Anabel Sanchez, the model who went viral and captivated Argentina

She replied to a Vogue open call with a TikTok video and got thousands of followers

Anabel Sanchez, viral sensation

Argentines are well known for being passionate about the causes they follow and the people they love. In May, Anabel Sanchez (18) became a national sensation after going viral for a video she posted on TikTok responding to the Vogue Open Call, a worldwide casting call to join the fashion magazine as a model. 

Although Sanchez had always wanted to work in the industry, she decided to participate with a “nothing to lose” mindset. However, she didn’t expect her post to garner millions of views and spark a wave of support, with all kinds of people rallying behind her, including celebrities and fashion designers.

In Sanchez’s words, she feels like everyone is singing “Muchaaachos…”, comparing the support she’s getting to the song fans used to root for the national football team during the World Cup. In an interview with the Herald, Sanchez says the craziest part of the past few weeks is the amount of love she’s receiving.

“They found my Instagram and understood what I wanted to say through my art,” Sanchez says as she tries to explain the uproar. But it’s the unfinished walls of her house in the background of her video and the naturally effortless smile she flashes at the camera that dazzles viewers. Sanchez is originally from Solano, a neighborhood in the southern metropolitan area of Buenos Aires where she lives with her mother and three younger brothers.

Her popularity, however, is growing not only in Argentina but also in the rest of the world. She’s getting calls and messages from Mexico, Costa Rica and Germany, where other Argentine expat communities are talking about her and making her fan base bigger. Following her quick rise to internet fame, Sanchez’s TikTok account got suspended due to claims it was a spam account. The overwhelming number of followers and likes she got in just a couple of days confused the algorithm. 

The Herald reached out to TikTok representatives and asked why this happened. The company’s Communications Manager for Latin America, Alexia De la Rosa, admitted it was a “moderation mistake” and said they were working to correct it.

The suspension disrupted her online presence and got fans worried they were going to miss the Vogue casting video. Sanchez told the Herald she wasn’t concerned about losing the footage since she didn’t think she would win. However, that account is where she started shooting backstage videos with her phone using her furniture as a tripod and acting spontaneously. She didn’t want to lose those memories.

What happens after going viral

On May 10, Anabel’s phone exploded with Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp notifications. Every journalist wanted an interview and many fashion designers expressed their desire  to work with her.

“I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t expect any of this. I saw myself in a distant future in front of a camera, but I would eventually come back down to reality, to studying and hard work,” Sanchez says. In less than 10 days she has received personalized catwalk lessons from Latin American supermodel Valeria Mazza, as well as life-changing job offers that she’s still exploring. She also signed her first contract as a professional model.

When assessing the job proposals she’s getting from model agencies and agents, Sanchez usually goes silent. “I get scared, everything is a big deal. I wonder what I’m going to do in certain situations, and just shut down. But then I think about it and it’s everything I’ve loved since I was a little kid. Despite being scared, I have to do it.”

Sanchez still feels her career hasn’t quite started. She dreams about traveling with her family, seeing the world, and enjoying the work of her favorite designer, Donatella Versace. She stresses that “there’s still a lot of work ahead” in order to make it. However, at the very least, she seems to be one step closer to fulfilling her dreams. 

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