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Journey of Self-Discovery: From Michigan to the Global Runway with Bethany Dziekan

Bethany, it's great to have you here. Could you share a bit about your journey from Michigan to becoming a full-time model based in NYC? What were some of the challenges and highlights along the way?

Thank you for having me, it’s an honor to be featured on the cover of Malvie! I’d be happy to share more about my journey. Being 5’11”, I’d always secretly dreamt about becoming a model but I’ve always been on the shy side and kept this secret to myself. In 2020, I was working part-time at a salon in my college town when I was discovered by an agent in the modeling industry and soon after began working with them to start my modeling career.

A bit later, while shooting to gain experience and build my book, I began working full-time in tech sales and moved from Michigan to Boston which made my commute to New York much easier for modeling; Modeling was my passion but software sales paid my rent.

Nine months into my tech career, after only collaborating with local photographers, I took my first day off to shoot with two top New York photographers and if these images turned out well, I would officially be a signed model.

In between shoots on my day off, I received a call from my boss at my tech job stating I was being promoted from an entry level position to an executive one. After this life changing phone call, I rushed to my second shoot. Once we wrapped, the photographer, Joseph Patrick, took the liberty to call the agency while I was packing up. I overheard him speaking and he said something along the lines of, “if you don’t sign this girl, you are crazy! She has an amazing look.” I received a call that same night, hours later; I was officially signed by my first agency however the same day I got a huge promotion at work.

Juggling two careers was extremely challenging but even more challenging was when I got signed to a Milan agency, 3 months into my promotion; I knew I had to choose one path.

I decided to say goodbye to stability and hello to Italy. I stayed in Milan for 3 months and the corporate world was now behind me. After Milan, I moved to NYC from Boston and signed with my amazing New York agency, Fenton Model Management. Since making the switch to modeling full-time, some highlights include seeing my work, shot by photographer Alex Ancheta, on a ginormous billboard in Times Square, working for and getting to personally meet the amazing couture designer, Christian Siriano, and now being featured on the cover of Malvie magazine. It proved to me that taking this huge risk and chasing my dreams was all worthwhile.

You've modeled in Milan and traveled to numerous stunning destinations for your shoots. How do you prepare for international assignments, and how do these experiences influence your work?

Whenever I book a job, I do lots of research on the brand prior to the shoot in order to better understand what the client wants me to portray in the images. Looking at the client’s instagram, website, and reading about their mission helps me plan poses and emotions I need to evoke during the shoot. With international exposure, I get to connect with people from different backgrounds and experiences. It’s truly so informative and I’ve learned so many tips.

Fashion seems to be a significant part of your life. How do you stay updated with the latest trends, and who are your favorite classic and emerging designers at the moment?

I stay updated with the latest trends by reading fashion magazines, following fashion influencers on social media and having a fashion icon to look up to - mine is Elsa Hosk. My favorite classic designers are Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford - both of which, create pieces that can live in your closet forever as they are timeless. An emerging designer I love is Jane Wade who is Brooklyn based. Her designs are classic with an edgy twist that creates powerful yet classic silhouettes. I describe my own personal style as tomboy chic and I think her designs fit my aesthetic perfectly.

Finding amazing vintage second-hand pieces can be like a treasure hunt. Can you share one of your most memorable finds? What makes thrifting so special to you?

It truly is and that is one of my favorite parts about thrifting and vintage shopping! One of my most memorable finds happened a few years ago in the city my dad grew up in near Detroit. It was my dad’s birthday and we went to an antique shop when I found a stunning orange and white Versace dress that featured hints of Leopard print for $15 and a white mini Prada bag for $50. Both pieces were so on point with my style and they were the first designer items in my closet; an honorable mention, I also discovered a stunning, open back, little black dress that featured a mesh halter neckline overlay in my mom’s closet a couple years ago. It fits me like a glove and it truly is the most worn dress in my closet; Thrifting is very special to me because I grew up doing it with my family. My dad has always loved collecting vintage items such as flat top beer cans from the 50’s and 60’s, and antique radios from the 20’s and 30’s. Even now though I live far away, we’re always sharing our new treasures and when I visit Michigan, estate sales, thrifting and antiquing, it will forever be a way for us to bond.

Aside from modeling, you have a passion for drawing and painting. How does your interest in art influence your modeling career, and do you have any favorite themes or subjects you like to explore in your artwork?

My art background totally influences my lens of fashion and modeling. Fashion to me is an art form and it’s amazing I get to be a subject of the artwork. I have an eye for what looks aesthetically pleasing when I draw/paint and I use this concept when I’m posing. My art background also makes me look at things with extreme attention to detail and this helps me work with the clothes I’m wearing to create a sense of life and movement in the images. My favorite things to draw are people but more specifically, faces. When I was 4 years old, my older sister was diagnosed with Leukemia and my grandparents played a huge role in raising me. We’d have art lessons everyday and specifically draw faces. Later in life, my grandmother explained how our art lessons were a way to take my mind off of everything. My sister is my best friend and she is now fully healthy and art will forever be a huge influence in my life!

With hobbies like thrifting and barre, how do you balance your professional life with personal time? Are there any other activities you enjoy that help you unwind?

I think the most important thing to do is listen to your body and mind and be conscious of what it needs… Whether that’s a workout, a great day spent with a close friend, etc. A silly way for me to unwind is to listen to my favorite artists, like Lana Del Rey and Cannons, and dance around my apartment for fun. I also love to journal at the end of the day to unwind.

Trying new things and experiences seems to be a big part of your life philosophy. Can you share one of the most unforgettable new experiences you’ve had recently?

A few months ago I entered a sailing race with my friend last minute as they needed a few more crew members on their team. I never sailed before but it was so amazing to learn the ropes and it was such a beautiful experience. We ended up winning the race!

What is one piece of clothing or accessory that you believe every model should have in their personal wardrobe and why?

A good quality black blazer that you feel confident in. It’s a staple piece you can style in so many ways. It’s the perfect way to make a cool outfit that encapsulates your personal style while looking more professional when going to castings; This way casting directors get that perfect balance of class and professionalism while showcasing your personality.

As someone who loves art, do you have a favorite artist or art movement that particularly inspires your own artistic endeavors?

I love Preston Paperboy! He too focuses on faces in his artwork but does so in such a beautiful and abstract way while still maintaining a sense of realism. Sometimes I focus too much on detail and can be a perfectionist, but his work inspires me to let go and not take my art so seriously!

NYC is a major fashion hub. How does working in NYC compare to your experiences modeling in places like Milan or Paris? Are there any unique challenges or opportunities?

All three cities are amazing fashion hubs but they are all so unique in their own way, for example, Milan photographers tend to shoot more moody and dark which I love. Modeling in New York definitely is the most competitive in my opinion; especially getting signed by an agency. I’d say the greatest challenge when modeling internationally is the language barrier at times.

Looking ahead, what are some goals or aspirations you have in your modeling career? Are there any specific designers you dream of working with or locations where you’d love to do a shoot?

Most of the work I do is couture fashion which I absolutely love but I’d also love to break more into the beauty market. Three designers I dream to model for are Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent and Iris van Herpen while my dream location would be in Copenhagen; I’ve always dreamt of traveling there one day.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring models who look up to you and your career? What do you think is key to achieving success in the modeling industry?

Advice I would give to aspiring models to succeed in their career would be:

Find an agency that is excited about you. When I was looking to get signed in New York and I interviewed with my agency, Fenton Model Management, their energy was so amazing and uplifting and I knew they would be a great fit. I am truly so grateful for the amazing opportunities they have given me. You don’t want to sign with an agency that puts you on the back burner.

Test and collaborate as much as possible. Not only will you build your portfolio, but you’ll learn how to pose, be confident and comfortable, all while making amazing connections along the way. Be confident! Rejection is a huge part of the job and the sooner you realize that the further you’ll progress. Even if you get knocked down do not stop believing in yourself! There are so many different types of looks and know that you are unique and you cannot win everything! Be resilient.

Photographer: Alex Ancheta @aanchetany

Makeup Artist: Romana Makeup New York @romana117

Model: Bethany Dziekan @bethany_dziekan @Fenton Model Management

Hair Stylist: Nami Harada @nami_hair_harada

Makeup Artist: Arpita Brahmbhatt



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