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Sojourner Morrell

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Sojourner Morrell



Hair colorLight brown

Eye colorBlue

Date of birthPlace of birth

EthnicityBritish / SwissHeight5'10" ; 178cm

Measurements(US) 32-25-33.5 ; (EU) 81-63-85

Dress size(US) 2-4 ; (EU) 32-34

Shoe size(US) 10 ; (EU) 42 ; (UK) 7.5

Mother agencyWilhelmina Models - New York


With her aristocratic bearing and unique look, Sojourner Morrell is already grabbing the attention of casting directors and industry insiders. With two months modeling experience under her belt, the beauty has already appeared in Prada’s resort show and the pages of British Vogue, not bad for a newcomer. Given her accomplishments outside the realm of fashion …quot; Sojourner was also the first female accepted to the prestigious Spanish riding academy, were certain she’s destined for great things this fashion week. Check out our exclusive interview with the eloquent Ms. Morrell, to find out more about this one of a kind girl.



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Model Call: Sojourner Morell

By Taylor Harris

With her tough chick, androgynous allure, Sojourner Morell looks part Samantha Ronson, part Agyness Deyn, with a hint of Vanessa Traina. Just don’t tell that to the 20-year-old newcomer. “I don’t register it because I don’t follow celebrities or even models so I wouldn’t know,” says Morell, a New Jersey native. “I’ve never read gossip magazines and I’m not really been big on watching TV so I’m just like, ‘OK, thanks, I guess!’” While she just started modeling in June, Morell has already landed a British Vogue editorial and a Prada Resort campaign. Next stop: New York Fashion Week. We caught up with her between castings.

Is Sojourner a family name?

Well, you know Sojourner Truth? She did a lot for women’s rights and civil rights during the 1800s. So I’m named after her. And it comes from the French word sojourn, which is like a small stay or trip. So I’m someone who makes small trips, I guess.

How did you start modeling?

I was here to study at NYU and I thought, I’m in New York and I’ve always wanted to see if I could so why not? So I sent pictures to a bunch of agencies and that’s how I got in touch with Wilhelmina.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Princeton, New Jersey. Then we moved upstate to Saratoga, and then I moved overseas by myself.

When was that, and why?

I was 16. It was for horse riding. I first spent half a year in Germany with a school and then I left early. I dropped out between my junior and senior year but it didn’t matter in the end. I guess you can be a high school dropout and still go to NYU. So then I moved to Austria because I joined another riding school there. I did that for a year but it was too much.

How so?

It was a riding school academy, and it was like all old men. There were only 16 riders. Me and this other girl were the first girls to ever enroll. And I was the only foreigner. They were all from Vienna. And it wasn’t like they helped me acclimate or find an apartment or anything so I was sort of on my own.

Why did you want to go in the first place?

It’s the best. It’s like the epitome of riding, the highest level so how can I not try it? I never expected them to accept me.

How did it happen then?

I just wrote a letter to them and said, I know you don’t take women, but maybe I could come and ride for you? And then they wrote back to me and said, ‘Please come for an interview.’ So I went over, rode for them in this palace, and they were like, ‘We like you. Can you start tomorrow?’

And then after a year you applied to NYU?

Yes, I’m still enrolled there, but am taking a year’s leave of absence to pursue this and see how it goes.

This is your first fashion week. How are you feeling?

I’m a bit nervous. Yesterday was my first day of castings and that was intense, a really full day. But in comparison to the other girls, I got off easy; I only had six casting gigs. But it’s just very physically trying. You’re running everywhere, rushing to get your shoes on and chucking your shoes off. You get there all gross and sweaty and you’re like, ‘I don’t look so good right now.’

Did your agency give you any tips on your walk?

Shoulders back, chin up that kind of thing. They said walking on your toes more so that your heels is important so you’re not clunking down. Apparently, some of the runway heels aren’t so stable so you can’t really put a lot of weight on them or they’ll snap. So you have to sort of tiptoe. We practiced a lot because I don’t normally wear heels. I have big feet, ­size 10, so I hope they have shoes that fit at the shows. I did this shoot a couple of days ago and all of the shoes were a size too small. After standing there for 20 minutes, my feet were purple and throbbing.

How many castings do you have today?

Um, a lot, eight or nine. It’s good when you have a lot. It doesn’t feel like as much pressure. If one doesn’t go well you have others to look forward to.

Are any of them biggies?

I went to Alexander Wang yesterday, which was huge. The space is beautiful space. I was like, “Oh, I like this. I want to stay here. I got a little nervous when I saw him, even though he was only there for a second. He has a remarkable face. I’d love to formally meet him.

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Too Many GirlsAdrian Mesko captures a visual essay starring new face Sojourner Morrell for the latest issue of Australian magazine, Russh. Mesko follows the brunette from New York to Vienna in the casual portraits. Hair by Jarrett Iovinella and makeup by Yusuke Okita perfect the laid-back, travel ready ensembles.

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Layered Spring – Steven Pan (Management Artists) captures Sojourner Morrell in layers upon layers for the most recent issue of Double Magazine. Styled by Camille Bidault Waddinton in frontier inspired ensembles, Sojourner bundles up in the designs of Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Chanel and many more in the studio images.

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Nine months is all Sojourner Morrell needed to make a dent in the industry. The New Jersey native kick-started her career after landing a spot in Prada's 2012 resort presentation, followed by a solo spread in British Vogue's August 2011 issue, which then resulted in spring 2012 runway slots at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and even Tom Ford. Now in her sophomore season, the established equestrian (she was the first woman accepted to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, mind you) walked the couture runway for Chanel, nabbed Jil Sander Navy's spring campaign, and appeared in editorials for Interview, Dazed & Confused, i-D magazine — and is currently on the cover of Italian Vogue. The laid-back Morrell stopped by our offices last week to talk politics, prom, and which fashion show has the best backstage food.

Tell me a bit about your childhood.

I was born in Trenton, New Jersey, but was raised partially in Princeton and later, Saratoga Springs — but then, I traveled a lot. I have an older brother in Vermont, and my mother used to work for Chase Bank, but she's now a French teacher. She was my teacher, actually. I was very committed, hardworking [as a child] with good grades in school. When I was 14, I moved to Germany to work on a horse farm for the summer, and then went back the following year as an exchange student with the school. And then, instead of my senior year, I moved to Austria to attend the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

Where you were the first woman to be accepted to the school. Represent! What do you remember about that time in your life?

It was very tough and intense being the only girl; they didn't exactly want me there. I [woke up] at four in the morning and was down feeding the horses by 6 a.m. If you were five minutes late, they’d be like, “Where were you?!” We would work all day until 3 p.m. — and we did this six to seven days a week. I was the only foreigner, too, [as] they all came from Vienna; so here came some American girl with some liberal education, and they’re like, "What are you doing [here]?" Overall, it was a good experience.

Now that you’re modeling full-time, where do you stand with your career as an equestrian?

I mean, I could ride before I could walk. I rode donkeys, goats, everything, because we lived on a farm in New Jersey for a few years. Goats are not very easy to ride, I have to say. [but], it's hard now because where I was riding in upstate New York is like, three hours north of here. So I'm looking to find somewhere closer, maybe Westchester to ride. It’s really difficult to be a professional, to make money doing the kind of riding I was doing. You need to be really committed; you can’t just be like, Oh, today I won't go.

So then how did you transition from a riding school in Vienna to shooting with Dan Jackson for British Vogue?

Well, after I left the Riders Club in Vienna, I moved to Switzerland for a while, just to be there working and prepping my French. And then I came back and was studying liberal studies at NYU for a year. I knew an agent through a friend of a friend, and she put me in touch with Wilhelmina, so I just signed up without any idea [of] what it really involved. Turns out you have to have a lot free time [because] you kind of have to always be available. It was hard to do it with school, so I took a year leave of absence. But I don’t see myself going back to NYU necessarily.

What were your initial thoughts on modeling?

I knew nothing about it. I never opened Vogue until I was in it. I was like, Maybe I should look at this? I was never into fashion in that sense, which is good because I've never seen America’s Next Top Model. I've never seen these horrible shows. I was open to it being whatever it was.

Okay, so you did quite well on the catwalks during your sophomore season. Pick a moment that was memorable for you.

I really love doing Chanel, I would say. It's so organized; there's never any stress, ever. People are all working together and [everyone] seems to enjoy being there. It makes everybody else enjoy being there, too, because no one likes fashion drama.

True. I hear they have the best food backstage, too.

[Laughs.] This also helps.

When you’re on the catwalk, do you ever catch glimpses of the people you’re walking by?

No. If you'd do that, you'd freak yourself out. You can't.

You’re on the current cover of Italian Vogue, which referenced “prom night” in its images. Did you go to your prom? What was the environment like on set?

I did not. My school, being Waldorf, doesn't have prom. [Laughs.] I remember being surprised how quickly Steven Meisel shoots. Again, it's organized, and he knows what he wants. So, it's just kind of like, you come, and he took like a couple minutes, and he's like, "Okay, I have it."

Let’s move away from fashion. What scares you?

Middle America, a bit. In TV and media, just the politics that come out of Middle America … the Sarah Palins, the Mitt Romneys. Mitt Romney is okay, but still. Newt Gingrich — what? Really? These people have real power. It’s scary.

You might be the first model who’s ever said anything remotely political during these interviews. So, you’re about to be stranded on an island forever and you can only bring one person and one thing. Who and what would you bring?

Really? … I have to be careful with this one! I would bring my mother and maybe a very cold bottle of champagne.

Cheers to that. It seems like you’ve traveled a lot. Is there a place you’d like to travel to that you haven’t been?

I would like to go to South America. There's so many different cultures down there to visit. It seems genuinely different. And also, this is a generalization, but [they have a] lively culture with very energetic people. Unlike Europeans who are a little more reserved. [Also], South America might have some good dancing, good music.

Let’s chat about music. What do you enjoy listening to?

I actually love classical music because I play the viola. So I’m always happy to hear [it] — well, not always. It depends. I don't like organ music. I can’t [get into] it, but I try. I find opera a bit challenging as well. I love jazz. Band-wise, I like the Smiths, Bob Dylan, and Feist.

Do you consider yourself beautiful?

I mean, I don’t think about it that much. But I guess, yeah. I’m not unhappy with my appearance. I’m not like, Oh, I can’t look at myself!

What’s the best advice you’ve received in modeling?

It sounds corny, but someone was like, "Have fun with it." I think that’s important to remember. In the end, you have no control [over] what you do. It’s not like you work really hard and you get far. There’s some of that, but if you practice viola every day for four hours, you'll be a master musician and you'll be in a really good orchestra and you’ll be successful. It’s not always like that in modeling. You can try really hard and get nowhere.

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Editorial "Sueño De Androide" ("Android Dream") in Harper's Bazaar Spain October 2012

Note: The editorial's theme comes from the 1982 American science fiction movie "Blade Runner", which is based on a science fiction short story written by Philip K. Dick, titled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Photographer: Dancian

Stylist: Bárbara Martelo

Hair: Ramona Eschbach at Jed Root using Oribe

Make-up: Michelle Rainer using MAC

Model: Sojourner Morrell

Source: zinio, via Mat_Cyruss at the Fashion Spot

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