Posted by Stephan Moskovic | October 25th, 2018

The Graduates

Sara Grace Wallerstedt

They broke the mold when they made Sara Grace, didn’t they? Fantastically freckly, preciously elfin, super-duper darling, we met her fresh out of Texas when she first blipped in 2016 and still was a wee model-in-the-making. She was crazy great then and is just plain better now. All you really need to know about SG is she’s soaking up the know-how and has a face that can’t help but being fashion with a capital F. Her utter girl of the moment-ness is evidenced by all those Calvin campaigns crowding her page; Versace, Prada, Proenza Schouler, too. Covers you ask? She’s got 6 in all shapes and sizes: Dazed to Vogue Italia. If you want to book her––get in line.

Visit her page and click or tap the heart icon to favorite Sara Grace and keep track of her work.

Photography by Sebastian Kim for

Styling Andrew Mukamal
Hair Hiro + Mari
Makeup Kristi Matamoros
Manicure Sarah Nguyen

Editor Stephan Moskovic
Text & interview by Steven Yatsko

Top image: Tube top, Pants, and belt – Stylist’s own.

The Graduates, since its conception in 2013, has become a mainstay featuring the foremost models of the moment. More specifically, when a Hot Lister moves up in rank to Top 50 through their own accomplishments it’s deserving of recognition, each a worthy addition to this ongoing series.

Lace shirt – Alexander Wang
Where are you from, and can you tell me a little bit about your background?
I’m from Bedford, Texas which is about 45 minutes outside of Dallas. I turned 19 on July 30th.

When did you start modeling? Do you remember?
A year before the last solar eclipse.

Can you show me on your phone the first modeling picture you ever posted.
Okay, I’ll show you. This was my very first photo shoot ever in my life. 2016, it was in Texas.

How did you get discovered in Texas?
I went to an open call at my [now] agency, it was on spring break of my junior year. When I was growing up everybody told me since I was tall and thin that I should model. I decided when I was about 16 that I wanted a job––I really didn’t want to work at Chick-Fil-A or any other fast food place or restaurant, so I thought I’d give it a try cause the worst thing they could say was no.

Were you pretty confident going in?
No, not at all. I had gone to a few other places, and they didn’t sign with me, so I was like, well, this was my last ditch effort to try.

What was the response like when you did go to that open call?
It was spring break, there were about 12 girls there [at the agency], which it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a very small building and a small room. The agents talked to me for a little bit, and then my mom and I got in the car and we were about to leave, cause they said, “Oh, we’ll call you with our answer.” And as soon as we got in the car they were like, “We wanna sign you.”

Quick like that.
Yeah. I think they didn’t want to do it in front of all those girls, you know?

How do you think your perspective has changed on what the fashion industry is since you first started now that you have a lot more experience?
I never thought that I could be a model. It was just not ever something that I thought that I could do. I felt I was like, “oh, I’m just gonna do what everybody does and go to college.” Because that’s what my mom did and our family…If you look at pictures of me when I was 14, 13, I wore t-shirts and jeans every day. I wasn’t into fashion. I didn’t really pay attention. Once I started modeling, I feel like I paid more attention. It made me more artistic that way, I could look at things in a different way. I wouldn’t pay attention to what anybody was wearing but now, I’m like, “Oh, she looks really cool. Oh, I like all of this and that.”

Has there been a particular shoot that’s really inspired you?
Well, maybe not a shoot, but just getting to meet people from all over the world and getting to travel. Cause I’m almost 100% sure I wouldn’t have left the country, or even gone to New York, for a long time before I started modeling. Everybody kind of stays in Texas. It’s just not really something that most people do, especially from my small town. Texas is so huge that there’s really no need to leave.

What’s it like when you go back now, now that you’ve traveled so much?
Definitely act a little bit different than other people do. I have a different outlook on things cause some people are just very, I don’t want to say closed-minded, but they just don’t––

Most people don’t know anything about the fashion industry.
No, of course not. When I was in high school, nobody really asked me anything about what I did. I don’t know if they were talking when I wasn’t there, but I felt like it kind of went over people’s head. Just cause it was not the market.

In the Midwest and the middle of the country, their idea of a model is more of a commercial beauty.
Or Victoria’s Secret. It is basically one of the only fashion shows that they know.

What have been a few of your, that you feel, a few accomplishments that you are most proud of?
Definitely the Italian Vogue cover. Also, being on a billboard for Calvin Klein.

Where was it?
It was in Times Square.

Did you go see it?
Yes, definitely, it was during Fall Fashion Week, I think. Calvin Klein had put up a ton of billboards with a lot of the models on it and stuff. I was really excited about that.

Is there anything you’re aspiring to do?
Definitely, I feel like every model kind of wants an American Vogue cover. I also want to travel a lot more; I really want to go to Japan and Korea.

What type of shoots are your favorite to do? Have you found a particular type of shoot that is most enjoyable for you? Or that you perform the best in?
Some of the moving stuff. Especially, I remember, I did a shoot with Nick Knight––it was couture dresses––but we were doing cool, weird movements and moving the dresses. I really enjoy doing that cause I feel super princess-y and all that. It’s really fun. I also recently did this location shoot, but I was in water. Shooting in water is always really interesting to me cause it gives a different texture to the photos…It’s definitely more difficult, but I think the pictures turn out really cool.

What sort of direction do you respond most to?
I mean if you kind of tell me, “Do whatever,” that’s kind of a weird thing to do because I don’t know if you want me to go into the weirder dance-y kind of stuff where it’s moving arms and trying to be flexible or if it’s more of an emotion. I definitely feel like when you’re wearing certain clothes you have a different sort of character to play. It’s more like acting how somebody who would wear this would act. It’s kind of like that: different moods. If a photographer gives you a mood to go off of, it’s much, much easier like saying try to act sexy, bitchy, or like a kid or sweet.

Is there any type of mood that’s not really your type of modeling, but you’re envious of other girls who have that, because you have your own thing going?
I do think since I look so young that it’s a little more, not necessarily harder, but I don’t know looking a little like a fairy if looking really intense suits me as well. Normally people are like, “Oh, look cute.”

Look cute.
Not necessarily smiling. Also, smiling. I don’t do a ton of smiling in shoots.

Do you want to do smiling in shoots?
Not necessarily. It’s a little bit awkward for moi. Some people can just do it like that; I’m still working on it.

When you’re not modeling, what’s your day-to-day like? What’s your favorite thing to do?
I would prefer, if I’m not doing anything that day, and it’s not blistering hot outside, to walk places because you just can put headphones on and tune out. You just can look at things, just look at everything cause it’s honestly amazing what I get to do and where I get to live.

What are you looking at?
I would say just people watching. New York’s probably the best for that. Just so many people everywhere. Also, there’s this place in Texas called Sundance Square where there’s a lot of people. It’s a very pretty place in Dallas, I think it’s in Dallas/Fort Worth, I’m not sure. You just kind of sit and look at people.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen since you’ve been to New York?
I saw somebody pee on the subway. I also saw a clown on the subway. That was kind of weird. He was just chilling. Which I thought, I was like, mood. Just like insane. You just see random things. I remember I saw somebody in a full-on almost Babadook-esque outfit with platforms just walking.

Interesting. Another mood.
Yes, sir.

What’s next?
I’m kind of just going with it right now. I would say, personally, I’m trying to get an apartment. That’s where my mind is at. My whole plan is to just do this until it stops working for me then I’ll go back to Texas.

Yeah, you think so?
Yeah, I mean I love Texas, it’ll always be my home. It’s where my family is. I’ll go back and go to college. I’ll probably still look like a 12-year-old so it won’t be that weird.

You never know, you might be a lifer.
We’ll see. We will see.

Would that be something you would consider?
If it got that far, yeah. Probably not like Naomi Campbell, she could do this forever. I don’t think I could do that.

Do you feel any pressure with social media?
I’m a pretty private person. I don’t know why, but I just like to keep things to myself, like,”This is mine.” I have trouble posting on social media. Thankfully, my agents haven’t really said much to me. They’re just like, “She’s fine.” Cause I definitely feel like I should post more. I know other people that post a lot more and put more of their personal life on there, but personally, I don’t like to get crap for doing things that I enjoy doing.

Do you have a finsta account?
No, I don’t.

I feel like that’s what you need.
Yeah, the people I would add on there would be like, definitely a few models that I’m really good friends with. Also, the locals, people I went to high school with. Some of them, not all of them. That’s probably pretty much it. Just friends and stuff like that. People who I feel wouldn’t judge me for being strange or doing something weird.

What would you post on it?
I don’t know, probably just a lot of those stupid close up Snapchat pictures where the camera is right here [Sara puts the phone under her chin] of me at some photo shoots or something, I’d get some really unflattering angle.

You prefer that looking-down-at-the-camera picture?
Yeah, that’s like my aesthetic. Looking like a misshapen potato or something. Like a tater tot.

Well, that’s a good place to end. I think that’s perfect.
With tater tot.

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