The Americus native walks the runway at LA Fashion Week

AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) – A 21-year-old girl from Americus has been selected to attend LA Fashion Week. An opportunity that comes only five times a year.

Colby Felton walked the streets of Americus growing up, and now she’s taking her talents to the catwalk.

“My inspiration since I was eight and watching The Devil Wears Prada, I swear, my eight-year-old gained (confidence) in the third grade. I always did dinnertime fashion shows with pots and pans and plastic bags while my husband was cooking or whoever was in the kitchen from six to eight,” Colby said.

Colby is the only girl selected to attend LA Fashion Week without a signed agent. She has a stage name called ColbannaLaRue.

“When she went to school, she was herself, but she was always challenged because of the clothes she wore, she was different. Teachers, professors and kids would pick on her because of her body shape and the clothes she wore,” said Diya Felton, Colby’s mom.

Diya said she is proud of Colby and has seen that passion firsthand since she was a child.

“It makes me quite happy indeed. I’ve always been supportive of what Colby wants to do. She is a freelancer, one of those fairy girls who do anything and everything. She’s super smart and I’ve always been behind her 100%,” Felton said.

Colby said she also had to overcome a mental handicap to get to where she is today.

Colby said she’s big on manifesting. She knew she would succeed after submitting her work multiple times. Before being selected, she did a lot of freelance work and hopes to land a contract with a major agency.

Colby was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in seventh grade and has had to endure some hardships along the way.

“Extreme bullying within the school system. I was bullied from seventh grade until graduation and it was hard. It was like a split personality and I felt very lonely at the time,” she said.

Colby partially coped with her disorder by creating a stage name.

“Creation as an alter ego, and ColbannaLaRue is pitted against Colby, who I call Colby like ‘Colby the Creator.’ So ColbannaLaRue is like Colby’s alter ego. So when Colby feels a little bit or like insecure or something like that, ColbannaLaRue is there to pick her up,” Felton said.

As a young minority from a small town, it’s important to know your worth and not give up. At the end of fashion week, Colby hopes to land a contract with top agencies such as IMG and Elite model agency based in Los Angeles.

“Coming from a small town as a little black girl, you’re going to have to work twice as hard, four times as hard to get where you need to go. No matter what people say, keep pursuing those dreams,” said Diya.

One piece of advice Colby wants other young women to know is to be consistent and try new things because you never know who’s watching.

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