On October 31st, 2017 Anok Yai was signed to Next Models. On October 21st, 2017 she was not. The difference? This photo:
Following Howard University’s homecoming festival, Yard Fest, Anok Yoi was heading out when photographer Steve Hall of the fashion website The SUNK, approached her and asked if he could take her photograph. Ms. Yoi obliged.
“I got an email from a modeling agency. They said they were interested in having me and they had me call them. And they just set up tons of interviews and it just went on from there.”
Since its posting that evening, the image has gathered 19.4k likes and 600+ comments. Her own following, meanwhile, exploded to 97k followers and counting. She began receiving offers from modeling agencies to fly her to New York, eventually agreeing to a contract with Next Models on Halloween.
— Next Models (@NextModels) November 6, 2017
Prior to her whirlwind ascendancy, Anok was studying biochemistry at Plymouth State University. Though she grew up hoping to become a model–frequently watching the legendary ANTM— she had all but given up, planning on becoming a doctor instead. Then her luck changed.
A rising star, we’ll keep an eye out for where Anok goes from here. As for her beginnings, Ms. Yai had this to say of the image that brought her fame, as per WaPo: “she thought it made her look like a ‘deer in headlights’…describing it as ‘average’.