When Emily Tender was 14, her mother took what Tender described as some photos in “dorky” poses of her and submitted them to a modeling agency in Seattle. That agency signed her – as did Nous Model Management in Los Angeles in 2015 and the super-big IMG Models in New York.
The past three years have been quite an adventure for Tender, a St. George’s School senior who is now 17. At 14, she and her mother spent the summer in Tokyo for modeling. “When I got there, they told me I was fat and gave me laxatives to take,” said Tender, who was by no means overweight but who confessed to following her big brother Will’s eating regimen of donuts and pizza and munching on cheddar crackers.
“My mom and I agreed that there would be no laxatives, but I did then commit to a healthy eating regimen and, as it turned out, with all the walking and running I did, and good eating, I did lose 10 pounds that summer,” she said. “I did workouts that shaped my body.”
She has appeared in ads for stores and representing different brands of clothes and bags and was in last November’s issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. “Well, it was actually the back of my head, showing two braids and a lot of sparkle for an alien look,” Tender said.
Modeling under the name Emily Hall (Hall is her middle name), she will debut as a runway model during September’s Fashion Week in New York City. She’ll spend this summer in New York further refining her abilities. “Posing came pretty naturally to me,” she said, “but runway walking, well, that’s still a work in progress. The agency is training me how to walk. I’m kind of clumsy and an awkward person naturally.”
She’ll live in an apartment in New York this summer, probably with a friend, but no fast life for her. “I like to stay in on Friday nights and watch nerdy videos, reruns of ‘Law and Order’ and bake, usually healthy vegan peanut butter cookies.”
She is an excellent student at St. George’s and will be graduating with an international baccalaureate degree. Coursework and testing is rigorous, and she enjoys the challenge. She has made a commitment to Loyola Marymount for college, but will be taking a gap year to model full-time.
At school she has participated in basketball, golf and cross country, and has been involved in many other activities. She also works at the Humane Society socializing and walking dogs there. The family volunteers at Ronald McDonald House.
She spent some time this spring modeling in New York, “but I so was ready to come home and see my family.” Her family is very much a St. George’s one. Father Jamie Tender will be head of school this fall, and mother Elizabeth is the International Baccalaureate Program coordinator. Brother Will, 20, is a graduate and now attends the University of Redlands in California; and sister Kate, 16, is a student at St. George’s.
Tender said she has no clue as to how things will work out, but she is eager to see what happens with modeling. Not a fashionista, “my style is awfully simple,” she said. “I pretty much always wear sweats to school and am more tomboyish, but with modeling, I can be so many different characters. And that’s fun.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day's top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter