Walking the runway
Sisters Kendall and Carly Shanklin share many things — a home, similar extracurricular activities, a love for their horses Oscar and Elliot — but now they share something even more: modeling.
Kendall, 16, and Carly 14, participated in their first runway show for FashioNXT — a fashion week in downtown Portland showcasing next season's collection by designers from all over the world. The event was from Oct. 11-14, and they were able to participate together.
"Carly and I have become closer over the last three years and now we are doing FashioNXT," Kendall said, prior to the event. "It means a lot to me, she's my best buddy; it makes me happy she's doing it with me."
"It's pretty exciting because at least I'll know someone — a familiar face in the crowd," Carly added, before the event.
The first day of the event, the sisters were able to attend a meet-and-greet with agents and managers. The following day, they walked the runway together and then Kendall walked Friday and Carly walked on Saturday.
But before both girls stepped heel to floor, Kendall remembered watching runway shows on television when she was younger.
"I used to think they looked really powerful," Kendall said. "They showed you what went on backstage, they laughed and looked like they had a good time. I idolized those models that looked good; they seemed to have it all."
Little did she know dressing up in her grandma's heels and rockin' her sixth-grade sparkly combat boots was only the beginning — her exploratory way into the fashion industry.
But the decision for both sisters to start modeling was much more recent.
In 2015, the sisters took modeling and acting classes at Barbizon Modeling School and Agency in Portland, where Carly took a combination of modeling and acting classes, and Kendall focused on modeling.
"They basically talk to you about the industry, what to do at an audition, how to take care of your skin and hair, how to improve your runway walk (and) walk in heels," Carly said.
The same time period the sisters were taking modeling classes, Kendall and Carly were presenting at a Oregon State Fair for 4-H when Kendall was scouted.
"This guy came up to me and my mom and asked if I had ever considered modeling," said Kendall, adding that Carly had been scouted at the Old Time Fair in West Linn. "We were in the midst of the modeling classes and decided that we should take it more seriously."
In turn, they both signed up to participate in the International Performing Arts Showcase in Los Angeles in November 2016. During the modeling showcase they walked on the runway in high fashion outfits they picked out and gave monologues to show their ability to speak on camera.
The sisters were able to meet several agents and received a few callbacks each. While they didn't follow through with anything in Hollywood, they were able to gain experience to eventually audition for FashioNXT.
"I really enjoy the fashion industry as a whole," Carly said. "I like the way, after your outfit is completed, you can see the character it possesses."
Representing a designer's outfit was something that had both sisters extremely nervous before stepping on the runway. That, and of course, not falling in their heels.
"Since it's my first runway show, (I was) nervous about being represented by a brand and having to showcase this brand for other people. What I do on the runway represents how the designers portray this clothing, so that's kind of stressful," Kendall said. "I love the fashion industry; it's a cool industry, one that has a lot of hard work and dedication. I get to showcase this artist's cutting edge fashion. If you get into it, you get to meet a lot of cool people, meet the designers, wear cool clothes."
Both girls say the nerves and excitement haven't gone without challenges. During the fashion event, they had to be taken out of school early and both say balancing modeling with school and extracurricular activities is hard.
"Personally, I think academics are the most important thing. Instead of dropping out of college and becoming a runway model, I want to go to medical school and become a orthopedic surgeon," Kendall said. "I've always been interested in helping other people. (Last summer), my previous biology teacher took seniors and a few freshman to go watch a surgery on a lung and it was really cool."
Carly doesn't know what her plans are yet, but she would like to be involved with modeling — runway or print — or perhaps running, because she really enjoys being a part of cross country right now.