Gilroy teen pursues passions in pandemic, encourages others

Reyna Padron grows her modeling, basketball careers

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Christopher High School freshman Reyna Padron was one of 10 people chosen to model at Macy’s in San Jose. Contributed photo

At 14 years old and nearly 6 feet tall, Reyna Padron is taller than most of her peers.

She’s had to deal with the occasional name-calling from others, especially from boys jealous of her height. But she doesn’t let that drag her down, and that perseverance has paid off.

Padron, a freshman at Christopher High School, has played her way to a spot on the school’s varsity basketball team. As a basketball player for a number of years, Padron, because of her height, plays the center position, where she spends most of her time under the hoop, scooping up missed shots and making easy buckets over the smaller defenders.

On April 17, Padron was one of 10 people chosen as a model during a fashion show at Macy’s at the Eastridge Center in San Jose.

Simply put, the Gilroy native said she likes being tall.

“I don’t really care what other people say of me,” she said. “I just do me.”

Padron, who has been with talent agencies since she was 12 years old, said she’s always had an interest in modeling at a young age.

“I’ve always been so tall,” she said. “I love to model, do the runway, do all those poses, all that girly stuff.”

Padron said being chosen as the top model for the recent Macy’s show was a major confidence boost. It also made an impact on her morale, after being stuck at home for the past year due to Covid-19.

“It’s a really good experience for me to get out there and do it,” she said. “We’ve been trapped in our house for so long.”

Padron, like so many other students in Gilroy, has yet to take in-person classes in high school despite her freshman year being almost finished. After a year of distance learning, she said that she’s gotten used to the process, but added that learning in person is much easier for her than online.

After high school, Padron said she plans on playing college basketball, adding that she enjoys the spotlight, especially when her parents Annie and Fil take videos of her on the court.

She also intends to pursue nursing and continue her modeling career.

Padron is also an avid violinist who performs at her church as well as at various events. It’s all a part of her DNA to become the best at what she loves to do, her mother said.

“When she does something, she does it 150 percent,” Annie Padron said. “When she gets excited about something, there’s no stopping her.”

The past year has been difficult for many, but Reyna Padron said there are still many ways young people can thrive.

“If you have a passion for something, just go for it,” she said. “Give it your all and never give up.”

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