Christa Sandstrom took to the catwalk like a pro. The model from Gilbert kicked off the Pineda Covalin show at Scottsdale Fashion Week, strutting down the runway in a flowing turquoise and cream colored gown as the glare of flashing cameras illuminated her every move.
The statuesque blonde kept her secret hidden from the sold-out audience on Friday evening.
By day, Sandstrom is a student at Gilbert’s Mesquite High School. Onlookers didn’t know that night was the 14-year-old’s runway debut.
“It was exhilarating,” said Sandstrom, who closed the show in the coveted finale spot, spinning onstage in a “butterfly” dress with a few feet of fabric dramatically swirling around her. “I was excited and nervous at the same time.”
A day before the show, internationally known Mexican designers Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalin chose Sandstrom from among 20 local models for her starring role. Sandstrom, training to be a model for the past two years at the John Robert Powers Modeling School in Scottsdale, had only started modeling professionally in small fashion shows within the past month, said her mother, Cathyrn, She was seated in the front row at the show with her daughter’s 14-year-old friend, Shana Murad of Gilbert.
Cathryn said Christa first started talking about modeling when she was 4.
It’s a career that’s perhaps in her genes. Christa’s two grandmothers were models.
Cathryn, a manager at Intel, said she is supportive of her daughter’s dream.
She said modeling has given her 5-foot-11 daughter added confidence and makes her feel less awkward about being one of the tallest girls at school.
“She is driven and focused and doesn’t have an ego about it,” Cathryn said.
Murad said Christa is someone teens at their school can look up to.
“She is a role model for young kids,” Murad said. “She’s proving it’s not hard to get something when you put your mind to it.”
Christa, who proudly wears a gold “Supermodel” necklace, hopes to head to New York after her high school graduation to see where modeling takes her.
“I love how modeling lets you morph into different things,” Christa said. “This is for me."