Rapid City models wanted for prom, wedding fashion shows


A casting call in Rapid City is seeking models of all ages, sizes and genders to wear the latest prom and wedding fashions in two local springtime events.

Models are needed for The Prom Experience on March 23 and Black Hills Wedding Market on April 20. Open casting calls for models will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 23 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 24 at the former Herberger’s location at Uptown Rapid in Rapid City. Models can arrive any time during the hours the casting call is being held.

“We’re doing a double casting call that day. We’re casting brides and grooms and couples that day too,” said Justin Straw of Justin Straw Designs and organizer of The Prom Experience.

Girl Prom event 2023

A model named Vintage strikes a pose in a black prom dress and gloves during a fashion show at The Prom Experience in 2023. The second annual The Prom Experience will be March 23 in the former Herberger’s store at Uptown Rapid in Rapid City.

In addition to teen models for The Prom Experience, models of all ages and sizes are wanted for the wedding fashion show at Black Hills Wedding Market.

“I want to be inclusive of everybody who wants to come to the casting call and try,” Straw said.

Straw hopes the Black Hills Wedding Market in particular will reflect all ages and stages of life.

“There’s 60- and 70-year-old women getting married for the second time after losing a partner. I want to represent all different ethnicities, all different sizes, ages,” he said.

Straw also has started Black Hills Model Network, and he hopes the upcoming casting call will find more local models who might be available for local marketing agencies and businesses to work with for projects like shows, billboards and advertisements. Straw hopes the model networking group can help people who perhaps want to build a portfolio they can take to a bigger city if they want to get signed with a modeling agency.

“We live in an area that has so much talent. We should be featuring as many local artists as we can. Let’s get our community on board. Let’s feature some of our amazing, fabulous fresh faces we have here in the Black Hills and feature some of the really talented photographers we have,” he said.

The Prom Experience

The Prom Experience will be a fun, interactive event for teens and parents to meet vendors, see the latest fashions and find inspiration for post-prom parties. The Prom Experience will be held in the former Herberger’s location in Uptown Rapid; the event time will be announced later.

Prom season in the Black Hills typically runs between March and May, and planning ahead for prom at least three months in advance is smart, Straw said.

“When it comes to booking vendors, people get really busy so the sooner you can reach out to stylists for florists and hair and makeup, the better. You’re going to get on their calendar and then you can fill in details when prom gets closer,” Straw said.

Prom night often includes dinner out before the dance, and Straw recommends choosing restaurants that take reservations. 

“Prom is a busy time so if you can go to a restaurant where you can make a reservation, that’s your best bet. That way you can stick to a schedule and not be late for your Grand March,” Straw said. 

Straw said the average cost to attend prom now ranges between $900 and $1,000 including a meal, makeup, hair, clothing and some of the latest trends.

“Nail art is having a big thing at prom — the nails (for girls) and shoes for boys. Boys want a flashy tuxedo look with flashy Nike tennis shoes,” Straw said.

During The Prom Experience, mall vendors will give away coupons and gift cards so kids can visit the stores after The Prom Experience and potentially find items they need or want for prom.  

Guy prom event 2023

A model named Brycen wears a tuxedo jacket and dress pants with a coordinating red bow tie and pocket square during the 2023 The Prom Experience.

The Prom Experience will offer several interactive stations including a mini dance, wrestling in sumo suits, free food and beverages, and a fragrance station by Bath and Body Works where anyone can make a custom scent.  

“We’re looking to give teens and parents a free, fun, sober experience” that could inspire ideas for inspiration for prom and for post-prom parties, Straw said.

Black Hills Wedding Market

Black Hills Wedding Market is moving to a new location, The Box event center in Box Elder. Black Hills Wedding Market will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 20. Admission is $5.

Models who are recruited from the February casting call will be part of a “fresh take on fashion” show, said Straw, who is one of the co-hosts of the event.

“We’re going to do a really fun, more modern runway show where we do little videos of the models before and as they walk down the runway. We’ll project videos on the screen behind them. It’s a high-fashion concept,” Straw said. “Our show is about experiences. Our hair and makeup teams are doing hair and makeup live.”

Brides-to-be will be able to make their own cocktails and walk around the show meeting a wide variety of vendors. There will be giveaways, and classes and seminars for brides and grooms.

“We accept all bridal vendors. We want as many people as possible. We don’t say no to people as long as the vendor feels relevant to a wedding,” Straw said.  

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