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Getting to Know: Kassandra Hostage, Our Newest Model

Kassandra Hostage is our fit model (which means we perfect the fit of our clothes on her) and, like so many of you, she’s 5’5” and wears a 6/8! We couldn’t get enough of her effortless vibe & bubbly personality, so we asked her to model the Summer Editions. We love that she represents a size we often don’t see in the industry. Plus, when she isn’t stunning in front of the camera, she is working as a teacher. Get to know Kassandra better below!

How did you get into modeling?
About a year ago I was lucky enough to be chosen from a video submission for Sports Illustrated's first open casting call. Me and 34 other girls went to Brooklyn and had a complete whirlwind day in the city with MJ the editor and her amazing team. I had never modeled a day in my life before I got chosen ( and I never thought I would get chosen in the first place, I applied on a whim! ), but it was the best experience of my life. When I came home I felt like it was just something I had to keep doing and pushing myself to do because I wanted to see more women like me out in the industry.

In what ways have you witnessed beauty standards changing in the modeling industry?
I think I was lucky to grow up in a generation that was just starting to change as I got older - people like Kate Upton and Ashley Graham are iconic figures in the modeling world and neither necessarily fit the "social norms," for a model. I think women and companies geared towards women are starting to change their mindsets and want the 'powerful and real woman', as opposed to the 'picture perfect woman.' People don't want to see perfect anymore because nobody is perfect. I love seeing companies like Aerie taking steps toward changes like that with their campaign for no retouched images in any of their ads. It's raw, real and relatable. 

Tell us about a few things that are important to you outside of modeling.
I'm a runner, teacher, artist, reader, swimmer, beach bum. I am so many more things than someone that models. And I think it's important for me to take a step back sometimes from social media and this picture-perfect standard it creates, and remember that I have so much to be thankful for and that I cherish in my life. I think for me, it's always been important for me to take care of my physical and mental health before anything else. Always take care of yourself!

Describe your approach to personal style. What is your relationship with your closet like?
I always loved to describe my personal style as very "Jennifer Aniston." She just has this effortless, comfortable and laid-back style that can look good at a dinner date, or just lounging on the couch. Jeans and a soft tee is always my go-to. Being a shopaholic is my big problem though! I buy a lot of things and think to myself "that would be cute for this.." but then never end up wearing it because it isn't practical in everyday life. I try to purge my closet once a month and donate whatever I don't wear. 

When do you feel your best (most confident, most strong, most beautiful)?
You know that feeling when you're at the beach on a hot day and you jump into the ocean? Your skin is all salty and sandy and you throw on a summer dress or cover-up. That is when I feel my sexiest, strongest, most beautiful and most confident. No makeup, no hair styling, no fancy clothes or shoes. Just a summer glow and the feeling of being relaxed. 

What were your favorite pieces from the photo shoot?!
I absolutely adored the new dresses in the collection (that you guys will be seeing soon!!). They are so timeless and fun and flirty but don't look like you're trying too hard. They can be dressed up or dressed down and will be a staple in any wardrobe. I can't wait for you guys to see them!