You may remember Lindsay Lohan’s little sister Ali. She sang on her family’s 2006 Christmas album Lohan Holiday, appeared alongside her mother Dina in 2008’s E! reality show Living Lohan, and has appeared in tabloids alongside her sister on many a Los Angeles shopping spree.
But now, at 19, she’s taking strides to establish an independent career. Last week, she signed a contract with the Wilhelmina modeling agency in New York, which (when partnered with her Los Angeles agency NEXT) will make her a bicoastal talent.
You might call modeling part of the family business, but Lohan told The Daily Beast by phone on Tuesday that she chose the profession because it feels “really natural ... I love how I can show my personality through a photograph and connect with other people.” She first started in the business in 2011 when she signed onto NEXT LA’s women’s board, but a New York expansion, she says, could bring her career to the next level.
In a raspy-sweet voice similar to her sister’s, Ali (who goes by her full name Aliana, per Wilhelmina’s suggestion) knows that setting out on her own won’t be easy. “[I hope] that my dedication to work outshines any name that is attached to me,” she says. “I’m proud to be a Lohan and I will always will be.”
After living with her sister in Los Angeles for a short time to explore West Coast modeling opportunities, Aliana has returned to her family’s Long Island residence to work on building a career in New York. (She says that she travels back and forth to castings in the city on the Long Island Rail Road.) Lohan only started working in-house for her new agency on April 29, following three months of discussions. In the last week, that has meant attending castings and meetings with the likes of Theory and Bullett Magazine, while also building up her model “book”—a portable resume of photos that models show potential clients.
Right now, much of Lohan’s portfolio includes work done overseas in Korea under NEXT’s watch—campaigns and ELLE Korea editorials among them. It’s what prompted Wilhelmina’s head women’s agent, Roman Young, to seek out her services. “I was amazed with the versatility of her look,” he explained of Lohan. “She is a real chameleon … in every look she comes out looking like a different person and that is gold in our business.”
That intrinsic change is what Lohan says attracted her to fashion in the first place. “I love the diversity, I just love how everything is always changing and growing,” she says. “You are constantly learning new things.” She sees modeling as a jumping off point in the fashion industry, and admitted: “I would love to branch out and [start a clothing label] down the line. Definitely yes.”
However admirable, Lohan’s choice to enter the modeling world isn’t so different from some of her contemporaries—Kardashian offspring Kendall Jenner is signed to Wilhelmina as well. In a world where celebrity relatives book modeling gigs with frequent aplomb (see Ireland Baldwin as example), the market for fame-affiliated models is booming. But so often, many of those signed don’t book the kind of high-fashion work they desire. And there is a reason: the fashion industry’s sample size gets in the way. Last week Baldwin even defended her body after being exposed to the hardships the sample size ideal provides.
This is where Lohan however, has it in the bag. According to Young, she “has typical measurements for a model,” clocking in at 5 feet 9 inches with 32-24.5-35 body measurements. He says she is “the perfect sample size for a model…she’s all the things you’d want from a true face.”
But more than that, Lohan appears focused. “I just want to be known for being dedicated and being true to myself,” she says. “I think working really hard and being on time will pay off in the end.”