Hanging With Lindsey Wixson

At 16 years old, the modeling career of this Midwest native is through taxiing and ready for takeoff.

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WWDStyle issue 02/07/2011

The day before, she had done her first editorial work for Vogue, a two-model shoot with Coco Rocha.

“Everyone was really on top of everything. They have their own creative idea, and they all work together,” she says. “I think the most stressful shoots are when the crew doesn’t know what they’re doing and they’re unprepared.”

Cheri Bowen, her agent at the Marilyn Agency, says that Wixson was more interested in quality than quantity.

“She’s incredibly intelligent about the business. She’s not about selling out,” she says.

When Wixson was 12 years old, and 5-feet, 7-inches tall, in Wichita, strangers used to come up to her in stores like Dollar General and Sally’s Beauty Supplies to tell her she could be a model.

“It just became clear to me,” Wixson says.

Around the same time, she read an article in Reader’s Digest in the bathroom.

“It was about how Bill Gates — the millionaires — got big,” she says. “It was talking about how they took the chance and they took their opportunities and they took it to a whole other level.”

Now she is interested in acting or singing. She admires Miuccia Prada’s business acumen. Wixson is focused on her career and says she has skipped the chance to party with the fashion set.

“They let people party at a very young age,” she says. “I’m not into it, and it’s bad for my skin.”

“Real success is not, like, materialistic,” she goes on. “It’s being where you want to be when you want to be; just living your life how you feel; having an ultimate goal and being able to accomplish it.”

“For me right now,” she continues, “success will be getting a GED.”

Wixson is too cool for school, in a good way. She’s not arrogant, but she sticks up for herself. (“Correction: I have boobs and I do eat on a regular and healthy basis [smiley face]” she wrote on Twitter to nobody in particular in January.)

When she talks about her ambitions, she manages to come across as neither a delusional teenage girl nor an entitled young model. She doesn’t seem to be lost in her sudden fame and access, though she is certainly precocious. It’s hard to imagine any 16-year-old complimenting Arizona Muse, 22, Anna Wintour’s favorite model at the moment, for her “poise.”

Wixson would be a junior in high school now, but on her sister’s advice she decided to devote herself to modeling instead of trying to juggle high school as a jet-lagged teen.

“I usually need a teacher to give me examples, but I didn’t really get to have that when I was traveling,” she says.

She was in accelerated math in middle school and has always been an A-B student. She wants to get her high school equivalency so that nobody will be able to judge her for neglecting her education.

Getting to the prom without being in high school might be a challenge. “I’m actually being taken by my best friend Victoria,” she says.

“I plan on renting a limo,” Wixson says. “Even if I can’t go to prom, I am still going to act like it’s prom, I’m still going to do prom things.”

Back home in Wichita, Wixson is a normal teen. She watches movies like “Zombieland” with her mom, Michele, a school-bus driver. Her dad, Thomas, works installing satellite dishes. Her sister, Kirsten, is engaged and plans to start a small farm in the lot next to her house in Wichita, raising chickens and growing vegetables and wild berries. Wixson got the gap in her teeth from her dad. They also share hand lotion sometimes.

“He comes home and has beat up fingers and stuff,” she says.

Her sister travels with her for work because her mom isn’t much of a traveler. “It’s a conflict of personalities, honestly,” she says. But she brags about her mom’s ability to shop at antique stores and thrift shops, and haggle. She found a set of wheels for Wixson’s 2003 Chrysler Sebring Convertible — a 16th birthday present to herself — for $100.

When Wixson was in the eighth grade, her math teacher told her to make a list of all the things she wanted to accomplish in 10 years. She wanted to be on “America’s Next Top Model” — scratch that — and live somewhere exotic. Wixson hasn’t gone back to look at the list, but she keeps adding to it. She’s said before that she wants to be a chef.

“When I went home for Christmas, I was in the kitchen for three days straight. Making fudge, making cookies. I made truffles,” she says, counting on her fingers. “I was just in there all day, and I didn’t even eat lunch, I was just in there cooking and cooking. I made spice bread.”

And she wants to learn to fly before she’s 18.

“One, it’s better than sitting back in the back and not being able to see the whole view,” she says. “And I think it would be cool to just be able to fly wherever. If anything, you know, went wrong with the world, I could just fly away.

“I really like Amelia Earhart. She’s from Kansas,” she continues. “She disappeared, so I have to take her place. I want to be Dorothy. I want to be Amelia Earhart.…I want to do it all.”


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