Everything Nahanaeli Schelling does is driven by curiosity, “I’m really intrigued by the why of things,” she says, a statement that puts the trajectory of her life in perspective. The Swiss-born, Virginia-by-way-of-Tanzania-raised student of the world has an impressive résumé that has taken her to Abu Dhabi for economic research to Ethiopia for fieldwork in solar-energy sustainability.
Back in New York City, in addition to working with a music management team, Schelling is developing a website where visitors can explore the often under-credited voices behind the music: the producers, arrangers, and songwriters. “Im interested in everything, especially music, but I’m steeped in technology, so I often look to technology for solutions,” she explains. Right now, Schelling is learning the language of music through both experience and cutting-edge technology.
“When you stand next to someone and sing the same song, you feel the connection to them in your body. It’s ancient, it’s modern-it’s so human to make music,” says Schelling, followed by a blitz of thoughts surrounding the future of music and how innovations—”augmented reality, perhaps?”—can be used to further disrupt the industry and empower those seeking true art.
Seeming quite at home on set amid the rush of a photo shoot, the self-described late bloomer exuded a special confidence in an Alexander Wang rock-star-worthy fringed jacket. “Growing up, it was such a strange world for a young girl who doesn’t fit the beauty standard,” she admits. “Until recently, I’ve always been a bit awkward in front of the camera. I think now, because I’m comfortable with myself for the first time, I can enjoy this modeling experience.” As for the jacket, “Just wearing it, I felt like such a babe.”