19-year-old University of Maryland sophomore Jasmin Harris has dreams of becoming a professional model.
“As a kid I dressed up in clothes and put on heels, it was always in me,” Harris said.
But Harris did not realize that she wanted to pursue modeling as a career until she took a fashion design class freshman year at her Somerset, NJ school, Franklin High School. She decided to sign up for the class because she needed an elective. The class put on fashion shows at the school to show off students’ designs.
She participated in the shows as a model, and fell in love with the world of fashion. Chelsea Brooks, Harris’ high school friend, said that she had a significant role in the modeling scene at school.
“She was always active and into it, I definitely remember her modeling in the fashion shows,” Brooks said.
After being in some of her high school fashion shows, she began to model at local fashion shows outside of her community.
“Runway shows are my favorite actually. It’s the easiest because you are in your zone –there is no right or wrong,” Harris said. “You can express yourself, and you are not limited to posing.”
On March 8, she tried out for the college edition of “America’s Next Top Model” at their New Jersey auditions. This will be the 19th season of the show. Unlike past cycles, this one will feature college students from two-year and four-year institutions.
Harris felt prepared for the audition, especially because she has been watching “America’s Next Top Model” since the show’s first season.
“I always practice the smiling eyes,” said Harris about ANTM’s host Tyra Banks famous facial expression.
She said that the audition process involved filling out an application; sending in bikini, head, and full body shots; and standing in line for hours with a number pinned onto you. Once she made it into the audition room, she had to speak in to the camera about modeling and what made her different.
This is Harris’ second time trying out; she tried out last year at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Arlington, VA.
Because Harris has not heard back from ANTM, she thinks that she has not made it this season. But she is not about to give up on her dream. Her plan is to keep on trying. She said that at past auditions, she knew of girls who made it and tried out multiple times.
“It’s a great experience for learning and I would not trade it if I never made it.” Harris said. “It’s an awesome thing.”
If Harris were successful on the show, she would still want to pursue her degree. She would consider doing on-the-road tutoring if attending college would clash with her schedule. She admires ANTM host Tyra Banks for attending Harvard Business School at age 38.
“I want to beat the stereotype of models not getting an education,” Harris said.
Harris chose to be on a public relations track at the communication school because she wants work in the event-planning business. She plans to start off with corporate event planning, and later move to weddings and entertainment.
If she has no success with ANTM in college, she is considering pursuing modeling for a year after she graduates.
“I always enjoyed fashion, but modeling was not always my goal. But once it happened [modeling in high school], I loved it,” Harris said.