This interview is part of a continuing series of conversations between HAH and the talent we work with. Hot-As-Hell isn’t just a brand, it’s a state of mind; we spend time choosing the artists we work with – each of them reinforces our ethos in their own right. Through working with them, we hope to foster a creative environment where they feel inspired to be their best selves. In the case of Stephanie Yonkovich, that means showcasing her talents as a ballerina AND model.
We first fell in love with Stephanie when we shot her for our NYC campaign shoot back in 2015. She is an old friend of our designer Rebecca, and as soon as we discussed the idea of featuring a ballerina in our lookbook, her name came up. The second we met her, the day before the shoot over a bottle champagne at The Parker Hotel, we knew she was a perfect fit. She was so easy to work with, a total sweetheart, insanely talented – HAH through and through. The love affair continued when we flew her to Miami so she could dance her way down our swim week catwalk. And even though there was A LOT going on, she totally stole the show. This multi-talented actor, model, AND dancer took time out of her busy schedule to answer our burning questions:
HAH: Finish this sentence: it’s Hot As Hell…
Stephanie Yonkovich: In New York City right now!
Editor’s note… we conducted this interview in September – yeah we may be a little slow to release $hit, but everything good is worth waiting for 😉
HAH: You first met our team in New York when we hired you to be the ballerina in our NYC shoot. What did you think about the brand before working with us, and did that change in any way after a day of shooting?
SY: I was already obsessed with HAH and everything it stands for before working with the team in New York. My best friend and former Newport Beach roommate, Rebecca Bunker, designs for HAH, and anything she works on is remarkable. After meeting the whole team in person, I was blown away with how welcoming and inspiring everyone was and was immediately so pumped to shoot the next day. I also think it’s awesome that HAH respects and supports artist (dancers, singers, etc). It makes me love the brand even more, if that was even possible!
HAH: We had so much fun on that shoot, basically photobombing the city of New York, and taking advantage of random spontaneous moments. How does that compare to other shoots you’ve done in the past?
SY: Most shoots that I have done have been inside of a studio, which has its perks. But this shoot was more exciting and spontaneous because we were shooting outside on the streets of Manhattan and inside the subway trains. It was fun to feed off the energy and bustle of the city. It kept me on my toes (literally) because we had to wait for certain moments to HAHppen for that perfect shot, but those moments were ever-changing so we had to act fast!
HAH: What were your favorite moments/memories of this shoot?
SY: My favorite moment was probably shooting inside the subway train. It was so funny to see everyone’s reactions as they went about their daily commute.
HAH: Do you have any favorite photos?
SY: As dirty as it was, my favorite photo was the one where I am laying on the subway platform floor.
HAH: You also joined our team at Miami Swim Week to dance down our catwalk, which many people said was the highlight of the show! Tell us about that experience…
SY: To this day, that was my favorite job! Dancing down the runway and freestyling to Beyoncé and Florence and the Machine was a total dream! I’m so glad the audience enjoyed it as much as I did!
HAH: Have you ever danced on a catwalk before? How do you prepare for something like that, and what was going through your head as you came down the catwalk?
SY: I walked the runway in pointe shoes in New York Fashion Week last year, but this was different because HAH trusted me enough to just let me do my thing down the runway. I always make sure I warm up properly and visualize before I perform. And to be honest, even when I do that, I still blackout a little on stage. It’s always surreal being in front of so many people doing what you love.
HAH: What is your favorite memory from Miami?
SY: Another favorite memory from Miami would have to be after the show, hanging out in the HAH showroom suite at the W Hotel. I loved being there to celebrate a successful night and cheers to all the hard work, planning and endless hours that went into producing such a unique runway show.
HAH: What are your favorite pieces from the collection?
SY: I’m obsessed with the white outfit I wore down the runway: the SPINSTER BODYSUIT and the REBECCHAH BODYSUIT. I loved the layering! I also can’t get enough of the QUEEN 4 A DAY DRESS. I’ve been getting a lot of use out of it in New York. It’s so comfortable and flirty! Oh, and also everything!
HAH: What’s your favorite NYC #HAHT spot?
SY: I live in Harlem and I’m always really excited when a new restaurant opens up by me. My favorite right now is a new oyster bar called ROKC. It’s delicious and they serve their cocktails in skull mugs, light bulbs and sea shells!
HAH: If you could work on a future project with HAH, what would that look like?
SY: I’ve always loved incorporating dance into print and runway. It would be awesome to incorporate dancing into film as well with Hot-As-Hell!
Star: Stephanie Yonkovich
Co-Star: Isabella Farrell
Photographer: Jordan Keith
Creative Director: Sharleen Ernster
Makeup: Lisa Campos
Hair: Laura Polko
Location: New York City
MUAH: Lucy Halperin
Photography: Getty Images