Larsen Thompson strolls into the New York Hilton Midtown wearing a red fur jacket, pink tinted sunglasses and a black Chanel cross-body.
Her father follows behind her; she’s 16, after all. She apologizes for being late — they were sightseeing — and makes her way up to her room, where she promptly excuses herself to change. “It’s cute right?” she asks after emerging from the bathroom in a ruffly turquoise gown. Cute, indeed.
Thompson has quite the résumé for someone who’s only halfway through high school. She’s starred in campaigns for Betsey Johnson and Target, shot a video for Vogue Italia x Gucci and appeared in the visuals for Katy Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm.” She and dance partner Taylor Hatala have also experienced a bit of Internet fame; their YouTube dance videos set to Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” and Big Sean’s “I Don’t F–k With You” have both gone viral.
Thompson started dancing at the age of four, but didn’t “take it seriously” until the age of nine. She trained in ballet, hip-hop, tap, contemporary and lyrical dance, and eventually joined choreographers Willdabeast Adams and Janelle Ginestra’s popular ImmaBeast dance group. Through ImmaBeast, she met Hatala, who has since danced on tour with Janet Jackson.
But it was her work with Target and Betsey Johnson that shot Thompson to the moon. Quickly deciding this was a career she wanted to pursue, the California native signed to Zuri Model and Talent and has since transferred to Next Models.
She likes modeling because it allows her “to travel and do amazing things,” which most recently includes campaigns for Superga and Dior’s Poison Girl fragrance, both out soon. “[Dior] featured my dancing in [the campaign], so it was basically how I use the fragrance while I’m dancing or when I’m on the go,” she says. “It brought in my life with the fragrance, and it was really cool.”
Venturing into modeling has allowed Thompson to meet designers and sit front row at fashion week. “I have to literally mentally prepare myself when I’m going,” she says. “I learn so much.” In New York, she walked for Who What Wear, met Zac Posen — whom she admires — and was dressed by Karl Lagerfeld.
She labels herself a shopaholic, which her dad apparently hates. Her shopping addiction has gotten so out of control, she ran out of space in her bedroom closet and has since taken over another closet, the laundry room and the garage.
Though she’s new to the industry, Thompson already has an experienced friend to guide her: Sofia Richie. “She was best friends with my cousin, so I’d be over at my cousin’s house and then Sofia’s house almost every day when I was younger,” she says. “When we were younger, she really wasn’t wanting to do all of that — be in the fashion industry and everything. But she always had a voice. My cousin would always tell me, ‘She sang. She’s good. She definitely has Lionel in her.’”
When asked where she sees herself in five years, her eyes widen. “Five years, oh my gosh,” she says. “Hopefully doing more campaigns and modeling and walking the runways. I’m also trying to get into the acting industry, so I’m taking a lot of acting classes and moving more to that kind of world.”
Alas, five years to a teenager might as well be forever. Until then, Thompson plans on finishing her home education and hanging out with her friends, all the while, twirling her way through. Naturally.