Honors student by day, city model by night


(Photo courtesy of Juliana Himawan) Junior Juliana Himawan poses at a photoshoot for Nine West.

By Avery Lieberman, Lead Features Editor

Juliana Himawan may seem like your average junior in high school, struggling to balance school, college prep and work. Her job, however, is not your typical scoop ice cream, babysitting kind of gig. Himawan is a model, having modeled for well-known brands such as J. Crew, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein. 

Himawan has always felt at home in front of the camera, posing and being her energetic self whenever her parents put a lens in her face, sparking them to encourage her to go into modeling. At just five years old, Himawan booked her first job within a week, and her career took off. Starting at Ford Model agency and now at New York Models, Himawan uses modeling as an escape from reality and a break from school. However, she was not always this confident with her career. 

“When I was younger, I really didn’t like talking about [modeling] because I thought it was weird; I just didn’t like being different,” Himawan said. “Now that I’m older I’m appreciating it more, of course. I feel like its more than just a photo it’s getting to meet different people”

As a kids model, Himawan missed 40 days of school a year and left early at least twice a week to go to New York City. In order to keep her job, she made a deal with her parents that as long as she kept straight A’s, she would be able to continue modeling, shaping the strong work-ethic she has today. Although she still goes to the city to model, she is no longer missing a lot of school, yet still has to find a way to balance her career and education. 

“Modeling in a way helped me develop my character more as in being more organized and driven and knowing my priorities,” Himawan said. 

To Himawan, modeling is much more than fittings, makeup, and camera flashes. It is about learning about different people, cultures or trends that she wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t been in the industry. Her agency has played a large role in that, considering they send her on trips around the world with other models. Himawan’s career has taken her to cities such as Paris, Tokyo and St. Barts while also providing her with “life-long friends”. 

“That side that I was exposed to really helped me develop into what I like and my ideas and my passion and things like that,” Himawan said. 

Himawan has also become interested in the field of acting, having small roles in several movies and shows such as Girls and the movie What We Found coming out this year. She has been meeting with an acting coach as practice, and although she is not sure what she wants to pursue, acting and fashion are definitely one of her interests. 

One of the main struggles of being a teenage model and rising actress is balancing school and work, especially for a student like Himawan who is challenging herself with vigorous AP and honors courses.

“You never know when your agents gonna call and are like ‘oh you have to memorize this three-page monologue due in two days’ while you have like 5 chem tests and all these other things,” Himawan said.  

Himawan knows that being a model comes with a lot of attention, but that is not her intention. Her motivation is to help promote brands, learn about the industry and make connections with her coworkers. 

“My favorite memory of modeling was when I was really young,” Himawan said. “We were coming out of a Broadway show and we were walking in Times Square. My dad looked up and he saw a campaign I did for Derion. There was literally a huge billboard of me in Times Square. I think that was the moment I really sat there and realized how many eyes were on me.”