Sporting brilliance and balance
Think of a fashion model, and the image that often comes to mind is of tall, svelte beauties in stylish fashions striding down runways or sparkling in front of cameras—a couture career that seems so much about outward appearances. Six feet tall and beautiful, Anya Brill fits this description well, but she is so much more than a pretty face and figure. Her modeling career is off to a brilliant start, but she’s determined to balance the outward demands of that career with the person she is inside.
Anya was born and raised in Georgetown, coming from a close-knit family of five girls, mom and dad, and two dogs—Toby and Dixie. It’s a family that’s grounded in a strong foundation of love, faith, and support. When she was thirteen, Anya’s life revolved around family activities, schoolwork, volleyball, friends, and babysitting. Then her mother decided to enter Anya in a back-to-school fashion show. When Anya found out, she says, “I was so upset, thinking, ‘I don’t want to go out in front of those people.’” She’ll never forget waiting her turn to walk down the runway. “I just remember standing there, being so nervous. Then after it was over, thinking, ‘I love this. I want to keep doing it!’” The following year, she went to the casting calls, and she was chosen to walk in the show again.
Her first photo shoot reinforced the exhilaration she had felt on the runway. Anya says, “I actually surprised myself. I went in there really nervous, somewhat unsure of what to do. But afterwards, I was so pleased with how everything went.”
Amazingly, Anya has never taken any formal modeling classes, which are very expensive. She and her mom decided from the get-go that, if she had talent as a model, doors of opportunity would open. And they did. Anya’s friend Rebecca Price is friends with the owner of Tess Designs and knew the designer was looking for models, so Rebecca recommended Anya. After meeting with the owner, Anya became one of their campaign models. She has done several seasonal photo shoots for Tess Designs in their signature fifties and sixties style dresses.
As her modeling schedule gradually intensified, Anya and her mom realized that Anya’s time was spread too thin; some tough decisions were at hand. Schoolwork was a priority, but what should she do about modeling and volleyball? Anya had played on her school volleyball team for seven years and had coached, too. Her team won All-State in 2011. But after hurting her shoulder and then separating her ribs while playing, the answer seemed clear—it was time to focus on the modeling and give up volleyball. Though she misses the camaraderie of her teammates and the sport itself, it was the right decision for her.
In August of 2011, she walked in the Austin Fashion Week, which Anya says “blew up everything and really got my name out there.” She was asked back for the 2012 show as well. Anya loves both photo shoots and runway, but runway is her favorite. She says, “The energy you feel when you’re on the runway is amazing.”
But it’s hard work. She recalls one photo shoot where she worked from six in the morning until ten at night—as the only model! She’s more than willing to put in the hours, and she constantly pushes herself to learn all she can along the way. She says the photographers will sometimes let her see the photos during the photo shoot, and that “seeing the photos can help you, because you can see what you’re doing wrong, or what you’re doing right, and then make adjustments.” For a clothing shoot, Anya says there’s an average of eight clothing changes, as well as accessory changes.
She loves all facets of modeling but especially all the interesting people she meets. While on a production shoot at the Georgetown airport called Will She Stay, Or Will She Go? she worked with Donny Boaz, a model who’s also a successful actor. “We really connected and built a great friendship,” Anya says. “His help has been wonderful, and he introduced me to Sue Webber of Webber Productions in Austin.” Anya is signed with this agency, as well as with Hoffman International out of Kansas and the Campbell Agency in Dallas, two other groups to whom Donny introduced her. She can sign with multiple agencies, as long as they are not within a fifty-mile radius of one another.
Anya travels frequently to Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas for jobs. Until this past year, when Anya turned 18, her mom traveled with her and helped her with scheduling. This past summer, however, Anya lived in an apartment and handled the work on her own. She says it was tough in some ways, but rewarding, too—that feeling of independence. As a model, Anya knows the constant challenge of discipline: making and keeping track of her schedule, the individual shoots, and even her exercise regime and what she eats. Of course she’s human, too, and Anya doesn’t hesitate to note that she’s had times when her exercise routine was not as focused or that she sometimes allows herself to eat whatever she wants. She stays flexible and realistic about it all. She says, “I have the biggest sweet tooth!” She loves ice cream. But when it comes to the temptation of TexMex, she’s lucky, because she hates it. Her family teases her, asking, “How can you hate Mexican food? You’re a Texan!”
Like any blossoming career, Anya’s modeling is a work in progress. She says, “You just continue to get your name out there and keep working with your agents.” She’s grateful that she has only two classes to complete this year before graduating from her high school, Grace Academy. This schedule gives her more flexibility for her modeling work.
After graduation, she plans to continue pursuing her long-time dream of walking in New York Fashion Week, but she also wants to start college—probably beginning at ACC and then later transferring to Texas State University. In five years, she hopes to be graduated and married. And down the road, she wants children—maybe two or three. She loves kids and has nannied for families during the summers for many years.
And where does the modeling fit in? She’s hopeful that within five years it will have taken off, but if not, she says, “I’d rather focus on other things.” She takes it all in stride as she walks down life’s runway into the future.