She’s being called “Baby Daria,” much in the way Cindy Crawford was first known as “Baby Gia” (after then-top-model Gia Carangi) when she hit the fashion scene.

“It took 17 days and four hours — not like I was counting — for Dajana to call me,” agent Elmer Olsen said of his Eaton-Centre discovery.

In the six months since, Dajana, 17, has been immersed in a grooming program that includes catwalk practices and wardrobe lessons, all designed to launch her on the international fashion scene.

She’s already worked for Holt Renfrew and teams from Valentino and Oscar de la Renta, and is booked for LG Fashion Week shows including Evan Biddell and Pink Tartan.

After having her hopes initially dashed by Elite when she was 14 (they told her she needed more curves), the young model is enjoying a fresh spotlight and newfound confidence as the rising fashion star she always wanted to be. Metro asks Dajana about her new job.

Q. How does it feel to be where you are now after being turned away by a big agency three years ago?

It’s very exciting coming from being a normal high school girl. I had no faith in myself in modelling whatsoever, crushed into pieces because it was my biggest dream. But now, seeing how far I’ve come in just six months with Elmer, I’ve learned not to ever put yourself down, and always believe in yourself.

Q. What was your initial reaction when Elmer Olsen stopped you at the mall?

I thought it was a scam, for sure. I constantly get stopped by agents, it was just a routine for me. I showed no interest in any of it. After Elite (said no), I thought that if they didn’t like me, nobody liked me, so every time I’d get stopped, I’d think, “No.”

Q. So what changed your mind?

One of Elmer’s previous models said that they’d never seen someone so excited about (a model). That line got me thinking, and then I realized Elmer had actually discovered Daria, and I was like, okay, he really knows what he’s doing.

Q. Did you always pay attention to fashion?

When I was a little girl, yes. I always looked at the newest trends and runways, until I was 14 and got crushed. Then I paid absolutely no attention to anything regarding fashion or the whole industry itself. Now I’m interested again.

Q. How would you describe your personal style?

I used to be a whole “gina” type party sparkly girl, but now I can’t show that any more. Now it’s jeans, or black tights with shorts, designer heels, a regular top with a designer vest or coat over it.

Q. Do you have favourite stores you like to shop at? Do you shop a lot?

I do shop a lot. But because Elmer is a fashion agent, I always need his okay. It’s pretty much Corbo or Holt Renfrew. If I were shopping with my friends, I’d just go to the Eaton Centre, H&M or Guess.

Q. What do you think of your “Baby Daria” nickname?

Actually, when I walked for Paul Hardy, I heard screams of ‘C’mon, Daria, work it!’ But it’s also good to have your own image.

Q. You’re now in an industry that hires you based on how you look. Are you learning to deal with that?

I realized that all different agencies and all different designers want different looks, so if they don’t choose you, don’t take it personally.

Q. Do you have something you consider your best feature?

My face and my whole body. God gives you what you have and you just have to accept and appreciate it.

Q. It’s only been six months, but do you have an idea of where you want to take your career?

The best thing that’s happened so far is N. Y. Fashion Week. I’d like to do Paris and Milan, and my dream is to shoot with Steven Meisel for Vogue.

Q. Do you prefer runway or print work?

As soon as you step on the runway it makes you feel so glamorous… It makes me feel like I’m somebody and something, like “all eyes on you.” I like print work, but the runway is my spotlight.