Jasmine Sanders (known widely by her Instagram moniker, @golden_barbie, amongst her 1.8 million followers) frequently pops up in our feeds posing next to Kim Kardashian or Kendall Jenner, but the 25-year-old model is making a name for herself in her own right. With her flaxen curls and icy eyes set against a flawless, sand-colored complexion, Sanders’s striking look first caught the attention of the industry when she was just 13. Since then, the Columbia, South Carolina-raised model has walked Jeremy Scott’s runway and graced the pages of W and Glamour. But the real turning point was her Paris debut at Miu Miu’s Fall 2016 show earlier this year. “That was a big one for me!” she said. Ever since, we’ve had our eyes trained on the Sanders’ next move.
Recently named the face for Moroccanoil and its new curl-focused range, the catwalker’s signature blonde ringlets came bouncing down the Manhattan’s High Line for last night’s DKNY show. Here, we asked the influencer and model-on-the-rise how to embrace your natural texture for the season ahead and why she became known as “Golden Barbie.” (Hint: Tyra Banks had something to do with it.)
FASHION UNFILTERED: Moroccanoil tapped you for your incredible curls, but have you always embraced them?
JASMINE SANDERS: I definitely had a time when I was younger that I just was not as obsessed with my curls. It was so hard for me to find products that could really keep my hair from getting extremely frizzy. I grew up in South Carolina, so the humidity takes your hair to a whole other level! For me, finding products that really work for my curls changed how I felt about my hair. Now, I love wearing my hair natural. I wear it curly probably way more often then you see me with my hair straight. Before, it was such a struggle and so hard to really love my curls because they just weren’t lovable yet. They didn’t look good. They weren’t fresh and I couldn’t get the right bounce and the right products that wouldn’t weigh my curls down. Not changing the texture of your hair and really keeping the softness but still being able to hold your curls all throughout the day—that’s a major thing, especially for girls with curly hair.
FU: When did you curls become “loveable” exactly?
JS: I think more so in high school is when I really started to embrace my curls more. Honestly, I started stealing products from under my mom’s sink and she’s obsessed with Moroccanoil. When I got booked for the job, she was ecstatic beyond any of my other jobs!
AK: Where in South Carolina did you grow up?
JS: I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. I was born in Germany—my Dad used to be in the military. He ended up bringing my mom [home] from Germany, having some kids, and we came back to South Carolina. South Carolina is a lot different. It’s very chill. Not much to do. Not much of a modeling career out there.
FU: So how did you break into the fashion industry?
JS: When I was 13-years-old, I met with an agent at Millie Lewis in Columbia, South Carolina—her name’s Sheilah Dixon—and I’ve been with her ever since. She literally asked my mom, “Hey, is this something she’s interested in? She’s gorgeous.” She saw a photo of me she said, “I think she’s beautiful. I think she should do this and really take it seriously, but only if this is something she really likes.” At that time, I was sitting in front of the TV watching Victoria’s Secret shows and seeing people like Tyra [Banks], Heidi Klum, and Cindy Crawford. I was just so into how they could make photos such a creative process and seeing the creative process that goes into making that one shot that everybody wants to be in. I gravitated toward that immediately. As soon as my mom asked me I said, “Yes, please. Can I take a meeting with her? I would love to.” I had a meeting with Sheilah, we did a test shoot, they sent my photos to New York and I’ve been signed ever since. I’ve had such an amazing run, and, honestly, I owe it all to her because I don’t think I would have seen even known where to begin in South Carolina if it wasn’t for her!
FU: Thirteen is such a turning point in terms of when a young woman comes into her own and starts experimenting with her look. How did you feel about your curls when you first started modeling?
JS: My hair was definitely super curly. My parents were a little bit stricter so they took me away from the makeup and all of that stuff. A lot of girls around me were wearing their hair and makeup different ways before I got to do that. I was on Dad’s team the whole time—I was a Daddy’s girl. I was always into sports, so I think it was a funny transition for my parents and for me to go from playing volleyball, soccer, and basketball to trying to do runway and be in Seventeen magazine. It was kind of a lot for a Dad to take for the first time! But my parents were very supportive of me. You just don’t want to see throwback photos—they’re so bad. I had no idea how to control my curls! I really didn’t.
FU: What is your current curl regimen?
JS: My biggest tip is to keep your hair hydrated. I like wearing my hair a little dirtier sometimes, so I don’t always go in the shower and completely change everything. I’ve heard a lot from a lot of different hairstylists that it’s not the best for curly haired girls to wash too much, so I like to use anything that’s very light on my hair. That’s a major thing for me. Honestly, I’ve been obsessed with Moroccanoil for years. The products are so lightweight and you also don’t have to use a lot. They have an amazing reactivating spray. It’s good for days when I’m running around to castings and stuff like that. The bottle’s not too big and you can just throw it in your bag, spray it in, scrunch up your hair a little bit, and you’re good to go. You can also spray it in your hand and twirl [sections] around your finger and it helps reactivate your curls. It spruces them up and makes them look good. I’m also huge on the Curl Defining Cream.
FU: Do you apply that when your curls are damp?
JS: Sometimes I do, but if you feel like your curls are getting frizzy, you can always just rub it in your hands, twirl it around your fingers, or scrunch it. Scrunching is the biggest tip I can give a girl with curly hair! Flip your hair and scrunch it up and you’re good to go. I love the fact that Morrocoanoil products are so lightweight because I like for my hair to be more of a curlier, Afro style. I like to fluff it up—the bigger the better! Another tip is that I love to use a cotton t-shirt instead of a real towel that is thick and harsh on hair. It helps take away the frizz.
FU: How often do you have to color your curls?
JS: I highlight every now and then. For the photos in the [Moroccanoil] ads there’s no color. I recently added a little bit of highlight because I’ve been locked in the house, and locked in studios, and I haven’t been on the beach, so I don’t get the natural highlights that everyone else is getting!
FU: With all the heat styling during fashion month and photo shoots, how do you repair the damage?
JS: It can be so intense—like four or five different hairstyles sometimes in one day, on one shoot, and you don’t even think about breaking off your hair. But eventually you look at photos of before and later on and you’re like, “Wait, my hair’s actually a lot shorter and I didn’t even get a trim.” So for me, especially this last year, it’s been big for me to rehydrate my curls and get as much moisture locked in before and after going to these shoots. I love using the Smoothing Mask. I use that once a week. I’m addicted to it…I’ll put it in my hair and let it sit for 15 minutes. While it’s sitting and doing everything it needs to do, I’ll wash my face, do my face regimen, and literally, in 15 minutes, it’s completely different hair.
FU: Speaking of your skincare routine, how do you maintain selfie-ready skin?
JS: My skincare regimen is a lot of rosewater. I love rosewater spray, especially the one from Jurlique. I’m addicted. It keeps my face nice and dewy without it looking sweaty. Plus, it rehydrates everything. I keep makeup wipes with me everywhere I go. I feel like you never know when you need to take off everything, or start over, or honestly just spruce up a little bit or lay it over your face to hydrate you a little. The face wipes I like to use are from Neutrogena in the little blue packs—I get them from CVS. When I tell you I’m obsessed with them, my boyfriend now uses them, I’m like, “Give me my stuff!” They’re really good. I’m also all about shine.
FU: What is the best highlighter for Instagram?
JS: Lately, I’ve been obsessed with highlighter. I love, I love, I love [the one from] Anastasia Beverly Hills—it’s the perfect amount of glow.
FU: Where do you apply it?
JS: I put it on my nose, on my cupid’s bow, sometimes on my collarbones, and on my cheekbones, of course.
FU: Do you have any good tips for snapping the perfect selfie?
JS: My perfect selfie tip is lighting. It’s all about lighting! I’m actually going to go steal some lighting in this room at one point because I really need to get a good selfie. It’s all about lighting, using the environment, showing off your outfit a little bit—like if you can show a pretty collar, a little bit of an earring, an accessory, or something like that. The lighting is the main thing because you want to show it off.
FU: What makes for the best lighting?
JS: Honestly, being in front of a window and getting that beautiful light that comes in. Good morning light is amazing. The golden hour is the best hour for selfies. Even at night, if you’re taking a selfie and you don’t have the LuMee case, have one of your girlfriends do the flashlight on their phone, and then you take the selfie yourself. You find ways around things!
AK: I know that Golden Barbie was a name that you and your sister came up with. What were the other options on the table at the time?
JS: Ooh, I can’t even remember! I know my email address used to be Miss Life-Size Barbie, so Barbie has gone back a pretty long way. I’ve been a Tyra [Banks] fan since I was little, and she used to have a Disney movie called Life-Size, so that’s where that came from. Everybody called me Barbie doll and my teacher used to call me Goldilocks, so we ended up putting it together and making Golden Barbie work. I’m surprised that it was such a hit and now I’m set forever.