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Chance, Community Give St. Charles Girls Shot at Global Modeling

Businesses, residents pull together when a chance at a photo shoot comes up, and the pics appear in Italia Vogue.

Call it serendipity salted with community synergy. Serendipity, of course, is unexpected good fortune. Synergy is when multiple parts come together to accomplish something.

That’s exactly how Karla Riess-Sitko, the owner of , describes the circumstances that landed her daughter Claudia (for whom the store is named) and Claudia’s friend Daniela Nicole Kapusta as models in Italia Vogue.

“My daughter Claudia who the store is named after was just published in Italia Vogue and we were the designer/clothing provider!!!” Karla gushed to Patch via a recent message via Facebook. “Both girls are from St.. Charles! … So exciting!”

Claudia and Daniela were part of a Route 66 road trip photo shoot, circa the 1970s. The photos, by Chicago photographer Thomas H.P. “Jerry” Jerusalem, appear on his photo portfolio page on Italia Vogue’s website.

Karla calls the opportunity mere chance, but she also is proud of the St. Charles community, whose businesses and people came together to support the shoot — and to get a little global exposure for themselves as well, although that was more incidental.

Claudia, she said, has been involved in modeling since she was 6 years old, although it was “here and there” kinds of modeling.

When Miss Southern Illinois Sherrie Gearheart asked Claudia to be in a fashion show to benefit suicide prevention efforts, Claudia, a freshman at St. Charles East High School, agreed.

“My store, Claudia’s Closet, was a designer at the Live Out Loud Charity Fashion Show for suicide prevention the end of November with 165 models, including title-holders (pageant girls and women),” Karla said. “It was an amazing event hosted by Sherrie Gearheart.

“Daniela Kapusta (originally) was going to help behind the (charity fashion show) scenes until we lost a model, so luckily Daniela was able to fit into the dress and get into the fashion show!” Karla wrote to St. Charles Patch.

During the benefit fashion show, they met Jerusalem, who was one of 11 photographers at the pageant. Afterward, Karla said, Jerusalem reached out to Kim Cole, mother of Miss Midwest Coed Teen Madi Cole, who recommended Claudia. Jerusalem chose Daniela, also an East High student, as well.

Karla provided Claudia and Daniela’s clothing for the shoot. Then friends with other businesses stepped forward to make sure the young ladies had their makeup and hair done just right.

Everybody got credit with the photos Jerusalem featured on his Italia Vogue portfolio page.

Models: Claudia Sitko, Daniela Nicole

Makeup/Hair: One Salon, Paty Ramirez, Taisha Davilla

Wardrobe: Claudia's Closet

Photographer: Thomas H.P. Jerusalem, Chicago, IL USA 2012

Jerusalem gave St. Charles Patch tpermission to display his photos with this story.

“It’s just really awesome when businesses all come together on a project and make it happen!!” Karla said. “We asked Tai and Paty do to the hair and makeup — they did an amazing job, keeping the look authentic for a 1969-1970s look to go with the 1969 Mustang.”

The concept behind the shoot was two girls who were lost in a 1969 Mustang that broke down.

Jerusalem knew Karla’s shop sells vintage clothes, so he stopped by Claudia’s Closet, “and we picked out several outfits.”

Because Claudia’s Closet had worked together on a past fashion show with , Karla said she contacted them to see if they would be interested in helping with the shoot. “Taisha Davita jumped at the opportunity and called in Paty Ramirez,” Karla said. “We all worked with Jerry to make sure everything was authentic. Taisha and Paty did an amazing job on the hair and makeup!”

On Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, Jerusalem notified Karla that girls made it in Italia Vogue.

“This is HUGE — we are so excited,” Karla wrote. “Claudia, 15, and Daniela, 17, both from St. Charles East, are in Vogue, Italia Vogue! … Not only are they published in Italia Vogue, but both of St. Charles’ businesses, Claudia’s Closet and One Salon and Bridal Company, were published — we are all global now!”

Not to mention just a little bit excited for, and proud of, two special young students.

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