Zayshieg Beach, a junior at Nature Coast Technical High School, has heard the word "model" for most of her life, but never paid much attention to it.
As a toddler, family-portrait photographers wanted to single her out for pictures for commercial use. But the beautiful little girl with the big brown eyes would have none of that, crying when she was left to pose by herself.
Years later, as she walked through malls, strangers would stop her to ask if she was a model. The bashful teen, of Chinese and Jewish descent, would "appreciate the compliment, she said, "but never really thought any more about it."
Last summer, on a family shopping trip, yet another mall patron asked the same question. Zayshieg's father, Scott, then posed a question to his wife, Shaizey: Why not look into it?
Just five months later, after signing contracts and sending off a professional composite of poses to five agents, 16-year-old Zayshieg was on the cover of Florida Trend's NEXT magazine.
Shy about the attention, Zayshieg (pronounced Sigh-see) at first denied to friends that she was one of the four students on the cover, jumping in midair to the words, "Get a Jump."
"I just didn't want all the questions," she said. But with two more photos of her inside the magazine, she slowly began to acknowledge it.
NEXT, a yearly magazine distributed free to all Florida public and private high school students, is produced by Times Publishing Co., which owns the Times. Its promotional material touts it as providing information to help students plan their "next education adventure," with articles about higher education, career preparation and health issues.
Zayshieg's modeling assignment took her to Dillard's at Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, where the store has its own photography studio. Dillard's is one of NEXT's major sponsors.
She and the other three students were given outfits and specific instructions.
"(The photographer) told us everything we should do," Zayshieg said. "Make sure your shirts are not tucked in or too far up the belly. Make sure your socks aren't showing. Raise your arms." All this while jumping.
"We must have jumped a thousand times," said Zayshieg.
She's ready to jump again _ or whatever the next assignment may be _ because she's discovered that, at $100 an hour, minus the 20 percent agent fee, modeling will help with her goal of becoming a veterinary radiologist.
"I've always wanted to be a veterinarian since I was little," said Zayshieg, "but I can't do the blood and stuff, so I thought maybe I could take X-rays and go into radiology for animals."
Zayshieg, who lives in Spring Hill with her parents and 17-year-old sister, Dyleeng, may get another chance soon to add to her college coffer. She recently did a test photo shoot for a national monthly teen magazine, and is awaiting a call that she has been selected.
With swimming, soccer and school tests keeping her busy, Zayshieg said she's not sitting on pins and needles waiting for the phone to ring. She knows her limitations. At 5 feet 3 inches, there's no runway modeling in her future. But this first job was "fun" she said.
When pressed, Zayshieg admits, with a shy smile, that modeling does feel "a little" glamorous.