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Livonia fifth grader making Rochester Fashion Week debut

For most kids in Livonia, Columbus Day will be little more than a day off, a chance to kick back and savor the freedom from school.

But while most kids will spend the day mashing their thumbs against Nintendo Switches and iPhones, 10-year-old Rebekah Hendrick will be on the clock at Rochester Fashion Week.

Hendrick, a fifth-grader at Livonia Elementary School, is signed with the Mary Therese Friel Modeling Agency. On Monday, she’ll be participating in the agency’s family friendly runway show at the Fashion Week Rochester tent at 100 East Highland Dr.

The show will serve as a kickoff for Fashion Week, which runs from Oct. 14 to 19 and is now in its tenth year. The show is being staged in partnership with the Strong Museum of Play and will feature fashions inspired by the scores of toys enshrined in its National Toy Hall of Fame.

“The toys in the prestigious National Toy Hall of Fame – from fashion-forward Barbie to the sporty skateboard to the simple, classic hula hoop – all provide wonderful and whimsical inspiration for the world of fashion,” said Mary Therese Friel, CEO of her namesake agency and a former Miss USA. “We’ve put together clothing and apparel items that capture the spirit of these toys and our talented models will bring them to life in a playful and joyful way that the entire family will enjoy.”

The runway show will feature models inspired by the likes of Barbie, Star Wars action figures, G. I. Joe, Raggedy Anne, Dungeons and Dragons, among many other toys.

Kelly Lucyszyn, director of advertising and marketing for The Strong, said fashion design, a “creative and playful endeavor” fits in well with the underlying philosophy of the Toy Hall of Fame.

“The museum jumped at the chance to see the toys in the Hall of Fame presented in such a unique and entertaining way,” said Lucyszyn, who helped conceptualize some of the fashions for the upcoming show. “We’ve worked with The Mary Therese Modeling Agency many times in the past and there’s no group better equipped to marry the worlds of high-end fashion and toy inductees.”

Rebekah will be modeling a hula-hoop, which was inducted in to the hall of fame in 1999, as she walks down the runway, said her mother, Valerie.

Monday’s fashion show will be Rebekah’s third this year, added Valerie. In May, she participated in the Tea for Two Fashion Show at Casa Large Vineyards in Fairport. The show raised money for Embrace Your Sisters, a non-profit that provides emergency funds to families dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis in the Finger Lakes area. And in September, Rebekah participated in Fashion Fest @ The Carlson, which raised money for Lollypop Farm.

Rebekah said she’s excited for the opportunity to participate in Rochester Fashion Week and is looking forward to showing off her modeling, and hula-hooping, talents.

“I’m not nervous but very thrilled,” she said. “My dream is that my modeling career turns into an acting career – I love acting and pretending!”

Monday’s show starts at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. All proce from Fashion Week benefit The Center for Youth, which offers support services and programs for young people in the Rochester area.

To learn more about Rochester Fashion Week, visit its website here.