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HHS softball pitcher turns in glove to pursue modeling

Courtney Van De Velde, a HHS senior, will be spending her summer working as a model. Submitted photo

Hastings High School senior Courtney Van De Velde has been a top athlete in multiple varsity sports and this fall plans to attend Mankato State University with hopes of getting into that school’s nursing program. But she’ll be spending her summer vacation a little differently than most graduating students.

Van De Velde will be working as a professional model for Privileged Model Management, a modeling agency located in Edina.

“Growing up, I’ve always been very involved in sports,” she said, “but I’ve always had a passion for modeling.”

For years she’s been watching the show “America’s Next Top Model” and has had an interest in photography, she said. Last August, before her volleyball season began, she came across Privileged Model Management, which was about to have a casting day. Van De Velde was one of about 30 people who applied that day.

“A couple days later I got a call from them that they wanted to see me, one on one,” she said.

When she returned to meet with the head of the agency, she was offered a position as a model. The agency only took on two or three of the people who attended the casting day, she said.

Her first assignment was for a holiday card Privileged Models made. About a month ago she had her first real modeling job. It was a hair show for Paul Mitchell, where she and three other models had their hair done to show off Paul Mitchell products in front of hair salon professionals. Although Van De Velde has been tuned into the modeling world for some time, being on stage was a new experience.

“It was actually kind of nerve racking,” she said. “I got butterflies.”

The job requires a lot of patience she said.

“You can go to three or four auditions but not get a single (job),” she said.

Each client is looking for a particular look, she said, and no model is going to have a look that every client wants. Van De Velde has to stay optimistic and not get disappointed when she doesn’t get hired.

“Being in sports I think helps me a lot with that,” she said.

As an athlete, she’s had to learn to keep her composure even when a game might not be going well, or when a season is less than ideal.

Because of her new modeling work, Van De Velde decided not to play softball this spring. She’s been a pitcher for the Raiders, but pitching is very time consuming, she said. Over the winter she debated if she wanted to play one last season, “but I got one of my first jobs this winter modeling and I just fell in love with it,” she said.

So she contacted her softball coach, Dean Robinson, and told him she wouldn’t be on the team this spring.

“Dean was so supportive,” Van De Velde said. “… so I knew that I made the right decision.”

Modeling and photography are things that Van De Velde loves to do, but she’s not aiming to make modeling a long-term career. While it’d be awesome to be a major successful model, she said, her goal is to make some extra money for college and have some fun along the way.