Miss Ohio balances runway, classroom

Danielle Johnson

While some people get dressed up, do their makeup and curl their hair for a fun night out, for Kent State student Angela Ritossa, it is a daily task for her job as a model.

A clothing store in Cleveland first discovered Ritossa at age 14. Ritossa, a junior fashion merchandising major, said she has been in love with the industry ever since.

“It’s really funny because I was a tomboy growing up because I have three older brothers,” Ritossa said. “When I was first discovered, I didn’t know if I would like it. But after my first photo shoot, I started loving it.”

Because she was a tomboy, Ritossa was surprised to find that she loved a career focused around getting all dolled up.

“I fell in love with it because I just really liked the feeling of modeling,” Ritossa said. “Not to sound stuck up, but it is really cool to have the camera on you when your makeup and hair is all done.”

Although her mother Tammy has always supported her daughter’s desire to be a model, she expressed that Angela needs to be careful in the industry.

“I have always taught my kids to try new things, so when she wanted to (model), I was all for it,” Tammy said. “But I was also a little reluctant because you have to be very careful; there are many photographers and jobs that take advantage of young girls.”

Delving into the modeling industry at a young age took Ritossa out of her comfort zone, but her mother said she has seen a lot of positive changes.

“Confidence is one of the best things that has come from her modeling,” Tammy said. “Not only does she have self-confidence, but it has helped her have confidence with talking to people and in making her own decisions.”

The personal growth Ritossa is going through goes hand-in-hand with her continued development in the modeling industry. Tammy notes that her daughter is more receptive now to cameras and walking in front of large crowds compared to when she first started.

Time management is another skill that Ritossa has learned because of her career; she balances being a full-time college student, part-time model, extra-curricular activities and having a social life.

Through this all, Ritossa’s friend of seven years Elizabeth Ellsworth said she as noticed the how hard Ritossa works to further her career in such a competitive industry.

“She is successful with modeling because she has a passion for it,” Ellsworth said. “She will always make time for modeling even with her crazy school schedule. This is her dream and she will continue to work hard for it.”

To prioritize her time between school and modeling, Ritossa dedicates her modeling to the weekends and summertime.

“She is very capable of juggling school, modeling and her social life,” Ellsworth said. “She knows how to handle herself if she ever is stressed.”

Even though Ritossa enjoys the work she does, as with any passion, difficulties arise. 

“My weekends are usually really busy, which sucks sometimes because I don’t get to see my friends as much as I would like,” Ritossa said.

Modeling has opened numerous doors for Ritossa, including being an extra in the most recent Fast and Furious” movie.

“It was really cool to be a part of,” Ritossa said. “My part was to stand in a car dealership while the cars came crashing through the windows.”

Ritossa also works brand ambassador jobs where she promotes specific brands by passing out promotional materials, and she has recently decided to start doing pageants.

“I didn’t think I was a pageant girl because I didn’t think I would be good at the question portion of it,” Ritossa said. “But over the summer, I won Miss Ohio, and in June we go to Orlando to try out for Miss U.S. Then if I win that, we get to go to Europe.”

Having previously modeled in other states like Tennessee and New York, traveling for jobs is not a new concept for Ritossa. She said she hopes to continue growing and finding new opportunities through modeling even after college.

“Of course, working for (Victoria’s) Secret would be my dream,” Ritossa said. “But really any big brand would be awesome to work for.”

Ritossa said she was fortunate to find something she was passionate about at such a young age, which has helped her grow both personally and professionally. 

“I didn’t really think that modeling would be my thing, but it turned out to be the best thing for me and I love it,” Ritossa said. “Just try out every opportunity you can because you never know what it could turn into.”

Danielle Johnson is the jobs reporter, contact her at [email protected].