Lilyan Cole: Model in the Making
As you know, trying to break through in today’s modeling industry is nearly impossible. After Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn, and more have graced the pages of high-fashion magazines and designer runways, the bar is set extremely high. In order to get to the place they are now, they worked hard as teenagers to build their resume and get as much experience as possible. Yolanda Hadid, mom of Gigi and Bella, experienced this first hand with her daughters, which sparked her idea to train six young models for what is to come in their future. And as additional motivation, after eight weeks, she would pick a winner to manage and provide with a contract to IMG Models, one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world. After searching through a myriad of submissions, Lilyan Cole, a quirky 15-year-old from Oklahoma, was one of the lucky girls chosen to train with Hadid on the Lifetime TV series Making a Model. Although Cole was not the final winner, her spirit and positive mindset throughout the course of the competition made her victorious. I am so honored that I was able to talk to Cole about the ups and downs of being on the series, the lessons she’s learned, and what’s next when it comes to her modeling career.
How did you first find out about Making a Model?
One of the producers of the show contacted my mother on her Instagram after she made it public two weeks before. It was definitely God that opened the door to Making A Model.
Have you always loved to model?
I’ve always had an eye for modeling, ever since I was a little girl. I would do runway shows for my family and make my mom take pictures of me. I was a sassy li’ thang! Modeling has been a love of mine for as long as I can remember.
What was it like working with Yolanda Hadid?
Working with someone like Yolanda Hadid, who has three extraordinary children that have very successful lives, was such an honor. I learned so much from her and I am forever grateful!
What was the most important lesson she taught you during your time on the show?
One of the most important lessons that Yolanda taught me was to stay true to myself and embrace everything that God gave me. I learned a lot about myself while I was on the show--I realized that no matter what, I am enough.
What was it like bunk-bedding with your mom for two months?
I mean, you’re right up in each other’s space and you can get aggravated sometimes but it was definitely a great bonding experience. It’s literally like having a sleepover with your mom for two straight months!
What was your favorite challenge on the show?
Definitely the photo shoot for Tommy Hilfiger X Gigi! Honestly, though, I can’t name a least favorite because every single challenge had an amazing lesson attached to it, which helped me grow into loving myself and loving modeling even more.
There was a lot of controversy about your hair on the show. Yolanda made you go back to your brunette roots and you decided to stay a blonde. What made you ultimately come to that decision?
My decision to go back blonde after Yolanda decided to color it brown was because I have never had the Native American hair that Yolanda thought I did. My dad has dark brown hair but not me--I have had sandy blonde hair since I was born. Another reason why I made my decision was because I was not confident at all when I had brown hair. When you go to a salon to get a new look, you want to feel pretty when you leave, and I just didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t want to look at myself in the mirror--all I wanted to do was cry because I didn’t feel pretty. If I didn’t feel confident, I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish the rest of the assignments and complete my journey on the show. My mom stood by my decision, too.
Which girl was your bestie in the house?
I was close to everyone in the house but the one person that always helped pick me up when I was down and go on crazy NYC adventures with me was Breanna Bunevacz!
What are your future plans?
I’m just going to go through each door that is opened for me. I plan to move either to NYC or LA to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. My first love has always been acting and that is the door that actually lead me to model. I believe God has a plan for me and I trust that process. I’m also currently putting modeling tips on my YouTube channel! I learned a lot on Making a Model and would like to share those tools with others that may want to pursue modeling.
Follow Lilyan on Social Media:
YouTube: Lilyan Cole