Who We Follow: Hannah Donker Hannah talks about her experience living in NYC, her favorite places to shop and her journey into modeling
“Alright, what do you want from me?”
Seconds into the interview and those were the first words out of Hannah’s mouth. If it wasn’t for the infectious laughter that soon followed, it might have been taken in another way. When asked to describe herself in a couple of words, her answer of “personable, approachable, and goofy,” put her opening statements in context.
What else can you expect from the self-proclaimed “cool girl next door” ? If you want to catch her latest, don’t look any further than The Weeknd’s Secrets video where she is the leading lady.
What was that experience like?
It was really great. I got to shoot in Toronto, which is one of my favorite cities, and it was nice to connect with him and his hometown while in my home country. Everyone was really really nice on set, and I didn’t feel nervous at all, just a really good experience overall.
Is there a difference between video modeling and photography?
Oh my god, it is completely different. When you are shooting on set, you have breaks in between shots so you can kind of work on emotions, but when it’s video… it’s like real acting, and I'm not really an actress at all. So I had to really figure it out while on set, how to portray all these different emotions, in motion, in one take. It was so awesome, totally out of my comfort zone, totally different for sure.
Would you say one is more fun than the other?
They are both different, so you can’t really say one is more fun than the other, but I really did enjoy working with different mediums, working with another actor, getting all these emotions outside myself and doing all the acting on set. That was exciting.
You were scouted at the mall the old fashion way. Was modeling a dream of yours before that moment or were you on course for something else?
Well, I was such a geeky, shy kid, and I'm an only child so I was used to being by myself, just being kind of introverted and everything. I recall not really having a hobby, and after I was scouted, my mom more of pushed me into it and it was one of the things that I actually attached myself too. She pushed me into all sorts of stuff such as musical theater, which I liked, but modeling was the thing that I latched onto and was able to do.
Were there any adversaries you faced in your journey? Any that you still face today?
This business is really great and exciting. I get to travel all the time and meet new people, but you can totally struggle with loneliness, feeling as if you are up against a lot of competition, or even get the feeling of you are never enough.
I've met some of the most amazing, different and interesting people in the business and that kind of keeps me motivated. Believing in yourself, connecting with family, and having a really wonderful group of friends that just loves you for who you are, it is super important in this business. Especially when you might feel like you need to change or you need to be something else to be successful. I found that, when you are 100% yourself, people just receive you the way that you are.
Is there a part of modeling that you did not expect? Good or bad?
I didn't expect to be living full time in New York, I honestly thought I would be still in Canada. That was a big move for me, though it was really really cool and exciting.
The craziest moment that has happened on the job?
One time I had to jump on a trampoline on set because they wanted in-air shots, and I’ve never jumped on one in my life. I definitely got whiplash, and almost broke my neck. I'm not an athletic person besides running. I might look more athletic than I am, but I'm really not. So when it came to jumping, that was pretty crazy.
"I didn't expect to be living full time in New York, I honestly thought I would be still in Canada. That was a big move for me, though it was really really cool and exciting."
Where are your favorite places to shop?
I like Opening Ceremony a lot, I shop there quite a bit. There a Canadian brand, Oak + Fort. I’ve been doing the lingerie as outerwear kind of thing, so I like to shop at Agent Provocateur. They have cute body suits and cute bras to wear under sheer shirts. As far as where else? I really like Gucci at the moment.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I am a little bit edgy, though I like to keep it chill. More of a tomboy, but still with some feminine pieces in. I like to have the oversized jackets, have on sneakers, but I still want to look like a girl, so I bring in a few sexy pieces just to kind of break it up in between. I'm not necessarily your bombshell girly girl, but I'm kind of the cool girl next door who doesn't give a shit.
Your day to day?
Well, I work out in the morning because I’m usually on call for something. Have a cup of coffee and then I’m out for casting, and depending on what the weather, I’d take a car or I'll walk. I really enjoy walking in the city, I don't really mind if it’s a half an hour walk. After work, I’d sometimes go to events with some of the photographers and people that I’ve met. Sometimes after a shoot, I'll go to a bar or just relax and chill. I don't really go out too much here, but when I do go out, it’s really fun. It's good to connect with my girlfriends, who have been traveling and just have a good time. I really try to connect with everyone when they are in town, I think that friendship is really important.
How about those non-work days?
Usually, I'm pampering myself, getting facials and getting my nails done while I can. Sometimes I get really busy, so I don't really get to like take care of myself in that way. I'll go to the museums or visit some cool galleries, I have some cool artist friends and they'll show me their stuff. Sometimes I got to Soho house and relax there. I really prefer to take it easy on my days off, I’d rather not anything crazy because it’s the only time I get to have alone time, so I kind of just take advantage of that.
Any advice for someone trying to live their dreams?
Yeah, never give up. Things take time, patience is extremely important. Just keep going and don't let negativity, uncertainty, fear or anything get in the way of what you want to do. You could take those things and fall back or you can take those things, use them as motivation and show people what you are about and what you can do. I really do believe in the whole— if you believe it, you can achieve it. I think this generation, a lot of times wants everything right away, but they don't realize how much work goes into like one’s career to take off. It’s all about patience, loving yourself, being positive with what you've been given. So yeah, that's my advice for the kiddies.
Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?
I still see myself in New York, or at least America. Between here and LA… I really love the weather there. Or I might be in Canada. I don’t know, I don't really plan too far ahead since I don't really know what I am doing until the day before… That’s my lifestyle. I just see myself being happy, doing what I love and doing what I enjoy. I am lucky to be able to what I love to do. I don't really look too far into the future because I just love to live in the moment and do things as they come and work with experience that I have and really be in the present.