Desiree Schlotz: a hardworking girl meant to shine
Written in Partnership with Valeria Gonzalez
Desiree Schlotz is proof of the phrase “if you work for it, you’ll get it.” Desiree, a Filipino-American born in Minnesota, started modeling as young as 15. She made her “big girl” move to L.A. while she was in college so she could pursue her dream of being a model. She thought her path would be easy when she first arrived, but she soon had to face the harsh reality that opportunities weren’t going to be handed to her as easily as she had hoped. With persistence as her key, Desiree worked as a freelance makeup artist at retail stores like Sephora while she struggled to find her big break. Through it all, Desiree was focused on her social media presence, leading her to land major branding and collaboration deals. Nowadays, Desiree Schlotz is enjoying the fruit of her labors, as she has appeared on the cover of Glamour Magazine and has walked on runway shows such as Miami Swim Week. Desiree is also getting ready to launch her swimwear brand, Celestial Swim, which focuses on diversity and environmental friendliness.
Anyone who viewed Desiree’s beginnings on social media would know it was just a matter of time before she became a star. In the early years of Instagram, Desiree was 13 years old and experienced something not uncommon nowadays, but uncommon ten years ago. Instagram was just beginning when Desiree heard the rumor that she had an account on it with over 500,000 followers. The whole profile was made based on her Facebook account, but the account had a fake backstory about her! Although the account wasn’t actually hers, it is what helped her realize that people were still interested in knowing who the real Desiree was.
When Desiree decided to get into modeling, she had around 9,000 Instagram followers. She started researching different agencies and how to professionally break into a career in modeling. During that time, she didn’t have the support of her parents, so she was on her own. She learned how to make a portfolio and looked through agencies in Minnesota until she was signed at Arca Agency. While she was still in high school, she did some work on the side and would post the photos on Instagram. Years after that, she decided to finalize her move to L.A., where she started at zero and struggled with getting jobs and paying rent. Eventually, she got a job at Sephora, and freelanced as a makeup artist. Desiree would take the Metro from Downtown L.A to Beverly Hills for makeup sessions. She always kept in mind that everything was part of the process; due to her perseverance, brands saw her on Instagram right when collabs and branding deals started “popping off.” She established herself on social media platforms, modeled for a variety of brands, and made a name for herself.
Desiree’s passion for modeling started at a very early age, as she followed the footsteps of her mother, who went to beauty school. She also often admired all the work from designers she saw on Vogue. Because she broke stereotypes, Desiree’s path toward modeling wasn’t easy. People
often told her, “you’re not tall enough” or “you should do more commercials.” Desiree also had a hard time showcasing her own fashion sense once she got brand deals, as it started feeling like everything had to be an advertisement on her page. It came to a point where people couldn’t see her own fashion style. However, now that she is signed to NOW PR, people see her as herself, and she is able to do magazine covers saying her name, not just XYZ model from this agency. Getting published in high fashion magazines has been one of her greatest milestones.
With a bright future, Desiree is working with her co-founder, Jessica, to buckle up for the launch of their swimwear brand Celestial Swim. Celestial Swimwear was born from Desiree and Jessica’s experience of working with so many swimsuit brands over the years and getting to know what qualifies as a good swimsuit. They wanted to have a platform that could involve two very important themes in their lives: swimwear and spiritualities. The main concept of Celestial Swimwear is to incorporate themes of travel, so each collection represents the place that inspired its creation. The pieces are also eco-sustainable as the company recycles waste materials from landfills and oceans all over the world to use as material for the swimwear pieces. It was very important to them that they leave a suitable carbon footprint while maintaining a high-quality product.
Desiree also wants to bring attention and awareness to diversity and culture. This business has a purpose: Desiree and Jessica want to work with mental health nonprofits and have a sense of a community. They hope to show that they are not just another swimsuit brand, but a wellness retreat.
Desiree represents an unapologetic woman who always stays true to herself. She has gotten a lot of hate and a lot of negativity and knows just how easy it can be to sink to those levels and become a part of this negative social system. However, Desiree has really tried to just stay true to herself and to always be vocal about her opinions. On her Instagram, Desiree always tries to talk about her spirituality, gratitude, and mindfulness.
“It’s really hard when some people don’t resonate with that or don’t understand that type of life,” Desiree said. She expressed that every time she experienced hate or letdowns, she worked ten times harder and showed passion and determination.
Seeing into the future, Desiree hopes to see her swimwear brand grow so she can give back to non-profits and people. She also wants to expand more on social media, work, and attend more Fashion Weeks.