Many girls across the country covet new issues of Seventeen, but 14-year-old Catharin “Cati” Vandevort, of Port Matilda, had a special reason to watch magazine racks closely.
That’s because Cati, a freshman at State College Area High School, makes her major modeling debut in the December issue. She is featured in a Boscov’s ad for holiday sweaters that was photographed a few months ago in Reading, when cameras flashed as Cati and a few other girls laughed and roasted marshmallows on a campfire and then went ice skating the next day.
Until her mom frantically texted her a photo of the ad from the checkout line in the grocery store a few weeks ago, Cati didn’t know which shot had been selected or how the ad would appear.
“It’s cool to see yourself on paper,” Cati said with a wide smile. “I was just excited that it started out as something small and it’s come to this point.”
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“It” started, in fact, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. Cati was there last year on a school field trip and the tall redhead was scouted by Barbizon Modeling and Acting Center, which has a training center in Harrisburg.
“I always had an interest in modeling,” Cati said. “I just like everything about it — the makeup, the hair, the clothes and just the industry in general.”
Her parents, Ben and Jen Vandevort, initially did not share Cati’s excitement. But with Barbizon’s training training in areas including public speaking, and castings in New York for Teen Vogue, Macy’s and Abercrombie & Fitch, Jen Vandevort said there are advantages she hadn’t realized.
“From a parent’s point of view, I look at it as life skills. She needs to shake hands, introduce herself, talk about herself. ... I think she’ll be set for college interviews and things.”
After graduating from Barbizon Harrisburg in April 2013, Cati attended the Barbizon’s Passport to Discovery cruise in October and participated in competitions hosted by agents, managers and casting directors from across the globe. Then she waited for callbacks from those companies, going to as many auditions as possible.
Out of that came her contract with Click Model Management, out of New York.
“The one I liked the most was Click, and that’s the one I ended up signing with, but it took a while for everything to happen because it’s a slow process,” Cati said.
It’s still a slow process, or at least a waiting game. Notice about auditions usually arrives by email, but whether Cati goes depends on where and when they are. School is the top priority, she said.
Cati has also appeared in Boscov’s newspaper ads, and the shoot for Seventeen — the campfire scene was the final selection — only intensified the keen interest the teen always had in modeling.
“It just made me more excited and realize how much I love doing this, and just how long it can take,” she said. “Especially only being 14, you have to be really patient with it.”
Cati, who also enjoys lacrosse, baking and spending time with friends, said she hopes to continue modeling but already has her sights set on college. She added that she would like to enter the business world someday, possibly in a field connected to the modeling industry.