What Happened To Athena Katoanga, Winner Of Making A Model With Yolanda Hadid?

Remember that random reality modeling competition show hosted by former "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Yolanda Hadid that ran for one season? Ever wondered what the winner, Athena Katoanga, is up to today? "Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid" premiered in 2018 on Lifetime and sought to find the next up-and-coming runway star, with each young contestant being allowed to bring their mother along for support. Of course, Yolanda had much advice to impart as a momager in the fashion world with her two successful supermodel daughters, Bella Hadid and Gigi Hadid.

We were introduced to 13-year-old Athena, the ultimate and only winner of the series, when she joined the competition alongside her mother, Diana Katoanga. The family hailed from Portland, Oregon, but Athena was originally born in Long Beach, California. Initially, Athena was seen as pretty shy but came out of her shell as she consistently received top placements in each challenge. In the finale, Yolanda handpicked Athena as the winner, earning a contract with Yolanda's management company and the chance to get signed by IMG Models.

After her momentous win, Athena thanked her supporters and teased what was to come next for her. "As our journey comes to an end, this is just the beginning," she gushed on her Instagram. "Being here has made me see things from a new perspective. I will forever treasure the friendships and lessons I have learned." So, what has Athena been up to since her stint on "Making a Model"?

Athena Katoanga travels across the U.S. for her modeling career

Since Athena Katoanga snagged the top prize from "Making a Model" in 2018, the then-13-year-old finished her schooling and has continued her modeling career. In January 2020, she graduated from high school at age 17 after being homeschooled since her freshman year due to a busy schedule and travel. Today, Katoanga splits her time between L.A., New York City, and Oregon. Post-"Making a Model," she signed with agencies that operate in each of her home bases; LA Model Management in California, Marilyn Agency in New York, and Q6 Talent in the Pacific Northwest.

Outside of the fashion modeling world, Katoanga has expressed interest in acting and auditioning for roles. "I love reading the scripts I get and having the chance to walk in someone else's shoes," she explained to Seraphina Magazine in 2019. "It's really cool seeing behind the scenes and the process of it all...that's probably my favorite part."

Katoanga started a YouTube channel where she periodically posts makeup and hair tutorials, vlogs, and fan Q&As. She also uploads videos to her TikTok account, which has accumulated over 5 million likes as of this writing.

Athena Katoanga shares her love for her faith

One part of Athena Katoanga's life that audiences didn't get to see much of in "Making a Model" was her religious beliefs. In April of this year, Katoanga uploaded a series of clips to her TikTok called "7 things God revealed to me that changed my life." In 2020, she shared on her Instagram that she decided to be baptized after her faith helped her get through a period of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression in her life.

During a YouTube Q&A, when a fan asked what her favorite thing about her faith is, the model expressed how it has improved her life and provided strength during challenging times. "If I didn't have God, I would not be here," she shared in the May 2020 video. "I would not be doing modeling. I'd probably just be in my room crying 24/7, honestly. To answer your question, I guess I'll just say everything is my favorite thing."