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Local model walks in NYFW

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At this year’s New York Fashion Week, a Hernando County beauty took to the runway. Sophia Monsey was a vision of grace and elegance as she walked for fashion brands such as Brand, CSW, S.Hot, Earth, and TKS. Then she returned home to resume her classes at West Hernando Middle School and Stir Up The Gift, a 501c-3 non-profit performing arts organization. Sophia is a 12 year old drama student that was handpicked to walk the runway in February for Coastal – New York Fashion Week at the Hudson Mercantile in New York City. “It was a dream come true. It was a really good experience, I met so many interesting people,” shared Sophia.

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Jada Crandle, who is a veteran model herself and modeling coach at Stir Up the Gift, is the one who submitted Monsey’s photos and videos to Coastal Fashion Week (CFW) for consideration. Coastal Fashion Week hosts shows in New York, Texas, Tampa, Orlando, Louisiana and other locales. This organization, according to their website, is an affiliation of independent fashion designers, models, hair and makeup artists, photographers and philanthropic organizations. CFW is a Christian organization and was created to increase awareness of local charities, encourage development in the area of fashion design and modeling, and to enhance the visibility of the Gulf Coast as a center of Southern fashion. They also aim to focus on fashion in other parts of the United States including New York, Dallas, Oklahoma and Atlanta, etc.

Crandle shared that Sophia has been modeling since 2018. She stated, “She is very dedicated and takes constructive criticism. She is also very well-rounded with a great personality.” Crandle teaches Sophia and other students everything from posture and posing to dealing well with rejection. As a seasoned model, she has posed for PGA Golf and Orlando Fashion Week among others. “You just got to keep your head held high and keep on moving,” stated Crandle.

While modeling at New York Fashion Week, Sophia built upon the skills learned at Stir Up the Gift and the advice she received from industry veterans. “I was nervous, but everyone made me really comfortable and was so supportive. They taught me more about the stares and poses I needed to show on the runway,” she shared.

She also enjoyed modeling haute couture fashions before a New York City audience. She walked in styles ranging from sporty to dressy. And with every step, pose, and outfit, a dream was coming true for this young Brooksville resident. Her mother, Mel Holbrook Monsey stated that Sophia has been dreaming of walking in New York Fashion Week for so long and she was finally accepted after all her hard work.

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Aside from her previous runway work at Coastal – Tampa Fashion Week (where she also walked the runway this year), Sophia has appeared in plays at school and at Stir Up the Gift, tackling roles such as Nala in “The Lion King” and Fiona in “Shrek.”

“Stir Up the Gift has taught me the techniques of modeling and acting. They got me started, taught me technical skills, and boosted my confidence,” Sophia stated. She shared that both acting and modeling have given her the opportunity to show off her personality and have fun. Yet according to mother Mel Holbrook Monsey, her daughter also has a serious side. She stated, “We are very proud of her. Not only is she beautiful, but she is smart and headstrong. She is great in school and is always on honor roll. Her favorite class this year is culinary.”

So whether she ends up becoming a master chef or a supermodel, Sophia’s future looks as bright as the lights of New York City. “I can’t wait to see what dreams come true,” she shared.

Sophia Monsey walking the runway
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