By Carrielle Sedersten
Nancy Anaya, a senior at UNO, began her modeling career long ago when Ugg boots became cool. Her first modeling gig was for Omaha Fashion Week, but as of late she has been attending acting workshops and filming local car commercials. From catalog to high-fashion, avant-garde and runway, Anaya does it all.
Carrielle Sedersten, The Gateway: How did you get started in modeling?
Nancy Anaya: When I was 12, I went to modeling conventions in Orlando, Fla. and New York City to meet with agencies, but as it turned out, they were actually more interested in girls older than me because I was so young.
Then I did ProScout, a model scouting company, a couple of times when they came to Omaha. I ended up going to Kansas City, Mo. through Pro Scout to meet people there, but everyone kept saying they wanted to wait until I had my braces off.
So after three years of waiting, I eventually started my modeling career with Omaha Fashion Week when I was 17 years old. I was super excited because it was a finale year, so I was up in the clouds about it. The adrenaline rush I got from walking on the runway for those ten seconds was intense.
CS: Is there anything you love to model for photo shoots?
NA: I love getting my makeup and hair done, so I like to do everything. I like photo shoots because I get to transform into this completely different personality and not be myself for a while. If I’m having bad day and I go to a photo shoot, it really turns my mood around.
I also like to work with photographers who will take a risk on me – especially for an edgy high-fashion shoot. A lot of photographers don’t see that in me because I’m not 5-foot-11 and a size triple zero. I say, give me a pair of heels, and I’ll rock it.
CS: Did you always know you wanted to be a model?
NA: I really enjoyed accounting when I graduated from high school. I knew accountants made a lot of money, and I didn’t mind it. But I thought, “Do I love it?” A week before I started college, I Googled, what does Lauren Conrad do on “The Hills.” I found out she worked in public relations, so I changed my major to PR and advertising.
CS: What hardships have you faced throughout your career?
NA: I have dealt with negativity for not being skinny enough, not having high enough cheekbones or not being blonde. Now I have thicker skin about those issues, and that’s why I can say if you like me you do, if you don’t, you don’t.
CS: What has been your proudest moment so far?
NA: Over the last two years, I have done several photo shoots I was truly proud of, as opposed to when I first started. In particular, I shot my first magazine cover for Inspired Home Omaha in September.
CS: What are your plans after you graduate in May?
NA: I know my height will restrict me in the fashion industry, so I want to focus more on acting and dance. Dancing has always been in my heart, but my number one passion is to be on stage.
As soon as I graduate, I will go to South Beach, Fla. and align myself with the Latino market since it’s where all the Spanish soap operas are filmed.
Next, I want to live in Chicago for a few months to make connections in the entertainment industry. After that, California will be my final destination and permanent home. Eventually I would love to go on tour with a celebrity like Beyonce and be a backup dancer.
CS: What goals do you have for your career?
NA: I want to start in the American market and in time do commercials, TV shows and film. My goal for modeling is to book a makeup and beauty campaign for L’Oreal or Revlon.