Wayzata resident Heather Lambert loves her hometown. She also loves her career as a model. For 23 years, Lambert has worked steadily without having to move to New York or Los Angeles, as so many models do.
“For me, the Twin Cities is a very good place to be, because we have so much print and catalog work. New York, LA, Miami…they just aren’t my market,” Lambert explains.
For one thing, Lambert is just 5’6”, so she doesn’t meet the height requirements for most runway work. But something else that sets her apart from up-and-coming models on the coasts is that she’s 51 years old—and still has a vibrant career. When Lambert started her career in the early ‘90s, she says, there wasn’t much work in any city for models who didn’t fit a very strict standard. “The industry has changed for the better,” she says. “I have seen a lot more diversity in ethnicity, and more acceptance of a variety of looks, shapes and sizes. We are seeing a lot more models in their 30s to 60s than 20-somethings in this market.”
Lambert knew she wanted to become a model when she was in her teens. She explored signing with an agency, but decided college was a better choice for her at that time. Then, about a decade later, an agent approached her in a grocery store, and from that chance encounter, her career was kick-started and her teenage ambitions were realized.
Her work as a model has given her the opportunity to learn about fashion from a variety of professionals. “I have had a fantastic time meeting extraordinary talent here in Minnesota and the surrounding states,” she says. “I have worked with some of the most amazing photographers, stylists, models, makeup artists and agencies—I feel they could go toe-to-toe with their counterparts in New York and LA.”
Lambert found she had a talent for teaching other women how to put their best face forward. A few years ago, she started volunteering with some local charities, giving makeovers and makeup lessons. One organization she works with is Minnesota Teen and Adult Challenge, a recovery group for people dealing with substance abuse. Lambert believes women in the program benefit from a break to do something fun, and gain confidence when they know how to make themselves look their best. “It is a way that I can brighten someone’s day,” she says.
The fashion industry can be tough. Lambert has managed to keep a balance that has made her career enjoyable as well as successful. Her daughter Isabella is a junior at Minnetonka High School, and the pair are involved with local and school activities.
“I think the key thing for me is that every opportunity I would get, I would put my all into it, but at the same time not take it too seriously,” she says. “If I was told I was too short, the wrong size or not the right look, it was OK. You have to have a bit of a hard shell to overcome the reality and uniqueness of this industry. It has been so much fun doing the job I dreamed of that came to reality. I am forever grateful.”