If anyone knows the value of seizing opportunities to build a lasting and exciting career, it’s professional model Jenny Meister. Read on for the remarkable story of how this unassuming German teenager was launched into the glamorous world of international modeling, with early campaigns for Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino, and learn how she remained strong during times of stress.
Q. Tell us about how you started modeling – who discovered you and how old were you?
I was 15 and on holiday with my family in NYC. I had just ended a ten-year career in figure skating due to a knee injury and I was devastated. Then, a model scout came up to me and asked if I was interested— I laughed about it the whole summer. Me?
But then I entered a modeling competition back home and ended up in 3rd place as the youngest contestant. Their agency was based in Berlin though, and that was too far away from us. I was still in school so I walked into an agency nearby, they signed me on the spot, and a week later I was working in London, then Milan, Paris, Spain and NYC.
Q. Tell us about some career highlights that you’re really proud of.
Actually, all of it! The ups and downs were all an amazing experience and I couldn’t feel more surprised, grateful, or lucky to have met these wonderful people and have worked with so much talent.
I am fortunate to have really done it all, runway, TV commercials, editorials, music videos, big beauty campaigns and all the great catalogue jobs that let you work for a week in the most fantastic locations in the world. Really thankful!
Q. What inspires you?
My daughter, my family, my friends, children and stories!
Q. What gives you strength?
There are a lot of moments in life where you just have to keep going, and believing, and trust it all and then keep going some more and surround yourself with people who believe in you—your life cheerleaders! That’s what I call true love, friendship and family.
Q. And, as it’s already that time of the year… any tips on how to survive fashion week?
Have fun! It’s one of the rare times you get to work with your friends and meet so many new people.
It’s a circus, but enjoy it. Eat well, sleep well, work hard, do your best, take every opportunity and ride that wave. It never lasts! It’s just like life so make the most of it, we are all here to be someone. You’ve already made a difference to someone in your life just by just being, so make them proud!
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Fine print: Some answers have been edited or condensed for clarity.