Student By Day and Model By Night

Not many Miami Dade College students can call Rebecca Romijn, Natasha Bedingfield, and Kendall Jenner their peers, but Kendall Campus student, Rachel Serrano, can.

Serrano, 19, is signed to the same agency as the aforementioned models. She is in her fourth year with Whilemina Models, a Miami, New York and Los Angeles based model management company.

“After I started modeling I hated it,” said Serrano, an education major.

Serrano has modeled for more than 40 big name companies such as Aeropostale, Payless, Nordstrom, Kohl’s and GUESS. She has appeared on three magazine front-page covers: Woman’s World, SHAPE Germany, and French magazine Modes & Travaux.

It all began three years ago when Serrano heard a radio advertisement for The Model Expo.

“Since I was little I was told how tall and skinny I am so, I thought maybe I should do it,” Serrano said. “My parents and I went to The Model Expo and I was in a bad mood because I had been invited to go to the Keys that weekend and would have rather been there than at the expo.”

The expo was held at the Radisson Hotel. Prospective models walked down a runway.  After Serrano walked her first runway, she was handed a card to attend the Deauville hotel in Miami Beach.

Out of the nearly 1,000 boys and girls who attended the expo, Serrano was one of 50 who was asked to stay for the final round.

The last round required the hopeful models to walk across a stage with their pictures in hand as modeling agencies such as Ford, Elite and Whilemina Models were present.

In the weeks that followed Serrano interviewed with Whilemina Models. She was invited to the Miami agency on South Beach. In October 2008 she signed a two-year contract. Then in 2010 she signed with New York Whilemina Models.

“Rachel genuinely does not think that what she does is a big deal,” said Serrano’s best friend of four years, Sarah Hennis, 23. “She is caring, nurturing, trustworthy, and very friendly.”

Serrano spent her first few months doing test shoots and castings, not fully satisfied with her decision.

“I would go to castings and go home and start crying,” Serrano said. “I hated it, I was used to a certain lifestyle, I wanted to go to a party, go eat dinner with my friends but no, I couldn’t because I had work.”

In early 2009 she landed her first modeling job for Kohl’s, shortly after she was shooting advertisements for Nordstrom. Her career skyrocketed when she was cast for Aeropostale’s fall 2011 national campaign.

“Now that I am older and I understand, I’m thankful for [modeling],” Serrano said. “I’m thankful that I have opportunities to see how other people live and experience a different lifestyle.”

Serrano has modeled for Seventeen Magazine and Spanish VOGUE. She is also expected to appear on a fragrance commercial for GUESS airing in Paris in 2012.

Despite all of her accomplishments, Serrano’s friends say she has remained level-headed.

“She doesn’t even want to talk about [modeling] it’s not who she is, it’s what she does,” Hennis said. “The industry she is in only lasts for a little while, but she’s keeping her dreams in the right place.”

Serrano has two dreams: To become a Victoria Secret model and she aspires to open a daycare. She is currently involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, where she is a ‘big sister’ to a six-year-old boy.

Despite all her outside interests, Serrano has remained focused on her modeling career.

“This is what you see on TV,” Serrano said. “I’m living the lifestyle that girls wish they could live.”