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Teen Ethiopian Grace Maas Hits fashion runway

Teen Ethiopian Grace Maas Hits fashion runway

The Lexington Fashion Collaborative’s Future of Fashion V show, a three-day celebration Sept. 12-14 was held at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center and a very special young lady made her debut on the runway.

Thirteen-year-old Grace Maas, who is from a small village outside Nedjo, Ethiopia, modeled designs created by another very special 13-year-old, Claire Williams.

Grace was abandoned by her birth parents at the age of 6 and was first sent to live with a relative. But at age 9, she was placed in an orphanage. It was in the orphanage that Grace began to “pray a good family that believed in God would adopt her.” Those prayers were answered when Darren and Rebecca Maas adopted her.

Now living in Lexington with her parents and nine siblings, Grace has overcome the pain from being abandoned by her parents and teased by other children. Rebecca Maas said her daughter is a “very creative person” who loves expressing herself through art.”

“In my free time I enjoy drawing and sketching fashion designs,” Grace added. “I am always asking my mom if I can cut up my clothes to make new designs.  I spend lots of time in front of the mirror creating new hair designs and trying new makeup techniques.

Grace also aspires to be an actress and is taking her first acting class this year.  She recently signed with Heyman Talent as a model/actress.While she always wanted to be a runway model, “while living in Ethiopia I never did I think I would have that opportunity. It really has been a dream come true.” Likewise, she’s thrilled to be participating in the “Future of Fashion” event.


“I love fashion so when I heard about the event I jumped at the chance to walk in the show,” Grace said.  When the teen takes the runway next week, she will likely be “modeling” something far more important than fashion.

“One of Grace’s desires is to encourage and empower young girls like herself,” Rebecca Maas said. “She has been through a lot of pain from being abandoned and teased as a young girl. Grace has been able to overcome those feelings and has become a confident and empowered young lady.”

With 35 designers in this year’s show, the highlight would be the exciting 13-year-old designer Grace Maas would model for. Yes, a 13-year-old, as in eighth-grader. Her name is Claire Williams, and she designs clothing for children. For this show, Claire’s inspiration was the globe, with designs representing the fashions of different countries but in fun and artful ways.

Grace has a deep love for her birth country and hopes to return there after college to help children who are orphaned. It’s great and refreshing to keep track of our Ethiopian blood doing big things around the world. Inspiring and outgoing stories of young women such as Grace Maas and Claire Williams should be shared and commended as they reflect such strong character and passion.