Ready for her closeup

Michelle Ki , Feature Editor

As the popularity of social media continues to rise, many teenagers around the world would consider it almost a dream to be featured on famous social media accounts. That dream came true for Diamond Bar High School sophomore Mikayla Shiann, who was chosen to model on the official Brandy Melville Instagram account, which has over 3.2 million followers.

Though she had always been interested in modeling, it was not until Shiann got her braces off in 2015 that she had her first photo shoot, and began her modeling career. Although she just started officially modeling in August 2015, Shiann has worked for brands like King and Fifth Co., JGALT, 3ten Clothing, and Threads, along with her Brandy Melville gig.

Shiann initially found the Brandy job when a photographer who she previously worked with asked her to do a photoshoot for Brandy Melville at the Los Angeles County Fair.

As of mid-January, she has been posted three times on the Instagram accounts of Brandy Melville USA, and a couple of times on the accounts of Brandy Melville Spain, Bologna, Canada, Bay Area, Portugal, and Vienna.

“Brandy Melville has brought [me] a lot of exposure because different photographers wanted to work with me [after it] and a few companies reached out and wanted me to model for them as well,” Shiann said.

Through her Brandy gig, Shiann also was able to meet the owner of the Brandy Melville franchise, who helped her choose outfits for her next photo shoot. Some of Shiann’s most memorable shoots were in Los Angeles at the 6th Street Bridge, as the location offers some of the best views in LA. She recalls that some locations were even  scary, sometimes having to sit on an edge of a building to get the best shot.

Though many believe that models are stuck up and narcissistic at heart, Shiann explained that models are widely misinterpreted.

“It’s sad to [think] that the stereotype of models can be negative, but in reality I have come across nothing but sweet, hardworking and fun people. You really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover [because] all you see is the picture of the person but you [can’t] see who [that] person really is,” Shiann said.

Shiann stated that modeling makes her feel “confident and amazing,” and that she loves the one-on-one interaction with the photographer.

Although Shiann currently works as a freelance model, she hopes to get signed with a modeling agency when she turns 16, and do more print work in magazines and catalogs.

“I plan on continuing my modeling career in the future. Modeling has opened so many doors [for] me and [introduced] me to different photographers, models, and business owners that I can now call my friends. There is so much more in this business that I can’t wait to experience,” Shiann explained.