Models of late are primarily of the quirky type. Sometimes they’re androgynous or have features that are striking but not conventionally beautiful, or their look is apt for a Gauguin painting minus the curves and they happen to look cool in photos.
Few, though, have the patrician beauty reminiscent of an actress favored by Hitchcock who grew up on the Main Line and married a prince. Hilary Rhoda is one of those rarefied natural beauties, and apparently when she first started out in the realm of mannequins, that particular brand of flawlessness wasn’t to her advantage.
“It was hard [at first] because they [casting directors] werent used to my look. It was all very exotic Russians, Brazilians dominating the runway. I wasn’t getting cast and finally I did and things started changing,” Rhoda explains.
“Changing” is a good word for it, evidenced by the fact that most people now recognize this 23-year old’s pretty visage.
As the raven haired model explains, though, initial response was not overwhelming. After being signed to IMG, the high school student and all-star field hockey player had trouble booking shows in New York and then Milan her first time out until she got to Paris.
There, Nicolas Ghesquiere chose Rhoda to walk for Balenciaga, setting off a wave of bookings that included YSL and Chanel on its roster. It was the kind of chain reaction that happens in fashion when one of the cool kids anoints you.
Rhoda hosts the 2010 A.E.R Walk of Style Event
But, what channeled the Chevy Chase, Maryland native into the realm of mass appeal was two fold: a 2007 contract withEste Lauder which means most magazine savvy women now know her by face and two Sports Illustrated appearances, which put her on the map (or wall) for guys everywhere who appreciate girls in bikinis.
The SI shoots come with a certain clout (Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson and Heidi Klum anyone?), but that cosmetics deal is one of the most hotly pursued contracts in the business.
“It’s such a big business, but Aerins [Lauder] uncle is the president of the company, her sister works within it… its like a small family. They’ve been so loyal and amazing to work with,” said Rhoda.
And what’s on the agenda for the philanthropic mannequin, prolific tweeter, and former varsity athlete? “Id love to keep modeling, but Ive done a lot to the point where Im ready to try other stuff. Acting would be one of them and sports journalism is something I think would be great maybe sideline reporting.”