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Model by Day: Mill Creek junior shines in volleyball, fashion worlds

Opponents often find that Mill Creek volleyball player Olivia Day, at 5-foot-11, can be an imposing hitter and blocker.

They should see her billboard.

The high school junior looms large just off Interstate 20, her image on a huge sign serves as an advertisement for Parisian, in particular a new line of jeans.

"It was crazy when I saw it," said Day, one of the state's top volleyball players who also is becoming an accomplished model. "I freaked out. I was pretty excited."

Day was thrilled because her modeling career is still in its early stages, so things like her first billboard are pretty neat. She considers herself an athlete first - she has played sports since she was 3 - who happened upon modeling after helping some family friends out by posing for the Cinderella's Closet catalog for prom dresses and other elegant gowns.

Her photos were then sent to Click Models of Atlanta, and the agency signed her to a contract. Since then it's been a whirlwind of modeling jobs that she never saw coming.

"Oh gosh, not in a million years did I ever think I would be a model," Day said. "My sister (Alexandra, a volleyball player at Western Carolina University) was always the one who was tall and beautiful."

But it's the younger sister who is the prospering model and although she hasn't been in the field long, Day's accomplishments in the fashion world are impressive.

In addition to the billboard, she has done a Panasonic video commercial for Turner Broadcasting Systems and photo shoots for Atlanta Magazine and Jezebel Magazine, along with a Nicky Hilton runway show in Atlanta. She also is the new model for No Nonsense pantyhose, appearing on packaging labels for the company.

Castings for models are typically during the day, so Day often has to schedule special times after school and around volleyball to try out for jobs. The modeling career brings a lot of work for her, but it's also fun and interesting, which makes her friends curious about it.

"They're excited; they think it's cool," Day said. "They want to know about it. I try to downplay it. I don't talk about it a lot."

Although it's becoming clear that she's pretty good at it. Or at least in demand.

She's also quite the volleyball player, both for 16-2 Mill Creek and for A5, Georgia's top club team. In between her two hobbies, she maintains a 3.4 GPA in gifted and honors classes.

"(Day's) a very smart girl, she has a lot of volleyball skills and she's a beautiful girl," Mill Creek volleyball coach Analisa Wendt. "She's very talented in a lot of areas. I think she has a lot of potential in whatever she chooses to do."

Volleyball is one of those possibilities.

A number of Division I and Division II schools are recruiting Day, who could possibly follow her older sister Alexandra, a Shiloh grad, into college volleyball. A versatile player who is a powerful right-side hitter, she plays all over the court for the Hawks. In 18 matches, she has 122 digs, 88 kills, 28 aces and 21 sets for a third-year team that is quickly gaining respect.

Volleyball wasn't always her sport, though. She tried a variety of activities growing up - basketball, softball, gymnastics, ballet and cheerleading - but eventually gave up her main two, basketball and softball, because of the demands of year-round volleyball.

It's turned out to be a good choice.

"I think (Day) can play

D-I," Wendt said. "I think most people that have seen her have noticed that, too."

But her other option also is very appealing.

Her agency has talked about sending her to Milan in the summer of 2007, then to New York the following summer. Those are exciting possibilities, but she may still decide that college volleyball is the best one to pursue.

"I'm keeping my options open," Day said. "I know (modeling) is a short-lived career, but I have a lot of friends at the agency who are 26 and still doing work. That seems like a long time, but in the end it's not very long. I'm definitely enjoying it so far."