The Chew’s Carla Hall’s modeling photos

Carla Hall Now

Before delving into food full-time, Carla Hall, The Chew‘s resident statuesque stunner, was quite the successful model with tenures in Paris, Milan and London.

The eventual Top Chef fan favorite told iVillage in 2011 she didn’t dream of modeling while growing up.

Carla Hall Modeling Photo 1

“A lot of times girls grow up wanting to model. I didn’t. I fell into it at Howard University and then I hated my account job and I went to Paris, as you do, and just had a telephone number and beat the pavement,” Carla said of beginning her modeling career at the age of 25. “It was a wonderful experience of being on my own, being in a foreign country and actually thinking that I was taking care of myself.”

Still, Carla said there were aspects of the modeling industry that weighed down on her cheery spirit.

“You’re going to these castings and they’re saying, ‘Oh, your ears are too this’ or, ‘Your nose it too that,'” Carla recalled. “Then I’m like, ‘Oh my God, my nose! My ears!’ Like, honey, you really need to love yourself for who you are and what you have.”

Carla Hall Modeling Photo 2

Looking back on it 20-some years later, Carla laughed about the whole experience — particularly the memory of how disappointed casting directors were when she told them she was from Tennessee.

“It ruins the illusion of being from this exotic place,” Carla said, adding people encouraged her to make something up to come across as more intriguing.

Around the same time, Carla fell in love with cooking. Upon returning to the United States in the mid-1990s, she ran her own lunch-delivery service for four years before attending L’Academie de Cuisine. After working in restaurants for a few years, so opened a full catering service in 2001 and went on to Top Chef in 2008!

Although time on the runway is now in her distant past, here’s a look back at Carla Hall’s modeling photos from the late 1980s and early 1990s…

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