Denice Marie Paskovski says being bullied as a child led her to finding a career path.
The 53-year-old Richland Township resident has been modeling for decades and credits her grandmother for helping her to see her potential.
“I was born premature, and my growth was stunted for a very long time, so I was crying in the eighth grade and getting bullied, and it was a nightmare for me,” she said. “It was my grandmother who said I was going to have my day, and she enrolled me in modeling classes, and that’s how it started for me.”
When she was in her early 20s and a student at St. Francis University, Paskovski’s modeling career started to take off.
A few chance encounters with modeling agency representatives led to Paskovski walking in fashion shows.
“These things just kept happening to me. I even got scouted to do a voiceover for Montgomery College,” she said.
Paskovski said she was at her pinnacle when she was in Hawaii with Premier Models & Talent.
“I also was hired to teach the new models who were signed on how to walk the runway,” she said, “but not just that. It also was a block of instruction on things like nutrition and skin care. We talked about commercial modeling, and that’s where you make the most.”
While in Hawaii, Paskovski studied under the principal casting directors from the Hawaii Film Studio for advanced script study.
“Coming from a small town, I really couldn’t believe that I was chosen,” she said. “That was incredibly humbling.”
Paskovski got to show off her acting chops when she was cast as a background actor in Tim Burton’s 2003 film “Big Fish.” She can been seen in the circus scene and in the town of Spectre.
“One day on break, Tim came walking back and came to me. My first thought was I did something wrong, but he wanted me to go with him,” Paskovski said.
What he offered her was the opportunity to share the spotlight with the film’s main character.
“There is a young version of me who takes Ewan McGregor by the arm and takes him into the town of Spectre,” Paskovski said. “Tim and I connected, and even at one point he grabbed me to be Missi Pyle’s stand-in.”
Recently, she was contacted by Victoria Henley from “America’s Next Top Model” and iHeartRadio, which offered her an opportunity to walk the runway for designers such as Tom Ford and Nicole Miller in the Magnifique Fashion Showcase that will be held May 22 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
“If they like you, they’ll pick you up for their show,” she said. “A big part of this also is networking with the designers, so this is very exciting.”
In addition, Paskovski made the first cut for Miss Fashion Global that will be held in November in Destin, Florida.
Contestants are judged on their overall appearance, runway walk, swimwear and evening wear.
“I’m representing the 40-plus division and, if crowned, I’ll get to go to New York Fashion Week,” she said.
Paskovski said her goal is to break down barriers and show that women over a certain age can still be accepted in the modeling industry.
“I want to be the first mature model to walk in a Victoria Henley fashion show and be the first mature model in Sports Illustrated,” she said. “I want to show everyone out there that the chronological age you have does not define you. Never put an expiration date on your goals and dreams. I want women to feel beautiful and empowered.”
Paskovski is preparing to move to Oceanside, California, to further her career.
“That’s my market, and I have friends there in the industry who are waiting for me,” she said. “I’m definitely a California model with my look. I’m a free spirit, so it fits.”