I met with plus model newcomer Jeanna Sabatino, at the Hollywood restaurant El Coyote, an L.A. landmark since the 1930’s. It was a fitting location to meet the gorgeous young model, at first glance she calls to mind legendary silver screen beauties of past eras, ala Monroe, Mansfield, Bardot. Even with a ponytail and lip gloss, and dressed in cropped jeans, a tank top, and cardigan, Jeanna exudes both glamour and innocence at the same time. It is no wonder that this wide-eyed beauty is quickly making a name for herself in the modeling world.
Jeanna is also a talented and sought after makeup artist, and it was actually a Wilhelmina model sitting in her makeup chair that first suggested Jeanna look into plus size modeling. At 5’10” with a stunningly beautiful face, it seemed she certainly had the attributes to give it a try, but she was initially apprehensive. It was while browsing through castings sometime later, that she saw an ad seeking lingerie models for a plus size retailer. When she was asked to come in to meet with the client, she almost didn’t show! But after being pushed by a family member she went, and ended up booking the job immediately. Since then, Jeanna has become one of the main faces of Hips And Curves.
A Southern California native, Jeanna was brought up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, also just known as “The Valley”. Growing up in a big family with three older sisters and a younger brother, Jeanna was the daughter of a police officer and a stay at home mom, who also juggled accounting. She enjoyed being outdoors and spent her childhood barefoot and making mud pies.
Before entering the world of plus modeling, Jeanna really knew very little about the plus fashion industry. Not only has it been exciting for her to begin her modeling career, but she also has now been exposed to a new world of fashion options she had not been aware of previously. She sees the recent explosion of plus size images in the media as a wonderful opportunity to make women and girls worldwide see that fashion choices for full figured women are no longer as limited as they once were.
Fast forward to the present. After her Hips and Curves photos debuted on their website, things began to move very quickly for Jeanna. She soon gained representation from Heffner Management, and began booking clients like Kohl’sand Torrid. Recently she has also signed with Dorothy Combs Models in Miami, and Brigitte Models in Germany.
Beside modeling and doing makeup, Jeanna is also busy being mom to an adorable little girl and is happily married. Modeling offers some flexibility and she enjoys being able to spend a great deal of time with her family, including nineteen nieces and nephews!
In the near future, Jeanna looks forward to the opportunity to travel overseas, and would love to model in Europe. She would like to see more magazines push the envelope here in the United States, and would love to appear in editorials for publications that traditionally use only straight size models. As we see many foreign media sources include plus fashion images, she looks forward to the day when this is more commonplace on this side of the Atlantic and aspires to appear in magazines like Vogue, Elle, or Bazaar. She would also love to be the face of a cosmetic company like Loreal, Revlon, or Covergirl! In the plus fashion world, she would love to work with clients like Igigi and Anna Scholz.
When we talked about her own personal style, Jeanna shared that she is at home in jeans and sneakers and a natural face, but can easily throw on some heels and makeup, and loves to glam it up as well. Because of her experience as a makeup artist, she enjoys experimenting with new looks. She loves to find vintage pieces in thrift shops, especially jewelry, and gets excited when she finds things that are different and unique.
When looking at Jeanna’s tests, it is obvious she is a natural, and she shows talent that makes it hard to believe she had no previous modeling experience. Her posing from her very first shoot with Hips and Curves is so fluid that I was shocked to hear it was her first time shooting with anyone! Her tests show great versatility, and she can easily do both the doe-eyed ingénue “junior plus” look, as well as highly stylized fashion shots.
Jeanna is absolutely amazed on how well received she has been as a new model, and admits she is still learning who’s who in the industry. She is enjoying every minute of her newfound career, and loves meeting new people, but advises new models to understand that this is a business. She feels that your personality will take you just as far as your looks, and it is important to be courteous and respectful to everyone from the client to the photographer to the makeup artist. Pretty sound advice from someone so new to the business!
So take note, this new face is definitely on her way, and has her passport ready for wherever the industry takes her!