(Seguin) -- A Seguin native with aspirations in modeling has landed an opportunity of a lifetime. Torrid, one of the hottest fashion brands for plus size women, has selected Julia Rose Miller, 20, as the winner of its 3rd Annual Torrid Model Search. Following a six-month competition that included walking the runway at New York Fashion Week, Miller, a 2015 Seguin High School graduate, was selected to serve as Torrid's brand ambassador from a pool of over 15,000 women from across the U.S. and Canada.
Miller was selected after having received the most online and social media votes for the national model search. Although the announcement was released this month by Torrid, Miller was forced to keep the secret for a couple of months.
"The way I found out, Torrid had invited me and my family to a local Torrid. I thought I was going on a shopping spree and I go in and I pick out a couple of items and then walk out of the room and then they just drop this huge banner. I was completely shocked. Right then and there when that banner dropped, I knew my life was going to change. So from there I mean, after Thanksgiving week, I flew out to L.A. and I started shooting that week. It was so awesome meeting all these beautiful models -- meeting the Torrid company, their workers, it was just all such an amazing experience. I was trying to keep my eggs in one basket, because I just wanted to know everything," said Miller.
Miller says it is so much easier to celebrate the opportunity now that she can officially share the news with others.
"It was so hard. I swear I kept a calendar and I was just crossing off the days. I was biting my tongue. Then when it finally came, it was like a big weight lifted off my shoulders. I was like yay, I can tell everybody. I don't have to hide it anymore," said Miller.
As part of being named the 2018 Face of Torrid, Miller was awarded a modeling contract and wardrobe. Jobs will include hosting Torrid store openings and events, star in seasonal fashion campaigns as well as appear on the brand's social media channels throughout the year.
Since being surprised, Miller says life has not been the same.
"I had the awesome opportunity of working with so many supermodels. I'm working on campaigns that are being in catalogs that are sent to over 500 stores in the United States and Canada. I'm doing these meet and greets. I actually have one today -- just meeting all the beautiful Torrid customers. It's so life changing. Every day, I wake up -- I always have a smile on my face, because I'm so grateful for this opportunity," said Miller.
Miller will also be working with the brand on establishing an anti-bullying platform for the Torrid Foundation, which was established in 2017 to raise funds in support of non-profit organizations dedicated to helping women.
"I really want women to know is that when you look in that mirror every day, you should feel beautiful. I mean self love is the best love so I want this opportunity to give me a platform to inspire women -- to help them feel beautiful, to show them that what you see every day and what you wear should help you feel beautiful," said Miller.
The search for the 2018 Face of Torrid began last May with an online casting, followed by live casting events in four major U.S. markets - Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston and Atlanta - as well as the search's first foray into the Canadian market with a casting in Toronto. A panel of celebrity judges, including Project Runway winner Ashley Nell Tipton, celebrity make-up artist Priscilla Ono and supermodel Candice Huffine helped select the top ten finalists who would move on to the next big event: walking in Torrid's first-ever runway show at New York Fashion Week, which was heralded as a bold new move towards increased diversity and inclusiveness in the fashion industry.
Following the show, Torrid narrowed the group down to the final four, and then let America vote for the next Face of Torrid.
That's when Miller says her friends and family here in Seguin helped fuel the momentum in October for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
"I just want to say 'thank you.' I mean without them, I wouldn't be where I am at today, because ultimately, it was up to America to vote. Most of the votes came from my hometown. Deep down from the bottom of my heart, I want to say 'thank you.' I wish I could go to every single soul that voted and just personally thank them. Words can not express the amount of thanks I have for everybody," said Miller.
Jasmine Duarte, a representative of Torrid, says the fashion brand couldn't be more proud of Miller who has been a brand loyalist since the eighth grade.
"We just want everyone to know that we're really really excited to have Julia be part of the Torrid family. This is the third year that we've done the Torrid model search. We're just so happy and so thrilled that America chose Julia and that she's part of this Torrid family. More than anything, we're excited to see her journey as a model. What we've seen the last two years is that these girls, they change so much and it's so nice and it's so rewarding seeing their progress in the beginning from their first photo shoot to even six months or even nine months later and how they progress. We're just excited to follow Julia on her journey," said Duarte.
Miller tells the Seguin Daily News that "joyful" doesn't even begin to describe the way she is feeling. She says it's an honor to have this opportunity to inspire women and help them love who they see in the mirror!
"The rest of the year, I will be working on shoots at headquarters and at the studios. I also will be a part of the Torrid Foundation which is focused on helping women and empowering them. Also I get to meet so many beautiful Torrid customers at my meet and greet which is coming up very soon. I'm honestly excited for this new year. There's so much in store for me. I'm looking forward to learning so much about modeling from clothing to the facial expressions, how to model a dress or a shirt or accessories, things like that. I'm just really taking this opportunity and I want to take it in as a learning opportunity to learn. So hopefully in the future, I can grow in this industry and be on a really high level," said Miller.
Miller joins the ranks of past Torrid Model Search winners, Lyanna Lynette and Maria Gimena, whose careers were also jumpstarted after receiving the honor. Her debut campaign for Torrid is the Spring II Collection, featuring looks and brands modeled from the runway show of this year's New York Fashion Week.