It’s an early summer afternoon, when Southern belle, LA transplant, and social media maven Jasmine Sanders saunters into the Models.com office practically glowing. You wouldn’t know it but she’s jet lagged – only in NY for a work weekend, she flies back to LA in a day for a fitting for the Moschino resort runway show. Occupational hazard or not she’s in total go-mode, looking to capitalize off an exclusive runway spot walking for the Miu Miu Fall/Winter 2016 show. Since the appearance, the flaxen curly haired “Katie Girl” has turned that momentous showing into editorial appearances in British GQ, Glamour, and of course, LOVE Magazine. With the ability to run the gamut from high fashion profiles shot by Sølve Sundsbø, Alasdair McLellan, & Ezra Petronio to promo video spots for BFF Kylie Jenner’s lip kit line, it makes sense how she earned those 1.6 million Instagram followers through her stunning charm. Exclusively for Models.com, Paul McLean captures the blue eyed siren in her element as we talk to her about her big year, her start in the industry, and her big social media following.
Above: Jasmine is wearing Mikoh bathing suit, Jil Sander coat.
Alix bodysuit, Max Mara coat.
From the start Sanders was enamored with the fashion world. “I used to stand in front of the TV and watch the Victoria’s Secret shows or just anything revolving around Tyra Banks,” she describes. “She was literally killing every catwalk or magazine covers and then breaking into TV. Just seeing how she transitioned and then did so much. I was just like, if that’s a woman then that’s what I want to be.” Watching the fashion mogul from afar sparked something within her and she was swiftly signed with a local mother agent in her native South Carolina with New York following soon after.
Yet even though she’s been modeling since she was 13, breaking into high fashion was a long journey of sidelined rejection and self-acceptance. “You get the fun experience of being the fresh new face so everyone wants to grab you,” she says. “But because I was at a young age I didn’t understand certain things when it was regarding like height or weight.” Dealing with body identity and being pigeonholed into commercial gigs she looked for other creative outlets to express herself, including a burgeoning social media platform called Instagram. A search for a great filter for a group pic was her introduction to the visual tool and the self proclaimed “Golden Barbie” soon started seeing fans positive reactions to putting up selfies, makeup shots, or when she simply documented her day. Who could have predicted it, her stellar feed would be her “in” into the high fashion market?
Katie Grand and her sphere of influence has long been heralded as jumpstarting the careers of many through her EIC position at LOVE Magazine and styling shows like Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, and Miu Miu. As one of the last shows of the Paris Fashion Week season, its normally youthfully skewed line up puts fresh faces on the radar for the upcoming editorial & advertising shooting season. However, this go around they decided to switch it up – certified supermodels and social media wunderkinds alike from Adriana Lima, Emily Ratajkowski, Gigi Hadid, Irina Shayk, Kendall Jenner, Lara Stone, and Joan Smalls took spots along with the new bright stars. The result was a strikingly solid approach and certain reflection of our times. Recounting the epic walk she remembers sweating in the heavy material and the marathon sprint to get back to the entrance for the finale stroll. “Me and Bella looked at each other as we were taking off our stuff and said, “I’m dripping!” And I looked behind me and Adriana (Lima) has sweat coming down her face and I thought…how are you still gorgeous? It was a workout for sure!” (edited)
Sanders spot for the prestigious show finally reintroduced her to the market she always dreamt of breaking into. “This is a whole other part of my career and this is access to places, not even doors, but buildings I’ve never been in before! I’ve always wanted to be in the position that I’m in right now when I was 16 but I was not prepared for it. Not in a physical way, but more mental.” No longer a bright-eyed teenager, she been sure to take all that prep work and cement her status now that she’s in the big leagues. As far as those she looks up to in the business, her membership in the Katie Grand fan club makes sense. The editor has connected the model with the biggest photographers and creatives in the business. “She’s transformed my career. She has completely transformed it and I am so appreciative. There is nothing more that I wanted more than me wanting to be on a cover or to be on those catwalks.”
Above: Solow bathing suit top.
And when it comes to advice to others that are trying to make it big, Sanders tips are fundamentally home-based. “Listen to your mom. Because everything she told me is the truth,” she chuckles. “There were so many times where I had to worry about weight or I felt like I wasn’t good enough for a certain client or I wasn’t tall enough or I was never going to get into fashion week or…there’s so many obstacles.” The new trend of individuality and the range of diversity have made the possibilities endless. “Doors are a lot more open now, so one thing is definitely don’t think that you’re in a box. Don’t feel like somebody can tell you no. I feel like before, you had to be a certain height. You had to be a certain size. Just be happy.”
As far as what is next, Sanders shows no signs of ever slowing down. “I never want to stop modeling. I want to model when I’m pregnant, I want to model with my kids. I want my kids to be on set with me. I want to be 65-70 years old still loving it and everything about it,” she declares. “But, I have been able to graze a few covers. I want more. Not to sound greedy, but that’s what I’ve always worked hard for and it’s such a great feeling to be on an actual cover.” And what could be next outside of modeling for the muse? “I want to branch out and do my own line of makeup eventually. I also, want to do some stuff around fitness. I think that it will be very beneficial for other people.” The sky is certainly the limit.
L*Space bathing suit.
Onia bathing suit top.
“Doors are a lot more open now, so one thing is definitely don’t think that you’re in a box. Don’t feel like somebody can tell you no. I feel like before, you had to be a certain height. You had to be a certain size. Just be happy.”
Lisa Marie Fernandez top, Tibi skirt.
Solow bathing suit top, Amuse Society briefs.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the position that I’m in right now when I was 16 but I was not prepared for it. Not in a physical way, but more mental.”
Above: Rochelle Sara bathing suit top, Jason Wu coat, No Ka’Oi leggings and leg warmers