A Model Citizen – Gina Pacak
She said it herself: “I’m just a normal girl.” At first glance, it might seem that way. Gina Pacak lives in Green Tree with her family (consisting of her parents, a younger brother and sister, three cats, and two dogs). If you take a closer look you start to see what makes this Keystone Oaks freshman stand out. Gina was an Irish dancer for eight years, enjoys art, and performed in the school musical. Now, Gina can add something else to her résumé… she recently was scouted and has signed a modeling contract with IMG Models, the world’s number one international model management firm with offices in New York, Paris, London, Milan, and Sydney.
Since she was about five years old, Gina has loved fashion and playing “dress-up.” It only occurred to her in the past couple of years that her hobby could be more than just a game. She had been told by her family and friends that she should be a model, so she set a reasonable goal for herself: to be scouted by a local modeling agency.
In early February, Gina’s mom discovered an Instagram scouting campaign called “We Love Your Genes” by IMG Models. The campaign was an idea by two vice presidents of the agency to easily and efficiently scout for new models. All aspiring models needed to do was post a picture of themself and tag @weloveyourgenes and use the hashtag #WYLG. That’s exactly what Gina did. She created a new Instagram account specifically for modeling (@miss.ginapacak), posted one picture, and within 24 hours was contacted by the Vice President of Development Jeni Rose (@imgmodels.development.jenirose).
“I was shocked, ” said Gina about being scouted. “There was a lot of attention and a ton of support from my family and friends.” To celebrate, her family decorated the house and prepared a special dinner for her.
Being scouted was only the first step in the process. Gina had yet to sign a contract with the agency. To do this, IMG Models wanted Gina to visit their headquarters in New York City. In February, Gina and her mom traveled to New York wondering what exactly would happen. The following day they were met by Vice President David Cunningham at their hotel and were driven to Lincoln Center. Once they got there, they were both extremely surprised to find out that they were going to be attending the Carolina Herrera Fashion Show during New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. They got a backstage tour and saw all the models getting ready. Supermodel Karlie Kloss was one of the biggest models in the show. Gina even got to personally meet model Nicole Warne (@garypeppergirl).
She could only describe the show as “perfect. I never wanted it to end!” During this whole process she was followed by a camera crew, adding to the effect of feeling like a celebrity.
After the fashion show, the group traveled to IMG Model’s New York headquarters where Gina did a short photo shoot. In addition. She got to meet the scouting/development team, who took her measurements and watched her “walk” (as if she was on the runway). Gina left New York City with a three-year modeling contract, which she signed shortly after returning to Pittsburgh.
In the future, Gina plans mainly to do “high fashion” modeling on the runway with some print work as well. Over the next three years, she will work with IMG Models in the development stage but wants to be a model for as long as she can. In terms of goals, Gina wants to inspire other girls who share her dream as a model and to be known in the fashion community. Her next steps towards these goals involve returning to New York in April, where she will have three test photo shoots that will be used to build a “book,” or modeling portfolio that will be shown to potential clients. In the summer of 2016, Gina will be taking a trip to the IMG Models office in Paris to do some more modeling work.
Some of Gina’s favorite stores include GAP, Nordstrom, and Macy’s. Her favorite part of modeling is the experience she gets by wearing all of the unique, new clothes. Gina cites her mom as a role model, whom she also credits for her fashion sense. She understands how much commitment it takes to be a model, but she also knows that “you have to be confident.”
Finally, Gina wants to remind everybody that “you can achieve your dreams.” It might not be in the way you expect, but with the right plan and enough hard work and determination, you will accomplish your goals. Gina Pacak hoped to be a model, but never thought it would play out the way it did. Now that normal, 15-year-old girl has become an IMG Model. Her family and friends, myself included, can’t wait to see what’s in store for her and how the next chapter of her life will play out.
Follow Gina on Instagram at @miss.ginapacak to watch her journey as a model. If you want to follow the rest of the “We Love Your Genes” campaign, subscribe to @weloveyourgenes.
More information about Gina, including additional pictures and links, can be found online at www.writingbydavid.com. This website also includes all of my past articles, information about me, what you can do to help, and ways to contact me. As soon as I’m finished writing my next article, it will be available exclusively on the website before it can be read anywhere else (until it is released in next month’s paper). Even better, take the Pittsburgh Junior Times survey and subscribe to the blog to stay up to date with any changes.