I’m thrilled to share this new book with you all today! Catwalk is a coming-of-age NA (Mature YA) novel by Nicole Gabor! Read on for more details and a chance to win a signed copy of the book AND a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!
Eighteen-year-old, shy, suburban aspiring model Cat Watson suddenly has it all as the New York fashion world’s new “It” girl and she thinks she has everything she ever dreamed of—until she realizes be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
Leaving her good-girl image behind, Cat quickly learns things aren’t always what they seem on the catwalk, and she’s faced with a decision that will change her life forever.
WILMINGTON, Delaware, April 2021
When 18-year-old Catherine Watson disobeys her parents and ditches her Ivy-league acceptance to start fresh as an aspiring model in New York City, a chance encounter with fashion world bigwigs gives her a world-class agent plus a boyfriend she only dreamed about. But as she navigates the fickle world of modeling, she realizes that to get ahead, she’ll have to leave herself behind—but is it worth it? Catwalk is an expertly written tale of first love, coming of age, and high-fashion, from award-winning author and editor Nicole Gabor, inspired by her own experiences as a runway model.
In her suburban hometown, Catherine had what most would consider a charmed life: a 4.0 GPA, a good-guy boyfriend who had his whole life planned out down to the two kids, two dogs, two-car garage—and it scared her to death. She wasn’t ready to follow a traditional path to a paint-by-numbers existence. She longed for adventure, for a life less…ordinary. When Catherine moves away to pursue her modeling dream in New York City and moves in with Jon-Michelle “Jonnie” who tackles the newly-named “Cat” as “her next project,” she revels in her newfound career, thinking “this is what it’s like to be young and beautiful in the greatest city in the world.”
“At that moment, it hit me. I was a mere mortal in a room full of demigods: actors, actresses, bygone legends of the stage and screen; men and women who had traipsed down red carpets all of their lives, whom the rest of the country, no, the world, had pined for, had paid to know the secrets of. Here I was standing among them, cavorting with twenty-first century royals.”
Cat meets Seth, a beautiful and kind but troubled New York scenester, the son of a ‘70s fashion model icon who fatally overdosed during her prime, and she feels strangely protective. She wants to save him like he saved her on her first night out on the town in New York City’s gritty yet swanky meatpacking district club scene.
When Cat is “discovered” by the one and only Philippe Borghetta, the hottest fashion designer in the pages of Vogue magazine, she thinks she has it all. Her life is thrust into an alternate universe, where star-studded cocktail parties, casting calls, go-sees, and nightclub openings revolve around her like constellations. She tries to play the part. Her former self, “Catherine,” was now a shadow of who she was and what she was becoming.
Cat thinks she’s finally gotten what she wanted all along—a chance to start over, a redo, a refresh. But as the lines blur between who she once was and who she wants to be, she’s reminded of her mother’s words, “Sometimes the things that are most worth fighting for are the things you already have.” Cat finds she has to make a decision that will change her life—and possibly the modeling world—forever.
Drawing on her own experiences in the fast-paced fashion model industry, former model and author of more than twenty children’s books, Nicole Gabor masterfully weaves a timeless story of self-discovery, coming of age, and the heartache of first loves. Catwalk is her debut young adult/new adult novel, available in Summer 2021 wherever books are sold.
“She was discovered! Discovered by Philippe!” Clive, my new agent (yes, agent!) at Icon, chimed into the phone as I walked into his office to get my daily appointments in late-September.
“Yes, she is booked for the spring show and Philippe’s fall print campaign … Fashion week? Booked solid!” he said, winking at me. “Sorry, honey, she’s in high demand. But for you, maybe we could work something out. Say, time and a half?”
Time and a half? Ohmigod. I still couldn’t believe the turn of events here. This man was talking about me, Catherine Watson, and not some other incredibly fortunate girl.
Pinch me. Smack me. Punch me!
“Oh, she can’t walk out of the house for twice that! … I know, I know, but I’m telling you, she’s gonna be huge! Remember Fosgate?”
The last three weeks had thrust me into an alternate universe, where star-studded cocktail parties, casting calls, go-sees, and nightclub openings revolved around me like constellations. I tried to play along and not think about the catalyst of this sudden success — that fact that I was running around with the son of the dead woman I supposedly resembled. Given its Freudian implications, it wasn’t something I really wanted to dwell on.
Sitting there, waiting for Clive to get off the phone (yes, Clive of the “we have no place for you here” notoriety), I let my mind wander, reimaging for the three-hundredth time the scene in the Icon offices when, weeks earlier, Philippe’s personal assistant called up to ask if I was available for the showing of his spring collection at Fashion Week.
Jaws dropped, eyebrows arched, and coffee cups tumbled, no doubt. Wasn’t I that forgettable girl they had dared to take a chance on to appease their star, Jonnie, only days earlier? My god, yes.
Then miraculously and all at once, as if a fairy godmother had sprinkled dewdrops and glitter into the eyes of all who gazed upon me, I became the most enchanting creature, one worthy of the Icon name. Before I could ask for it, I had a portfolio with my name emblazoned on the cover, a new iPhone filled with go-see appointments, blond highlights framing my face, and hair extensions that would make the Kardashians jealous. I, Catherine Watson, had been “made.” AGH!
But perhaps most unbelievable of all, I had a new name: Cat.
“It’s hip, modern,” Clive had said.
Catherine, on the other hand, was what he called “stuffy, boring, old,” a person his mother would watch on PBS. There’s no denying that. In junior high, I tried shortening my name to Cate, but at the time Cate Winters (the most popular girl in 8th grade) was already a Cate with a “C” and there was no way a peon like me was going to steal her nickname. So, since Cate with a “C” was ruined for me, “Cat” seemed a welcome change.
It was all part of the branding process, Clive said. “Babe, you exude youth and innocence. It’s refreshing! I can read the headlines now: ‘Plucked from Obscurity!'”
Not completely true, but evidently we weren’t going for truth here.
“We’re gonna make you the girl next door, the one out in hicksville driving all the boys crazy with her kitty cat eyes …”
I was excited, but somehow listening to a balding, fat man say “kitty cat eyes” made me want to puke.
“So, I know you’ve got the good girl thing down pat, but you’re going to have to get a little naughty.”
“Naughty?” I said, hoping I misheard him and this wasn’t really the premise for a Hallmark movie.
“Step it up a bit,” he said. “Nice girls with no edge get nowhere in fashion.”
He handed over the contract — about 10 pages of tiny text. I flipped through it, trying to absorb all the information in the five-minute window he had allotted for this purpose.
“It’s standard,” he said. “We get a cut from each job you take, you take home the rest.”
I’d never had to sign something so official-looking before.
“Is it nonbinding?” I asked, having heard my father talk about contracts before and trying to appear in the know.
“Look, it’s what all our girls sign,” he said, slightly annoyed by my dilly-dallying. “Do you need more time? ‘Cause you gotta run if you’re going to make your go-sees in Midtown.”
A part of me wanted to hold back. I knew I should go over the contract with my father, but Clive wouldn’t have gone for that. That was part of the “little girl” mentality I was going to have to shed. I held my breath and signed on the dotted line.
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Nicole is a published author of more than twenty children’s picture books and an award-winning health writer and editor. Her debut young adult/new adult fiction novel Catwalk, is inspired by her experiences living and working in New York City as a model. Nicole is also a contributor at Highlights for Children and a senior editor at KidsHealth.org, the Web’s most-visited site for children’s health. She lives in Delaware with her husband, three young children, and their Goldendoodle named Ginger.
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