From modeling with alopecia to working at QVC, the recent grad stepped out of her comfort zone early on and never looked back.
Fashion has captivated Maddie Woytovich almost her whole life. At age 5, she was diagnosed with alopecia, which caused her to lose all the hair on her body. While this initially shook her confidence, Woytovich found fashion allowed her to express herself and embrace her differences.
“When all my friends and sisters were doing their hair in different ways, I was playing around with funky outfits and crazy earrings,” she says. “I grew to love standing out and being different. I even came to elementary school one day with a hot pink bob wig.”
Woytovich believes that her alopecia forced her out of her comfort zone, and that self-expression has followed her into adulthood.
“I still feel like that young girl experimenting with fashion,” she shares. “And when I began to model, I got to really embrace the things that make me different.”
While a student in Jefferson’s fashion merchandising and management program, Woytovich started modeling for Aerie. “Modeling was always a dream of mine, but one that I never thought would actually happen for me as someone with alopecia and a mid-size body type,” she says.
And the way she got her start is truly a fashion-lover’s dream.
“I decided to be bold one day and buy an Aerie bikini,” Woytovich says. “I posted a photo of myself in the bikini on Instagram and tagged the brand.”
When all my friends and sisters were doing their hair in different ways, I was playing around with funky outfits and crazy earrings. I grew to love standing out and being different.
Aerie saw the photo and asked permission to share it on their website as a product photo. Soon, they reached out again to see if they could use it in storefronts and marketing materials. Before Woytovich could blink, she was featured on a billboard in Times Square. She went on to be a model and ambassador for Aerie, being featured in other campaigns as part of their #AerieReal initiative to show real people modeling their clothing.
“I posted that photo out of one brave moment, and I’m forever grateful that I did—it led to so many other opportunities for me,” Woytovich says.
Since her campaigns with Aerie, she also has modeled for David’s Bridal and is now represented by btwn mgmt, a body-diverse talent agency. Btwn represents the segment of people between the typical sizes featured by retail sites (4 to 18 for women). Despite how common it is to occupy this mid-size space, brands often underrepresent this segment.
Woytovich loves how unexpected and exciting the modeling world can be, but she also gets to see the other side of the fashion industry with her retail experience at Aerie and her current job at QVC.
“I worked at Aerie as a store manager for a while and also planned their social media events,” says the 2020 University graduate. “Now, I’ve just started a full-time position at QVC as a merchandising administrator. I’m so grateful to get my foot in the door, and I’m learning a lot from this position. I’m also really thankful for how flexible my team is with my modeling career.”
I posted that photo out of one brave moment, and I’m forever grateful that I did—it led to so many other opportunities for me.
As for future plans, she’s still exploring. Woytovich says she’s interested in social media marketing, influencer relations and possibly modeling full-time.
“One thing I loved about Jefferson is the broadness and variety of experiences I got there,” she says. “And I’m grateful to have gotten my feet wet in different parts of the industry to see what I truly love to do. For now, I’m just taking things one day at a time.”
Woytovich encourages fashion students to be open-minded and try everything. “Immerse yourself in what you’re learning, and it will take you far,” she says.