Many a lingerie model comes through our front door and heads into the photo studio at Bare Necessities—simply another day at the office for Ashley Graham, Kate Upton, Ebonee Davis, Candice Swanepoel, Nina Agdal and more who got their start here over the years.
This is Model Confessions, our new series about what it’s really like to be a lingerie model, from the full-on fabulous to the decidedly less so. Because one way of empowering women is by ensuring they’re seen and heard.
Meet Alexandria Hanson. She’s originally from the small town of Stillwater, Minnesota, “where there was nothing going on for me. I knew there was more to learn out there, but I’m not one to be told what to do while sitting at a desk.” From the hair and makeup chair at her latest shoot (full-bust bras, for the record), Alex got candid with us: “My childhood was a lot of ups and downs. I grew up fast, I fought with my mother and refused to listen to reason. My teenage years were full of puppy love, pointless drama and attitude. I was always sneaking out of the house. Looking back, I’m surprised with what my parents put up with. I had to strike out on my own to heal those relationships. Now, my mom is my best friend.”
Whip-smart and sweet, cool, calm and collected at only 23, Alex has also modeled for Kohls and appeared in a Colgate commercial. A career highlight: her Sports Illustrated ad for Dodge Ram trucks. Her secret talent is painting, she played some serious soccer in high school, her pet peeve is people showing up late and she’s learned a whole lot about life through her adventures in modeling…
Confession #1: I never set out to be a model.
I ran away from home to start my life over and figure myself out. I was in Florida for about six months when my agent found me in a parking lot. She told me she could change my life if only I put in the dedication. I never wanted to model—I was more the laid-back, eating-hot-dogs-by-the-campfire kind of girl. I’m not sure why I trusted her so much. Possibly because I thought this could be the way to turn my life around? And it was. I started working with BN as soon as I came to New York, so about three years now. And you guys have been nothing but good to me. I wasn’t sure what I was doing at first. The team brought me into the family and gave me help and advice. I couldn’t have asked for a better client.
Confession #2: I hate high heels.
What’s that saying, pain is beauty? Yeah, I’m not about that. The catwalk strut is not for me. I feel my most free when I’m modeling barefoot. Of course, I bite my tongue when I have to wear heels because that’s what professionals do. Sure, I love walking onto the set feeling beautiful, but I prefer my Converse.
Confession #3: It’s hard to always be “on.”
The toughest thing to overcome when shooting lingerie is usually my energy. It’s difficult to go on-set when I’m down or stressed because it can kill the vibe in the room, so I’ve been working on keeping a smile on my face when I’m going through something.
Confession #4: Seeing pictures of yourself never gets old.
I love looking at the site! It feels good to see myself. To be honest, I go on there to see what I can improve and what angles look best. All the girls are beautiful, and I’m glad I get to be a part of it.
Confession #5: Eating salad and talking about working out gets boring.
I connect with other models who have a sense of humor, and I love that Nicole, the BN photo producer, knows I love to eat. She really does it up with the catering. My favorite app is Seamless.
Confession #6: It’s all about confidence.
I always try to be myself, but I think sometimes I either try too hard or not hard enough. Impressing a client is a huge part of my job, and it’s challenging when the client and I don’t connect. That doesn’t happen with BN. You guys have me smiling and laughing; I know I’ll bring my best. As a model, all eyes are on you. People have their opinions, and you have to be self-assured enough to know that this is your set. My friends would definitely tell you that I’m confident. You have to go after what you want. You can’t let someone downgrade you into thinking that there are limits.
Confession #7: There are perks, but you’ve got to stay grounded.
Last year I got to travel to Greece to model. It was an amazing experience to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things. Some of the coolest people I’ve met haven’t been the celebrities but the people who open my eyes and motivate me to do more. I’ve been trying to push for greater, and I think a huge part of it is my attitude. I look for the positive in everything now. It’s helping me improve my presence.
Confession #8: Even models have bad habits.
Oreos are my guilty pleasure, I bite my nails and I’ve turned up for work without shaving my legs.
Confession #9: Clothes really do make the woman, and it starts with the right bra.
I’ve learned here that Chantelle fits perfectly on me. You can just tell the difference when you put it on. And I feel my most beautiful in my Tommy Hilfiger denim jacket. It was the first expensive thing I ever bought with my own money, and the first time I didn’t have to worry about it. I regret not saving more when I was growing up.
Confession #10: Modeling is pretty much like any other job.
People think models are stuck up, but we’re actually really nice. They think this job is easy, all glitz and glam. What it’s really about is showing up on time, keeping your inner circle small, working toward your goals and making the connections you need to get there.