"During the fittings, they made me walk [the runway] 100, 150 times in heels," Travers recalls. "My feet got calluses. For the show, I walked just once. Right before I went on, I thought I was going to die."

"It's kind of scary," Fogarty confesses. "You've got 25-year-old guys hitting on you — because we look like we're in our 30s after they do our makeup and hair."

"It's such a big transformation," McGrath says. "I love being all made up." She slowly flips through some test shots taken earlier this summer. In the photos, the makeup artist has lined her eyes in heavy black mascara and purple eye shadow, and wild curls blow across her face.

courtesy Mother Model Management
Cat McGrath, who is also a sophomore at St. Joseph's Academy, and was also discovered at West County Center.
Jennifer Silverberg
Cat McGrath, who is also a sophomore at St. Joseph's Academy, and was also discovered at West County Center.


Click on the photo for a slide show.
View photos of the girls in New York for Fashion Week.

Today, she wears no makeup and her hair is pulled tightly back into a braid; she has just come from volleyball practice. She stares at the pictures, bemused, her thoughts almost audible: Is this really me?

There are other surprises. "Jeff called me a few weeks ago," Travers says, "and said, 'Guess who's in Teen Vogue?' I said, 'I don't know, who's in Teen Vogue?' He said, 'You are!' I was at a friend's house, but he brought it over to show me. I had a full page. It was very exciting." The photo leads off the magazine's fall fashion section and shows Travers strutting around backstage at the Marc Jacobs show last spring, barely able to contain her excitement.

Travers and Fogarty have fallen in love with modeling. "I don't know how much I could work, though," Fogarty says. "I'm only allowed to be absent fifteen days a semester, but my principal told me, 'There's no way I can tell you you can't go. It's the opportunity of a lifetime.'" McGrath is more ambivalent. "I'd like to keep doing it," she says, "as long as it doesn't conflict with other things."

"It's a good summer job," Mary McGrath says firmly.

Is Cat worried about a volleyball hitting her in the face and ruining her career? She laughs. Her mother explains: "She's more concerned about twisting her ankle walking around in those heels and not being able to play volleyball."

Karlie Kloss just turned sixteen. In the past year, she has been on the covers of Teen Vogue, Korean W, RUSSH and Alive. Steven Meisel shot her for Italian Vogue. She appeared in an ad campaign with Lauren Hutton. She has modeled evening gowns and ripped jeans, a clown costume and an enormous pair of false eyelashes.

She has played the tuba, cuddled a baby liger — a cross between a lion and a tiger — and held a pair of live chickens upside down by their feet, one in each fist, for ten long minutes, until the birds calmed down enough to be photographed. In the rankings of the world's top 50 models at models.com, Kloss is No. 26. Earlier this year when she switched her agency from Elite Model Management to Next for a reported $200,000 bonus, Elite threatened to sue.

The Clarkes won't say how much money she's earned so far. But, says Mary, "She's in a position to have an extremely lucrative career."

Last February, New York magazine declared Kloss Spring Fashion Week's No. 1 model. She walked the runway for Gucci, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and every other major designer. By the end of the circuit, from New York to Milan to Paris, she appeared in 64 shows.

Then it was back to Webster Groves High School, where she was just another freshman — albeit a five-foot-eleven-inch tall one who did a lot of class work online.

"It's been crazy," Kloss says. "I'm only sixteen. How did I fit it all in?"

She's become enough of a celebrity to attract negative attention, though not enough of a celebrity to ignore it. During one Fashion Week show, Tyra Banks mimicked Kloss' runway walk, which New York described as "a kind of stoned death stare." In January, a celebrity gossip website published an unsubstantiated rumor that she had gone to rehab for anorexia.

"I was devastated that someone would write that about me," Kloss says. "It's a vicious lie. Anyone who knows me knows I can't go ten minutes without a snack." Indeed, at the conclusion of this interview, she makes a beeline for a bag of grapes lying on the Clarkes' kitchen counter.

"Of course it hurt her," Mary Clarke says. "She cried. But it was amazing to watch her bounce back. It showed real strength of character. I couldn't be more proud."

Kloss first met the Clarkes when she was thirteen and auditioning for a charity fashion show at West County Center. "I had no clue," she remembers. "I didn't think you had to be tall. I didn't know there was such a thing as a runway walk. My mom and I went to the bathroom to practice walking so I wouldn't be nervous. Then, after I walked, I went to the food court and got a hot-fudge sundae."

The Clarkes remember that day much differently.

"She had a long body," Jeff recalls, "even when she was only five-six or five-seven. And she had this walk."

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