From working in McDonald's to photo shoots in Dubai - How an Instagram DM changed the life of this Sunderland model

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you do.” – That’s the message from a Sunderland based model who quit McDonald’s to jet set for her dream job.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 11:58 am

Just over one year ago, Tanya McDonnell was a McDonald’s Crew Member in The Galleries, Washington on a salary of around £7 per hour.

Now, she is jet-setting across the world earning a few thousand pounds per week for her modelling work.

The 23-year-old travels between Dubai, Germany, London and Manchester working for different model agencies and posing for well-known brands including Superdrug, Public Desire and Beauty Bay.

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Tanya also poses for fast fashion photo-shoots. 
Photo: Tanya McDonnell
Tanya also poses for fast fashion photo-shoots. Photo: Tanya McDonnell

While at McDonald’s, Tanya was posting photos on Instagram of her holidays and close face photos without any filter.

J’adore Models, a Manchester based agency, reached out to her in her direct messages and after she met them, they signed her immediately.

After things took off, she quit her job at McDonald’s.

Now, Tanya is also signed to MGM Models in Germany and W Model Management in London and she hopes her story helps inspire others to never give up on their dreams.

Tanya's Instagram photos caught the eyes of model agencies. Photo: Tanya McDonnell

She told the Echo: “It completely took me by surprise. It’s like I’m living in a dream. It’s a totally different life to what I was living.

“I want to let everyone know that anyone can do this. Dreams can happen.

“I didn’t think any of this would ever happen but it did. Don’t think that you’re not going to get what you really want in life. It can come to you when you don’t expect it to. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you do.

“I’m finding life so much better now. It’s so fun meeting new people. I’m so much more confident now. When I was a kid, I always looked up to the likes of Kate Moss but thought I was ugly and that I could never be a model.

Tanya in Dubai where she has travelled to for photo shoots over the past year and a modelling portfolio photo of the Sunderland lass.

“I feel so much better in myself now. You really never know how other people view you.”

Tanya continues to share photos on Instagram at @tanyaslasagne and has begun sharing advice about modelling on her YouTube channel with the same name.

Tanya sat next to the Tessuti store in Metrocentre by a poster of herself for a campaign she's in. Photo: Tanya McDonnell
She began her journey by posting close up photos on her Instagram. Photo: Tanya McDonnell