The multi-talented Mandee Bence is a force to be reckoned with. Based in the city of angels, Bence knows no limits. She models and styles her own shoots and is also the Global Accessories Designer at one of the biggest headwear manufacturers in America, New Era. We had the pleasure of speaking with the half-Taiwanese, half-European mixed beauty about what fuels her ambition and what’s next. Read the full interview below.
Tell us about yourself and how it was growing up in LA.
I was always an Honors student. I went to public school and was only allowed to play video games for 30 minutes a week, on Sunday. My parents were strict so as soon as I turned 18 I moved away to college. I lived in all different cities in LA; East Side, West Side, beach cities, the hood, and Downtown. I hated living Downtown the most. I had to walk 3 blocks to get to my car, which was parked on the 8th floor of a paid structure, while having to step over dog shit, heroin needles and sleeping homeless people on the sidewalk. Having a downtown loft sounds glamorous, but it sucks. I never thought I would end up in Orange County (OC). I used to say OC was for the “normal” people. Now I love living here. You can park outside of the grocery store and just walk in. You can make a left turn without anyone honking at you.
You took a break from modeling but recently got back into it. What motivated you to start modeling again?
I started modeling with an Asian-American agency at age 16. I stopped doing it for years because I wanted to get into the behind-the-scenes part of it, ie. the fashion industry. Then around age 21, brands and photographers started asking me to shoot again, mainly through the internet. Now I take breaks often, whenever my day job gets too crazy. I have peaks during the seasonal fashion calendar, it’s up and down. I get super busy and stay at the office 10-12 hours a day, then the next week is super mellow so I fill my free time with photo shoots and working on my blog.
You’re known for styling your own shoots. What fuels inspiration in choosing what to wear?
With most of my shoots, I collect a bunch of product that brands send me through the mail. With various brands I’ll put together outfits, sometimes mixing them so I can cross-promote. I combine them with stuff that’s already in my closet. I usually don’t take inspiration from other people, I just wear what I like. But I guess being on Instagram a lot subconsciously influences my style.
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