Struggling but surviving


Model Samantha Gass has been pushing against her personal mental health struggles and is making progress.

The 16-year-old, who prefers to be called Sam, was institutionalized in 2020. She was battling her major depressive disorder, severe anxiety and a depersonalization disorder. As Sam explained it, she has been making progress since her hospitalization.

“(I’m) digging deeper into my pursuit of happiness with every passing day,” said Sam.

Modeling has been one of the keys to her success in recovery.

“I’ve found great expression and pride (from being a model),” said the teen.

Recently, Sam received acknowledgement for her modeling efforts. She was a winner at Magnifique Showcase’s modeling competition in December in Gulfport, Miss. Magnifique is the brainchild of former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Victoria Henley.

“My mission is to prove that even the people in the magazine pages have demons to battle,” said Sam.

Photos: Holly Hansen. (

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