Student models at car shows to afford St. Edward’s tuition rates

Staff Writer

The burden of paying for college is an issue with which many St. Edward’s University students are familiar. After factoring in scholarships and grants, many students seek on-campus jobs, work-study positions or higher paying employment off campus to try and offset the remaining costs. 

Ashley Castillo has taken a unique job in an effort to do just that.

Castillo models at car shows. She earns about $250 for four to six hours of modeling. 

She is an environmental science and policy major, who came to St. Edward’s from Houston this fall as a freshman. Her tenure in this line of work began after her close high-school friend, Damien Claudio invited her to a car show. 

Claudio is a marketing major, who takes photographs of cars for the magazine since his sophomore year in high school.

 “I was like, yeah sure I’ll go, and so I went and saw what it was all about,” Castillo said. During the show, she explained, a model approached her and suggested that Castillo, given her good looks, consider working as a model herself. 

“I was very uncomfortable. I mean, she was half naked. It just wasn’t really my place,” she said.

Despite her discomfort, she found herself at a second show later in the summer, where another model whom Castillo took more of a liking to brought the topic up again.

 “She asked me if I would ever do something like that, and I was like, ‘oh no, I’m way too self conscious,’” Castillo said.

Later, however, Castillo decided to do a photo-shoot with Claudio, just to get a sense of it. 

“It actually ended up going really, really well,” she said. 

Castillo attended the next car show, held in New Mexico, and she tested the waters of live modeling for the first time.

The job includes walking around with a photographer and taking photos with cars from different car clubs.

Castillo hopes that her modeling will not affect her ability to get a job in the future. 

The attire is limited, but Castillo firmly stated that under no circumstance will she model nude.

“It was weird having like guys old enough to be my dad visually harassing me,“ Castillo said. 

She does not want to do this work, but without it, she could not attend St. Edward’s.

“It’s just my mom, there’s five of us, and this school is not the cheapest thing,” she said. “I really want to go here, and I know a coffee shop job is not going to get me this kind of money as fast as this is.”

Castillo said that for the most part, she has received the support of her mother for her modeling. 

She said her mother told her, “If you think that that’s going to help you and get you to where you need to be, go for it. I’m not going to stop you.”

Claudio said that he generally brings in about $100 per event, though he works less to pay for college than for simple spending money. 

He expressed discomfort about what people say to his friend at events, which is one of the major reasons why his photography has been limited to cars instead of models. 

According to Claudio, mostly men attend the shows and, “They’re all like, ‘hey mama.’” 

Castillo has received the support of new friends she has made on campus. 

“I know why she does it, and I think you do what you have to do,” Freshman Lauren Ayoub said. “I’m not one to say what she can or can’t do.”