A common preconception of modeling is based on stereotypes and the non-empirical evidence of Tyra Banks’s America’s Next Top Model. The models on the show were more than “just a pretty face,” but their personalities never delved past a shallow level. This misconception of modeling is completely shattered when meeting with senior Hannah Vu, who has recently entered the industry with full gusto. Already, modeling has booked her tickets to New York and Vietnam, and she will be gracing the cover of the acclaimed Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam magazine that released on Oct. 30.
Vu’s career began back in the fall of 2016, simply based on a whim, and since then has flourished.
“I was scouted back in April of 2016 by my “mother agent” (Fox Models International). They host annual showcases in San Diego where about 15 top agencies come and scout models,” Vu said. “I went to the showcase last October, where I walked on a mini runway and got callbacks from agencies. After a few months of waiting, I luckily signed with Wilhelmina New York.”
Along with Wilhelmina, Vu is also signed with Industry Los Angeles and Nomad Miami. With three industries stretching across continents, Vu has bitten off her fair share of the industry. While Vu’s budding career showcases her ambition, she began with humble intentions.
“The fashion industry has always interested me because of the beauty and glamour,” Vu said. “People would ask if I was a model since I’m tall so I would sometimes consider it. But I never seriously thought about it until I was scouted.”
Around school, Vu is almost always seen beaming from ear to ear. This is a complete contrast to her portfolio shots, as her angular jaw and stern gaze is awe-striking and yet elegantly sophisticated at the same time, almost as if staring into the marble eyes of a statue.
For her debut spread in Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, Vu was pushed out of her comfort zone to model avant-garde pieces in an unfamiliar setting.
“The job was a lot of fun since I got to wear crazy pieces and a really short bob. To be honest, it was difficult since my Vietnamese isn’t perfect. Communication was a bit challenging and I got really flustered,” Vu said. “But overall, I had an amazing experience especially since it was pretty much my first real job.”
Modeling gives Vu opportunities for travel and global exposure with name-brand companies. While Vu may be considered a new kid on the block in the industry, she does notice the already competitive nature of the business.
“The modeling industry is growing quickly and getting more competitive as more models (including myself) are hoping to get work. Because of this, I feel like expectations are higher and models need to be so much more than just a pretty face,” Vu said.
This competition influences the industry, as the modeling world ushering forth an era of celebrating diversity and differences from model to model.
“The industry is getting more diverse with models of all shapes, age, color and background. I’m glad that they are opening up more opportunities to all the different models,” Vu said. “As an Asian model, I don’t necessarily fit the traditional ‘Asian model look’ of pale skin and porcelain features, but I think clients like my unique look especially in the current industry.”
Vu has entered with full force into the modeling world, and she hopes to stay.
“I’m so early in the modeling game (I’ve only been doing it for less than a year) that I haven’t really thought about future goals. But one thing that I have always wanted to do is walk in a September New York Fashion week. Honestly, I think that once I get to do that then I will be completely satisfied with my modeling career,” Vu said.