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Life is a Rollercoaster; Ride It

From fashion runways to track and field, Callie Wallace embraces it all

photograph by Heather Simmons

In Paris, Callie Wallace scans a crowd of fashion editors and photographers before striding confidently down a runway and into the glare of flashing cameras. While it’s still new, she’s growing accustomed to the spotlight. Last year, the high school senior from St. Mary’s Episcopal School modeled Lacoste designs for Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, posing for Grazia magazine, and showing off the work of designer Izzy Miyake. Then in May, Callie flaunted hot styles during Memphis’ Fashion Week.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” she admits. But the 17-year-old enthusiastically embraces each new experience. “I’m always first in line to ride roller coasters.” 

Four years ago, Callie was browsing Macy’s in Collierville, with her mom, Jennifer, when her blue eyes, electrifying smile, and 5-feet-10-inch stature caught the attention of an employee with the talent agency Elzemeyer, now ETA. Today she’s represented in Milan, Barcelona, Paris, New York, and Memphis.

Callie was preparing to return to Paris this summer for modeling assignments. But a soccer accident left her nose fractured in three places. Many teens would have been crushed, but Callie showed resilience. “I wasn’t too disheartened because I know God has a perfect plan, and so I try not to have a fear of bad news,” she says.

Instead, she spent time with family and took a mission trip to New Mexico with her youth group, where the teens ran a vacation Bible school on a Navajo reservation.

This fall, Callie will continue modeling but keep it in perspective. “I’ve declined lots of jobs because school is very important to me.” 

Not many teens would describe the opportunity to model designer clothes as a “business experience.” But being raised on the family farm has helped this young woman stay grounded. Her father, John, owns Vincent Soybean and Grain Co. in Crawfordsville, Arkansas. “Growing up on a farm has taught me to be hard-working and conservative. My dad taught me the business side of things, to enjoy what you do but to keep things in perspective and be practical.”

Callie’s approach involves learning about brands, and reviewing a client’s previous work. She uses mental visualization techniques to help her reach her goals. “If you have big dreams, you need to make a plan and do the work,” she notes. A sports enthusiast, she started pole-vaulting last season after an injury sidelined her from competitive volleyball. She caught on quickly and wrapped up her first season with a sixth-place finish at the state meet. 

Someday, she’ll page through a scrapbook and reminisce about this rich period of her life. Wondering which activities brings the most satisfaction? “Wednesday night church youth group with my friends,” she answers readily. “In the middle of the week, I have quiet time and worship. I’m thankful for all that God has given me.”

The Real Scoop

FAVORITE DESIGNER LOOK: A Marc Jacobs polka dot dress with matching shoes and accesories
VOLUNTEER WORK: At Refuge Empowerment in Binghampton, she helps kids from Africa learn English
FUTURE GOALS: She plans to study international business in college

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