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Whitney sang her first professional solo in 1980 and she began modeling the same year. Hailed as a top junior model, she pursued a career in modelling gracing the covers of magazines such as Glamour and Seventeen. But at the same time she was in even greater demand as a singer.

In 1981, at age 18, she signed a management deal with Gene Harvey and Seymour Flics, and for the next few years was carefully groomed for the superstardom that everyone associated with her felt certain was in the cards.