Tyanna Xavier '25 is happiest walking the runway, but she's no longer afraid to walk anywhere

Tyanna modelling
Tyanna Xavier '25

Tyanna stands 5'3", but only when she's wearing four-inch heels. In reality, the communications major from Connecticut isn't quite five-feet tall. In most pursuits, her height wouldn't make a difference, but Tyanna has always been drawn to fashion and the glamour of the runway. The problem? Most agencies are looking for models nearly a full foot taller than Tyanna.

"In my mind, as long as you have the talent, your height shouldn't matter. I don't see why being 5'9" is the perfect height because that doesn't mean all 5'9" women have the skill or the right look. Agencies won't know what they're missing unless they look beyond the standard requirement. Eventually, someone won't turn me down, and that's all that matters to me!"

In high school, Tyanna and a close friend started staging their own photoshoots. It was only for fun, but it was so much fun Tyanna began exploring the world of fashion. In fact, she would have pursued fashion in college had she not pivoted to Siena (the only non-fashion school she considered). Still, last fall, Tyanna drove to New York City to audition for Fashion Week. She didn't earn a spot in the show, but she'll try again this year. No matter the odds stacked against her, she'll keep fighting, both figuratively and literally... 

Tyanna boxing at her uncle's gym
Tyanna kickboxing

Growing up, Tyanna's uncle owned a kickboxing studio. Tyanna always wanted to go, but she was too young and too small, even though her brothers and sisters were welcome. Years later, she was invited, over social media, to a kickboxing gym in her area and discovered Muay Thai. Instantly, she was hooked. Most of the kickboxers at the gym were men, more than twice her size and more than twice her age. The first time she sparred, she was kicked so hard she literally left her feet. The next time, she was so quick, she barely got touched, and managed to get in quite a few shots herself.  

Tyanna has always been drawn to the challenges someone else says she can't do. In fact, she lives by the mantra:

"The most rewarding risks are the ones that scare you the most."

So, as soon as she got onto campus last fall, the freshman started taking risks. She signed up for the karate club, and she's now the secretary. She co-hosted Fall Fusion. She performed in a golf cart karaoke video celebrating Fr. Dennis (pictured, above). At 4'11", she's standing above the crowd. 

"I usually work a lot of night shifts, so often I'm walking alone in the dark. In karate class, we practice different scenarios where we close our eyes and sense the danger, and learn to know when to strike back. I feel like I can protect myself. Whether it's studying martial arts or walking alone on a runway, I feel like each of these experiences builds my confidence. I'm a better person for every scary risk I've taken."  

Tyanna Xavier '25