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Hana Cross on making music, acting lessons and dealing with Instagram anxiety

Model Hana Cross is Hello! Fashion's December-January cover star

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Becky Donaldson
Becky DonaldsonFeature Director
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Scouted at the age of 18 on a shopping trip with her mum has led to a successful modelling career for Hana Cross. Working with the industry's biggest fashion houses, with invites to glittering events and a number of high-profile relationships, you'd expect her to have changed, but she remains refreshingly down-to-earth.

Hana Cross on her Hello! Fashion cover shoot

When we speak to her on Zoom she's sitting cross-legged on her bed, she wanted to meet in person, but there was a train strike the day we were due to speak. "I promise if we'd met up I'd have put on a really cute outfit," she says with genuine disappointment. "I've just come back from walking my dog, so I'm basically wearing really baggy sweatpants and a little Re/Done tank top, which I love, they are the best things ever."

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Hana wears Dior and Bulgari jewellery

Originally from the Cotswolds, Hana concedes she didn't know much about modelling as a child. At the time she was signed, she was studying for her A-levels and considering university she planned to take business with equine studies, or certainly something to do with animals. "When I was scouted, I decided to give modelling a chance and began travelling to London from the Cotswolds pretty much four or five times a week. All of a sudden I realised I wanted to move to the city permanently to pursue my modelling career, instead of going to university. I spoke to my mum and she was very supportive, so I took it from there."

Since then, Hana has worked for Valentino, Missoni, Gucci Beauty and Hugo Boss. She has starred in campaigns for high street meccas including Mango, Bershka and Kurt Geiger and appeared on the pages of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, L'Officiel; and in 2019 she was shot by her then boyfriend, Brooklyn Beckham, for the cover of Wonderland magazine.

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On the flipside, she tells us that the job has its ups and downs. "It can be empowering and help build confidence, but there's also a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that people on the outside don't see; because it is not talked about. You see models on social media and it looks glamorous, but on the other side of that we are constantly being rejected."

"When I first started modelling, I was told I was too fat and needed to lose weight, or I'm too short and I'm not going to be able to do this. A big part of the job is going to castings and often you are told 'no', more than 'yes'. So you really have to become resilient and build a thick skin."

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Hana wears Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Shoes; By Far, Tights; Calzedonia, Bag and Earrings; Bulgari

"I began to realise that it's not personal to me, it just means I might not be right for that specific job. So I learnt to understand that and develop the mindset that what's meant to be will be - and to keep working hard and being nice to everyone, because what's supposed to come my way will anyway." We ask her if this has improved more recently. "The industry is definitely becoming way more inclusive," she confirms. "I've worked with so many brands that use diverse models that are different sizes, shapes and from many cultures. It is amazing to see, because it wasn't like that for a long time."

During lockdown she wrote and released a single, Once or Twice, which is rumoured to be a break-up song for Brooklyn. "I also have a guitar in my room and I bought a piano during Covid, so I've been learning that as well. It was really good for my mental health and I used to write poems and lots of notes on my phone, so during lockdown I really put my energy into creating something to keep myself busy."

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Hana wears Louis Vuitton and Bulgari jewellery

During the pandemic, she also began acting lessons. "It has always been something I've wanted to do, I have a passion for it. And it's great, because modelling has given me confidence in front of a camera. I've been able to build on that and become more comfortable. I'm excited to see where it goes. Between modelling jobs I'm focusing on doing self tapes and auditions, hopefully I have some really exciting projects coming up. So fingers crossed on that." Hana, who has 221k followers on Instagram, also managed to get creative on that platform during the pandemic. "Lots of brands sent me clothes to do home photoshoots, they told me the sort of thing they were looking for and said, 'Go for it, do your thing'. Honestly, it was a lot of fun working with brands in that way. As a model you usually go to the shoot and everything's planned, so it was a change doing the whole thing myself and I enjoy doing my own hair and make-up."

However, she can find Instagram stressful. "There's  a weird pressure behind it, something I've only felt since modelling. Every post I think, wait, no, that picture doesn't look perfect. I find I'm comparing myself a lot to other things I see on Instagram. I know I need to get better at not thinking like that, just being able to post freely and remembering it's not real life. I do have a lot of anxiety when I'm posting or even doing Instagram Stories, but it's an amazing platform, especially for work and collaborations with brands. But TikTok is becoming such a big thing and now a lot of brands reach out to do collaborations on that, which is fun. I find it less stressful for some reason. I don't know why, it just feels like less pressure. I don't know what it is about Instagram, but I intend to improve at it."

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Hello! Fashion - December 2022

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Some of the events that are close to her heart are organised by Unicef and AmfAR. "I've been supporting those charities for a few years now. This year I went to AmfAR at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cannes, it was incredible. They raised $19 million for AIDS research, which is insane. And then there is the Unicef LuisaViaRoma Gala, which raises money for children in need. This year they were especially focused on the situation in Ukraine and the kids suffering over there. I enjoy being able to support charities and watching everyone come together at these amazing auctions and see everyone donate to help." Before she leaves, we ask her what her Christmas will look like this year. "I love Christmas, for me it's about spending time with my family in London."

And does she know what gifts she would like to receive? "There's nothing that I specifically want, but just something that's personal to me that's had thought put into it."

The full interview appears in the December issue of Hello! Fashion, out now…

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