An Interview with Teen Model Founder and CEO, Hannah Trelegan by Jori Ayers
“I initially wanted to be a lawyer my whole life, said Hannah Trelegan a 20-year-old sophomore entrepreneurship major. “I did mock trail and all these other things to become a lawyer because I wanted to go to law school.”
But things took a drastic turn for Trelegan once she became the face of Teen Model, began to have a significant number of followers and became a role model to girls all over the world.
It was 4 p.m. on a Tuesday in the John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center on UT’s campus. Hannah is sitting in her modern looking office overlooking the view of Tampa Bay with a hard look of concentration on her face while working on different upcoming projects for her business Teen Model.
"I love the people, the professors, the entrepreneurs in residence, and all of the other student entrepreneurs” said Trelegan. The entrepreneurial energy is contagious, and I love conversating and collaborating with all of the people in the center!”
Hannah stands tall at 5 feet 8 inches with blue eyes slim build and her thick beautiful hair cascading down her shoulders. Looking professional in sleek all black from her flurry black blouse all the way the down to her pristine black flats.
“I just absolutely love and am so passionate about Teen Model and the mission,” said Trelegan, because it’s so personal to me.”
But her story and journey to where she is now starts a bit earlier in her life. In 6th grade Hannah suffered from a serve eating disorder and was severely underweight.
“The story starts earlier in my life when I was in the 6th grade I suffered from an eating disorder, said Trelegan. “Thankfully I was better a year and half later. When I was in my freshman year of high school I was reflecting on this experience that I went through having had an eating disorder. I realized that a lot of stemmed from wanting to be a model and be involved in the fashion industry.”
Even though this was a tough time in life that she was struggling. Trelegan is nothing but grateful for this and other negative experiences in life.
“Every negative thing that has happened in my life I’m super grateful for because I’ve taken the most valuable lessons from those valleys that I’ve been in at that time,” said Trelegan. “But I’m glad it’s over with and I’m glad I moved past that and turned it into something positive because what I’m doing now would likely be very different.”
Trelegan was 14-years-old when she was reflecting on her past negative experience and that’s when she stared Teen Model. Teen Model is a platform designed to inspire and empower girls of all shapes and sizes who aspire to work in the modeling industry.
Seven years has gone by and she still has the same passion and drive that she had when she started Teen Model.
“The word passion doesn't begin to describe how Hannah feels about Teen Model,” said Oliva Boyd, sophomore communications major close friend and intern for Trelegan. “She will work tirelessly and endlessly to make it what it has the potential to be.”
Boyd and Trelegan met in their public relations class when Trelegan was giving a presentation on and about Teen Model.
“I knew right then that I wanted to be a part of Teen Model,” said Boyd. “She mentioned she was looking for help, so I approached her after class where we shared our stories and exchanged information.”
Trelegan loves her business and every aspect that goes along with it. From dealing and negotiating with different people every day and putting together deals she loves that business element to Teen Model.
“Every aspect of it I just absolutely love,” said Trelegan. “I’m so passionate about Teen Model and the mission but also Teen Model as a business because it’s like I don’t think I could breathe without running a business. It’s like super important to me to work for myself.”
Trelegan also runs the Teen Model blog and Instagram. She posts every night at 9 p.m. a girl to be the model of the day. Girls from all over the world will submit their photos using the hashtag Teen Model. There have been almost 500,000 submissions since she stared the page. In addition to her Teen Model business Trelegan also has her own clothing line entitled “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful”.
With having a business there are bumps here and there so Trelegan meets regularly with her advisor and business mentor Thomas Pittz to discuss upcoming projects and other aspects for Teen Model.
“I was incredibly impressed by her drive and initiative,” said Pittz. She has far more drive than the average student. She is willing to listen, learn and try new ideas and more importantly she does the work. She is a really hard worker and I think that is important as anything. A lot of people have ideas but not very many can see their idea through hard work. She is truly unique in that regard.”
Pittz enjoys working with Trelegan and knows that this business is important to her and knows that she is focused and driven to take Teen Model to another level.
She is 100 percent about this business every waking hour,” said Pittz. And probably dreams about it to.”
Along with her being devoted to her business, a significant following and internet fame that comes along with it she has received many special opportunities and memorable moments since starting Teen Model. This past February Hannah got to walk in New York Fashion Week for the first time along with famous and top models.
“It was crazy,” said Trelegan. “I wasn’t thinking much to be honest. It was a very long runway and at the end there was like a wall of flashing photographers, so I couldn’t see anything. I literally think I blacked out on the runway.”
Trelegan will also be traveling to Miami this July to speak at the Model Awards during Miami Fashion Week. She will be giving a speech to teenage girls about healthy body image, healthy eating habits and how to be a healthy model.
“This is the first speaking seminar that I’ve ever been asked to do,” said Trelegan. Helios Point Production is coming with me to document the whole event, so that will be amazing. My intern Oliva is going to join me also so I’m just going to have my squad there. I’m super excited and so looking forward to it.”
Trelegan’s goal is to make her business bigger and better. She has many plans in the future to collaborate with other companies, brands and cosmetic lines. Although she isn’t looking for somewhere to settle down and continue her business she hopes she can travel the globe to spread her message and to get her mission of Teen Model out to the world.
Trelegan hopes that she inspires all the girls who follow her and also hopes that she has made an impact on the fashion and model community.
“Be your own kind of beautiful. That’s what it all comes to down to for me and stay true to yourself and stay beautiful I think that’s so important,” said Trelegan
Story by Jori Ayers
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