Photo by Kelli Wilke
Delaware author Nicole Gabor unveils her latest novel, Catwalk, which she based on her own experience as a young model.
For young children, modeling can seem like a dream. The chance to strut down the runway in the latest high-end fashion pieces and pose in front of the camera for photo shoots can feel like a dream come true.
Yet along with all the glitz and glamor comes a dark side that’s kept behind closed doors. Delaware author Nicole Gabor modeled in her youth and drew from those experiences in her latest novel, Catwalk. In the book, she highlights not only the upside of the industry, but the hardships as well, all through the eyes of a small-town girl with big dreams of being a fashion model in New York City.
Regarding the author’s journey, Gabor started modeling when she was seventeen, traveling from Philadelphia to New York City modeling for big names like Vera Wang, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. She grew up in New Jersey, then lived in Philadelphia and New York prior to moving to Wilmington to raise her three children.
“I worked in New York and Philly in my late teens and early 20s. I was mainly a runway model, but I did trunk shows and a lot of bridal work,” says Gabor. “There were a lot of perks to being a model, but there was also a dark side that I was pretty oblivious to when I went into it.”
“Being in this profession really opened my eyes because of the stresses, not to mention being criticized,” she adds. “These girls are not yet developed. [They don’t] have a strong foundation for their sense of self, and now it’s tied to someone else’s idea of what’s beautiful.”
Loosely based off of her own experiences, the story follows protagonist Catherine Watson, an 18-year-old girl, as she is thrown into a crazy lifestyle. It’s a coming-of-age tale that highlights the struggles of young adulthood.
“I think a lot of young people struggle at this point in their lives. There’s so much pressure today on kids going to college right out of high school, on being successful and needing to have their lives figured out immediately. Catherine deals with this throughout the book,” says Gabor. “I’d like for teens and young adults to know that it’s ok to not have all the answers right now, that life is a journey.”
While Gabor has written over 20 children’s books, Catwalk is her first young adult fiction book, and her grandmother is the inspiration behind writing it. She would tell Gabor that she would someday write ‘the great American novel.’
Now, Gabor is a published author and writer for KidsHealth.org,—a part of the Center for Health delivery innovation at Nemours Children’s Health—through which she helps children and parents learn about and cope with health conditions.
“Writing for KidsHealth.org is an extension of my fiction writing because I enjoy helping children, whether it’s learning a new skill or making sense of the world around them. That’s ultimately what the novel Catwalk is about,” she says. “[It’s about] helping a young person coming to terms with their life and learning to navigate it the best they can.”
Catwalk will be released on July 6 at all online retailers, but the e-book is available for pre-order here. As a Goodreads Giveaway, Gabor will release 100 copies of the e-book to readers during the month of June.