While thrilled about her appearance in eight Bruce Weber photographs featured in the current issue of Abercrombie & Fitch's A&F Magazine, 19-year-old islander Christina Coniglio is more excited about her upcoming graduation from Cardinal Newman High School.
"I'm going to college in the fall, the Savannah College of Art & Design, to study fashion," Coniglio said. "You can imagine why - going to Catholic school all these years and wearing the same uniform every day - to not have to do that."Coniglio's modeling debut was accidental. She was encouraged to see Nick and Marianne Tamposi at P Model Management in West Palm Beach in November by her boyfriend, Kent Anderson, a part-time model who is signed with the 1-year-old agency.
"I told him that this wasn't really my deal - 'I'm going to college' - that I wasn't really into the modeling thing," said Coniglio.
"Abercrombie & Fitch had set up a private casting for us the day after she came in," said Nick Tamposi. "Once we saw her, we knew she would be picked.
"Her look fits what the photographer Bruce Weber is looking for, an all-around natural, kind of beachy look."
Coniglio wasn't as sure about the outcome of the casting call, which took place at the Hotel Biba in West Palm Beach. She kept the potential job a secret from her friends.
"You know how teenagers can be," she said. "And I'm not a big modelly girl."
The Tamposis were right, however, and after about a month and a half, Coniglio, who at 5 feet 6 inches is shorter than the average fashion model, was on her way to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic with about 20 other young models.
"The experience was amazing," said Coniglio of the five-day shoot. "Working with Bruce Weber was great. He's so nice and absolutely brilliant.
"I learned during my time there that I can be an independent person," said Coniglio, who generally spends time surrounded by her siblings. "It was really helpful to see what it's like to be on your own, especially with my going away to college. And the money was great!"
"I'm young and just having fun with this for now," said Coniglio, who will probably spend some time in New York this summer with one of her four sisters, perhaps getting a few modeling jobs before heading to Savannah in September. Coniglio would like to work as a designer someday.
"I'd like to do more modeling," said Coniglio, who since the Abercrombie shoot has been photographed for a fashion spread and the cover of the Boca Raton magazine Simply the Best and has been cast in a music video.
"It's great to meet the photographers and stylists - the backstage side of the fashion business," she said. "We'll see what happens." she said. "I always feel like when an opportunity comes up for my children, that it's worth swinging the bat," said her mother, Gail Coniglio, who sees the modeling experience as a potential home run for her daughter.
"And she is going to college in the fall," said Gail Coniglio, explaining that her gig as a model is not the focus of her life.
"She and her sisters are all artistically inclined -- I know she'll do well." Gail Coniglio says she has been fielding calls from agencies in Miami and New York about her part-time model daughter, who continues to put hours in behind the bars at Bradley's and Cucina, the restaurants owned by her parents.
Source: Palm Beach Daily News, May 15, 2005