By Isabella Schneider
Phoenix Fashion Week’s “Spring Into Fashion” may have been postponed until May, but this model is still feeling bright.
With 1000 likes on the Phoenix Fashion Week editorial image challenge on Instagram, Anna Maynard, a freshman at University of Arizona, is making a name for herself as a rising model at just 19-years-old.
In addition to being a Phoenix Fashion Week model, Maynard is the Royal International Miss Arizona Role Model. She also appeared on Your Life Arizona, making her way up to the Phoenix from Tucson, which required a 4 a.m. wake up.
The early mornings of modeling are offset by the other positives of her career, such as fulfilling her lifelong dream and building her confidence.
Modeling has always been on Maynard’s mind.
“You know how they ask kids, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ People were giving normal answers like a teacher or doctor,” Maynard explained. “I looked my teacher dead in the eye and said ‘I wanted to be a supermodel and donut maker.’”
Maynard said that while it began as a pure passion and interest in makeup and fashion, she realized modeling helped boost her self esteem.
“I grew up with low self-confidence, being bullied and things like that,” Maynard said. “Doing modeling helped me find my own self-worth.”
But even models have their days. Maynard said she still struggles with feelings of self-doubt, especially as a beginner in larger markets such as Phoenix.
She said that she felt like she did not belong at the beginning of her time with Phoenix Fashion Week, but she learned to trust that she was meant to be there.
“It’s about realizing within yourself that even if you don’t look like someone else or have the same body type as them, you’re there for a reason, and they wanted you there for a reason,” Maynard said. “You have to get out of your own head with it.”
Maynard began her journey with Phoenix Fashion Week after seeing their “Top 40 Model Search” on her Instagram explore page last June.
Due to a car accident, she was unable to participate at the time, but she kept a lookout for upcoming opportunities with the organization and decided to participate in the casting call for their spring show.
But “Spring Into Style” is not Maynard’s first big show, she also participated in Pima Community College’s “Fashionarte Show” in Tucson last May. She noted her experiences as a step in the right direction, allowing her opportunities she never anticipated.
“It has lifted me up in a way that I never previously thought was possible,” Maynard said. “It’s an amazing experience to be part of an organization and to be working with a designer that I can tell really values me, and is really doing things to push me farther in the modeling world.”
Her designer for “Spring Into Style” is Pamela Jayne Sassi, of the luxury loungewear company Jayne Collection. This was the first time Jayne Collection has appeared in Phoenix Fashion Week, and Sassi said Maynard was eager to grow and learn with Jayne Collection.
“Anna was genuinely excited, appreciative, and enthusiastic about everything we have done so far with Phoenix Fashion Week, and that truly makes an amazing experience for the designer,” Sassi said. “Not only did she help my vision come to life, but her joy and happiness was infectious to be around.”
Jayne Collection is based out of Tempe, and Maynard feels more connected with her community by working with fellow artists in Arizona.
“It was cool for me to see the community of everybody coming together and put me in check,” Maynard said. “I’m not just walking on a runway, I’m supporting people in my community, these are their livelihoods.”
Her sense of community and willingness to help has manifested into her personal life. Friends say that she’s always there to solve problems or to comfort them in trying times.
“She’s a really good friend. She’s always willing to be that shoulder you need and willing to help mediate drama,” University of Arizona peer and future roommate Miyah Brooks said. “When we applied for a job and got rejected she used her experience in modeling to help us reevaluate our situation. When I’ve been having breakdowns over classes she’s always been the ear for me to cry to.”
Maynard’s role as the Royal International Miss Arizona Role Model has helped cultivate a desire to support her community and get involved. After a friend introduced her to the Royal
International Miss Arizona Role Model has helped cultivate a desire to support her community and get involved. After a friend introduced her to the Royal International Miss pageants, Maynard decided to join and pursue the Role Model title since it is focused entirely on community service.
“For me, that was really important because I think the most important part of pageants is the platform that we have to do good in the world and make a change,” Maynard said. “Knowing that I was being lifted onto a platform where I could talk more about community service and the things that are important to me that’s super important.”
In July, Maynard will be competing at the International level of the Royal International Miss pageants.
Her other future plans include walking for the “Spring Into Style” show in May and aiming to participate in the Phoenix Fashion Week’s Top 40 program. Overall, she strives to establish herself more in the modeling industry and grow her skill set.
“I want to keep going as much as I can,” Maynard said. “If it’s just a little side gig where I do stuff for fun that’s fine. If I can turn it into something more, all the better. My first-grade self would be really happy about that.”