When a stranger tapped on her shoulder two years ago, Palisadian Hannah Stelzner had no idea it would eventually land her image on the cover of LA Fashion Magazine last month.
While shopping at The Grove, 16-year-old Stelzner was scouted by an agent from Next Model Management.
She has been signed with Next for more than two years now, but between the demands of high school and track practice, she has done the bulk of her modeling in the past year, including landing the recent cover shot.
“When I found out I had made the cover of LA Fashion, I was excited and proud of the final shot,” Stelzner said. “One of the other models texted me in all caps, telling me I got the cover. It’s my first one, and I was so excited.”
Stelzner’s photos also appear in a spread inside the same issue of the magazine.
Balancing high school and a professional modeling career is no easy feat but Stelzner said she is fortunate to work for an agency that respects that at her age, she has to hit the books before she can hit the runway.
The choice doesn’t always come easily.
“It’s difficult to do it, I’ll be honest. Pursuing modeling and my education feel equally important to me, but I know that school has to come first,” Stelzner said. “That means sometimes I have to say no.”
When she can say yes, Stelzer dons a pair of high heels and struts into the casting, searching for a familiar face in the sea of other girls.
Sure, they’re each vying for the same job, but for the moment it’s nice to have a friend.
“My favorite part about modeling is that I am able to meet amazing people and experience things that I would not be able to experience without it,” she said. “I see a lot of the same models at different castings, and I’ve made friends with them.”
After a few digital photos are snapped, Stelzner said the castings are usually no more than a friendly conversation and a chance to show her personality. For a young girl diving into an image-driven industry, Stelzner has an impressive understanding that personality is key.
“Modeling has not affected the way I view my own body image, and I think that’s due largely to how I was raised,” she said. “My mom taught me not to let looks define my worth. You’ve got to go into modeling with a tough skin.”
Stelzner said staying hydrated and being aware of the products she eats, combined with regular exercise have helped her keep her body – as well as her mind – healthy.
“I would tell young girls that nothing defines their beauty, especially not a number. Accepting yourself is the key to loving yourself,” Stelzner said.
Stelzner hopes the recent cover shot will keep her modeling career moving forward. Her long-term plans involve working in the fashion and music industry. “If I get to do that through modeling, great. If it comes another way, that’s great too.”