Model Angel Rutledge arrives at the Vogue.com offices looking like she is fresh from a hazy day hanging out on a California boardwalk: a skateboard in tow and mile-high legs jutting out from a pair of cutoff shorts, all chill West Coast drawl and proverbial cool-kid shoulder shrug at life. But don’t let her nickname fool you, the model’s got an angular sharpness and tomboy edge to her features, a look that has secured her exclusive spots with Proenza Schouler, as well as Louis Vuitton—a house that she has walked for ever since her debut. And it’s all a far cry from Rutledge’s former life: Just a year ago, she was posting selfies on Instagram @angelpupledge at her job on the burrito bar at a Chipotle in Burbank, California.
Rutledge never thought modeling was on the menu: The 20-year-old Angelica (named after a truck that her mother spotted advertising “Angelica Linens”) grew up in Valencia, California, in an all-American suburban setting; a star volleyball player in high school, her stats surged far beyond the national average. “In high school, I was intimidating to people. I was scary because I was ripped and buff. I played volleyball and we did six hours of conditioning for five days over the week for five weeks in summer, “ says Rutledge. “At that point I could lift and bench-press 185 pounds. I was this buff girl whose shoulders could touch in the back.” Her dedication to hard work on the court soon translated into the work force: At fifteen, she scored an after-school job at a local sushi restaurant. A late-night food industry gig proved to be too hectic for a high school student, though “At first, I didn’t understand my schedule would be so packed. I worked four days a week and on the weekends,” says Rutledge. “But I’ve always been a worker because my parents always have; I just copied.”
So how does one go from food service to the runway? Add one part farm-to-table fast food, one part luck, a dash of hitting the genetic jackpot, wrap in a tortilla, and serve: After graduating high school, Rutledge took a full-time job at a Chipotle, which provided ample time to work on her upper body strength.“I had to prepare the sour cream, the cheese, shred the cheese, and make the corn salsa—all the salsas,” says Rutledge. “But I probably liked the corn salsa because I could use my hands and use my upper arms. We would put the corn in a big bowl and mix all the ingredients. I was literally hugging hundreds of pounds of corn.” A few months into the job, fate stepped in. “This guy comes in, in shorts and a tank top, total surfer, and took a look at me,” says Rutledge, who was on the clock in her visor and apron at the time. “I was like, ‘Hey, how are you doing? What can I get you?’ He told me to talk to him around the corner and asked if I ever thought about modeling. He just wrote his number down on the paper. It was kind of weird, but he knew what he was doing and it seemed legit.” That man was photographer David Mushegain, who promptly took her Polaroids and sent them off to The Lions agency in New York City. “Two days later, [Mushegain] was like, ‘Can you come to New York? You just need to quit your job,” says Rutledge. She called it off with Chipotle soon after, but can still make a killer burrito. And with a story like that, we’ll have what she’s having.
The post From Chipotle to the Runway: The Unlikely Modeling Career of Angel Rutledge appeared first on Vogue.
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