Hadid — older sister of Gigi and Bella Hadid — will make her New York Fashion Week runway debut at the Elena Velez show Tuesday night
When Alana Hadid walked her first runway at Copenhagen Fashion Week last month, it was a bit of a happy accident.
"I think that would be an accurate way to describe it," she tells PEOPLE exclusively ahead of New York Fashion Week. In Copenhagen, she walked in the Saks Potts show before taking another turn down the catwalk just a couple days later for Munthe.
And it all happened because she decided not to go to Burning Man this year, she says. After sitting out the festival in the Nevada desert, she went to Denmark instead to follow her passion for Scandinavian artistry. Hadid, who is herself a designer and has worked in fashion for years, says she reached out to a few of her favorite designers showing collections in Copenhagen, and lo and behold, they asked if she wanted to walk their runways.
She couldn't say no.
"I said yes, as it's something that I've decided to do in my 40s — just say yes to a lot of things, and it was amazing. It was phenomenal," she says.
Those two runway jobs earned her a spot at New York Fashion Week. Hadid will be making her NYFW debut on the runway at the Elena Velez show on Tuesday night. Hadid admits to PEOPLE that she was trying not to psych herself out by practicing ahead of the show, because she knew if she got in her head about it, it would make the walk harder. Instead, she said she wanted to just "go with the flow" and "feel the vibe."
That's not to say she's not nervous. She says she was definitely nervous before each of her walks in Copenhagen — especially considering the Saks Potts show was outside in the rain! She's gotten plenty of support from her famous family, though.
"Everyone's just really excited for me," she says of her fashion-forward family, which includes model siblings Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid. "We're a super supportive family of all the things that everyone's doing. We're always doing a million things, and we just support each other. They were like, 'You're going to kill it.'"
She jokes, though, that she didn't get any advice from her sisters, who have walked in shows for some of the biggest designers in the world. "Maybe I should have asked for some," she adds with a laugh.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up to date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Hadid's strut for Elena Velez officially kicks off a completely unexpected runway career for her at age 40. While it's not something she ever imagined for herself, she's eager to see where it goes and more than excited to be doing it.
"I do really want to [continue]," she tells PEOPLE. "I think I found something else that I'm really passionate about in fashion, and it's exhilarating. I would love to do it all over the world."
Hadid says she's felt completely welcomed into this part of the fashion world and hopes that this later-in-life career pivot shows other women that turning 40 is "not the end of the road."
"This just happened to happen right after my 40th birthday, which I thought was a fortuitous gift, and it was like the universe offered it up to me," she says. "I see so many people, especially women, nervous about turning 40, but so many opportunities can open up at 40. Life's just beginning."
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.