was always very interested in creative things. I moved to NYC and I was signed with Major Model Management, and there I was able to work with designers that had these incredible pieces and I was very inspired by the different aesthetics and just seeing the beautiful creations that they had.”

As for how her Amish roots affect her place in the fashion world, Kate said, “I’m not concerned about not having the artistic knowledge and the ability to design. I think what concerns me more is having people think of my background as a drawback, when in reality, I have been living outside of that for a long time now. It’s not like I’m necessarily defined by that, my background… I’m very passionate about my work and I spend a lot of time developing new techniques and perfecting my craft, so I just want that to be the focus.”

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