Junior debuts as eco-friendly clothing model

Moving in time to the opening beats of Justin Timberlake’s “Lovestoned,” Angela Navarro ’09 suddenly stomps her foot and frowns.

“I’m hungry, I haven’t eaten dinner yet,” she says, and rubs her stomach for emphasis.
Large black posters proclaiming “Giving Back is the New Black” surround her as she stands in the new Sherman Oaks branch of Paul Mitchell the School, a professional school for hairstyling. Except for her glittering makeup and intricately braided hair, Navarro could pass for any of the teenage girls attending the store’s joint event with Teen Vogue. The difference is the other girls are here to “receive mini hair makeovers from Paul Mitchell stylists” and “enjoy fashion presentations featuring the latest eco-friendly clothing,” as advertised on the Teen Vogue website. Navarro, on the other hand, is the fashion presentation they’ve come to see — one-third of it.

The eco-friendly event, hosted jointly by Paul Mitchell the School and Teen Vogue, takes place at three separate locations, including the school at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. While a DJ spins a mix of top-40 hits, the line of girls that streamed in when the doors opened at 6 p.m. spreads out across the gray room. Some of them have managed to be the first to get a free hair makeover from one of the Paul Mitchell stylists. Navarro, who came directly from the upper school, has been here since 4 p.m. to prepare. Although Navarro’s presentation isn’t until 7 p.m., she finishes with hair, makeup, and clothes by the time the store opens. Her mother, Maria, appears, iPhone in hand, to snap photos the moment Navarro emerges from the back.

“I’m loungewear girl,” Navarro explains, pointing to her sweatpants, knit jacket, and graphic shirt. She rubs the hem of her shirt, which is dark grey with a tree imprinted on the front, and exclaims, “100 percent Peruvian-grown cotton!”
Her hair, usually left long, loose and curly, has been braided.

“It was just tease tease tease, and a lot of hairspray,” she says. “My hair is like this big whole maze!”

The first presentation, with two other models, is an informal circling of people around the two girls and a Teen Vogue representative. Navarro’s presentation will take place 20 minutes later, and she strikes a pose and smiles at the onlookers and her mother’s camera.
For her second presentation, she exchanges the sweatpants for cuffed cotton jeans.
The representative says the clothes are stylish yet eco-friendly and gives tips on how to be more environmentally aware. Between explaining that a dress and a pair of skinny jeans are made of organic cotton and colored with eco-friendly dye, she recommends that everyone “buy Nalgene bottles!”

All three models are Teen Vogue “It Girls” who fill out surveys, get promotional items and receive emails on opportunities to participate in magazine events. For this event, It Girls received an e-mail asking people in the Sherman Oaks area to send photos. Navarro, a cheerleader, sent in photos from the cheerleading shoot earlier this year and found a confirmation e-mail the next morning.

“The professional photographer [from the shoot] was the one who said I should model. Then I got the [Teen Vogue] e-mail a few weeks later and I thought opportunity” she says, throwing her hands up.

While her mother doesn’t look thrilled at the idea, Navarro says she’s interested in other modeling opportunities, although as of now it is just “for fun.”

Once the event winds down, Navarro runs to change her clothes, leaving her mother waiting at the foot of the stairs ready to take her to dinner.