Polished @ Penn: Alice Shen (W’17)


Polished @ Penn: Alice Shen (W’17)


Wharton senior Alice Shen is no stranger to the world of fashion and modeling. In high school, she lived the America’s Next Top Model dream, and was asked to model for a self-started designer. The opportunity was an entirely random encounter, as the designer happened to attend the same yoga studio as the North Caroline native. Alice’s early experience gave her a perspective of the world of fashion and modeling: “I’ve always loved the idea of high fashion and how in those photo shoots, I don’t have to look ‘pretty’ in the typical sense,” she said.


In her freshman year of college, she tried modeling for students, but found that—while she enjoyed her earlier modeling experience—she was certain that she would not pursue it as a career. Not only are models at the mercy of their photographer’s vision and whims, but modeling was not as easy as it may seem on television. “I realized it’s really tough to work in the modeling industry, because models have to sit through hair and make-up for hours,” she admitted. “And doing the shoot itself [is] also extremely exhausting.” Since then, she has moved on to conquer the study of finance, and sees more of a professional future for herself there.


Even though Alice has since moved away from professionally modeling, fashion is still an integral part of her life. She loves to scroll through Instagram accounts for inspiration (@vince and @alice_gao) and aspires to convey a sense of beauty in all her clothing pieces. One of her favorite places to shop is Aritzia, a fashion boutique that focuses on individual style and clothing quality. These values are evident in the way that Alice dresses; a paradigm of grace and elegance, Alice has developed a feeling of effortlessness over her four years at Penn. Her ultimate fashion inspiration has not changed over the years, though. Her mom has always set the standard. Alice still remembers rummaging through her mom’s closet when she was younger, searching for fun pieces to incorporate to her own wardrobe, much to her mother’s chagrin.


Her fashion is always very feminine, polished, and flattering—and it is something that she consciously experiments with and adjusts. For Alice, fashion has the ability to change the way she feels and interacts with the world. Dressing up makes her feel empowered. “I like elegant clothing pieces because it helps me remain calm in a crazy world,” she said. “It reminds me to act ladylike even if I might feel like a mess inside.” This motto and the way she dresses is definitely reflected in her personality. From her humble attitude to her effortless “it-factor,” Alice is definitely a girl who is ready to take on the world.

Images courtesy of Lucia Huo

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