Janel Tanna, the winner of the 2019 Maxim Cover Girl competition, is not your average cover girl. In fact, very little about her is average in any way.
She is a self-invented, unconventional multi hyphenate extraordinaire: an accomplished actress, producer, and occasional screenwriter but also, with the accompanying images as supporting proof, a bona fide model. At the moment she’s acting in several film projects while simultaneously writing and producing an upcoming film of her own. It’s enough to make an onlooker’s head explode. not that this would be so problematic, however, as Tanna can assist with that as well.
You see, Tanna, in actuality, also holds an M.D. She graduated summa cum laude from the University at Buffalo medical school, with a postgrad focus on neurosurgery, all prior to the start of her acting and modeling careers. While she loved her interactions with patients—where she leaned on her empathy and kind nature to connect and to heal—and the human brain, the painful reality of treating terminally ill patients led Tanna to reevaluate her path. “I was accepted into a brain surgery program, but it’s not for everybody. It’s really intense—the hours, and most of your patients are very acutely ill when they come to you. At the end of the day, my personality wasn’t ideal for that,” she says.
While some might balk at the thought of completing medical school only to leave medicine behind,