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A pearly complexion, delicate features and a mass of blonde curls are making British newcomer Hannah Hardy a hot commodity (her mile-long legs don’t hurt either). She started modeling in 2009 and ended up walking 16 shows last season during London and Paris Fashion Weeks. Now the 5-foot, 10-and-a-half-inch stunner, repped by Muse Management and Elite London, is gearing up for the New York collections. She came to town — for the first time ever — last week and quickly landed the Emilio Pucci pre-fall show. Castings for the fall shows don’t begin until the end of this month, so in the meantime, the brainy 19-year-old sat down with us for a chat.
Agency: Muse Management and Elite London
Height: 5' 10.5"
Birth sign: Leo
Welcome to New York. What are your first impressions?
"I always thought it would be really terrifying with all these tall buildings, but it’s a lot less scary — everyone’s so friendly. And my favorite thing is the coffee shops. I love wandering around SoHo and want to visit as many museums as I can."
Do you have a plan for the fall 2011 season?
"I’m walking New York and definitely London. I’ll play the other two cities by ear."
What were your favorite moments from the spring shows?
"Probably walking Christopher Kane. That was really fun. It was in this big warehouse, and it was very atmospheric. He’s a really nice designer."
Do you get nervous?
"Yes and no. You always get a buzz, an adrenaline rush, before you go on, which is great. When I first started, I used to get really nervous, but now it’s like a good nervous rather than an I-feel-really-sick nervous."
And you’re currently in college. How do you find the time?
"Yes, I do it part-time [at Durham University, in Northern England], so I don’t have the full-on workload. So far, it’s working out quite well."
What are you studying?
"Ancient history and archaeology. I’ve always been very interested in history."
When you have it, what do you do in your free time?
"I love going home when I can and walking the dog. I grew up in the countryside, so I love going back. And I love reading and baking. I find it relaxing."
What do you bake?
"White-chocolate-chip cookies or ginger biscuits. I’m more of a biscuit person than a cake person."
What’s your favorite feature about yourself?
"I guess I’ve got masses of curly hair, but that often gets straightened. I love having curly hair because it’s just a bit different."
How do you describe your personal style?
"I love one-off pieces from vintage shops, but then I really like the high street. I just like looking classic, but with an edge."
Do you have any particular favorite piece you’ve found at a vintage shop?
"I have quite a few really nice long dress-type things which no one else has. If I ever have a ball to go to — or a dance, like you call them here — I always [prefer vintage stores] because you know no one else is going to be wearing it. That’s the one bad thing about the high street: You could get an amazing dress, but then someone else could be wearing it."
Where is your favorite place to shop in London?
"There are some really good stores around Spitalfields, in the East End of London. But I don’t have a favorite place to shop, although I really want to explore SoHo around here."
What music are you currently listening to?
"I’m one of those people who’s hideously out of touch with music. I recently downloaded Magnetic Man and Taio Cruz. I love cheesy music."
What are you reading?
"A book that kind of has to do with ancient history; it’s called “Imperium.” It’s a novel based on [Marcus] Cicero, but it is kind of fiction mixed with fact — a historic novel."
Who’s the coolest person you know?
"Probably my sister. She’s really outgoing and bubbly. She’s just one step ahead of me all the time, but in kind of an eccentric way."