Valley Vogue Model

    A Brownsville native made their way to New York Fashion Week despite the adversity they faced in the Rio Grande Valley.

    A Brownsville native made their way to New York Fashion Week despite the adversity they faced in the Rio Grande Valley.

    "You do it long enough and people start to believe it," says Nolan Navarro, a self-made model.

    At just 21 years old, Navarro has seen more of the world than most - and maybe that's because Nolan is far from average.

    "I would say that's what my goal was - to shoot for New York and that's what it's always been," they say.

    Navarro has been modeling for years, and that love for eccentric fashion was a target for bullies in high school.

    "I'd have days where I'd come home crying," Navarro says. "You can report it as much as you want but the more you report it, the more these kids want to pick on you."

    A Hanna High School alum, Navarro says focusing on what classmates thought, never stopped them from chasing their dreams.

    "Being able to use social media as a way to get myself out there without traveling in high school really made it easy for me to figure out who I wanted to be - if I wanted to move to New York or Los Angeles - and I went with that, and I ran with that," Navarro says. "I had this whole idea at a very young age that I was going to be a model in New York."

    That commitment would land Navarro on the East Coast - for Fashion Week - at just eighteen years old.

    "The first Fashion Week was probably my best Fashion Week," they say. "I always compare it to the first time I'd ever done a runway show here in Brownsville because I got that same feeling I got when I first ever did anything in fashion."

    Nolan's parents were hesitant at first, but saw a talent in their child that they couldn't deny.

    "When I ran this idea to my parents, they were kind of lost with the situation because living in a region like this you don't have the resources to figure out how you're going to get yourself in the industry," Navarro says. "They've just been supporting me ever since and I think that's all it took for them - was to see that there's an actual market for this and that people are actually looking for this."

    Now, Navarro is in and out of spreads in Vogue, and has seen plenty of Fashion Weeks - including this year's - but hopes to give Valley models the same opportunity as a coach.

    "What inspired me to mentor younger kids is what inspired me to start this in the beginning," they say. "Wishing that I had someone to go to at a very young age would've been useful, but it made me into the person I am today - it made me stronger, more knowledgeable."

    Navarro may be unsure of what comes next, but one thing's for sure - and that's that working in the fashion industry, whether as a model or a casting director, is for the long-term.

    "For all I know, my career could end tomorrow, or in 20, 25 years," Navarro says. "We're all on the same path, all on the same track, we're all trying to be something in this industry and if we didn't push for it here, we wouldn't be pushing for it in New York."

    This February, Nolan walked for Paloma Spain, DiscountUniverse, and LandLord.

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