Thirteen-year-old Noblesville resident Michaelah Woolen spent almost a week in Manhattan in February. The Big Apple’s multitude of cultural, entertainment and dining options are more than enough to keep any teenager busy from dawn to bedtime and Michaelah was no exception. Her week was a little different than the typical seventh-grader’s, however.
She spent her time in photo shoots, rehearsals, fittings and walking the runways at New York Fashion Week.
A model and dancer, Michaelah Woolen is the daughter of Denise Woolen and the late Michael Woolen. She is the youngest of their 10 children. Michaelah, Denise and two sisters all made the trip to New York City and stayed at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. It was Michaelah’s first trip to the city and the first for Denise since she and Michael honeymooned there in 2008.
Michaelah walked the runway during two different shows at the Hotel Edison and then in a third show at the Ziegfeld Theater.
“It was very tiring and very overwhelming,” she said. “I learned a lot of new things. Basically, be yourself and have fun with it.”
“I couldn’t have been more proud,” Denise said. “I thought she fit right in and, of course, I thought she looked beautiful.”
Michaelah wore three couture gowns at the shows. At the Art Hearts Fashion Show, she wore Wanda Beauchamp Girls Couture, and at the hiTechMODA show she wore fashions by designers Eiffel Bleu Boutique and Rojen NYC Pina Couture.
Like any parent, Denise admitted to some jitters.
“We were incredibly nervous for her. You see people in videos all the time faceplant on the runway and we saw an adult do that,” she said. “We were hoping that wouldn’t happen to her. She did incredibly well. She was poised, charming and professional.”
Being on the runway was new for Michaelah as she is normally on a full stage when she is dancing. She trains seven to eight hours a day at En Pointe Indiana Ballet in Noblesville. Her schoolwork is done completely online. Her dance repertoire includes classical ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, Latin and hip-hop. Hip-hop is quickly becoming her favorite.
“This year I just started hip-hop, and I really enjoy it,” she said. “You get to really express yourself. You get to think outside the box, stuff you normally can’t do in ballet.”
And her runway career may just be getting started as well. She has been invited to walk at Michigan Fashion Week in Detroit in June.