‘I don’t have to hide anymore’

As a little boy, Lando van der Schee (23) was glued to the TV when America’s Next Top Model was on TV. Due to mental problems and the focus on the transition from boy to girl, the Enschedeër put aside the desire to become a model for a while. That Lando wins the thirteenth season of Holland’s Next Top Model years later as a beautiful woman is a dream come true. “I am proud of myself.”

Lando still works full-time at Subway sandwich shop in the city center of Enschede. But her life will look completely different in the near future. Today (Monday 14 November) was the denouement of the latest season of Holland’s Next Top Model. Lando beats fellow finalists Philip and Jazz to take home the coveted title.

Grateful and proud

“A storm of emotions.” This is how the Enschedeër describes the denouement of the modeling competition. “My whole body started to shake. But most of all I felt grateful that so many people voted for me. And I felt proud. I have overcome so much during this program.”

“I don’t have to hide anymore

Lando started the TV adventure as an insecure girl. She hid her insecurity behind a mask of make-up. “I am a sensitive person. I really care what someone thinks of me. I always saw that as a weak quality of myself. Makeup felt like a shield I could hide behind. I now know that my sensitivity is actually a good quality. I don’t have to hide anymore.”

source of inspiration

The program has made her more confident. “And more mature. I found out that if you really want something, it can happen.” As a trans woman, she especially wants to inspire people who are struggling with themselves and their gender expression. She herself knows how that feels. “I always knew I was different from other kids. Wasn’t comfortable in my own skin for years, but I didn’t understand where it came from.”

Ups and downs

That changed when she started her training as a beautician in 2016. “That year I came out as transgender. Then I started discovering girl life.” Then laughing: “And I went very well with that.” That doesn’t mean that things went well for her after that. “It went through ups and downs. But now I’m doing really well.”

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Lando with her fellow finalists. Photo: Tom Cornelissen

Role models in the media

Lando is delighted that this season of Holland’s Next Top Model is more inclusive than ever. “Everyone is beautiful in their own way. Why should there be only one standard model? Young people want to recognize themselves in the people they see on TV or in the magazines. They are looking for role models. That is why diversity is so important.”

Lando himself will soon be featured in the magazines. She has won a photo shoot and an interview in Dutch Vogue. And a contract with model agency The Movement Models. So her boss at Subway can expect a letter of resignation? Lando laughs. “I don’t think I’ll be working there for very long, no.”

To the big city

She will also be leaving beautiful Enschede. “I want to move to the big city. I’ve always said I want to live in Amsterdam. Also in terms of modeling that is more convenient for me. But I also think Enschede is very pleasant. Everyone is nice and sober. I like that.”

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