Benicia Fashion Runway attracts models from as far as Los Angeles and Nevada. Just last week, I had an inquiry from Hawaii. A few of the women have even appeared on America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. The models are not compensated but want to walk for Project Runway and established designers. Some models have been with the show for several years. One in particular started when she was 14 years old and drives over with her mom from Stockton for the day.

Another such hopeful, La Paula Parker, knocked on my door a year ago asking if she could model for Benicia Fashion Runway. As I recall, she had not walked a runway before but thought it would be a great experience. She left her contact info and, although the lineup was cast, I gave her a call on the day of the show to see if she was still interested.

We were blown away by La Paula! She held her own on the runway and was game for anything we asked her to do or wear. She was one of the stars of the evening with her professionalism and confidence. It was only later that I found out she was a senior at Benicia High School. Wow!

LaPaula Parker recently graduated from Benicia High School and will be attending the University of Southern California majoring in Politics, Philosophy, and Law. Exploring her interest in politics, La Paula interned for Congressman Mike Thompson and assisted in running his Congressional Student Leader Council. LaPaula founded the Cultural Girl Mentorship Program (CGMP), a program where high school female students mentor underrepresented young girls at Benicia Middle School, discussing topics such as self-confidence, self-motivation, and advice for high school. She also received an award from Princeton University for her work involving race relations in the community.

She enjoys reading, singing, debating, and runway modeling. La Paula has agreed to fly home from LA for this year’s fashion show and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see her rock the runway once again.