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12-Year-Old Pa. Girl Finds Success As Model, Walks Runway At New York Fashion Week

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- New York Fashion Week draws a huge and critical audience.  Yet 12-year-old Keely Acor of Houston, Pennsylvania, strides with the confidence of a pro. This was only her fourth appearance on the runway.

Her first test was a charity fundraiser.

"My first one, I was kind of nervous," Keely recalls.

"She walked there and when she got done, they were like, she was great," adds her mother, Julie Acor. ""How long has she been doing this? I told them this was her first time."

She was invited to model in fashion shows in Dallas and Los Angeles.

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"It's been a whirlwind," her mother says.

Keely says she learned the moves by watching other models.

"There were a lot of people, and I was like, if they can do it, I can do it too.  So I went out and did my best."

She showed no sign of the pain in her feet, from juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

"She was in a lot of pain for several months," her mother says.  "We did braces and physical therapy."

She had to quit basketball at Chartiers-Houston, but stayed with cheerleading.  And of course, modeling.

"If you think, I can't do it or I can do it, you're right either way," Keely says.

Regarding her bout with arthritis, she adds, "I have it, but it doesn't have me."

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