GREENSBORO — Birthdays don’t get much better than this for an aspiring model.
On Saturday, Jordan Gray, a 2012 Grimsley High graduate, will turn 25 as she makes her New York Fashion Week debut.
“It’s the best birthday present ever,” said Gray, who plans to walk in the AsianInNY 11th Annual Fashion Show.
Gray, who also works as a medical and court interpreter, is expected to arrive in New York on Friday. She said she found the casting call online two days beforehand, and that her mother, Lisa Gray, agreed to make the spontaneous car ride with her. When she found out she would be modeling in the show, she said it was a dream come true.
“I also have the best mother in the world,” Gray said of her mother’s support.
Gray graduated from UNC-Wilmington in December 2016 with a double major in theater performance and Spanish language and linguistics. She said focusing on her education and developing a strong sense of self-worth outside of the modeling industry helped prepare her for opportunities such as this.
She also plays piano, sings and wants to act — including on popular Spanish television. Her interest in Spanish began when she was 3 years old with a simple encounter at a grocery store and wanting to understand what two women were saying to each other.
Her mom enrolled her at age 4 in a Spanish immersion program, and she continued in immersion programs through 12th grade.
“I always wanted her to understand life outside of our house,” Lisa Gray said. “I am proud of her and the person she has become.”
As for modeling, Jordan Gray says she became interested in it when she was about 7 years old. That’s when she became a big fan of the TV show “America’s Next Top Model.”
At age 12, her modeling career developed with print work and local shows.
“As I got older, I wanted to do more serious work,” she said. “My goal is to be successful enough to help my family and those in need. I want to pay it forward.”
She credits her friends and family — especially her mother — for being so supportive. She said growing up in North Carolina taught her that humbleness is a valuable trait.
Her mother agrees, noting that it hasn’t always been easy. The industry can be tough.
“You have to have the best sense of self and know what you’re good at and your worth,” Lisa Gray said. “Jordan knows who she is and who she wants to be. She’s a dreamer and I love that about her.”
Having a dream, Jordan Gray said, is an important step in one’s success.
“Go after it with everything you have,” she said about advice to other aspiring models. “You just have to have the courage.”