Daring to dream beyond
Danzberger inspires by diving beneath the superficial surface
Obnoxious clicks and flashing lights fill the room, echoing off the walls along with the music blaring and mundane murmurs of scattered conversations.
“That’s the shot! Perfect. Get the next look on, we’ve got three more to go,” the photographer says, distractedly looking through his camera.
Hair and makeup stylists rush the set, hair spray contaminating the air and powder quickly patted on the model’s face. Within ten minutes, she is ready, completely donning a new look, head to toe.
Two hours later, sophomore Maddie Danzberger walks out of the photo shoot and hurriedly rushes to debate practice, attempting to finish looking through the rest of her evidence in the 15 minute car ride.
Described as curious to try anything and everything, Danzberger has mastered the art of reaching beyond the surface of simply just following the motion, and applies a meaningful message to each project she attempts.
Whether it be through modeling, creating a business or debate, Danzberger acts as an inspiration to pursue projects out of a genuine love and care.
Danzberger began to get involved in the fashion industry through beauty pageants, beginning in eighth grade. Almost a year later, she had been scouted and signed in less than a week simply while shopping at the Mall of America. Danzberger had officially transitioned into solely the modeling world through editorial, or runway, modeling with the Ignite modeling agency.
“I’ve always been interested in the fashion industry, and when I was younger I wanted to be a clothing designer, until I realized that I can’t draw or sew,” Danzberger said, chuckling.
Taylor O’Brien, Danzberger’s agent, expressed how “punctual, attentive, hardworking and mature” she comes across in a photo shoot, even at 15.
She also went on to open and close the Envision Minneapolis fashion show, Ignite’s biggest show of the year.
Working in the fashion industry usually comes with a negative counterpart, found in the constant objectifying of models as numbers instead of humans. Danzberger, however, refuses to accept defeat and instead promotes positivity among her peers, reaching to cross the barrier of a statistic and into an actual person.
“I’ve gotten to the point of understanding that you can’t change the way that you look or the way that you’re built, so you shouldn’t spend time being mad at yourself over it,” she said. “For example, my hips are an inch to an inch and a half too big, and that’s not something I can change, so I’ve learned to excel with everything else I have.”
While society represents many models and fashion icons as uneducated, superficial people, Danzberger pushes back against the current, reaching into the much deeper impact of the fashion industry.
“The first pageant Maddie participated in, she wasn’t even allowed to wear makeup,” Danzberger’s mother, Shelley Danzberger said. “It wasn’t about the beauty. She wanted to do it because she knew that it involved getting good grades, volunteering, public speaking, being confident and being able to interview. She knows that the pageant system she was in was about your character instead of about your looks.”
Even with all of her extra work and effort placed into modeling and the fashion industry, Danzberger’s passion to spread positivity and learn is not quenched. Channeled through public speaking and side projects, she continues to expand her platform everyday.
“I am working on starting a T-shirt company right now,” she explained. “I am doing shirts with pictures of young politicians on them to encourage kids to get involved in politics. I did a shirt with young Hillary Clinton, and I am going to do Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. I am also thinking of doing a collection of shirts with student photography on them to promote that as well. I’m thinking of calling it ‘The Love Club’, because I feel like there is so much negativity in the world right now, and it’s better to promote positivity and student involvement.”
Also pursuing the high school debate team since eighth grade, Danzberger has shown her willingness and dedication to commit to an activity in which she can funnel her immense passions for awareness.
“Maddie is a very passionate, emotional, ambitious person,” debate coach Nathan Johnson said. “It very clearly comes out when she debates. Her greatest strength is her ability to really care, and convey that in a really powerful way to the judge.”
If Danzberger could have learned one lesson from the plethora of projects she takes on, it would be that “the way things are meant to happen is the way that they will happen,” she said. “You can’t get mad when things don’t go well, because there will always be another experience that will benefit you better.”