Hannah Matthiessen: finding success in front of and behind the camera


Hannah Matthiessen, senior, might be found studying for classes, taking photos, or posing with celebrities in the pages of a magazine. Matthiessen, 18, has been modeling since she was a sophomore. This summer she took the job to a whole new level, with a six page spread in “Town & Country” magazine with rising star Scott Eastwood, the 27-year-old son of famed father Clint Eastwood.

Although she’s been working as a high fashion model for more than two years, the photo-shoot marked a new milestone for Matthiessen. “This was the first time my mom or family wasn’t there with me,” she said. “I had to make my own way from New York to Newport and it was pretty nerve wracking!”

Though fending for oneself may seem like a foreign concept to many high-schoolers, Matthiessen has learned to deal with it. Working with stylists and designers in New York has given her the confidence and poise to feel independent.

“It’s funny because I was such a terrified, shy little kid,” she said, laughing. “But modeling has definitely made a change. You have to learn to make conversation and get along with people or it’s really awkward.”
Although she’s been extremely successful recently, Matthiessen is taking a break from modeling for her senior year. This is the first time since she was a freshman that Matthiessen has attended the first full month of school; this time last year she was busy in New York City working runway shows. Instead, she is focusing on taking photos, studying for her classes, and completing college applications.

Matthiessen channels her passion for photography in Advanced Placement Photography. Her modeling knowledge has helped her understand the link between photographer and subject, affecting her work on both sides of the camera. Though she used to think of it as just a hobby, discussions with her counselor have made her consider photography an option in college.

While some of her other friends in the fashion industry will be postponing college, this wasn’t an option for Matthiessen. “I definitely want to go straight into school,” she said. “That’s not really what my agency wants. They’d like me to move to New York, but I’m looking mostly at schools on the West Coast.”

She has managed to stay low-key about the whole thing, though students at school are naturally curious. Her most recent shoot with Eastwood has managed to pop up everywhere, from People magazine to The Today Show to Ellen, garnering attention from all sorts of students. Many took to Twitter and Instagram to congratulate her, some she’d never met before.

“I was really surprised when people kept bringing it up,” she said, “but I thought it was cool! It was kind of funny to me.”

Her best friend since fifth grade, Ashley Johnson, agrees that Matthiessen’s relaxed attitude is one of her best attributes. “That’s why I love her,” she said. “When this whole thing started, she told me and my family that she had this great opportunity, but she didn’t want to make a huge deal out of it.”

Whether in school or modeling, Matthiessen stays humble about her accomplishments. But don’t be fooled, though she may be lying low for now, you haven’t seen the last of her.