Scarlett Rose Leithold was discovered by a talent scout in an airport at the age of 14.
However, the controversy surrounding the company’s promotion of a single body image doesn’t stop with their models — Leithold revealed to NextShark how she also struggled with her own body image and what she’s doing now to help women everywhere be more comfortable in their own skin.
Approached at the age of 14 by talent scouts at an airport, Leithold recounts the excitement over the fateful encounter at the airport that launched her modeling career. The Los Angeles native told Nextshark:
“When I was approached, I was only 14 so my mom did most of the talking. At the time I was just a kid so I didn’t think I had the potential to be a model yet. It wasn’t something I was thinking about at the time. I was excited that someone thought I had that potential.”
After working with Wilhemina Models at the age of 15, she signed with Next Models Worldwide. Since modeling for Brandy Melville, Leithold has attracted a loyal following of admirers that counts one Justin Bieber, who posted a picture of the model to his Instagram account.
Asked what the most rewarding part about her modeling career is, Leithold said it was her ability to influence others. She said:
“I’ve always been the person my friends came to when they needed advice, so I started helping people on social media when they started coming to me for advice. My numbers grew. I was just able to do that in a bigger amount and that was a big deal to me because it’s always been my personality giving advice and wanting to help people.”
The model frequently used Askfm, a social Q&A site, in order to connect with fans, but now relies mostly on direct messages on Instagram. Leithold elaborated on the kinds of topics she usually addresses:
“I get a lot of direct messages asking for advice. Teenage girls have a lot on their minds. They’re insecure about their body types or what’s happening at school. I’ve been through it all many times. I was able to help them through stuff and it’s a really great feeling.”
Brandy Melville is a controversial clothing brand known for selling a one-size-fits-all line that consists mainly of mini crop tops and high-waisted shorts.
The models selling the brand are often tall and thin, which has some fans wondering where Leithold stands when it comes to the limited size selections. She responded on Ask.fm:
“I won’t give my opinion about this cause I don’t wanna start drama haha thank you anyway.”
As an 18-year-old model, Leithold can empathize with young girls who are insecure with their body images. She shared her own struggle with perfection:
“Anyone can tell you what it’s like not to feel perfect. In school I was mostly seen as too skinny. That’s my body type. Kids will be mean to each other out of their own insecurities. I went through school thinking that the way I looked was wrong. People would tell me I need to eat more, that I look unhealthy.”
“I’m kind of glad that I went through that phase of being insecure because now I can understand how a lot of people feel. Nobody has the perfect body type. Everybody goes through that; some people never come out of it. It’s like the best feeling when you realize that you don’t have to be perfect.”
Though people may recognize Leithold now, she doesn’t let fame get to her head. When it comes to her modeling success, Leithold is quite humble about it. She said on Ask.fm:
“The reason I model is because I have the traits (which no, doesn’t mean pretty) it means I’m tall and thin and have a face you can make different looks with makeup and a lot of hair to do stuff with.”
For anyone looking to jumpstart their career in modeling, Leithold advised that it would be wise to get comfortable with rejection and not give up.
“You want to work with people that you like. Most importantly I think modeling isn’t all about looks. There’s plenty of pretty girls, there’s a lot of girls at different agencies, so you have to work hard and be nice to everyone you meet and show your personality to make them remember you.”
Instagram and social media is influencing the modeling landscape, and Leithold sees it as a positive opportunity for people to showcase their work. She said:
“People say things about Instagram models, that they’re not real models. It’s pretty much the same as scouting someone on the street. They find someone on Instagram and think, ‘Wow this girl is really going to work for us.’ I think it’s great that social media has set up an opportunity for all these people now.
“People like musicians, they put their music up on Instagram, they could be discovered that way. I think it’s really great that you can pretty much show your personality through social media now too.”
Moving into the future, Leithold says her long-term goals are to focus on editorial content and build campaigns that she is passionate about. She plans on continuing to interact with her followers as much as she can and finding a better way to reach out to her fans. Leithold revealed that her upcoming projects will hone in on promoting positive body images as she strives to offer her support and advice to as many people as she can.