AS MILAN Fashion Week ended last month, and Paris starts to show the Fall Ready-To-Wear 2015 Collections, there will be one person watching what comes down the runways closer than others in the Clarence Valley.
Ashby teen Karla Bodycote has been modelling professionally for more than two years now, and, with the recent success of her being signed to Vivien's Model Management in 2014, one of the world's top model agencies, she is now jetting off to Italy in May for a three-month sojourn.
"It's been absolutely crazy, thinking that in a couple more weeks, I'll be in Milan, working full time and surrounded by a whole new world," an excited Karla said.
Chosen from a talent pool of several hundred up-and-coming models, Karla was scouted and told she was flying off to Milan, even before the agent saw her professional portfolio. Not that her portfolio is lacking, with work ranging across the last few years, Karla walked the runway at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Coffs Coast Fashion Festival, wearing one-off designer pieces by Watson X Watson at just 15 years old. She was chosen by the Award Winning Designers to open the show, and was also chosen to wear Sass & Bide, Zimmerman and Camilla at the festival. She has shot international commercial work for clients in both Korea and Japan, Australian swimwear for Seafolly and editorials with renowned fashion photographer Bonnie Cee, as well as a recent campaign for high-end label For the Love of Grace that will be released next month.
Online, Karla also has quite a presence, with her Instagram following reaching more than 2000 people every day, as she shares behind-the-scene shots from her modelling work, her latest photo shoots, and a mix of her love of local beaches and life on the Lower Clarence.
And while she might be juggling go-sees and photo shoots in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast with studying Year 11 at Maclean High, she also manages to work at Podium Boutique and Yamba Surf Store on her weekends. Although she smiles: "I spend what I earn on clothes. I should probably start saving for shopping in Italy." Her strong work ethic and passion to succeed has paid off so far, with the opportunity now to have a shot at the international fashion industry just around the corner.
Vivien's Model Management will sponsor Karla's journey, with her travel all arranged, and her own room and board for the full three months in the "Model House" in the middle of the cosmopolitan city. With a dozen or so girls in the house, and Karla one of only two Australian girls, it's all a bit "Next Top Model", although the girls luckily won't be competing against each other. Karla will be provided with a mentor, and the house is supervised, with the girls under the direction and guidance of industry alumni.
Karla will then have three months working full time, flat out, as Vivien's arranges appointments, meetings and shoots with her. "It's going to be full on, and it's not really a holiday," she said. "I'll be working every day and trying to book as much as possible and earn some money so hopefully I can travel around a bit afterwards".
What happens at the end of Karla's agreed three months is then up to her. If all goes well and she continues to book jobs, New York Fashion Week will kick off in September, with opportunities endless; although by then she admits she might be little homesick and ready to see her beloved Pippi Beach again.
Ashby-based mum Cynthia and dad Allan will head over to Italy with Karla, renting a flat near the Model House for the first week or so, to help Karla settle in, decipher maps for making her appointments, and cram in some Italian language lessons together. It will be their first trip overseas as well, and Karla lets on that marine expert Allan has already been researching fresh water rivers, lakes and dams of Italy, as well as sea fishing off the Italian coast to bring back some new ideas to the Clarence.
The work Karla secures in Italy will kickstart her career and hopefully see her face become the next big thing before she even turns 17. "Megan Gale started her modelling career in Italy, and was way more famous there than here in the start. She's still going 20 years later, and has built a complete empire, I'd love to build myself into a brand like her."
Watch this space! STYLEwise will be tracking Karla's Italian journey, and will report back.
The winner of last week's STYLEwise Joico hairspray from Kerrie Di Mattia Hairdressing is Zara Tabor. Zara can pick up her letter of confirmation from The Daily Examiner office in Grafton. Thanks to everyone who sent in entries.