Meet Steven Zehnder, a recent college grad who moved to New York City to pursue a career in the modeling industry in the latest episode of “The Search.”
This is the stuff dreams are made of.
Steven Zehnder is a triathlete who hopes to compete at the 2020 Olympics. He’s also passionate about music, video production, soccer, and his religion. And this past summer, the 22-year-old from the small town of Shelbyville, Ky., moved to New York City to pursue his goal of becoming a model.
“I believe that I am one of the most ambitious people out there,” he says. “I have huge dreams and aspirations.”
Zehnder’s look helped him stand out in Shelbyville — and also turned heads in New York. People aren’t used to seeing “a 6-foot-one white guy from Kentucky with dreadlocks,” he says. He started wearing his brown hair in dreadlocks during college at Kentucky’s Campbellsville University, after being inspired by the hairstyle of longtime U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team player Kyle Beckerman — who recently got a cut.
“I’ve had so many people come up to me and tell me how much they love my hair,” Zehnder says.
He booked some fashion jobs on a trip to the city this fall before going back to Kentucky to finish out his senior year of college. He returned in July, signed a contract with New York Model Management and started going to go-sees, the modeling world’s auditions.
With barely any money in his bank account when he arrived, Zehnder slept on an air mattress in his cousin’s living room in Hell’s Kitchen and did side work in catering and window washing. To stay centered, he spent time each day studying the Bible.
An early setback — having to get his wisdom teeth out — added to Zehnder’s debt load. His college loans were looming.
“The biggest struggle for me right now is money,” he says.
Watch Zehnder in the seventh episode of “The Search,” a Moneyish original series about finding work.
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