When Courtney Reed hits the runway, she has a singular goal: To put whatever piece of apparel she’s wearing in its best light.
Recently, the 17-year-old Steinbrenner High School student proved that she knows how to work a runway by capturing first place in Old Navy’s “Next Top Model” competition at a mall in Sarasota.
She modeled black jeans, a black tank top and a white jacket, along with accessories — and came out on top among a field of about 60 competitors.
As a result of winning that competition, she now advances to the Florida competition for Miss Teen U.S.A.
The young woman from Lutz said she was first introduced to modeling when she was 13.
Reed was at a Jonas Brothers concert at the amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds when someone approached her and asked if she’d ever considered modeling.
She said she was interested, so she went to an audition and ultimately began working with a management company called N8 Talent, based in Sarasota.
N8 Talent is a management company for actors, models, vocalists, comics and bands in Florida and Los Angeles. The company’s clients have been involved in numerous widely known films and television programs including “Spider-Man,” “Dolphin Tale,” “ER” and “Hannah Montana.” N8 has also done commercial work for clients like T.J. Maxx, MTV, Publix Super Markets and McDonalds.
Reed said she attended the International Presentation of Performers, or iPop, in Las Vegas, and received callbacks from several agents in Los Angeles. But she was unable to pursue those opportunities.
At the time, her dad, Steve, was laid off from his job as an information technology manager after 23 years with the company.
“It was really tough,” said her mom, Debbie. The agents were interested, but the family couldn’t swing it financially. Things just got put on hold for a little bit.”
Steve said he’s pleased by his daughter’s commitment and her ability to maintain a level head.
“I’m proud of how she’s stuck with it throughout the years,” he said. “She has a good outlook. She works hard at it.”
Despite the family’s economic setbacks, the young woman has taken it all in stride.
Reed said she enjoys modeling and would love to pursue a career in modeling and acting. At the same time, she’s also interested in studying psychology and becoming a licensed cosmetologist.
She can easily picture herself doing hair and makeup for other models.
Courtney knows that psychology and cosmetology may seem like an odd combo to some, but that doesn’t bother her a bit.
She also has a variety of other interests. Courtney carries a 3.76 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, as she enters her senior year at Steinbrenner.
She also plays piano and violin.
She was an altar server at St. Timothy Catholic Church for four years, and hopes to attend college in New York while pursuing modeling opportunities there.
But rejection is part of the business when it comes to modeling and acting, and Steve Roberts from N8 has worked with Courtney to make sure she doesn’t take it personally.
“If I don’t get a call back, I’m not what they wanted at that moment,” Reed said.