Meet Jessica Torres, model at NYC's College Fashion week

HC:Where do you live and what do you study? 

JT: I live in Queens, New York and I study Creative Writing and Journalism at New York University.

HC: Have you ever wanted to model or how did you find out about this opportunity?

JT: Modeling is something I was always intrigued by-- I saw it as a platform to be able to walk a stage and potentially influence other women in their audience to feel as liberated, authentic, and unapologetically fierce in their own skin in the way they have always deserved to acknowledge. I had a friend refer me to @HerCampus and encouraged me to apply for the opportunity. I submitted an image of myself that I felt best represented who I am and all that I embody as an individual. I made sure I took my time writing a caption underneath, expressing the immensity of significance in representation and inclusiveness. And I was casted!

HC: What was it like getting ready for the runway? Did you get to style yourself at all?

JT: Getting ready is the most adrenaline filled experience, because we are all backstage in a room full of badass young women with a mutual passion for contributing to creating a positive and powerful influence in the world we live in. We attended a fitting for the show days prior, with outfits that were pre-selected by Her Campus Partner, Primark that embodied the essence of a boss lady while still embracing Fall Fashion. We did not get to pick and choose our wardrobe, but ALL of the models faces lit up when we were told that we get to KEEP the clothes that we walked the runway with! Whenever I wear the clothes given, I will always be remembered of the whole College Fashion Week experience, which is a bonus. After our wardrobe was set, each of us moved on to have our hair and makeup done, sponsored by Ulta Beauty. Photographers and Press are candidly taking your photographs and as you're sitting there, transforming into the most confident version of yourself - I'd say, there is a moment where you're looking at yourself in the mirror and it solidifies, this is actually happening and it's beautiful.

HC: What was it like first stepping out to the spotlight to walk down the runway? 

JT: I have done modeling and runway shows for about 4 years now. And I can confirm, that no matter how professional or experienced you are - the butterflies in your stomach always show up to say hi to you. For myself, I know that I have anxiety, generally - and there's the involuntary thought process of everything we went through in rehearsals, making sure you pose the correct amount of times, in the right position, not to fall, or be so overly enthusiastic about walking that you accidentally swing your purse or jacket at someone in the audience. The moment before I walk out, I always take a deep breathe to keep my heart rate down. My best advice, is not to overthink anything - just FEEL the moment for what it is and translate that energy into the audience. I like to repeat to myself, "I'm a bad b****, and I'm untouchable right now", and once I am center stage, I keep my eye contact locked straight ahead as if I am the ultimate force to be reckoned with right now. I want every women in the world to feel that way, every day of their life. Your entire body, being and spirit will love you for the way you said YES, to yourself.

HC: Was it your first time on the runway? If not, how was this runway different?

JT: I wasn't my first time on the runway. I have done several shows but I can HONESTLY, without any bias say that Her Campus College Fashion Week is undeniably my favorite show. It is incomparable in the sense that is a REAL runway. Meaning, that every single model who walks is entirely individual. No matter who you are, there is and will be someone on this stage that represents you. It's one thing to advertise a show revolving around empowerment, girl power, and representation - but it's another to WALK THE WALK and actually be about it, as opposed to just "branding" it to appeal to a mass audience. I feel that's a major issue, not in just the modeling or entertainment industry, but in every aspect in how we live today. It's one thing to talk about a revolution, and it's another to exist as the breathing movement, in who you are and what you do to contribute to making the vision of a better world for future generations a reality. 

HC: What was your favorite part about the 'real runway' experience?

JT: I'm going to extend upon my last response and say - this is how we ultimately aspire to see future runways for shows like Victoria's Secret and New York Fashion Week. My favorite part is that we have and had young women of various ethic backgrounds, races, sizes, body types, and lifestyles come together to bring an image that will have hopefully left the audience feeling hopeful. I am a curvier figured woman, with thicker thighs in contrast to my waist - which leaves me to endlessly be sexualized by impulse before I am absorbed and perceived a human being with a beating heart and a mind with much more to offer. I'm born in New York, but I'm Puerto Rican, therefore a latina - who is classified as a minority and is overlooked in getting opportunities to represent on behalf of those women who are built like me. My favorite part, is hopefully making them proud and ultimately being the most proud of myself.

HC: What look that you modeled was your favorite piece? 

JT: No competition, the white graphic tee top said, "I've seen the future, she's female" - could've have asked to make a better statement than that. It is a top that I would wear casually because I'm absolutely here for being outspoken, bold, and what other people would potentially consider scandalous, by speaking your entire truth without censors.

HC: What was the most empowering thing about the Her Campus College Fashion Week for you?

JT: I love that they had photo opportunities for the audience as well. They made it so that the models were not the only ones who are center stage and in the spotlight. It was and is about YOU, and her, and her, and her! Everyone had a moment to network and meet other young women, dance to that PHENEMONAL girl power playlist they had blasting all night long. It made my heart the happiest to walk around the venue space and see everyone feeling their best self. I adore watching (women especially) take selfies, because it is an act that says, I'm here and I'm taking up space because I deserve to. That is how we remind people of our value and demand our respect, by taking it back to us. 

Follow Jessica on social @xojessicatorres!