Lyndsey Scott in 2016
|Born||1984 (age 33–34)|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Hair color||dark brown|
|Eye color||dark brown|
Lyndsey Scott (born 1984) is an American model, iOS mobile app software developer, and actress. She was the first African American model to sign an exclusive runway contract with Calvin Klein. Between modeling assignments for prestigious fashion houses like Gucci, Prada, and Victoria's Secret, she writes mobile apps for iPhones and iPads. She has been credited for challenging the stereotypes about models and computer programmers, and for inspiring young women to code.
Lyndsey Scott was born in 1984, and grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, as the eldest of four children. Her father founded a home healthcare company after having been a programmer for the National Security Agency. She practiced martial arts since the age of nine, and earned a black belt in Taekwondo.
Scott endured bullying and taunting while growing up. She says she was the only black person in her first three years at Newark Academy, her New Jersey preparatory high school, and so thin – at 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) and 80 pounds (36 kg) – that she said she was called a "monster". She says peers would invite then uninvite her from parties, and tell her she couldn't sit with them in the dining room. "It got so bad in high school I couldn't even look people in the face. I would hide out in school so I wouldn't have to eat lunch in the cafeteria or see people in between classes."
Scott attended Amherst College, where she studied theatre, economics, and physics, before taking computer science. She also ran and did high jump for the Amherst track and field team, earning All-America status for the 400 meter dash. She graduated Amherst College in 2006 with a joint degree in theatre and computer science.
After college, Scott was more interested in acting than computer science, and began pursuing auditions in New York City. Her body had changed in college, partly due to taking weight-gain supplements, and she says she "started looking more like a model". So, with the encouragement of friends, she applied for modeling work, but was turned down by every agency she approached for two years; her parents urged her to take up computer science jobs.
Scott had, however, put her picture on the website Models.com, and in 2008 she was contacted by Click Model Management of New York City. Elle Girl featured her in a video about the day of a fashion model, including some of her Click new model training. She was then 24, which was considered old for a model. The agency asked her to trim five years from her age, and for her first few years modeling she claimed to have been born in 1990.
Even with an agency contract, Scott wasn't immediately successful. In early 2009 Scott's work was handing out flyers on a street corner when she got a call from fashion house Calvin Klein. During New York Fashion Week, she became the first black model to sign an exclusive runway contract with Calvin Klein. Bethann Hardison said that no model in recent history had made such an impact. Other prestigious modeling jobs followed: in her first years as a model, she modeled for Vera Wang, DKNY, Baby Phat, Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and appeared in the magazines Italian Elle, Teen Vogue, and W. Style.com listed her as a top 10 newcomer. In the 2010 fall NYFW, she was the only black model walking runways for Prada. She also changed agencies to Elite Model Management, which was more accepting of her actual age.
In December 2013, Scott responded to a question on Quora, the question and answer website, about "What does it feel like to go from physically unattractive to attractive?". She wrote about being awkward and bullied in high school, then getting model looks after college, and the advantages and problems that came with that, while still programming in taped glasses at home. Her answer was reprinted in Slate, Business Insider, and PopSugar.
Until that time, Scott had kept her programming separate from her modeling. That Quora post drew attention to her programming skills; from then on, she was covered as the model with a secret identity as a coder. Others credited her with disproving the stereotypes that fashion models had no brains, and computer programmers were pasty-faced geeks. The fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar combined her passions by asking her to report on the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, and Maria Shriver asked her to detail her favorite mobile apps for NBC News.
Scott started programming at the age of 12, by writing games for her TI-89 graphing calculator and sharing them with friends in middle school. She learned the Java and C++ programming languages and the MIPS architecture at Amherst College, but taught herself the skills she used for writing her own applications in Python, Objective C, and iOS. She says that though she enjoyed programming in college, she went into acting and modeling professionally because she never saw herself spending her life around other computer programmers; after graduating, most of her programming was done alone. By 2017, she considered herself primarily a programmer.
Scott is also passionate about educating others to program, especially young women. She maintains a profile on Stack Overflow, a website where users gain reputation for providing answers about computer programming. In early 2014, she was one of the top 2% of users with over 2,000 reputation points and more than 38,000 profile views. She was the top ranked user for iOS questions on the site for one month in 2015. As of September 2017, she has 23,843 reputation points with 412 answers to user questions.
She is the author of multiple iOS programming tutorials on RayWenderlich.com, was a representative for Code.org's second Hour of Code learning initiative, made a video teaching programming with Disney's Frozen characters, and is a mentor at Girls Who Code, an organization teaching programming to teenage girls. She has given talks on programming at schools in Harlem and NYU, and mentored Girl Scouts in programming in Los Angeles.
Her combination of modeling and coding is seen as inspirational to young women: she was named to the Elle "Inspire 100" list in 2014, and the AskMen "Top 99 Outstanding Women 2015" list, which called her "an inspiration for scores of young girls". She was a keynote speaker for the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business in 2014, and a presenter for the Ford Freedom Awards in 2015.
Scott's earliest iOS mobile apps were written on her own, for the company she founded and named "Standable, Inc.", in 2011. Scott's first published app was Educate! in support of a non-profit also called Educate!, supporting young Ugandan scholars, and founded by two Amherst students. Her second was iPort, intended to help models organize their career portfolio digitally. Scott says she developed it because it was something she personally needed, as her paper portfolio books were heavy and falling apart. Her third, in 2014, was The Matchmaker, a social network that would alert a user physically near another user compatible in love, friendship or business. Code Made Cool, released in conjunction with Scott's 2014 appearance on the cover of Asos magazine, was an iPhone app that taught girls programming via drag and drop in fantasy scenarios with animated pictures of Ryan Gosling. Squarify converts rectangular images or videos to squares for easy Instagram usage.
Later apps were written for other companies. beautifulBook was written for firebloom media, and displays classic literature in stylish fonts and backgrounds. imDown, written for the company of the same name in 2016, which later became Tallscreen, allows users to film and share vertical videos of up to a minute in length. Ryse Up is a multimedia application to connect established and emerging musical artists, produced by the company of the same name for which Scott is CTO and senior engineer. All were Apple mobile applications available on the App Store, though iPort, The Matchmaker, imDown, and Code Made Cool were not available as of 2017.
Early in her modeling career, Scott lived on Roosevelt Island in New York City; she said that compared to downtown Manhattan, her apartment was bigger for less money, and she could be involved in the community. By 2017, she lived in Beverly Hills, California. In 2016, she was sued by an unhappy renter who leased her Roosevelt Island apartment through Airbnb, and said that the apartment was dilapidated and the area unsafe; Scott said the posted photos, descriptions and reviews were verifiable and accurate.
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