Jas­mine San­ders hopes to use her suc­cess as a mixed-race model to in­spire oth­ers and break down tired in­dus­try bar­ri­ers.

Schon! - - Living Doll - Words / Evan Ross Katz Pho­tog­ra­phy / Marcelo Cantu Make Up & Cre­ative Di­rec­tion / Ido Raphael Styling / Van Van

At 24 years old, Jas­mine San­ders is just your typ­i­cal South Carolina-bred girl. Ex­cept she’s not at all. Af­ter over a decade in the mod­el­ling in­dus­try, San­ders’ ca­reer con­tin­ues to tor­pedo to new heights – this year alone she walked for Jeremy Scott and was the face of Aldo’s SS15 cam­paign. She’s also ranked amongst the likes of Mi­randa Kerr and Jour­dan Dunn in the 2015 Maxim Hot 100 List. Add to that the fact that she’s be­come some­thing of a so­cial media sen­sa­tion, and it seems no hy­per­bole to com­pare San­ders’ as­cent to that of one of her fash­ion he­roes, Ms Tyra Banks.

Although San­ders found her vo­ca­tion at an early age – when her make-up artist mother took her to a mod­el­ling agency, she was signed on the spot – her ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion was not al­ways seen as a plus. Stand­ing at 5’ 9”, the half African Amer­i­can, half Ger­man model was ini­tially re­jected by her class­mates. “Be­ing a mixed girl grow­ing up in the South isn’t the eas­i­est all the time,” she says. “Also run­ning to New York ev­ery other week­end to fin­ish a job, that’s not nor­mal for ev­ery South Carolina girl in high school.”

The bul­ly­ing even­tu­ally sub­sided, but San­ders de­vel­oped a thick skin to­ward haters, some­thing that would come in handy when deal­ing with online trolls, an un­for­tu­nate but un­avoid­able side ef­fect of so­cial media ado­ra­tion. “I know how it is to be a teenager be­hind the com­puter and be so pas­sion­ate about a con­ver­sa­tion,” the model ex­plains. “I don’t want the bul­ly­ing to go back and forth, so if I need to jump in and stop it, I will. I have.”

San­ders, who goes by the moniker Golden Barbie, car­ries un­de­ni­able clout on so­cial media, where her In­sta­gram fol­low­ing alone re­cently ticked past the one mil­lion mark, some­thing she seems aware of with­out sink­ing into self­ag­gran­di­s­a­tion. So, what inspired the nick­name? “I used to be called Goldilocks in high school by one of my teach­ers be­cause there were some boys in my class that would bother me all the time. Golden came from that,” San­ders re­calls. Barbie be­cause of how of­ten peo­ple re­marked that she looked like a life-sized ver­sion of the doll. And for good rea­son, with San­ders’ flow­ing mane and im­pos­si­bly tiny waist, the re­sem­blance is un­de­ni­able.

Although no doubt blessed by Mother Na­ture, San­ders can also at­tribute her tiny waist to the fact that she is a huge fit­ness junkie. She cred­its, pre-work­out dance par­ties with her new puppy, long hours at the gym and drop­ping dairy from her diet as a few of the rea­sons she went from curvier (“a lit­tle more butt, a lit­tle more boobs,” as she puts it) to her cur­rent su­per-toned self. Still, she’s only hu­man, and won’t deny her­self the oc­ca­sional fast food in­dul­gence.

When asked about her in­clu­sion in Maxim’s Hot 100, San­ders is quick to laud not her­self, but her fel­low mod­els. “The whole thing was a com­plete sur­prise,” she says. “Candice Swanepoel – I’m try­ing to get my body like hers. To be a part of that group was an ab­so­lute hon­our.” If that wasn’t enough, San­ders also walked for Jeremy Scott (“such a sweet­heart”) ear­lier this year. “I still freak out,” she says. “I still call home to my mom. I was just at the mall with her this week­end and we saw one of my ads. It’s a proud feel­ing to look over at my mom and tell her ‘Hey, look, I’m start­ing to make things hap­pen.’ I’m de­ter­mined to use this mo­men­tum. I want to be all over the place.”

Speak­ing on her eclec­tic per­sonal style, San­ders is equally all over the place: “I used to be very tomboy­ish. I had ev­ery Jor­dan, ev­ery Chuck Tay­lor. I love to be able to dress like a tomboy but also be colour­ful while do­ing so. I like get­ting in pretty gowns and dresses and tight things or chang­ing it up or go­ing more an­drog­y­nous than the fancy Golden Barbie that ev­ery­one al­ways knows me as, or just wip­ing ev­ery­thing and go­ing clean.”

San­ders wants to buoy the suc­cess of the last few years into more cam­paigns, more run­way shows, more more more. She’s keen to use her good for­tune to pro­pel her ca­reer along, even hint­ing that act­ing may be in her fu­ture as well as de­vel­op­ing her own cloth­ing and make-up lines.

“I’m ex­cited for the fu­ture,” she says with un­fet­tered as­sured­ness.

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