It's impossible to miss Hannah von der Hoff as she makes her way through the Kitty Cat Klub. A sassy mane of fiery red hair catches your eye, and high-heeled leather boots push the statuesque Amazon to around 6 feet. You can almost feel the heels strike the floor as she approaches with long, commanding strides.
But when this year's Hotness queen sits down, it's clear that her sexiest asset isn't her tantalizing body language, baiting lips or stupefying curves. It's her provocatively beckoning eyes that could melt anything with a Y chromosome.
The co-frontwoman for electro-pop group Sexcat -- a fitting name given the leading lady's prurient appeal -- Hannah grabs a glass of red wine and we begin what turns into an evening of bar-hopping. The conversation quickly turns to music, a subject on which the 24-year-old speaks effusively, whether discussing her band's recent set at First Avenue's Best New Bands showcase or lamenting the reserved air of Twin Cities concertgoers.
"I think that's a big issue here in Minneapolis -- people have their guard up when they go to shows," she notes, correctly.
Of course, the relatively inhibition-free vixen doesn't have that problem. Hannah says she lives in the moment, following her heart's lead, even if her active mind later causes her to overanalyze some of her actions.
One decision she doesn't question was her choice to go all-in with her music career. After a semester at the University of Minnesota and four years of office gigs, Hannah decided to take a serving job, freeing up her days to work on music. You can catch her band -- think a high-and-horny Debbie Harry singing and rapping over steamy beats and twinkling synths -- at the Triple Rock this Friday. She's also readying a solo venture she expects will have an intimate singer/songwriter feel, with songs playing more like journal entries than Sexcat's carnal, dance-party jams.
"You're extremely exposed," the Minneapolis native says, admitting that she's nervous about the prospect of being alone on stage. "Ultimately, that's what I'm looking forward to achieving with this -- this nakedness to it and to be vulnerable on stage and let people connect with that."
Her wildly different projects provide a metaphor for the singer's dichotomous personality. She's both the confident party starter with a Hollywood Boulevard-meets-"Purple Rain" fashion sense, and the introspective girl who pensively stares at the floor when searching for her words. She's the city girl who loves to dance, and a former Future Farmers of America member who knows how to weld and excuses herself to go "take a piss."
When it comes to boys, Hannah doesn't date much -- partly, she says, because she knows what she wants and would prefer holding out for someone who truly excites her and operates on a similar mental plane. With her charming way of over-romanticizing just about everything, the prospect of finding true love makes her giddy. She emits a pitch-escalating giggle when asked to describe her dream man -- who, for the record, is a tall, dark-haired dude who rocks a killer pair of cowboy boots and is big enough to "manhandle" her.
But although Hannah identifies as straight and hopes to one day get serious with a guy, she's not governed by traditional rubrics of sexuality. "Once in a blue moon there'll be a woman I find undeniably attractive and I'm very drawn to her. In those situations my attraction transcends sex," she said.
After testing her slightly exaggerated pool skills at the Kitty Cat, Hannah invites me to go see Sexcat's drummer's other band, which she describes as a synthy, tongue-in-cheek throwback to '90s R&B, at Honey Lounge. We catch their set in the basement bar before moving to Nye's Polonaise Room. She tries to buy me a drink, but I turn the tables with some assistance from the bartender.
She slowly sips her whiskey and tells me how in high school she had plenty of male friends, but was never the object of their desires (have they seen her lately?) and about how she beat stage fright singing karaoke in a Fridley pool hall.
Then somewhat out of the blue, Hannah reveals that she was briefly married at a young age, a detail she had omitted earlier. It was a decision of the heart that she's not quick to bring up but doesn't seem to regret, using lessons from the experience to be optimistic about her future.
"I'm so incredibly excited by my life," she gushes without ego.
Ever a free spirit, Hannah envisions an adventurous life ahead, though the details still need to be worked out.
"I can think big-picture, but I tend to approach life ..., " Hannah says, trailing off. "You know in a gym where they have those rings hanging from the ceiling and you swing from one to the next? I'm just going to grab a ring and I'm going to go with it and hopefully there will be another one there."
Who knows where her heart will take her next? But she should have no shortage of men clamoring to come along for the ride.
Hannah Von der Hoff
- Age: 24
- Sign: Virgo
- City/neighborhood: Minneapolis native, Uptown dweller
- Orientation: Straight, some kinks here and there
- Status: Single. Education: School of Life
- Occupation: Musician/server
- Hangouts: CitySound, Kitty Cat Klub
- Turn-ons: Belt buckles. Brains. Balls. An urban cowboy, if you will.
- About me: You'll often find me contemplating the things that are bigger than everyday life, but it only makes each day more meaningful. I fully intend on having one hell of an adventure, and leaving "normal" in the dust. Music is in my veins. Perspective and attitude are everything. I love people. I love this city. I love life.
- Nominated by: The ever-captivating Maggie Strom