Stoffle travels to California in hopes to find modeling opportunities after high school

Tiffany Kajiwara, Managing Editor

Senior Amber Stoffle flew to sunny Los Angeles in November where she had the rare and unique opportunity to walk the runway in the International Performing Arts Showcase.

She got this opportunity through her performing art school, the International Performing Arts Academy of Chicago, also known as IPAA. They were the ones who suggested she audition for the showcase, but she was initially discovered by an L.A. scout from Lush, a cosmetic store.

After the woman rushed up to her and introduced herself, Stoffle said, “She proceeded to search in her bag for a slip of paper that was an invitation to the John Hancock Center to audition for IPAA. I went and received a scholarship for their modeling and acting program, but they really wanted me to focus on modeling. Through this opportunity, it opened up a door to the modeling industry.”

More recently, Stoffle worked extraordinarily hard to prepare for this opportunity, including a total of 18 months of training. She said that runway model training “is harder than people think.”

One of the most applicable lessons she learned was about confidence. “I was taught ways to accept every little detail about myself, even if I didn’t want to,” Stoffle said.

She even had to learn to walk differently. “In High Fashion, hips must be forward while everything else is straight and posture is as perfect as possible. In Commercial, hips can not be forward. Your walk is required to be bouncy, have your hips sway, walk in a straight line, and show off a lot of personality.”

The trip itself lasted a week. She stayed at the luxurious Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A. Mere blocks away from the Disney Concert Hall, this crystal chandeliered historic Hollywood venue served as a filming location for the TV show “Mad Men” and hosted six U.S. Presidents, including John F. Kennedy.

Although Stoffle said the hotel was ”breath taking,” it certainly was not the highlight. The showcase was the climax of the trip.

Stoffle described the purpose of the showcase, saying it “offered actors, models, dancers, and singers to audition for big labels and names in the industry in Los Angeles, California.”

Backstage of the showcase, Stoffle described it as “a little chaotic.” She said, “Even though we were in a straight line, the space was so condensed that everyone was pretty much on top of each other until you reached closer to the stage.”

When the moment finally came, she said that while walking the runway with the blinding lights shining in her eyes, “you basically get the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. Walking down the runway is such a rush of energy and it goes by quite quickly.”

She compared it to other performances, saying, “It was nerve wrecking walking down the runway because they could see every little detail on me but it was also so much fun.”

Regarding the future, she hopes to continue in the modeling industry. “I do hope to be on runway again. Runway gives me so much confidence, and it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve accomplished,” Stoffle said.