Senior takes first steps into modeling

April 3, 2018 — by Harshini Ramaswamy and Ashley Su

Senior Riley Carter is often recognized for her frequent appearances during the Class of 2018’s Homecoming skits over the past four years or her impressive list of academic achievements and accomplishments in volleyball and high jumping. In the past year, the 5’10” Carter has added a new extracurricular to her resume: modeling.

"People had always told me I should model because I was tall,” Carter said. “I thought it would be a fun opportunity so I reached out to a local agency in San Jose that seemed laidback and not as fancy as the San Francisco ones where you needed experience.”

After sending in a few photos of herself, Carter says the owner of the agency invited her in for an interview where she told Carter she wanted to sign her immediately.

“It takes awhile to get gigs because you have to look like you have experience,” Carter said. “The agency I’m with just has all the models on the website, and anyone who’s looking for models can go on the website and hire someone.”

After being featured on the company’s website, Carter landed a spot in the San Francisco Fashion Community Week fashion show in September, where she was dressed by local designers.

Initially hesitant at the idea of modeling at a professional event, Carter was taken aback by the friendliness and the diversity in the ages and levels of experience she encountered.

“Everyone was trying to make friends with everyone else,” Carter said. “I met a lot of new people including new designers, some of which gave me their cards for future jobs to work with them. So it’s just an awesome experience to make connections, and it was super fun getting to wear the clothes and walking.”

Carter’s experience at the Fashion Week surprised her and her family. Hollywood depictions of modeling agencies and fashion shows have tended to portray them as shallow, toxic environments that focus on surface-level attributes.

“A lot of the models seem to compare themselves to other models at the agency,” Carter said. “But it’s really just about if they want a blonde person that day or if they want a brunette person. It’s not about comparing bodies.”

Though her mom initially had concerns about how models tend to worry about body image, Carter said she hasn’t been pressured to diet especially because her agency has no weight requirements. Instead, she attributes her participation in sports, along with her high metabolism, to her overall fitness. Carter has played volleyball and participated in track since the sixth grade, and served as captain of both teams her senior year.

In the future, Carter intends on majoring in neuroscience and has applied to schools mostly in California. Although she is not pursuing modeling as a career, Carter said she may be interested in joining an agency when she goes to college.



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