“People think models are stupid,” sniffs Maggie Han, 24. Not that anyone would challenge the brains or beauty of the 5’8½” stunner from the top rack of the Elite agency’s modeling line. Last month, six years after she left Harvard to pursue a career on New York’s Seventh Avenue, Han chucked her $75,000-a-year modeling income to return to the university as a government and history major. The only daughter of music professors at Rhode Island’s Barrington College, Providence-born Han, who is of Korean descent, admits that her parents were disappointed when she dropped out after her freshman year in 1976. “Asian-Americans are so into education,” she explains. “If I won a million-dollar lottery, my relatives would still say, ‘Why don’t you go back to school?’ ” Actually, though, it was Maggie’s live-in British boyfriend, 32-year-old advertising executive Robert Fox, who convinced her to resume her studies. It wasn’t an easy argument to make. In addition to $150-an-hour “bread-and-butter” catalog work for major department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Han pocketed up to $2,000 per day doing TV commercials. She was first seen on television giving a shipwrecked man a Gillette shave on a tropical island. This fall she appears on the tube wearing Norma Kamali’s red minidress in an ad for Saks and showing off a new Pond’s cleansing cream.
Having traveled on location to such exotic locales as Tahiti, the Bahamas, Lebanon and Japan, Maggie is now mulling over career plans once she graduates from Harvard, presumably in 1985. “I’m no Henry Kissinger,” she laughs, “but government interests me very much.” Meantime she hopes to work at Harvard’s newspaper, the Crimson. Journalism looms as the most desirable choice, Han thinks. And would she consider going before the TV cameras again as a newswoman? “It would have to be more than reading the TelePrompTers,” she states flatly. “Otherwise I’d be just another talking head.”