In the movies, the beautiful fashion model tells the story of being discovered by an agency representative in a small-town coffee shop or bakery. She is whisked away to New York or Paris on a private jet and becomes a runway sensation seemingly overnight.
That is not how it happened for Peyton Blaine, a 20-year-old former Winter Garden resident now living in New York City and building her career as an international fashion model.
“People would say, ‘Are you a model?’ and I would say yes and wait for their card, and then they’d walk away,” Blaine said with a laugh. “It didn’t happen as easy as for some people.”
Blaine was 15 when she had her first photography session; it was in Orlando, and she was building her portfolio.
She signed a contract with the IMG Models agency about six months later, and she still is employed by the company, which is based in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan and Sydney. Blaine has been to each of those locations and said London and New York are where she feels most at home. Her first trip to England was for a modeling job the summer she was 16.
She attended Foundation Academy until ninth grade; when her promising career started demanding more of her time, she began a homeschool program. She admits it was a struggle in the beginning because she had to focus on work when her friends were going out and having fun — but the sacrifice has been worth it.
Blaine said her first magazine shoot was for Vogue; she was 16.
“It was one of those pinch-me moments for sure,” she said. “I had collected (Vogue) for years. I have stacks of them in my room. … That’s a day I’ll never forget; (it was) one of my favorite jobs.”
The photo shoot was for a full-page watch advertisement, and security guards followed her around the entire day because the watch was so expensive, she said.
She hasn’t made a magazine cover — yet.
Not all aspects of modeling are as glamorous as they appear on television and in the movies. Her first gigs were with e-commerce — products and services sold in the online market — and those are the money jobs, she said.
“E-comm is long hours, and it’s very tiring because you’re changing maybe 80 different outfits in one shoot,” Blaine said. “And a lot of girls will end up crying or want to go home. You do think it’s going to be glamorous — your makeup is done, and your hair is done, but people are poking and touching you.”
IMG choose where the models go and when. Blaine was told she would go to Australia when she turned 18, but her first stop would be London.
“They love new girls and new faces,” she said of the London market.
Many times, models are categorized by their facial features, which can limit the modeling jobs. For instance, she said, in the high-fashion industry, agencies want unique girls who stand out. Mature and sexy women are used more often for commercial modeling.
She said she falls in between the two; she can transition from one look to another with the help of hair and makeup stylists.
Among her clients are H&M, Urban Outfitters, Gap, Topshop and Wildfox.
Blaine has walked the runways in multiple cities wearing many different designers. She wore Kate Spade during New York Fashion Week, and she has graced the runways of London and Paris. Her usual attire is pantsuits or dresses, but every once in a while she is required to wear something more closely resembling a piece of art covering her face.
She is nervous only when she’s wearing six-inch heels and a long design with material trailing behind her.
Blaine said she wants to continue modeling but she also is eager to explore new avenues, maybe own her own business.
“I don’t know what yet, but I’ve always wanted to branch off and do something on my own,” she said. “I think modeling gives you a boost.”
She still has the entrepreneurial spirit, just like she did when she was younger and creating hair flowers for her friends. She even sold them under the name Peyton’s Petals in Polka Dotz, an accessories shop in the Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves.
After the holidays, Blaine is returning to New York to begin a new year with exciting possibilities in the modeling world. And maybe 2020 will be the year she gets her magazine cover.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.