Meet the 17-Year-Old from Iowa Who Opened the Altuzarra Show

Alanna Arrington is one to watch.
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Eliza Brooke
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Alanna Arrington is one to watch.
Alanna Arrington backstage at Altuzarra. Photo: Eliza Brooke

Alanna Arrington backstage at Altuzarra. Photo: Eliza Brooke

Backstage at Altuzarra, I noticed a model I hadn't seen before with a really good haircut — a shaggy, curly look with bangs not unlike the ones Mica Arganaraz and Antonina Petkovic have been rocking lately. So, of course, I had to go talk to her. A few stats: Her name is Alanna Arrington, she's 17 and she's signed with Next. It also turns out that Altuzarra was her third New York Fashion Week show ever, and she was opening the damn thing. Not bad, as far as fashion week debuts go.

This is a really great haircut. How long have you had it?

I had long hair down to my bellybutton, and I cut it up to my shoulders at the beginning of last month, and then every week I've gone a little shorter. About three weeks ago, I cut my bangs, and now they touched them up, cut them right above my brows and everything, so it's kind of gradually gotten to this point.

[For Altuzarra] they brushed it out a little bit, made it more voluminous, but it's naturally really curly. 

Have you done the shows in New York before?

This is my first season. This is my third show; I had one yesterday, one this morning and now this one.

How's it going so far?

It's going uh-mazing. I got to close my very first show, BCBG, and I had three looks this morning, and now I'm opening this show, which is incredible. I'm really excited about that.

Oh, dang! Congrats. How did you get scouted?

My mother agency, Mother Model Management, had an open call in my hometown, and a couple of my friends and I were like, "Oh, we're tall, we're thin, we should totally go." So we did it, and they ended up being really interested. We kept in touch, and we ended up doing a show with them. Then that summer, when I was 15 — I'm 17 now — I went to LA for the first time. Just earlier this year is when things started to play out for fashion week. I finally made it here at the beginning of last week. 

Where are you from originally?

I'm from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Had you been to New York before?

No! It's a season full of firsts. I'd never been to New York City. My plan is to go to Europe, and I've never traveled out of the country.

So you're doing the shows in Europe as well?

It's kind of all coming together. Within these past few days I've signed contracts and everything, and the plan hasn't been set totally. I don't know what exactly I'm doing after New York, but I do know that the plan is to try to make it to the shows in Europe. Hopefully that will end up working out.

Since you're just starting out with fashion week, what does walking down the runway feel like at this point?

I swear, when I get out there, it's nothing but: I need to kill this. Beforehand the nerves are killing me. I'm shaking, like, "Oh god I don't know if I can do this," but once you hit the lights it all goes away and you're just out there. You know you're doing it well, you know your walk's there, you're wearing beautiful clothes. You know in the moment that you're doing so amazing that it doesn't even faze you.

That's fantastic, because I feel like it would be so easy to get freaked out.

I always have that fear that when I get out there I'll panic, and then I swear you just have tunnel vision. You see the cameras at the end of the runway, and you just go for it! It's just like your mind goes somewhere else, almost. It's crazy.

Since you're 17, are you still in school?

I'm a junior in high school. I'm doing a little bit of everything online so I can get my credits and graduate online. College is kind of an iffy thing for me right now, but I do eventually want to go if I don't go right away. It's all kind of a matter of "What if?"