Houston High School freshman Alexis Fuwell dances to live rock and roll music during a fashion show staged by RunwayLOUD Entertainment in 2014 at the Welk Theater in Branson.

In a major competition conducted by a Missouri organization that stages fashion shows for charity, a Houston High School freshman raised the most money and subsequently earned the title of the face of the organization for 2015.

Alexis Fuwell, 14, beat out 74 other models in nailing down the title of Top Model for RunwayLOUD Entertainment, a Branson-based firm dedicated to raising money for March of Dimes that bills itself as mixing high end fashion shows and rock and roll performances.

To earn the crown, Fuwell (who earned the title of Miss Texas County Outstanding Teen in 2013) raised $3,982 from businesses, groups and individuals around the community. The competition culminated in a show Aug. 23 at the Welk Theater in Branson in which models walked the runway to showcase clothing produced by more than 30 designers.

Each model took seven passes up and down the runway.

“It was amazing, but it was scary because there were so many people there,” Fuwell said. “But it was great; I got to meet so many wonderful people and I really learned a lot.”

During a seven-month period prior to the show, participants in the event (including more than 20 male models) went through a rigorous regimen that included runway classes, grueling rehearsal schedules, fittings and photo shoots. All models were judged on ability, determination, commitment, fundraising numbers and overall scores.

RunwayLOUD has hosted fashion shows combined with live entertainment in nine states. Fuwell was referred to the organization by Branson photographer Marshall Meadows, and she won despite getting a late start, beginning her fundraising quest only about two months before the show (she also wasn’t part of auditions in February and had no prior runway experience up until recently).

Fuwell was the youngest model in the event’s “adult division” which had an official age range range of 17-29. When she applied for a spot in the competition in late June, she was accepted despite her age, and her counterparts included several professional models who have been on major runways in New York, Los Angeles and other locations across the U.S.

“I worked really hard because I really wanted the spot,” Fuwell said. “It was pretty nerve-racking during the show since I was the youngest one out there, but it’s something I won’t forget.”

Fuwell had a connection with March of Dimes prior to being hooked up with RunwayLOUD, as her cousin, Payton, was born earlier this year weighing only 2 lbs., 5 oz.  

Her success in the Branson event (which organizers called the largest fashion show ever in Missouri) led to her signing with a casting agency and two modeling agencies. As the face of RunwayLOUD next year, Fuwell will be in advertisements, sit on the panel for next year’s auditions, have her own page on the RunwayLOUD website and is guaranteed a spot in the 2015 show. She’ll also be making appearances in numerous states in the coming 12 months.

“I’m really excited that all my sponsors will sort of follow me wherever I go,” she said. “I’ll be doing a spot on KY3 TV, and they’ll list all my sponsors, and when they put out ads for next year’s show, all my sponsors will be listed there, too.”

Fuwell will travel to Florida for seven days in November and interview with several different agencies and meet with multiple Disney representatives – including the director of the movie “Frozen.” During the trip, she’ll take a cruise and meet more people in the entertainment industry, including representatives of several magazines and agents from major players like Warner Brothers.

Fuwell is amazed by how quickly doors are opening because of her experience with RunwayLOUD.

“It’s so cool,” she said. “They’ve set me up to sing in front of groups in Florida, to see if maybe I can get a good job from it. And I’ve already booked two shows – one in Branson and one in Tennessee.”

Fuwell said there’s even a possibility of her appearing on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

“There’s talk about us going on and talking about what RunwayLOUD is all about and what it does to help March of Dimes,” she said. “That would be very cool.”

Fuwell said she likes setting lofty goals for herself, including attending Harvard Law School. She also wants to take a shot at being Miss Teen Missouri, and perhaps keep climbing the pageant ladder from there.

Her fashion show and pageant aspirations keep Fuwell busy, with training twice a week in Arkansas and two weekends a month in Texas. She also plays on the HHS softball team and will be a cheerleader when basketball season begins.

Through it all, Fuwell (who will turn 15 on April 4) intends to maintain a 4.0 grade point average that hasn’t been blemished by anything less than an A since she began schooling. She also hopes to defend her RunwayLOUD title next summer.

“I decided I wanted to do all this stuff when I won the Miss Texas County pageant because I wanted to make a name for the community and kind of bring Houston back,” Fuwell said. “I also want kids from our community to know that you can go out and do a lot and be proud of where you come from.”

Raising the most money in such a short time was humbling for the new title holder.

“If it wasn’t for having such a good support system at here at home, I don’t know what I could have accomplished,” Fuwell said. “And if weren’t for the blessings I’ve been given from the good Lord upstairs, I wouldn’t be doing any of the things I do.”  

For more about RunwayLOUD Entertainment, log onto www.runwayloud.com.

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