model tracker

Meet the New Girl: Mackenzie Drazan Is a Valentino Prodigy

Kate Moss was discovered when she was 14. Naomi Campbell got her big break when she was 8. Mackenzie Drazan is just 15, a California teen we think is about to be the Next Big Thing. Two years ago, Drazan was vacationing in Europe with her family when scouts noticed her piercing blue eyes and beautifully freckled skin. Modeling agencies clamored to sign the nationally ranked equestrian, but Drazan’s parents ultimately declined all of the offers. Fast-forward to July 2009, when she was spotted yet again, this time in San Francisco. The timing felt right, so she signed with Stars Model Management and thus started her ascent into modeldom. After spending a year learning how to walk, pose, and smile (ahem, Tyra!), Drazan was sent to Paris to get her feet wet. With little to no expectations, Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri at Valentino fell in love with Drazan, and suddenly she was walking alongside Freja Beha and Iselin Steiro for the house’s fall 2010 couture collection. Though Drazan is skipping the spring 2011 season in favor of school (she’s now a sophomore), we know when she reemerges that it’ll be may-jah!. Click ahead to read a brief Q&A with Drazan, and then visit her new model profile to see loads of on- and off-the-runway pics.

You just debuted at Valentino’s fall 2010 couture show. How’d that come about?
I was approached a few times by scouts while on vacation and decided to visit Stars Model Management in San Francisco last July. I spent a year working with them on developing my book and walk, as well as booking various editorials and shows, which gave me the confidence I needed. This past July, Stars sent one of their agents with me, my mother, and my sister to Paris for three weeks; it was an amazing experience and booking Valentino was the icing on my cake.

Does being young in this industry make you uncomfortable?
It does not bother me, because everyone has been so nice and helpful. I have been very fortunate to have had only positive experiences. I am always with a family member or agent from Stars at castings or bookings, [and] I have found the perfect balance between school and [work]. The only thing that I find frustrating is that because of my age, I can’t do some of the shows in Europe. And trust me: I want to do them NOW!

What do you do for fun?
I am a competitive horseback rider. I compete in show jumping and equitation. I also enjoy snowskiing, waterskiing, tennis, scuba diving, and volleyball.

Who is your favorite model?
There are so many amazing models out there, but I would have to say my favorite is Natalia Vodianova. I [also] really look up to Karlie Kloss, because she is such a kind person.

What is your dream campaign?
That’s a really hard question to answer because there are so many creative and talented people in this business that I would be honored to work with! I really enjoyed working with Pat McGrath, Karl Templer, and the Valentino team, so I would absolutely love to work with them again.

Tell us a secret.
I volunteer at an organization called NCEFT, where they treat young children with neuromuscular disorders and other disabilities through horseback riding.

What scares you?
Bats! A bat actually flew into our house the other day. I hid in the closet while my mom and sister chased it out of the house. It was pretty funny.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I could see myself somewhere on the business side of the fashion industry, but I would like to keep my options open. I am studying hard in school so when the time comes to decide, I can do whatever I want.

Explore other rising stars (plus all the big names) in our extensive Model Manual, featuring runway pics, glamorous editorials, model bios, career timelines, and more.

Meet the New Girl: Mackenzie Drazan Is a Valentino Prodigy