A Fort Worth teen who says he was turned away from a summer job at Six Flags Over Texas because of his "extreme hairstyle" is finding new opportunities as a model.
Kerion Washington's story went viral, gaining national attention after his mother, Karis Washington, posted to Facebook about her 17-year-old son's experience.[[512516382,R,250,444]]
Now, Washington thinks being turned away from that job was the best thing that could have ever happened to him.
"When one door closes, another one will open," Washington told NBC 5 in March. Now, he says the saying holds true.
"No I never thought that [this would happen.] It was just crazy that it happened," Washington said.
Washington’s luck turned around when Corrie Caster, head of development of IMG Models in Los Angeles and scouting for IMG Worldwide, discovered Washington's story. It's the same modeling agency that represents some of the world's biggest names in fashion.
"For Corrie to reach out to us, that was a blessing," said Washington’s mother.
Caster then reached out to Austin-based Jones Model Management. Caster asked the talent agency to work with Washington, get a portfolio together and send it her way because she thinks he has what it takes.
"We got him here and he was a natural," said Leslie Jones with Jones Model Management. "We are just helping him learn how to pose and how to walk. He was just so good for it being his first time."[[512516532,R,250,375]]
Washington said this is all like a dream.
"I just thought it would be another job offer for just a regular job for the summer, but when I heard about modeling, I had to take it," Washington said.
The high school junior is now something of a celebrity among friends and family.
"I had a lot of people on Instagram telling me, ‘Congratulations! Keep doing better. Keep rising,'" he said. "I like the support. It keeps me going. It's really cool. I even had people from school saying, ‘Oh yea...you famous!'"
To think, it all happened because Washington was turned down.
"I don’t know what the next step is going to be going forward, but I am ready for it," Washington said.
He also said he has learned a valuable lesson and hopes others learn the same from his story.
"You should never listen to what people have to tell you. You should always be you," Washington said.
Six Flags Over Texas has since changed their policy on "extreme hairstyles" and now allow employees to wear dreadlocks.