Runways. They’re for walking on, flying from, and advocating upon. Denver Online High School junior Sophia Crawford exploits runways in all its forms.
The seventeen-year-old recently started a fast-and-furious modeling career. The teen went on a local modeling website in February 2015 where she submitted some of her Facebook photos. “In fifteen minutes they called me,” to talk about signing her, she said. She is currently contracted through the Donna Baldwin Agency and Revolution Management, a placement agency. Crawford defined placement agencies, explaining, “It means that they place you in different agencies and countries to get your name out there.”
The teen has done local modeling work, walking in the Denver Fashion Week last year. She said, “The first night I walked for Ducati…They put a lot of crazy makeup on,” where she modeled motorcycle attire. The second night she walked for Scotch and Soda, scrambling to complete two outfit changes, and the third night for Mode Salon. “They pimped out my hair. It was witch themed,” she said about the Mode runway show.
Crawford has also worked closely with Kevin Alexander, 303 Magazine ranked “Best Fashion Photographer” in Denver. Between runway shows and photo shoots, she said, “Runway is a lot more hectic. I think I like photos more because you really control what you’re doing.”
Describing why she loves the industry, she said, “It’s honestly a form of art. Art that you wear.” From designing the outfits, engaging the hair and makeup and stylist team for photoshoots and runway shows, and getting high fashion attire down to affordable wear, she explained the depth of the fashion world, “It’s something that goes underappreciated. But it’s a lot of work.”
“What I like about it the most is that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that sets me apart from others,” she said about her modeling career. But walking down the catwalk and snapping poses in front of a photographer is only part of why she truly enjoys the experience. “I’ve always had an interest in traveling,” she said. Little did she know that seven short months after first signing to model, she would be headed across the globe to Singapore, Malaysia. “[Revolution Management] outsourced me to another agency in Singapore called Mannequin,” she said. With her jump into the fashion business, she was able to kick-start a career that she had always dreamed of, explaining, “Ever since I was little, I’ve never pictured myself behind a desk.”
A passion to travel seems to be one that has grown from family values. Her family has been heavily involved with CSIV International, formerly known as Children’s International Summer Villages. The CSIV International website describes the association as, “a global organization dedicated to educating and inspiring for peace through building inter-cultural friendship, cooperation and understanding.” It runs camps and retreats that focus on four keys: sustainable development, conflict and resolution, diversity, and human rights. “This past summer we talked about water waste,” she explained, noting a camp activity where she helped lead kids in learning about the water they wasted daily. Crawford has participated since she was eleven, now serving as the Junior Board President, a tradition set by her mom and two older sisters. While she volunteers locally through the organization, including baking cookies for the elderly and distributing turkeys to those in need during Thanksgiving, the organization has given her a plethora of opportunities to travel. Through CSIV International, she has traveled to Guatemala, France, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Czech Republic.
One of her favorite events to lead at CSIV camps is “Rich and Poor Day.” Kids are divided into haves and have-nots, where some are given fun activities and a lot of great food, while others are given exhausting chores with little to eat. “It shows how poor people are treated in their countries,” she said. The CSIV organization has deeply shaped the teen, Crawford saying, “It’s going to be in my life forever because it’s changed me as a person completely.”
Education and advocacy about human rights is something she is very passionate about. One of her biggest idols is Emma Watson, saying, “She’s now a huge activist for human rights. I can’t model forever. After that I want to go into international relations making the world a better place.” In an industry that can sometimes foster superficiality, the teen aims to use the modeling platform to bring awareness about social issues.
It is because of the significant lifestyle change in working and traveling with modeling that Crawford came to Denver Online High School. “I was working twice a week and couldn’t go to school that often,” she said. While she was still attending her previous brick-and-mortar school, her agent contacted her and wanted her to fly to China for a modeling job that next day. With finals to complete, she was forced to decline the exclusive experience. “My manager wanted me to go full-time,” she said about heading into online education. Therefore, Crawford made the switch over to Denver Online, explaining, “I’m going full-time this year so I can work but get an education at the same time.”
Crawford started this quarter at Denver Online High School after completing a personalized school orientation so that she could head off to Singapore before the school year even began. “The time difference is pretty insane,” she said, contrasting the time zones between Colorado and her new home in Malaysia. “It’s going to be an adventure,” she said about pursuing her passion while completing school online. A little nervous about the escapade abroad, she laughed about contacting her teachers for help, saying, “I don’t know if everyone will be on-call in the middle of the night.”
But not only does she have an accommodating school staff behind her, but also a good support group at home. Crawford’s dad explained the values he has always tried to instill in his kids: “If you got a shot, take it!” He always has encouraged her to pursue her dreams, saying, “She’s a resourceful person and pretty entrepreneurial. It’s her time to shine.”
Denver Online High School is grateful to provide students like Crawford with the flexibility in their education to pursue their passions while simultaneously earning credit towards high school graduation. Whether that passion be strutting down a stage, taking off across seas on another travel adventure, developing a platform for social justice, or all three, Denver Online hopes to be provide each student with their runway.
So strike that pose, book that plane ticket, or make that stand. Take your shot! We’re ready for you.