Ex-model Robin Hazelwood conducts a guided tour down the runways of the late 1980s in her debut novel, Model Student. Before she knows it, Midwesterner Emily Woods finds herself at photo shoots with the same models whose images had previously been plastered on her bedroom walls. When the time comes to choose between college and catwalks, Emily decides she can do both, moving to New York City to attend Columbia University and pursue her dreams. It proves tougher to balance college life with the fashion world than Emily ever imagined. Doggedly pursuing her dual passions makes Emily start to spin out of control, until she finds herself flailing in both arenas and realizes that she may have to make a choice between brains and beauty.
Young Emily becomes an engaging protagonist, as her intelligence and thoughtfulness make the supreme superficiality of the fashion world palatable. Hazelwood's sharp writing provides a glimpse into a glamorous world, but stays grounded by using college life as a foil to the fashionistas. Her real-life experience as model in the '80s and '90s the era that brought us those larger-than-life supermodels Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell gives her an insider edge that lends credibility to events that would be otherwise unbelievable.