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Endurance, Humility, and Sustainability: The Key to Anna Hiltrop's 16-Year Modeling Journey

You've had an impressive modeling career spanning over 16 years. What do you believe has been the key to your longevity and success in this industry?

I would say that I have a certain type of persistence and a lot of power of endurance. I‘ve never been a person who gives up easily. In this industry you receive many No‘s so you really need the will to stick to your path. It’s a really tough business but I never gave up, and there were for sure many ups and downs. Also, I always stayed really humble and thankful, which is really rare these days- unfortunately.

Congratulations on being named Model Icon of the Year! How does it feel to receive such a prestigious award, especially following names like Coco Rocha and Bar Rafaeli?

I feel like this award is really honoring the sometimes really hard and difficult path I went, sometimes all by myself, and really motivated me for the next steps. And of course, to be named with these big big names in the industry, really is a special honor to me.

You've worked with renowned clients like YSL, Karl Lagerfeld, and L’Oréal. What has been your most memorable collaboration and why?

There have been many in the past, and really many unforgettable encounters with many iconic persons. But I always loved to do things that brought my out of my own comfort zone in a way, for example rankin always has a really cool way to shoot people and I really liked that. But also of course my first big European TV commercial for mc Donald’s, which was in some way my first big big deal… I will always remember that. Being 16, at this huge tv set, bringing my mum, we both didn’t know how things work in this industry…

As the new ambassador of YSL Beauty, what are you most excited about in this role?

I really love that such a big name like Ysl, start to focus on sustainability really by its roots. It’s so important for the whole industry to really start TODAY to become more sustainable, this is our only chance to change something on this planet, really last minute.

You are frequently seen at high-profile events like the AmfAR Gala and Cannes Film Festival. How do these events contribute to your career and network within the industry?

⁠In this industry it’s all about a good network so I always really love to visit such big events. Of course it’s really important to be seen there, but even though I am more like a shy kind of person and not the best at smalltalk, I made some of the best contacts there. So it’s really important indeed.

In addition to your modeling career, you've been studying sustainability. What motivated you to focus on this important topic?

If you are working in an industry like this, I think it’s really important to be aware of the fact that we are a big part of the problem. Our industry is after the oil industry, the biggest environmental polluter. And I wanted to know how we can change that, so that was my motivation.

You are an ambassador for significant projects like Neonyt and Cleanup. Can you tell us more about your involvement and the impact these projects have?

The RhineCleanup became one of the most important projects I am working on. We are cleaning the Rhine and 29 other rivers in Germany, and collect the trash which would otherwise go directly into the ocean and in the end into our bodies. It’s really one of the most important topics we have to focus on: to save our oceans, because many people don’t know that every second breath we take, has it’s origin in the ocean. The ocean is the greatest of the carbon reservoirs and absorbs a really high percentage of our emissions.

Winning the Green Award for your sustainable engagement is a remarkable achievement. How did it feel to receive this honor?

There was no jury which decided who will receive the award, but people voted for this, so this is really important and I felt really honored. Because people see the importance of this project and engagement.

Sustainability in fashion is becoming increasingly important. How do you see the industry evolving in this regard, and what role do you hope to play in this transformation?

Luckily it becomes really a topic and more and more important. But there still needs to be done a lot! I am really happy about every brand that starts at least somewhere, by changing their fabrics or location of productions.. it’s a big journey! I really hope that I can take away the fear many people have, when it comes to sustainability. You don’t have to be completely sustainable and perfect, that’s always the credo i claim.

As a model and sustainability advocate, what advice would you give to young models entering the industry today?

Always always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will ? And stick to your values and beliefs, never change for anyone!

Looking forward, what are your goals and aspirations, both in your modeling career and your sustainability efforts?

I still have so many visions and dreams and goals for my career, and I really hope they will come true. Speaking about sustainability, I really hope more brands will share these goals with me, and that it will become necessary to them, to really start caring about our planet.

How do you stay grounded and maintain a balance between your high-profile career and personal life?

My dog really helps me with that. On some days you find me in my rubber boots in the biggest mud in the morning, and in the evening I am standing in a couture dress on a red carpet somewhere. And somehow I really love that contrast. And I guess this keeps me grounded.

Wardrobe Stylist: Michael__sachse @michael__sachse


Wardrobe Stylist: Tatjana Fast @fashionstylist_tf

Makeup Artist: Saskia Saka @saskiacosmetics

Model: Anna Hiltrop @annahiltrop



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