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An Inspiring Story of Sophie and Ava’s Fashion Week Adventure

Faith, Family, and Fashion!

By Klysha Best
While there are easy conversations on all that is wrong with T&T, it is also good to celebrate the small victories within and outside of our shores and remember in this land of the Trinity, God has blessed us. Contributor Klysha Best interviews two little girls from the country who will be participating in New York Fashion Week 2024. May God bless them and protect them.

Two Trinidad and Tobago nationals, both under the age of 12, have been chosen to walk the catwalk during the 2024 staging of New York Fashion Week.

Called simply NYFW, the fashion event is known for attracting famous celebrities, supermodels and of course the media attention and hype.

It takes place twice a year — once in February and once in September — and kicks off what’s become known as Fashion Month, an industry event during which designers showcase their collections for the upcoming season.

It’s an event where models, especially the newbies/newcomers work hard to get chosen.

So, one can only imagine the excitement when these two little beauties, 10-year-old Sophia ‘Sophie’ Hinkson and 7-year-old Ava-Sophia Garcia Lyder found out that they would be strutting on the famous NYFW runway in February 2024.

The Road to NYFW

They both have Sophie’s grandmother Marie Bermudez-Hinkson to thank.

Sophie always dreamt of becoming a model. Her passion was undeniable, and her grandmother, Marie Bermudez-Hinkson, decided to invest in making her dreams come true. From their home in South Florida, Marie embarked on a journey to nurture Sophie’s talent and secure a spot for her at NYFW 2024.

Marie left no stone unturned, enlisting the help of renowned fashion coordinator and coach Richard Young to train Sophie for the runway. Additionally, she brought in motivational speaker and radio personality Michelle Borel to work on Sophie’s confidence, etiquette, and public speaking skills. The journey was just beginning.

Bermudez-Hinkson said: “For the past three months, I have been doing the most, managing her Instagram page, looking for designers, reaching out to companies looking for young models and agencies and it came back as a hit.”

After arranging professional photo shoots and networking tirelessly on social media, Marie’s efforts bore fruit. Archie Brown Designs, a designer based in Utah, took notice of Sophie’s potential. The designer requested additional photos and a video of Sophie walking, and within minutes, the verdict was in: Sophie was going to grace the NYFW runway.

Sophie’s mom Hannah told The Catholic News: “I felt happy, proud of my baby girl that she had accomplished something so great for Trinidad and Tobago and for herself, she has made the family proud.”

Adding to the excitement is the fact that Sophie gets to travel to the US for the very first time. Sophie is a student at the Nelson Street Girls’ RC School and her mother said the training has been going very well.

Ava joins the spotlight

Regarding Ava also being chosen by Archie Brown Designs, Bermudez-Hinkson said it was another lucky break.

She and Ava’s mother Bronia Lyder are friends and while the Lyders were visiting her in the US, the topic of modeling came up on the very day they were due to leave.

Ava is sporty and attends Dunross Preparatory School. Recently, she started competing in duathlons and triathlons. Her mom was rather surprised to hear her express an interest in modeling at first.

Lyder said when she later saw the news of Sophie making the cut for NYFW, she called the grandmother to congratulate her.

However, Bermudez-Hinkson in turn asked Lyder if she would like Ava to walk NYFW as well, as she would ask the designer.

A few days later, after forwarding photos and video of Ava walking, they got the confirmation that she would also be walking for Archie Brown Designs.

Lyder, who is an employee at the Living Water Community, said they are both extremely excited and Ava is ready to go.

Bermudez-Hinkson said making this dream come true for her granddaughter and Ava is fulfilling. “I would tell parents to stay diligent, keep networking in the industry that their child wants to be in. If you get a NO, move on. Rejection is not a bad thing, see what you need to tweak or fix. I know in my head where I would like to see Sophie one day and it’s important that parents help guide their children.”

Faith as a foundation and guide

“Having faith is also very important,” said Bermudez-Hinkson. “Sophie is a humble child and knowing that God comes first in anything we do is such a great thing. At the end of the day without God there is nothing and it’s important to keep him first. Have faith and make sure everything you do, you do it with grace.”

Sophie’s mother and grandmother as well as Ava’s mom understand that with the glamour of modeling there is negativity and the trio stated they are doing all that is needed to keep the children grounded.

“God and my spirituality are very important to me, it’s been important to my family, my mother made sure of that and I’m doing my best to instill it into my children’s hearts,” added Hannah, Sophie’s mother.

“A scripture I read for them a lot is Jeremiah 1:5, which says ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born I sanctified you,’ showing them that God has a purpose for their lives.”

These sentiments were also shared by Lyder concerning Ava. She said as much as she wants Ava to be independent, she has always instilled the right values in her children.

“We need to be careful at all times. As much as she is now given the spectacular opportunity, we will be there to guide her to make sure she does not go down the wrong road.”

Preparing for the grand stage

As Trinidad and Tobago’s young talents prepare to dazzle the NYFW runway, it’s a testament to the power of dreams, determination, and unwavering support from family and friends. These two young models, Sophie, and Ava, are poised to make their mark at one of the world’s most prestigious fashion events, representing their homeland with grace and style.

Bermudez-Hinkson said she is already pushing their photos and is already looking at getting Sophie into Paris Fashion Week 2024.

In the lead-up to NYFW, Sophie will soon be featured in the US-based Fashion Republic Magazine.