Hannah Simone: Our New Girl

Our first cover girl is New Girl star, Hannah Simone. Hannah is a new star... on a new show... entitled New Girl... and the stndrd is a new magazine (Okay, you get the point).

Our first cover girl is New Girl star, Hannah Simone. Hannah is a new star… on a new show… entitled New Girl…and the stndrd is a new magazine (Okay, you get the point).

Hannah Simone may not be the title character on her new hit television show, New Girl, but for most American fans of the series, the actress is literally a new girl to watch. Simone plays super model Cece on the program and the role serves as Simone’s introduction to most audiences. Some may think Hannah Simone is like an overnight success story, but like most in the entertainment business, she isn’t.

In April 2012, The Focus Studio, in Venice Beach, served as the location for our issue two photo shoot. I was lucky enough to be on hand for our magazine’s significant and truly memorable moment. As I watched (and salivated) as Simone posed, and posed, two things are made very clear.

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The first thing that is made abundantly clear is that Hannah Simone is just as strikingly beautiful in person as she is on her hit television show. A lot of times you can be disappointed when you see a celebrity crush of yours minus the posh and gloss a hair and makeup team can provide. Yes, for our photo shoot she was provided posh and gloss, but when the starlet first arrived to The Focus Studio none of that sheen was yet applied, yet she still emerged as stunning as you could hope for.

The second thing I derived from our cover shoot was that Simone doesn’t just play a model on television, she is a model! She went through outfit after outfit, pose after pose and expression after expression, with as much ease as her fictional counterpart Cece Meyers would. That comfortability she displayed in front of the camera was not by chance or luck. Hannah has been modeling professionally since the age of 13.

The natural beauty fell in love with the artistic side of modeling from the very start. “It’s a unique format, because you can communicate so much without saying a single word. I have a huge respect for the power of story that can be told with a photo,” she says.

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It’s obvious that the television star has all the physical traits needed to be a model — gorgeous long hair, copious lips and a drool inducing, curvy figure. However, Simone thinks it takes far more than the physical attributes of Wonder Woman to make someone a natural in front of the camera.

“You have to have an open-minded nature, so you can build a story. Having a story to tell makes it interesting. When I did the stndrd photo shoot, I tried to embody certain characters. I tried to create characters with my hair, make-up and poses. I created a doll like being. That was fun for me.”

The sort of analytical thought process Hannah demonstrates is not something most people would identify with being a model. The clichés and stereotypes tagged to most models definitely don’t apply to Miss Simone.

The capable actress has always put education and learning on a pedestal. She received a BA in International Relations and Political Science at the University of British Columbia. She also has a BA in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University.

Hannah also has a deep personal commitment to helping others. “I am passionate about human rights, I am passionate about making the world a better place,” she declares. That fervor for social justness led her to spend some time working as a human rights and refugee officer for the United Nations Association in London.

The actress/model/scholar/philanthropist seems to be all over the map with her interests and goals. Hannah ensures us that her constant life-changing focuses aren’t as random as they may seem. All her vocations and concentrations serve a singular life goal.

“My goal is always very fixed and very focused. The goal is always to be spending my life, professionally and personally, with things I care about and make me happy. Having that kind of goal takes a lot of work.”

Simone’s constant movement from one field to the next mirrors her constant movement from place to place as a young girl. Simone was very much a world traveler as a fledgling adolescent. She was born in London, but Canada, India, Saudi Arabia and Greece have all been home to her at one point or another. “In retrospect, it’s one of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me. It let me treat the world like it was my own backyard. There was no fear or apprehension of change.” The benefits of that upbringing are still present today. “I can adapt really quickly; I don’t feel uncomfortable in new environments,” she says.

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Before Simone landed her big break on New Girl, she spent some time as a television host on various well-known programs, including Canada’s popular design show, Space for Living, which was her first hosting job. While still in Canada, she later served as a VJ for various programs on the countries largest Music Channel, MuchMusic. “Working for MuchMusic is a dream job in Canada. I would go to work and have a blast, it was great,” she remembers fondly.

Her time at MuchMusic allowed her the chance to help and inform others and Simone took full advantage of that opportunity. She helped develop and hosted, MuchTalks: Climate Change and Muchtalks: AIDS. The television hostess eventually moved from Canada, to Los Angeles (where she currently resides) and landed two seasons of hosting duties, on WCG: Ultimate Gamer.

“I never aspired to be a host. Hosting was far more challenging for me than being an actor. You’re not shaping a character and lifting words off the page. You are just being yourself. If people don’t respond to your work… it means they aren’t responding to you. Hosting quickly allows you to learn a lot about yourself and to get good with yourself, if you know what I mean.”

Hannah Simone would eventually, and fortunately, find her way to arguably her biggest success in the entertainment industry, New Girl. She isn’t taking her involvement on the show, or her good fortune, for granted either. “It’s the realization of the biggest dream I could ever have! It’s incredible. I have been focused on being true to myself. I didn’t realize that I would be able to work professionally as an actor, because that’s like winning the lottery. I work on a show that I love, and a show so many other people love. It’s the most phenomenal feeling in the world!”

Now that she has found this “phenomenal feeling,” you would think it’s safe to say that Hannah Simone might now make acting her primary and singular focus. But, putting all her eggs in one basket is something that she has never done, and it’s hard to imagine that is going to change anytime soon.

“With all the change and moving around I did as a kid, I learned life is very unpredictable. You don’t know what life is going to bring. My parents told me “You don’t have to pick, do things you’re passionate about, and you will be happy, don’t let people tell you that you have to be one thing.”

Despite that philosophy, she can’t imagine giving up her new job anytime soon.

“Right now, I just hope I can keep doing this show for as many seasons as possible. I get to go to work everyday with my friends and we get to do really funny stuff. I pray we keep getting to do this; it’s an incredible experience. I grow every single day working on the show, and that’s what life is really about. It’s healthy growing, every single day…”

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