Welcome to Face Time. DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series goes beyond the runways to get to know top Dallas models, one-on-one. Why? Because there’s so much more to making it in one of fashion’s most competitive fields than just a fit figure and a nice smile. Case in point: Hannah Lander.
This beautiful Bedford native will soon complete a double Masters degree, and modeling is just one of her jet-setting jobs. And those aren’t the only surprises that Hannah has in store. Read on for her insights from a high-flying international life, plus an unexpected mentor, and more.
DFW Style Daily: At what age did you begin modeling? Were you scouted, or did you pursue modeling as a career?
Hannah Lander: “I was 21 years old, and I had not considered modeling. I met an agent who offered to sign me on the spot, and after I mulled it over for a few days, I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot. A day after signing, I was booked for a runway show, and have been happily working ever since.”
Tell us about a particularly memorable assignment.
“Easily, my most memorable assignment would be a shoot I did recently for an electric blanket ad. It was a really cold day, and I got to cuddle up with a blanket and pretend to be asleep while the photographer took my picture. I think that might be the apex of ‘job satisfaction.’”
Have you encountered any misconceptions along the way?
“The biggest misconception is that we get to keep the clothes – or in my case, electric blankets! The outfits worn for runway or print are often the designers’ personal sample pieces, so they are promptly returned following the show or shoot. The dresses are always so beautiful, it’s a little sad to give them back. At least I will always have the memories!”
As with so many of the multi-faceted men and women we have interviewed in this series, you are accomplished in a career outside the spotlight. In fact, you’ve traveled to countless international destinations as a flight attendant. What attracted you to the travel industry?
“I was attracted to the industry because it is a job in which I cross paths with all kinds of people and cultures, and thus, it is never boring. My experiences in aviation have made me more aware of how similar people tend to be, as a whole. It has also helped me to be more fine-tuned to the awareness and appreciation of the nuances among people from varying customs and backgrounds.”
Tell us about a favorite international destination. What have you learned from the opportunity to experience so many cultures?
“I absolutely love flying into Montego Bay, Jamaica. Right before landing, if you look out the window, you can usually catch a pretty amazing view of dolphins diving in and out of the water!
“As I alluded to earlier, in experiencing diverse cultures, I can see a growth in myself in being able to relate to and be warmer towards people. I have been able to accumulate a better depth of understanding and appreciation for the hundreds of new faces I meet every day. I feel less shy, and am able to establish common ground with strangers. This, in turn, welcomes wonderful dialogues wherein I learn more about people, and their lifestyles, upbringing, and beliefs.”
Do you have a personal role model?
“No joke, my role model is Stephen Colbert. He’s witty, charmingly irreverent, has fantastic eyebrows, teaches Sunday school, and has been married to the same woman for over 20 years. He’s a great example of someone who has found immense success, and what seems to be a genuine happiness, by working hard and maintaining his own values consistently throughout his career.”
Do you have any hidden talents or interests? Surprise us!
“I paint! My favorite medium is watercolor, and my favorite subject to paint is Texas urban landscapes, such as fill stations and worn strip malls.”
What was the last book you read that made a big impact on you?
“I feel like I might hurt some books’ feelings, for not mentioning them here! But, I suppose the last book I read that made a big impact on me was Harrison Burgeron by Kurt Vonnegut. Technically, it is a short story from Vonnegut’s collection, Welcome to the Monkey House.
“I read it for about the 8,000th time this afternoon, but it first made an impact when I was 12 years old. I recall, one night my dad recommended it to me at dinner, and the next morning I came down to catch the bus for school and he left a copy for me on the stairs. I finished it on the school bus, and then re-read it a few more times that day throughout school. It’s cheeky and witty, yet a sobering reminder that a cure for mediocrity is risk-taking. It’s a poignant, pragmatic study of the Achilles heel of egalitarianism.”
Lastly, as we look ahead to the second half of 2015, what are your goals for the rest of this year?
“Well, I am excited to complete both a Master of Humanities degree, as well as a Master of Arts in Philosophy degree this December. I love school, and I will be a bit sad to see this chapter of education come to a close. But, ideally more school awaits me in the future, either in the form of teaching, or perhaps a Ph.D.”
All images courtesy of The Clutts Agency.