A YOUNG Lurgan model was offered the chance of a lifetime by a major model agency in one of the world’s fashion capitals, New York, in May 1986.
The stunning Sonia Reynolds had originally intended to become a fashion designer.
She studied ‘A’ level art at St Michael’s College.
But after being persuaded to enter two beauty contests, and having done well in both, her modelling career took off at a pace that even surprised Sonia.
Her success in Miss King’s and Northern Ireland Woman Cover Girl competitions led to Sonia being offered modelling work with Dublin agency Nan Morgan Ltd.
Then when a representative of Faces International, New York, called in at the agency quite by chance, he was immediately impressed by her portfolio.
Before returning to his office in New York he met and offered Sonia a month’s modelling contract with the chance of more work if things worked out satisfactorily from both points of view.
Sonia said, “I could not take it in at first and I admit that I felt a little apprehensive.
“But now I’m looking forward to the trip and the work.”
She was told at the time that some of the work may have involved TV advertisements.
But Sonia sensibly did not completely give up on her education and intended to go back to her education.
The philosophical redhead explained, “I left school and decided to take time out from my studies to see how modelling would go.
“As it turned out things have gone much better than I could ever have hoped.
“It takes time to establish oneself in the business and going to New York means that I will have to start from scratch again.
“But it is all experience and I will wait and see how it works out there.
“However, I am continuing to apply for courses at various education establishments.
“Modelling is a very short career and I need something to fall back on.”
It was as a third year student at St Michael’s College that Sonia decided to take a three week modelling course with Brian Massey of Belfast.
It meant travelling to Holywood, County Down two nights a week but it turned out to be all worthwhile.
Sonia said, “You have to learn to cope with heavy pressure and all the demands that are made of you.
“But I must admit that so far I have enjoyed the work and would love to further my career.”
Her parents Mr and Mrs Frank Reynolds had given her their blessing as she set out for what could have been a very big step indeed for one so young and someone who did not consider modelling as a career until less than a year before being offered a contract with a New York agency.