Model makes way to Vogue

Once her biggest insecurity, Diamond Bar High School senior Deanna Yi’s eye-catching appearance went from something she shunned to being proudly flaunted in Vogue magazine. 

Even with many telling Yi to start modeling due to her height, she was initially unsure how or where to start. But eventually, once she got her first big break, this self-doubt led to a hobby and career for Yi.

Senior Deanna Yi struts down the runway for the 2022 Kenneth Barlis Collection.

“I was always told that I should get into modeling because of my height, but never really knew how to initially start,” Yi said via text. “I attended one modeling class and then went to my first audition for a fashion show, then it became a hobby and possible career.”

Growing up, Yi said she was insecure due to her being taller than most of the students in her class. Always gaining attention from others with her height, Yi simply wanted to fit in with the others. 

“It goes against social norms for a girl to be taller than a boy when we were younger, all I wanted to do was fit in and not cause attention,” Yi said. 

Despite finding success in such a lucrative field, balancing school and work has presented itself to be challenging to Yi. With long work hours and pressure from parental figures to maintain her grades, there were some sacrifices the model had to make along her journey.

“Sometimes I would have to miss school for modeling, and it’s really hard to try and take make-up classes and know the information taught in class when you’re not there in person,”
Yi said. “I made a hard choice to not do volleyball this year as a senior because of this schedule and choosing to give myself a break.”

Entering the modeling world, Yi did not really have anyone she looked up to. However, now she tends to be inspired by Asian representation being Asian herself. 

“I tend to admire more of the Asian representatives in modeling like Sora Choi and Sherry Shi,” Yi said. 

Modeling opened a new world for Yi, meeting new people while doing what she loves. Yi discovered her passion. 

“I enjoy making new friends and being able to be in a new environment. The thrill of being able to wear a designer’s clothing item and showing it off is a feeling I can’t describe,” Yi said. 

Having only recently started her career, Yi has modeled for many events—LA Fashion Week being her favorite. The thrill of being on the runway and the adrenaline are unforgettable.

“I get pretty nervous beforehand, but once I’m on the runway, I kind of just go blank and zone out. Once I get back on stage and process what I did, the experience of the adrenaline is addicting,” Yi said. 

Currently, Yi does freelance modeling as a means to prioritize her schoolwork, but intends to sign onto an agency post-high school. 

“I do plan on modeling more in the future after high school, but I do plan on going to college as well.”