Modelling was never a plan for Amber Cappo.
The 21-year-old from Regina was a crystal meth user who began taking drugs when she was 15. It began with booze and pot, but it progressed as she became comfortable with heavier substances and the wrong crowd.
'When she came to me and said that she believed in me, it gave me a whole new perspective on life.' - Amber Cappo
Cappo lost her job due to her drug addiction, but one of her former colleagues kept her in mind. Her name was mentioned to a local agent who was looking for fresh talent.
"At the time, I was a heavy user so I didn't have a care in the world about my future goals," Cappo said.
She couldn't believe it when an Infinity Models agent called.
"When she came to me and said that she believed in me, it gave me a whole new perspective on life," said Cappo.
However, Cappo continued to use drugs even after signing with the modelling agency in October 2016.
"My family is a long line of addicts, too, so it wasn't that hard for me to fall into the same patterns," she said.
She was surrounded by users, according to lifetime friend Rachel Mantee.
"Probably everyone she had that she could live with, or she could stay with, they were all addicts of some sort."
Mantee and Cappo met when they were four in the same foster home and have been friends ever since.
"She's just always been my sister. We've always been super connected," Mantee said. "It was hard to know she was, you know, doing bad things and going down a road that we both know so well."
Choosing to get clean
When modelling opportunities began to pick up in November, Cappo had to make a choice.
"I was just like, 'You know what? You've got a good opportunity, Amber. It's time to maybe clean up your ... life."
Cappo decided to use her modelling to share her story, because she saw high levels of addiction in the city.
Everyone around her, from peers to coworkers to parents, seemed to be getting high.
"Regina needs help and a lot of people don't have the resources," she said.
She understands it's hard to ask for help. Cappo initially tried to hide her addictions from family, including Mantee.
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Mantee supported Cappo from afar, so she didn't fall into the same patterns.
Cappo has tried to get sober before. Sometimes she would last a few weeks, but then she'd relapse.
Mantee said this time it might stick, because Cappo has removed herself from the drug scene and found positive mentors, like her agent. It's the longest she's ever been off the drug.
Cappo has a few shows coming up soon.