Alumni Spotlight: Former Brahma Strikes a Pose


Courtesy of Grace Cheng

2013 DBHS alumni and current model, Grace Cheng, poses for the camera.

MIchelle Ki, Asst. Feature Editor

Go to school, come home, study, sleep, repeat. Like any other high school student, this was the daily routine of Diamond Bar high school alumna Grace Cheng before she rose to stardom as a professional model.

Cheng graduated from DBHS in 2012—moving onto pursue a major in business at UCR. However, to achieve her long term goal of attending her dream school, USC, Cheng worked hard to transfer during her second year and is now a full time student at USC Marshall School of Business. Cheng will be graduating from the school in the spring of 2016 with a bachelor of arts in business.

“I hated school and life when I was [at UCR] but I realized it was worse than it should be because I made it worse. I realized if I didn’t like it, the only person who could change it was myself,” Cheng said via email.

During Cheng’s senior year of high school, she was scouted by modeling agency, Fox Models International, while shopping at Irvine Spectrum. She then attended a live modeling casting event in Orlando, to give modeling a chance. At the show case, there were 10 scouts from various modeling agencies. Cheng followed up with the agencies she got call backs from and ultimately ended up signing with talent management agency, Wilhelmina Models, a top agency that represents Iggy Azalea and Nick Jonas. She is signed with the company in both Los Angeles and New York.

“I was never interested in modeling until I got scouted. Once I began to learn more about the industry, I became more interested and now I love it. [Modeling] makes me feel independent and more self-confident,” Cheng said.

During high school, Cheng was unsure of what she wanted do in the future. What she did know was that she wanted to go through the business route as she grew up with two parents who are entrepreneurs. Cheng recalls her love for pep rallies, renaissance fairs, and one teacher in particular.

“I had a love-hate relationship with Mr. Goya. I both slept and texted in his class, which drove him crazy, but in the end, he was a good teacher and I really liked his class,” Cheng said.

Throughout Cheng’s modeling career, she worked with prominent brands such as Wildfox Couture, Levi’s, Nordstrom, Free People and Forever 21.

Cheng’s ultimate goal as a model is to participate in New York Fashion Week and walk for all the prestigious clients in the fashion industry.

After Cheng graduates and earns her degree, she plans to model full-time. When her modeling career comes to an end, she plans on opening up her own business. Before entering the industry, Cheng admits to having her own stereotypes about models.

“I always saw [modeling] as being glamorous and that most models were snobby and stuck up. Although some of these assumptions are true, it doesn’t apply to all. I’ve met so many down-to-earth models that I got along very well with. At the end of the day, models are still normal girls like anyone else,” she said.

Cheng advises high school students to cherish high school while it lasts and to be positive.

“Not getting into your dream college isn’t the end of the world. Getting good grades is important but don’t forget to have fun in high school while you can. The older you get, the more responsibilities you have. Also, if you don’t get into your dream college, go to your next best choice, work hard and transfer.”