CHICAGO — Hours after signing a contract to work as a professional model, a 20-year-old Evanston woman was shot to death while visiting her grandparents in Englewood, according to her family.
But on Monday night, she was standing in the 7300 block of South May Street when someone in a car opened fire, hitting Pryor in her armpit.
She was pronounced dead at 7:01 p.m. Monday, according to Cook County Medical Examiner's records. A 15-year-old boy, who is a documented gang member, was also injured in the shooting, police said.
A graduate of Evanston Township High School, Pryor had a lifelong interest in fashion, her aunt Camisha Pryor said.
"When she was a little girl she was always trying on my clothes, trying to play model," Camisha Pryor said. "She was always watching runway shows and 'America's Next Top Model.' She loved it."
It was her first time trying out for anything like the modeling competition, Pryor said. She worked with a trainer, met professional models and visited with agents during the competition, Pryor said.
"It was an awesome experience," Pryor said. "The whole process, it was really eye-opening. There's so many opportunities that you get to do during the competition."
The lack of formal experience never deterred Pryor, even in a competition against hundreds of other people, her father Alan Scott said.
"She saw the brochures, and she just went for it," Scott said. "That's the way she was. Anything she put her mind to, she would just do it."
Kaylyn Pryor's 28-year-old sister, Chantal Pryor, acted as her "manager" during the competition, she said.
"She was just a superstar, and she was my best friend," Chantel Pryor said of her sister. "She always had a smile on her face. And I've never seen her take anything so seriously as this competition — but at the same time she was just so laid back about it, like she wouldn't let anything get to her."
On Sept. 25, the sisters were sitting together at a runway show when Kaylyn was announced as the winner of the competition. They couldn't hear the announcement, Chantel said, and they didn't realize Kaylyn had won until the announcer walked right up to her with a trophy.
"We just went crazy — we couldn't believe it," Chantel Pryor said. "We were both so happy."
Tricoci said the company was looking for someone who would have a chance at being successful in the industry, and they believed that person was Pryor.
Pryor's death has left the company "saddened and broken-hearted," Mario Tricoci said in a statement posted online.
"Kaylyn will be remembered for her kind and generous spirit," the statement said. "She was truly was beautiful inside and out."
A Tuesday statement from Factor Modeling said members of the agency were "devastated beyond words" upon hearing the news.
"This touches every one of us who knew her and worked with her," the statement read. "Kaylyn will be remembered for her remarkable personality and generous spirit. She was beautiful inside and out!
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