Parris shines in New York

Story by Kate Carroll, Online Editor-in-Chief

As she heard the music start to play, senior Allayah Parris stood in front of the line of models backstage for her first runway show during New York Fashion Week. There was only one thought running through her mind.

“All I was thinking about was trying not to trip,” Parris said. “That was my biggest fear, tripping and falling on the runway.”

Her nerves built up as the music continued and she prepared to open the show.

“My heart was just beating out of my chest, But once I got out there, all of my anxiety just went away as I walked,” Parris said.  

Parris walked in a runway show for designers Jax and Cuso during New York Fashion Week in early Feb. This was one of the eight shows that she was casted to model in throughout the week. She modeled in two types of shows: presentations and runway shows.

“You can do a runway show, where you walk down the runway, or you can do what they call a presentation, where the designer and production crew will set up an area for models to stand all around and people will come and look at the designs,” she said.

While Parris is very in tune with the modeling world, she didn’t start in the field until last Oct. She said that she had always considered getting into modeling, but she didn’t make it a reality until recently when her friend and fellow model, senior Alexis Windham, encouraged her to take the step.

“I always said I wanted to model, but I never went for it because I didn’t really think that I could get anywhere with it,” Parris said. “Once I started October, though, it’s really taken off since.”

After signing with her modeling agency, 3 BlackBird Management, Parris worked towards building a portfolio to bring with her to castings.

“Since I am a fresh face, I really needed to start off building up my portfolio,” Parris said. “My manager was sending me to photoshoots and booked me with photographers so we could build up the portfolio and start booking jobs.”

Parris put her portfolio to work at her casting for New York Fashion Week.

“The casting for our New York Fashion Week team was in Dec. and then we left at the end of January,” Parris said.

During her time in New York, Parris worked in at least one show a day, including presentations for the clothing lines, Alice and Olivia by Stacey Bendet and Adidas Originals by Danielle Cathari. She even got the chance to model clothing for the website of a brand called ArticleAnd.

At these shows, Parris even encountered major celebrities. Socialite Paris Hilton attended the Alice and Olivia presentation and supermodels Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin were both at the Adidas Originals show. Parris was featured in a photo on Jenner’s Instagram and got to meet her face to face; Jenner took photos of all of the models at the show, including Parris.

“Before she got there, the casting director was like ‘look you guys, Kendall is about to get here, don’t freak out, don’t be fangirls,’” Parris said. “Even though I wanted to so desperately to be like ‘oh my God, Kendall Jenner, I love you so much,’ I just stayed set up in our little presentation area while she went around and took pictures of all of the models.”    

Because of her work at New York Fashion Week, Parris gained exposure to new jobs for the future. Her prospects include a job with Disney Land, a possible magazine shoot, a Project Runway show and Miami Swim Week. For now though, Parris has simpler horizons.

“[Her aim] For now, it’s just getting caught back up in school,” Parris said.