My Come Up: Carson Hiner, College Dropout to International Model

College dropout to international model – sounds like something out of a movie, right? Well it’s not. It’s Carson Hiner’s reality now. We are sharing Carson’s come up in hopes of inspiring other models to take their dreams of modeling to the next level.

Represent Show SS18 from WWD by Andrew Shang


I was going to college in Florida and was scouted on Facebook and ended up signing with Next Miami in the weeks that followed. I signed because I thought it’d be a nice way to make some money during college. Up until that point I didn’t realize people actually modeled, I didn’t know it was a thing. Anyway, fast forward some 6 months, I’m going into my last year of college. I was set to get my bachelors degree at 20 years old in Marketing, and started getting these internship offers, and they were shit. They were all absolute shit. I hated every single one so much, and I had modeling on the table, so I left school and went for it. I moved to miami and shortly after moved to NYC. It was a cop out at the time, but almost 3 years later and I’m still doing it.

I had the option and I went for it. I wanted to feel it out, and all I wanted to do in the beginning was quit. The lifestyle isn’t glamorous, the paychecks don’t come rolling in, the jobs are sparse, but I learned from it all. Shannon Bray, the darling conducting this interview is actually the single most important person in my modeling story. She was the first person to tell me I should model, we shot, an agency saw the pics, and the rest is history. My mother agent is Next Miami and they’ve been a dream. They’ve managed to get me placed with Fusion NYC, Wilhelmina LA and I Love in Milan. So after I had Next in the bag it was just kind of about trusting them.


For the most part, my experience with being signed has been great. I don’t have any horror stories. I’ve had some paychecks take their time, and a few minor quarrels with every booker I’ve had, but I’ve been lucky. Some clearly care more about you as a person and some clearly care more about you as a product, and that’s just kind of the industry, but I’ve been fortunate, to say the least.


If you want to make modeling a career don’t let it get to your head and don’t get down on yourself. Everybody wants to be the next Sean O’Pry, and I hope for your sake you are, but odds say you aren’t going to book a major campaign the same week you get signed. Your bookers will talk you up like you’re going to blow up instantly and you’ve been picked up so high, that when you aren’t booking these massive campaigns, you get in your own head. “What am I doing wrong?” “Why isn’t this working?” and you hit a really, really harsh wall, which is the point where most people quit. I’ve seen kids with the brightest of futures in the industry quit a couple months in, because the ups and downs are way too much. Modeling is a means to an end for very few people. The best advice I have find something else that makes you happy, something you’re truly passionate about, and do it simultaneously. Trying to support yourself solely modeling is almost impossible in the beginning, and if that is the route you decide to take, the only thing I can say is save a shit ton of money before you take the leap.

photo by Bailey Sondag

Q&A with Carson

Q: What makes a great model in your opinion?
Genetics haha, genetics and trends really. There’s always going to be undeniable beauties that will always have an open invitation to succeed in the modeling world. They exist and will always exist. The other is trends. Fashion is an ever-changing beast, and some models have become very good at predicting trends, and even getting to a point where they define “cool” and can create trends.

Q: What is the modeling community like? Do you find it to be more competition over community?
Most definitely more of a community. I’ve never felt like I was competing directly with another model. I remember I lost my first big job ever to Bailey Sondag, when I was living in Miami. I was pissed I lost the job, but never mad at Bailey. Weirdly enough because of that he ended up becoming one of my best friends in Miami, and is still a good friend to this day. Now, I would be honored to lose a job to Bailey haha.

Carson is just one example of a creator on The Hub who has turned their dream into their career. Do you have a similar story? Share it in the comments with us for a chance to have your own story featured on The Hub Highlight.

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