Recent Mark Morris graduate models at New York Fashion Week | Local

Instead of spending late August moving to college, Longview 18-year-old Erica Snyder spent it in New York preparing to model in fashion week.

The 2022 Mark Morris graduate walked in her first runway shows Saturday and Wednesday before flying to Europe to, hopefully, model in Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks.

Snyder, a basketball, soccer and track varsity athlete, had planned to attend Willamette University in Salem and compete on the track team immediately following graduation.

Although Snyder said she didn’t grow up wanting to be a model, when the option to pursue it during one of the fashion industry’s busiest times of the year, she decided to defer her first term of college.

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“I just really love that school and fell in love with the coaches and environment. It just seemed like the safe bet and good option,” she said. “Modeling is not a safe option but it just seemed like an opportunity that you can’ t pass up, that not many people get to have.”

Erica Snyder


Snyder plans to start at Willamette University in January, studying political science, environmental science or law.

In early 2020, Portland-based Muse Model Management reached out to Snyder on Instagram and invited her to an open call, where the agency meets new faces and offers contracts to those they like.

Snyder signed with the agency, which told her they were interested in her becoming an international model, she said. That meant she wouldn’t have many local gigs and that she had to wait until she turned 18. The pandemic also put modeling on the backburner for about two years, Snyder said.

This year, Snyder signed with Next Model Management in New York and flew across the country in August to prepare for fashion week.

“It was always in the back of my mind that it might happen, but it was a big stretch,” she said.

Fashion week happens twice a year when designers and brands display their latest collections in runway shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris.

To walk in the runway shows, models like Snyder attend castings for hopes of a call back and a spot in the show. Casting directors often represent multiple brands, which cuts down on the number of castings to attend but makes them more important, Snyder said .

On Saturday, Snyder walked in her first Fashion Week runway show for Marni, an Italian luxury fashion brand.

“It was a lot of fun, an experience that I’ve never had before,” she said. “Being on the runway is something that you can’t compare to anything else. It’s an insane feeling.”

Snyder was set to walk in American designer Tom Ford’s Wednesday night show before leaving for Milan.

While she’s traveled to Canada and Mexico, this will be the first time Snyder has been to Europe.

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“(My mom) tells me to, even though I am paying for a lot of it, just make the best out of being young and having the opportunity to travel and see the world,” Snyder said. “Even if modeling doesn’t work out, at least I have chance to go to Italy and travel a bit before college.”

Heather Snyder said it’s surreal to see her daughter in the shows and hear about her meeting “bigwigs of the industry.”

“We are so glad we supported Erica in making this risky detour in her future because she is having such an amazing experience,” Snyder wrote in an email. “We’re just so proud of her, not just for her modeling success, but for her remarkable maturity in learning her way around New York (and soon Milan) and really owning her own success.”

Over the last month, Erica Snyder said she’s learned a lot about the fashion industry and daily exposure has grown her interest in it.

“It’s a lot more open to different styles and looks than I thought it would be,” she said. “Everyone has their own look they have going for (them) or a walk that makes them unique. The fact that they’re looking out for things that make you stand out is something that I didn’t think I would see.”


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