Fashion models share off-runway tales

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Fashion models share off-runway tales
Fashion model Mari Agory of South Sudan has glitter applied to her eyelids backstage before the Christian Siriano Spring 2015 collection show Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, during Fashion Week in New York. Born in Khartoum, Sudan, Agory’s family lived in what is now known as South Sudan. The youngest of eight children, she and her family fled to Egypt in 1999 during her country’s civil war, where they were granted political asylum by the United States, eventually settling in San Diego, Calif. Agory, 23, was discovered at age 20 by a photographer while attending her junior year of college. “It’s considered late in the industry,” she explains, “because girls start really young.” For Agory, homesickness is her biggest hurdle. “Especially when I go over to Europe,” she explains, “but when I’m in New York, for some reason, I still feel close to my family because I’m in the States.” Despite sometimes going a full year between visits home, Agory admits that life on the road can also be rewarding. “I get to see the beauty of this world, and it’s part of my job,” she explains. When asked about how long she sees herself modeling, Agory jokes, “I’m gonna do it until my skin starts crackin’.” Although she has not been able to return to her native country since her family fled, Agory, who studied public health in college, hopes to utilize her education and opportunities generated by her modeling career to contribute something positive to her home country. “There’s just something that pulls me back.” (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Model Mari Agory attends Curve X Falling Whistles: Be A Whistle Blower For Peace on Fashion's Night Out on September 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Curve)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Model Mari Agory attends Curve X Falling Whistles: Be A Whistle Blower For Peace on Fashion's Night Out on September 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Curve)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Kelly Hackett, model Mari Agory, brand liason of Falling Whistles Sinclair Bolden, model Atong Arjok and fashion stylist Daver Campbell attend Curve X Falling Whistles: Be A Whistle Blower For Peace on Fashion's Night Out on September 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Curve)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Model Mari Agory is seen wearing a Michael Kors bag on August 27, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Model Mari Agory is seen wearing vintage booties on August 27, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Model Mari Agory is seen wearihng a top by Reservoir, skirt by Material Girl, bag by Michael Kors and glasses are a vintage find, on August 27, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Model Mari Agory is seen wearihng a top by Reservoir, skirt by Material Girl, bag by Michael Kors and booties and glasses are a vintage find, on August 27, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
Adesuwa Pariyapasat, 22, of Benin City, Nigeria, listens to music while her fingernails are painted backstage before the Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2015 collection show Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, during Fashion Week in New York. Pariyapasat began modeling only recently, but was scouted while in school in her native Nigeria at age 17. Despite leaving behind both her parents, two brothers and a sister, homesickness isn't a big problem for her. "I get homesick every now and then, but I’ve moved so much in my life...it doesn’t matter where I am, really." She feels the biggest misconception about modeling is that it's easy, saying that there is "a lot of psychological damage, a lot of psychological turmoil" involved. With regards to her future in modeling, "I don’t even plan that far, I just want to live every day. Life is about finding things that come at you, so, who knows?" (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Abiah Hostvedt, 23, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, has makeup applied backstage before the Tim Coppens Spring 2015 collection show Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, during Fashion Week in New York. A transplant from Jamaica to New York, Hostvedt, was scouted in Lower Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood at age 17. Having modeled in Paris, London and Milan, Hostvedt says he likes to “use fashion as an excuse to see the world.” Estimating that he is on the road four to five months a year, Hostvedt says that he gets homesick “all the time,” but that using video chat to stay in touch with family, including his daughter, really helps. Hostvedt says people are the greatest part of his job. “A lot of people like to talk about how the fashion industry is, y’know, everybody is a little bit fake. But I love the people,” he says. “It is what you make it. If it’s fake to you then chances are you’re just treating it like it’s some sort of game, and it’s, y’know, la-la land. But it’s not, it’s real people.” Although Hostvedt eventually wants to move into acting, he can’t see himself giving up modeling. “I think I’m always gonna model, until the day I die.” (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: Model Abiah Hostvedt on Day 1 of New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015 on September 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Model Abiah Hostvedt attends the 'Sunset Edge' New York Premiere at Museum of the Moving Image on August 9, 2014 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Abiah Hostvedt and director Daniel Peddle attend the 'Sunset Edge' New York Premiere at Museum of the Moving Image on August 9, 2014 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Model Abiah Hostvedt attends the 'Sunset Edge' New York Premiere at Museum of the Moving Image on August 9, 2014 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Abiah Hostvedt and director Daniel Peddle attend the 'Sunset Edge' New York Premiere at Museum of the Moving Image on August 9, 2014 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 12: Red model Abiah Hostvedt attends the Odyn Vovk Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at 7 Extra Place on February 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Amber De Vos/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 12: Red model Abiah Hostvedt attends the Odyn Vovk Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at 7 Extra Place on February 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Amber De Vos/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 12: Red model Abiah Hostvedt attends the Odyn Vovk Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at 7 Extra Place on February 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Amber De Vos/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Model Abiah Hostvedt attends the 'Sunset Edge' New York Premiere at Museum of the Moving Image on August 9, 2014 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) -- They're the often- anonymous stars of New York Fashion Week - the models who walk the runways in designer clothes, looking mostly impassive and inevitably beautiful as they pose before cameras.

Their lives off the runways, however, remain for the most part a mystery.

They are young women like Mari Agory, whose family fled the South Sudan for Egypt to escape civil war; Adesuwa Pariyapasat, who was discovered by a scout in Nigeria at 17; Abiah Hostvedt, whose life on the road sometimes makes him homesick for his native Jamaica.

Associated Press photographers spoke backstage with models during New York Fashion Week, which began Thursday.

Here are their stories.

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