At the tender age of 15, Nelson student Juliette Perkins has landed a modelling contract with one of the biggest agencies in the world.
The contract with IMG came out of the blue two months ago but the Nayland College year 11 student had to keep it under wraps until now.
"I was crazy excited and I wanted to tell everybody but I couldn't," Juliette said.
IMG is an international model management company that represents the likes of supermodels Kate Moss, Heidi Klum and Gisele Bündchen.
Juliette signed with Kiwi modelling agency Red Eleven in 2012 after she sent in some photos from a previous shoot. They organised the contract with IMG and surprised Juliette with it at the last minute.
While Juliette has been modelling professionally over New Zealand for the past 18 months, she hopes this will open doors internationally.
She has done mainly fashion shoots for companies including Glassons ando NomD.
At this stage, Juliette dreams of becoming a Victoria's Secret angel alongside her heroes, Cara Delevingne and Miranda Kerr. At 1.8m tall, she is well suited for the catwalk.
"It's really exciting. It can be scary but it's exciting having this opportunity."
Balancing modelling and study was not always easy but while she was away on shoots, the college lets her work by correspondence.
Naturally her friends are curious about her adventures.
"They think it's pretty awesome. They're really cool about it and really supportive," Juliette said.
Her mum, Justine, was also behind her, perhaps because she was a fashion model in Australia when she was younger.
"It's a fantastic opportunity. It just opens up huge doors for her," she said.
However, she does worry about the pressures on her daughter, modelling professionally at such a young age. "I've definitely lots of concerns especially having been in the industry myself," Perkins said.
School has to be top priority and Perkins wants to make sure Juliette is emotionally mature enough to handle some of the bumps along the road.
"There's no point throwing her out there when she's just not ready," Perkins said.
It is this kind of help from her family and friends that keeps Juliette grounded.
"I have so much support that I've never really thought about the bad stuff about it."
To have the opportunity to model on an international stage is a dream for Juliette who went to modelling class every Wednesday as a seven-year-old. She has been modelling ever since.
"I've thought about that my entire life," Juliette said.
- The Nelson Mail
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