Senior launches professional career from the runway


Emma Erdman boarded the plane with her mother and sister in tow, ready to catch a flight to New York City. It was October of last year, with the usual hustle and bustle of the airport experience – an array of boarding passes, luggage and security.

Encased in bright lights, sirens and opportunity, the city became the unwitting backdrop for yet another realized aspiration, as then-seventeen-year-old Erdman had a chance encounter with Instagram model Katie Schmid, while browsing the racks in a Brandy Melville store.

The two got to talking and a picture and multiple direct messages later, Erdman found herself considering a career in modeling.

“I mentioned that it was something that I was always interested in, but I never put in the effort to do it because I was always told that there was a lot of competition,” Erdman said. “And she said that she thought I was a good fit and that I should get started. So I did.”

Back at home, a month later, Erdman participated in her first photoshoot, with two photographers and two other models in Downtown Sacramento. She garnered her first official experience as a model and some exposure.

Since then, Erdman’s modeling career has taken off. Casting calls, freelance photoshoots and fashion shows have made up her experience. From Sacramento Fashion Week, to a San Francisco fashion show for charity, to New York Fashion Week, her ever-growing repertoire of memories and travel had begun.

For Erdman, the variety of people she’s met while travelling has become one of her favorite takeaways from her modeling jobs.

“Everywhere you go you meet different people from different backgrounds and it’s actually crazy to hear their story and where they come from, because people are just very interesting to me,” Erdman said. “And it’s interesting hearing their connections to the industry, because some people have met the most amazing people that you’ve heard of.”

Later, after coming back to New York again for New York Fashion Week, this time in pursuit of her modeling career, Erdman ran into an interesting conundrum – a no-show from members of her hair and makeup team. In an impromptu solution, her eldest sister – a hairstylist named Brittany Conner – stepped in to help rescue the situation, along with the help of a different make-up artist.
“It was pretty hectic, but I’m glad she was able to be there to help,” Erdman said.

Erdman, the youngest of four and Conner, the eldest, are 14 years apart. Despite that, the two of them have a unique bond with each other.

“We are extremely close,” Conner said. “Sisters, but also best friends.”

When the salon Conner works for needed a model to represent their new VIP membership, Erdman was able to do a photoshoot for the company; now, Conner has the chance to see Erdman each day, whilst at work.

Conner knows that the work ethic which led her sister to her current position as a model will carry her through the rest of her life.

“I hope to see Emma’s future become whatever she dreams of – which it will,” Conner said. “She’s a very determined and strong woman.”

Amidst her modeling jobs, Erdman continues to attend RHS, with the support of her friends behind her newfound career. Her friend and fellow senior, Angelina Lara, often attends Erdman’s different fashion shows and shoots. She has also modeled in a show with Erdman.

Lara believes modeling has built Erdman into the person she is today.

“Modeling has not only helped Emma with her confidence in big crowds, but also with growth and wisdom, in her ultimate passion of couture,” Lara said. “Her passion is derived from the diversity of beauty, so I want nothing more than for her to reach her dreams and go as far as her beauty, intelligence and uniqueness takes her.”

Erdman’s has spent hours traveling to San Francisco and back for casting calls and gigs with her mother, Deanna Erdman. Throughout their numerous trips, Deanna has been there helping her daughter achieve her dream – whether that includes locating opportunities for Emma, to traveling with her and providing the support she needs.

For Deanna, watching her daughter walk the runway for the first time, at Sacramento Fashion Week, earlier this year, was a special experience.

“Probably one of the most memorable experiences was the first time she walked the runway, because it came so naturally to her,” Deanna said.

Since she was young, Emma had always wanted to be in the fashion industry and Deanna believes that no matter where this path takes her, that passion will continue to influence her life.
As of now, Emma is planning to apply to modeling agencies in LA and New York and see where her life might take her.

“Everyone has told me that there’s way too much competition and that it would never work, but I did it because it sounded fun to me and that’s something that I wanted to do,” Emma said. “And if it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t, but at least you tried. And if it does work out, it’s amazing.”