Molly Oberstar strikes a pose

U.S. competitor tries her hand at modeling

Molly Oberstar hopes that fashion and modeling play a part of her life after figure skating.
Molly Oberstar hopes that fashion and modeling play a part of her life after figure skating. (courtesy of Molly Oberstar)


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By Lois Elfman, special to
(03/12/2009) - After the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, senior ladies competitor Molly Oberstar returned home to Minneapolis to some very good news. She was named the winner of the "Do you want to be a real model?" contest held by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine.

"I heard them announce the contest on the radio. Then I went and looked on the Web site right away because I wanted to find more information about it. We had to send in a little essay and pictures," said Oberstar, 20, who finished 15th in senior ladies in Cleveland.

Without any professional modeling shots, Oberstar submitted a school photo and a full-length shot that her mother took along with a brief essay. With over 150 entries, judges picked the 20 finalists and then it was opened to a public vote.

On Feb. 17, Oberstar was asked to go to a clothing fitting for a television appearance she would be doing with the other finalists.

"They said, 'We want to ask you a couple more questions,'" she recalled. "They had the video camera. They started asking questions. Then they told me I had won. I said, 'I wasn't expecting that today.'"

Her prizes include a meeting with a local modeling agency, a makeover and an appearance in Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine in May. Oberstar hopes it will lead to new opportunities in modeling and fashion, which she says is her great passion. She is currently majoring in fashion merchandising at the University of Minnesota.

"If something could stem out of this that would be very cool," she said. "I don't really know what to do from here. I hope something stems from this, but I need some guidance as to what to try to pursue next. I really would like to take this to another level. I'd like to actually do it."

Oberstar intently watched former skater Analeigh on last season's America's Next Top Model and thinks she should have won. Just as Analeigh told that many of her modeling skills came from a skater's understanding of choreography, Oberstar also believes her performance skills are beneficial.

"Not that I've really modeled, but I think it's pretty obvious you need to have a certain attitude," Oberstar said. "It's mostly performance. That's basically what I've learned through the years from figure skating. I think that would help a lot."

Although commercial modeling work would certainly be of interest, Oberstar is especially interested in high fashion. After her skating days are done, she hopes to find herself in the world of haute couture, as depicted in one of her favorite movies, Devil Wears Prada. She already sketches clothing ideas, although she doesn't necessarily see herself as a designer.

For now, it's back to the rink. Oberstar has been to the U.S. championships five times, the last two in senior ladies. She will skate at least one more year.

"It's a part of me now, which is part of the reason why it's going to be so hard to decide when I need to stop," she noted. "A big part of me will be missing.

"It's why I come to the rink every day. If you didn't love it, there's no way you could be this disciplined about something."

At least if she makes it in modeling, the 5'8" Oberstar will not longer be one of the tallest people she knows.