Major fashion show for first-time Abbotsford model

Julia Duckett, 15, takes to the runway during Vancouver Fashion Week.

Abbotsford teen Julia Duckett makes her way down the catwalk March 21 at Vancouver Fashion Week. The 15-year-old was selected to model for the event at her first-ever audition.

Abbotsford teen Julia Duckett makes her way down the catwalk March 21 at Vancouver Fashion Week. The 15-year-old was selected to model for the event at her first-ever audition.

by Tyler Orton, Contributor

As Vancouver Fashion Week – the West Coast’s most prominent industry showcase – launches its spring gala, an Abbotsford teen is intent on using the event to launch her career.

“There are about 30 cameras all flashing at me at the same time, so you get that rush of feeling in your body when you’re walking,” Julia Duckett said after a session on the runway March 21.

She then took to the catwalk again for three shows on March 23 at downtown Vancouver’s Chinese Cultural Centre.

This is the first time the 15-year-old Robert Bateman Secondary student has modelled, but she has been determined to pursue it ever since she was five.

The only problem was her short stature. After putting on three inches in the past year, the 5’8” model is now tall enough for industry insiders to take her seriously.

“I want to be a model because it opens up tons of doors for anything,” she says. “It gets into acting, travelling all over the world, it builds up your self-confidence.”

When her father signed her up for the open auditions, she was just one of a handful to make the cut out of hundreds.

Duckett says her family background – a mix of British, Spanish and South Asian – helped her stand out.

Founded over a decade ago, Vancouver Fashion Week has featured a blend of local and international designers including Versace, Anna Sui, Lauren Vidal and Kersh. This year features the debut of Project Runway Canada star Sunny Fong’s 2012 VAWK fall/winter collection.

Prominent New York agency Wilhelmina Models has discovered talent there before, signing Megan Dalke and launching her fashion career in New York City.

Duckett, the only Abbotsford model to appear at VFW, said organizers told her she was also the youngest.

Despite her age and lack of experience, she was determined to maintain her cool at her first show.

“There were definitely nerves. Backstage, I was freaking out,” she says. “Anything could happen, but you’ve just got to stay confident, and be fierce and love it.”

Duckett also has her sights set on attending the University of California, Los Angeles where she plans to study criminology. But for now, she’s resolute in her desire for a modelling career.

“After this I’m going to keep trying to get into more shows, and trying to get my name out there to designers and maybe get an agent.”

Duckett hit the catwalk again for three shows on March 23 at Vancouver’s Chinese Cultural Centre.