5th Day of Fashion Camp

 

Thursday, Mood Board Activity

 

We began making our mood boards for the presentation of our products the next day. We settled on making a gender-neutral dress. The dress would be made from a simple patterned fabric like stripes. The dress would have a drawstring attached to make it longer or shorter. We all agreed and loved the idea. We began making the mood board for the brand. The brand was called U. We had magazines and art supplies to bring our mood board to life. The top portion of the board had black and white pictures, the middle had neutral-toned pictures, and the bottom had colorful pictures. We cut the pictures out of magazines and categorized them by their color group. We chose  LGBTQ, racially diverse, and disabled models that we found in magazines. We cut them out and put them on the board. Amelia and Lauren created a U made out of colorful beads. We hot glued the beads down at the very last minute with the help of Derek, our councilor. 

 

It took us three hours to finish it. We then went to the cafeteria for dinner.

Karaoke Night

 

There was a karaoke night by the pool. Aylin and Keythlin promised we would sing together as a trio. Liam was on stage singing Leaves by Miguel. We headed to the stage and they both got cold feet. 

 

I got Joelle, Elizabeth, and Averie to go on stage with me. We sang Party in the U.S. by Miley Cyrus. It was so fun. We had a great time. 

CLICK HERE TO HEAR US SING 

After I got off stage, Aylin and Keythlin were ready to sing together. We headed back to the stage and the man told us he was not accepting any more people because the pool was about to close. Aylin headed back to the room and I went to the football field. 

 

Briana and I had a great time, we went around talking to random people. We met a guy from Vegas named Chris, a guy from Kazakhstan named Yuriy, and a guy from Guatemala named Fabian. We also had to help Elizabeth find her missing phone lol. Eventually, she found it after we used Find My iPhone.

 

I headed to the dorm after they blew the whistle for curfew. 

 

Friday, June 28

 

The next morning we headed to the confidence and public speaking session. We got on the golf carts and went to the Fieldhouse. 

 

We sat in the room. An IMG mental conditioning coach named Taylor Stutzman came in and spoke to us. IMG has physical and mental conditioning for their athletes.

 

Stutzman began by telling us a story that happened in ancient China. A farmer’s horse ran away. The farmer’s neighbor gave condolences to the farmer for the loss of his horse. The farmer responded, “Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad.” The horse returned to the farmer and brought seven other wild horses. The neighbor comes back and congratulates the farmer on getting his horses back and seven more horses. The farmer responds, “Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad.” The farmer’s son gets on one of the wild horses and falls and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over and tells the farmer he feels bad that his son broke his leg on the horse. The farmer responds, “Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad.” The next day, the emperor sends soldiers to collect men for the war. The farmer’s son cannot participate because he is injured. Everyone that was enlisted in the war died. After the war, the neighbor comes over and says, “That’s such good news your son didn’t have to go.” The farmer responds, “Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad.” 

 

 “Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad.” 

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

Stutzman believes life is too complicated to constantly categorize our fortunes and misfortunes as good or bad. We cannot predict the consequences of good or bad things that happen to us. “When we think of things as really good or really bad rather than this just is sometimes it’s really hard to maintain our confidence,” Stutzman stated. 

“This just is”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

Stutzman offered us a pill for confidence. He asked us if it could make us confident for five hours, how many people would want to take it? Basically, the whole room raised their hands. He told us there is no pill for confidence.

 

“Feeling confident is overrated,” he stated. He believes nothing can make you feel confident. He continued, “You don’t have to feel confident to act confident.”

“You don’t have to feel confident to act confident.”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

Stutzman told us all to think of a karaoke song that we would want to sing, right now, in front of everybody. He gave us three minutes, then after the time was up, he would pick four people to sing. 

 

Three minutes passed and he told us it was just a joke. He did not want anyone to sing. He did that because he knew we would all feel uncomfortable. 

Stutzman quoted Mark Twain. 

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

-Mark Twain

 

Stutzman asked us what our immediate response was to him asking us to sing. “We tell ourselves a lot of things that aren’t true,” he stated. He continued, “If that made you super nervous, probably the first thing you told yourself was, ‘This is going to be awful…’ like you’ve already lived through it.’ Mark Twain believed we tell ourselves bad things and then we feel like we have already lived through them. “We create our own fear,” Stutzman stated.

“We create our own fear,”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

“We tell ourselves a lot of things that aren’t true,” 

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

Stutzman asked us the difference between fear and danger. Madison said, “Fear is something we create and danger is real.” Stutzman agreed. Stutzman told us that our brains have a difficult time telling the difference between fear and danger. He explained that when humans first evolved, we had a part of our brain called the limbic. The limbic kept us safe in the times when early humans had to fend for themselves in the wild. Now, the limbic is not used as much. Before presentations, our brains still send the danger response from the limbic. “‘You’re going to die,’ essentially is what your brain is saying. Even though you’re not.” Stutzman stated. 

 

Stutzman began an activity where he asked volunteers to come and close their hands over a mousetrap and let it go without getting snapped. The girls let the traps go, but they didn’t go off. After some girls did it, he told them that the mouse traps he gave them were fake. He said rationally, he would never give them mouse traps because they could get hurt. He said that their brains convinced them the mouse traps were real, overriding the logic and reason part of their mind. He stated, “A lot of times what we do is we set our own mousetrap by telling ourselves a bunch of things that aren’t true.”  Stutzman continued, “One of the keys to confidence… is learning to overcome some of these fears that you’ve created.” 

“One of the keys to confidence… is learning to overcome some of these fears that you’ve created.” 

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

“No one’s afraid to fail, we’re afraid of what people might think about us if we do,” Stutzman added. 

“No one’s afraid to fail, we’re afraid of what people might think about us if we do,”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

“We make a lot of assumptions of what people are thinking about us,” Stutzman explained. Stutzman predicted we would be nervous before we presented our brands later that day. “You’re gonna have all these thoughts popping up in your head, but you don’t have to listen to them,” Stutzman advised. “Good news is this is something we create so it’s something we can manage. Bad news is, it’s something you’re probably going to do for the rest of your life,” he professed. 

 

Stutzman gave us three strategies. He believes the power of perspective is the first. He showed us optical illusions. 

Optical Illusion

This image can be two faces or a vase, depending on the perspective. 

 

He believes both perspectives are different but valid. He showed us several pictures and videos that changed depending on perspective. 

 

He told us about a man named Alex Honnold. Honnold is a free-solo climber. He climbs without ropes and if he falls he dies. Honnold just starred in a documentary called Free Solo about free-solo climbing. Stutzman knows that most of us believe free solo-climbing is dumb and dangerous. Stutzman agreed with us, but he believes there is another perspective.

 

Stutzman played some of the documentary, Free Solo. Honnold explained he had been wanting to do free-solo climbing for a long time. Eventually, he knew he would regret it if he never tried. Honnold said, “Steadily broaden your comfort zone over time. Basically consistently do things that are slightly harder for you in the right direction. Not necessarily that are partially toward that goal, but keep broadening yourself until eventually, it’s possible.” Honnold explained that as he kept training the consequences remained really high, death, but the risk was low. 

Alex Honnold

Stutzman explained risk versus consequence. Stutzman added that our brain also struggles with the difference between nerves and being excited. “Public speaking is the number one fear above anything. Above spiders and heights,” Stutzman shared. “There’s some people that would rather die than do public speaking,” he added. 

 

 

“Public speaking is the number one fear above anything. Above spiders and heights.”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

Stutzman knew that later in the day before we presented, we would have a choice on the perspective we choose. “Am I excited or am I afraid? That’s gonna be your choice on your perspective. It might not change this feeling, but it will change the perspective.” he added. 

 

“There’s not a thought anybody could think about you that makes you less talented,” he professed.

 

“There’s not a thought anybody could think about you that makes you less talented.”

-Taylor Stutzman 

Fear and danger are apart of human nature. “That just means your human,” he added. 

 

“The second key of confidence is what you tell yourself,” Stutzman explained. “Who do you talk to the most in the world? Yourself,” he continued. He believes you are the most important person you talk to. “You start to believe the things you repeat to yourself,” he professed. We think about many things every day.  “Depending on which study you look at, between 50,000 -80,000 thoughts pass through our minds every day,” he estimated. “You can’t control what comes into your mind, but what you can control are the things you repeat to yourself,” he added. Stutzman believes our thoughts control our confidence. “About 98% of those thoughts that pass through our minds, are the same thoughts we had the day before,” he explained. “Imagine the power we have in the things we tell ourselves because we repeat them day after day,” he imagined. “75-80% of our human thoughts can be considered unhelpful,” he explained. “The first thing that pops into our minds is usually what could go wrong,” he continued. 

“You start to believe the things you repeat to yourself.”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

“You can’t control what comes into your mind, but what you can control are the things you repeat to yourself.” 

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

“About 98% of those thoughts that pass through our minds, are the same thoughts we had the day before.”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

He showed us another video of a man blindfolded. The man reached his hand in a box and had to pet what was in it. There was a teddy bear in the box. The man kept reaching in and getting scared to touch it. He kept yelling, “Ew it’s slimy, Is it a snake?” He told himself so many things that he convinced himself that there was something dangerous in the box. He took his blindfold off and saw it was just a teddy bear. When he was blindfolded, the man kept screaming that the teddy bear was a snake, so he eventually believed it was. Rationally, his friends would never put a snake in a box for him to possibly be bitten. Our rational minds our overridden by our fears. “There’s a lot of power to the things that you tell yourself, so you can choose to put some really powerful things in your mind,” Stutzman added. After you get bad thoughts, repeat positive and uplifting things. Stutzman explained, “The core of self-confidence is self-compassion.” He asked, “Are the things you’re telling yourself kind?” He asked, “Would you be friends with the voice in your head?” The voice in your head should be a hypeman. He told us to think about people we look up to and how if they make a mistake we do not immediately stop liking them. We need to give ourselves the same allowance and understanding we give for other people’s mistakes. “Be your own hero,” he advised. “I don’t mean in an arrogant way, there’s a difference between arrogance and confidence,” he explained. “If I’m arrogant, I have to compare myself to someone else,” he continued. For instance, if a person constantly says they are better than someone else, that is arrogance. Confidence is believing and encouraging other people while believing in yourself. He asked, “If you wouldn’t say this to someone else, why would you say it about yourself?”

“The core of self-confidence is self-compassion.”

-Taylor Stutzman 

“Are the things you’re telling yourself kind?”

-Taylor Stutzman 

“Would you be friends with the voice in your head?”

-Taylor Stutzman 

“If you wouldn’t say this to someone else, why would you say it about yourself?”

-Taylor Stutzman 

“If I’m arrogant, I have to compare myself to someone else,”

-Taylor Stutzman 

 

He encouraged us to create an affirmation or a power phrase to repeat to ourselves. It does not have to make sense to anyone but yourself. It can be, “I’m awesome.” It is important to have mantras. 

 

I unknowingly, repeat many affirmations to myself. 

 

Stutzman emphasized the importance of having a notebook when someone is talking to you. It is important to write down what people tell you and be “willing to learn.” 

 

Stutzman shared his favorite quote, “If you are unwilling to learn, nobody can help you.” 

 

Stutzman wishes he could make everyone at IMG Academy to take notes. He believes they do not retain anything if they do not take notes. He has many students who enjoy his lectures, but they forget them the next day. 

 

How we look and our body language are important to our confidence. When we are afraid, we made ourselves small. The armadillo pose or fetal position is an important pose for when you are cold or being attacked. The position protects vital organs. He encouraged us to make ourselves big to feel powerful. This is also known as the power pose. I learned about it in my IB Theory of Knowledge class. He referenced that when Olympians win a race, they extend their arms. He also noted that blind people in the Paralympics also make themselves bigger when they win a race. So making yourself bigger is not a learned behavior, but innate to human nature. “When you’re safe and excited, you make yourself big,” he added.

Power Poses

I have been using the power pose for a couple of years now since I learned about it in class. Holding out your arms and spreading your legs sends the brain endorphins that make you feel powerful. At school, we would hold power poses for a few seconds before a presentation to make ourselves more confident. We would also, stand tall during the presentation.

 

He showed us a scene from Hansel & Zoolander. They had a walk-off where they used power poses throughout. 

The link below is a great Ted Talk to watch on power poses

CLICK HERE

To sum everything up, the three keys of confidence are 

 

Perspective- I’m ready

 

Say it- Affirmations, Mantras

 

Act it- power pose

 

A note to Taylor Stutzman,

 

I really enjoyed your lesson on confidence. I have never struggled with confidence, but many girls I met that week were and I think your words helped them with their presentation later that day. I also picked up some cool new skills to continue being confident and was reminded of ones I already know and love like the power pose.

 

Love,

Sasha Yates

 

Shortly after, we did our presentations. My group did phenomenally. Watch our presentation below.

CLICK HERE GROUP PRESENTATION VIDEO

We went to lunch

 

When we returned we found out who won.

 

We did not win, but Derek said, “You’re all winners in my eyes.” So that was a win for me. Keythlin’s group won, group three. I also believe if one of us wins, we all win. I was happy for her. I loved her group’s idea. 

 

Gigi Hadid & Luiz Mattos

 

Next, we all waited on Gigi Hadid and Luiz Mattos to come. We sat in the summit room, the room we had been in all week. Aylin and I had got seats near the front. They started coming around and demanding we give them our phones. I found this very problematic. I did not feel comfortable giving my phone to strangers in a bucket. I ended up putting my phone in a chair that remained in my sight. Most of the girls were annoyed with the fact we could not record the session and take pictures like we had done in other sessions. 

 

Hadid and Mattos walked in. They sat on stage and Hadid began interviewing Mattos. 

 

Luiz Mattos is Hadid’s manager. Mattos is Brazillian. He went to law school and became a lawyer. He had little experience in the modeling world. His sister was a model. He moved to New York in 1995 and worked for a modeling agency. He had a bad experience at his first agency. All of the employees, including himself, left the agency and went to another one. Eventually, the same agency he left, asked him to come back. He returned to rebuild the company from the ground up. 

 

Hadid mentioned that Mattos’ favorite thing to do is go after illegally used photos of Hadid. Since Mattos is a lawyer, he enjoys going after people who have used pictures of his models illegally. Hadid sends him pictures all of the time that have been used illegally. 

Gigi Hadid & Luiz Mattos

Mattos gave some tips for being a good agent

 

  • Be detail-oriented
  • Protect the client
  • Consider all possibilities (good/bad)
  • Have empathy
  • Expect a lot of rejection 

 

He believes it is important to “be there” for the models as much as possible. Compassion and drive are important aspects of being successful. 

 

He explained, “I don’t take on girls I don’t have a passion for.” Mattos believes it is important to feel passionate about his models so he can represent them in the best way possible. 

 

Hadid explained in the first two years she took every single job she could get. “After two years, I was exhausted,” she explained. Mattos helped Hadid find her passion for modeling again and represented her in the best way possible.

 

Hadid described Mattos as “the GPS” of her life. 

 

Mattos’ favorite discovery story was when he was inside a restaurant in New York City fifteen years ago. He saw a girl sitting in front of the restaurant. He asked her to stand up. She was beautiful and he offered her a job as a model. Mattos gave her a place to stay, food, and a haircut. She went from making nothing to 2,000-3,000 dollars a day. She became a successful model afterward. Now, she’s married with two kids. Mattos walked her down the aisle two weeks prior because both of her parents are deceased. 

 

When Hadid and Mattos work together, he gives her jobs and they talk through them to figure out what is best for her. 

 

When Hadid was first starting out, Mattos had to get her in touch with photographers and people to give her a chance in the modeling world. They faced an abundance of rejection. Now the same people who doubted Hadid are the same people begging to work with her. Mattos said, “They didn’t believe in you in the beginning and they’re not getting you now.” 

 

Mattos is normally on set when Hadid works. Hadid normally does Paris fashion week by herself. Hadid has strict commitments with her endorsement deals. While on set, Mattos makes sure she is not given any make up or products that interfere with her commitments. She cannot be photographed near certain brands or it breaches her contract. 

 

Mattos and Hadid strategize together. Here are their tips:

 

  • ContractsThey both believe it is important to review contracts and make sure you agree with everything in them
  • LongevityMake sure you’re doing everything in the best interest of yourself. Make sure you chose deals that will be profitable.
  • Plan
  • Authentic JobsOnly do work that is sustainable and will benefit you in the long run.

 

Hadid remembered Mattos saying, “I want you to get Prada.” Hadid responded, “I’m not.” She got to walk in Prada’s show. Hadid thanked Mattos for always supporting her. 

 

Mattos favorite part of his job is working with amazing people. He stressed that we should be fearless and professional when going after what we want. 

 

Mattos remembered a shoot him and Hadid did in Brazil. It was 100 degrees outside and Hadid was wearing a fur coat. They were shooting in an abandoned hospital. Mattos eventually stepped in because he was sweating in light clothing, therefore, he knew Hadid was having a hard time. Hadid said she was fine and continued to do the whole shoot. That day, Mattos realized how strong Hadid is and admires her for it. Hadid did not complain once. He also admires that she says hello to everyone on set. 

 

On the topic of model management, Mattos believes an agent needs to have passion. They also have to be persistent and unstoppable. He stated, “One day those people are gonna call you back and you say no. You can do anything.” It is important to maintain respect and professionalism. In Mattos’ 23 years of experience, he has learned that kindness and resilience goes a long way. 

 

Hadid came to Ivan Bart, President of IMG Models, and told him she felt alone and needed a father figure. She got rid of her old manager and Mattos became her new one. 

 

Someone asked how Hadid does not lose herself in the modeling industry. Hadid always tells Mattos, her manager, if she does not like something or is uncomfortable. “If you’re saying what you feel is right, you’re never a bitch,” Hadid added. She also believes the way you say no has to be respectful.

 

Hadid feels people respect Mattos because he has given respect from the beginning. 

 

Someone asked Mattos advice on how to be a modeling scout. Mattos believes it is important to find an internship and work your way up. Mattos reflected on how rewarding it is to discover someone and then they become successful. 

 

Hadid shared her struggle with trying to become a model. She dealt with Thyroid issues. She was also muscular because she played volleyball. She met with over ten agencies that wanted her to lose weight or be less muscular. Hadid liked her body. Her mom would not let her sign until she was 18. Her body changed and she became less muscular with age. She did not sign until she found IMG. IMG said, “We will find a career that fits you, not the other way around.” She has dealt with people on the internet who have said she is “too big” or “too small.” She advised, “ Take it with a grain of salt.” Hadid also quoted Bette Midler. She believes you have to take the good with the bad and vice versa. 

 

Hadid believes it is important to take time to figure out who you are as a person. 

 

Someone asked the main thing Mattos looks for in a model. Mattos simply answered, “They have something special.” His models need something that gives them star quality. 

 

Someone else asked how Mattos has dealt with the lack of representation for Latinos. Mattos shared a story where he worked for a racist. She would constantly cut him down. He continued to fight and work hard. Eventually, she quit for unrelated reasons. A few years later, he is looking for an assistant and she showed up for the interview. This shows that there is room in the fashion business for all people and to always be resilient. 

 

Someone else asked how has having a background in law helped Mattos. He said it is the “perfect combination” and helps him exponentially. Right now, Hadid is dealing with a paparazzi suing her for posting a picture he took of her. Mattos is able to help her with that. There was another time where Hadid was picked up by a car impersonating to be her bodyguard. It was supposed to be a prank, but it scared her immensely. Since the “prank”, she has expanded her security. There are somethings Hadid cannot avoid like the paparazzi knowing where she lives. 

 

Hadid has also learned from things she did earlier in her career. She feels many models make the mistakes early on like wearing real fur or signing bad contracts that stunt the growth of their career. 

 

Someone asked if Hadid ever gets nervous to post on her social media. Hadid works with many brands and now she has certain guidelines of how she posts when she advertises products. She writes all her captions herself and never allows people to feed her words. Overall, she posts how she wants. 

 

Another person asked how to get connections.

 

Their connections came from Harper’s Bazaar, the late Karl Lagerfield, and earning trust from people. 

 

I walked up to the stage and Gigi gave me a big hug. Before I could remind her that she put me on her Instagram story, she told me she remembered who I was. She told me, “I heard you’d been serving looks all week.” I smiled. I had heard many good things about her all week and they were all true. She truly is a vision. I also met Luiz. Luiz was just as wonderful as Gigi. Luiz also knew who I was and he told me he was rooting for me to get the scholarship. He also said he had been looking forward to meeting me. It was an incredible experience and I could see why they were both successful. Gigi and Luiz are both truly genuine people and it was a pleasure to meet them. Even with all of their success, they are still humble and I love them for that. 

Me talking to Luiz Mattos

A letter to Luis,

 

It was such a pleasure to meet you. Your story inspired me to be myself unapologetically. It also inspired me to go after as many things as I want to in life and not be confined to just law or fashion. You have a beautiful ora that radiates through you. You truly touched me.

 

Love,

 

Sasha Yates

 

A letter to Gigi,

 

Gigi you changed my life. When you put me on your Instagram story I was in disbelief and I still am. I was going through many things at that time and you inviting me to camp reminded me to never give up. To hear you have struggled with being accepted by the world shocked me. I have dealt with similar experiences and it brought me solace to know I was not the only one. No matter who, everyone deals with something. You truly are a vision.

 

Love,

 

Sasha Yates

 

It started raining so hard. I met a few adults that had been around the whole week. I talked to Alex Cruz. He had been diligently taking pictures and photos of us all week. I voiced my appreciation and learned about him. He told me he is a photographer for IMG. I got to learn a little bit about him. I enjoyed our talk.

 

I also got to talk to Nicole Beatty. She had also been there all week. She was a counselor for another group. I got to talk to her and she told me her story and how she got where she is. I enjoyed talking to her as well. 

 

I also talked to Jibran. Jibran was one of my favorites. He works for IMG and he coordinated my flight and made sure I was okay the whole week. 

 

It started raining so hard. IMG got a bus for us instead of a golf cart to get back to dinner.

 

Luckily I brought an umbrella and a rain hat because as stated previously, I WAS NOT GETTING MY HAIR WET. 

 

All of the councilors were coming to the dance that night.

 

At dinner, Jeni Rose, David Cunningham, Derek Walker, and some other people were eating dinner in the cafeteria. I walked over to their table and I asked them to save me a dance for the party later that night. 

 

After dinner, we got ready for the dance party. I wore an all-gold outfit and I was ready to dance. I got out there and had a fabulous time. 

 

I danced and everyone was shook that I can dance. The dance was for all the IMG kids, including the fashion girls. The little kids could not come though. 

Me dancing

The Cupid shuffle came on and there was this guy struggling. I helped him learn it. 

 

The DJ asked who was the best girl dancer and everyone screamed my name. I headed to the booth and he asked, “What’s your name Miss Gold?” 

“Sasha,” I responded. He found the best boy dancer, a boy I had befriended earlier that week, V. 

V and I in the dance battle

Everyone cleared the way and we had a dance battle. V started doing flips and eventually, it turned into a gymnastics match of us just doing tricks. Then the DJ said let me turn on something Sasha can dance to. He played Twerk by the City Girls. As you suspected, I turned up. I saw almost all the athletes I met that week. I got to dance with Carly and Serena. I also danced with Josh and JC. I bumped into Derek my camp counselor and he asked, “What can’t you do?” We both laughed. Everyone was so impressed that I could dance. Keythlin changed into something she could dance in and she came back. We danced the night away. By the end of the night, I danced with everyone. It was so hot and my hair blew up, but it was the last so I didn’t care. 

I am surprised Kayla, Averie, Joelle, and I didn’t lose our voices. 

 

Here are all the videos of me dancing 

If you have any videos of me dancing from that night please send them to me

 

They called for curfew and we all headed back to the dorms. I saw the guy I taught the cupid shuffle from earlier. I asked him where he was from and what his name was. His name was Omar and he was from Egypt. Y’all I met an Egyptian, a whole Pharoah. All of the boys started laughing. Then I started asking the other guys where they were from and they were from everywhere. I got to exchange contacts with everyone. I headed back to the dorm. I gave everyone goodbye hugs because we were all leaving in the morning. 

Click here to watch the video from that day

I flew home the next day.

 

Dear Everyone at Camp,

 

I’m so glad I got to meet every single one of you. Thank you for being nice to me and accepting me who I am. I made friends that week that I know I’ll have forever. I wish you all the best of luck in whatever you pursue in life. No matter where we all end up, I’ll never forget y’all.

 

Keep in touch,

 

Sasha C. Yates

Last Words,

 

Overall, I enjoyed my trip to fashion camp! It was worth it! If you’re thinking about going I hope my series has given you some clarity. I tried to give the most detailed account possible. 

 

I will be writing this Thursday about getting ready for college! 

 

4th Day of Fashion Camp

Wednesday night before the casting call

The night before and the next day, all the girls were frazzled because of the casting call. I heard noises from outside my dorm room. I stepped out into the hallway to see what all the stomping and laughter was about. There were girls walking up and down the hallway practicing their walks. The girls were stumbling around in heels. I encouraged them, “You better work!” I enjoyed watching them walk. I went back into my dorm. Aylin was still conflicted on whether or not she should go to the casting call. I encouraged her to go. Girls travel all over the world to get scouted by IMG. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s a chance of a lifetime. We picked out an outfit for her. It was unspoken that we all were supposed to wear all black and heels. I did not know that and no one told me to pack those clothes specifically. They also said we should wear our hair back in a ponytail. Luckily, I packed a black outfit and heels. 

 

A few days prior to the casting call.

 

Every camper belonged to a group and had a counselor. We were responsible to create a product by the end of the week and pitch it to a panel of judges. My counselor was Derek. 

 

During one of our brand breakouts in the days following up to the casting call, we talk to our counselor about the process. The girls asked many questions. Derek told us that the casting call was really “just for fun” but there was an opportunity to get scouted. One girl asked if we would receive feedback after the call. Derek did not really know how to answer that. Another girl asked the height and weight requirement. Dereck said it was around 5’10”, but he did not know what the scouts were looking for. I also voiced some concerns and Derek assured me that he believed in me. “Sasha, we all know you’re going to be a fashion designer or successful either way,” he added. All the girls agreed with him. They told me that they saw something in me and saw a promising future ahead of me. Sydney also told me that she could tell I was different and could see me doing something fashion related. I felt really warm after hearing that. It was nice to hear people believed in me. The people at fashion camp believe in me more than most people I have met in my entire life. I really appreciated their kind words and it meant so much to me for them to believe in me so much even though they only knew me for a few days. I will always love all the people I met at camp because they really accepted me for who I am and I’ll never forget them.

 

Back to Wednesday night before the casting call

 

If you intend on coming to fashion camp, make sure you pack an all black outfit to show your figure and some heels. Black tights, jeans, a tank, or something simple that will show your shape. Do not wear heels you cannot walk in. I wore some short heels. 

 

Some girls asked the counselors if we had to wear all black and they reassured us that we did not. Many girls did not wear all black and they wore flats. So do not worry about it too much, but pack it just in case.

 

This was the first year IMG had done a formal casting call at the fashion camp. There had been girls years prior who had gotten scouted at the camp without a casting call. So there is a chance to be scouted apparently. I am still in close contact with most of the girls I met at the camp and no one has said anything about getting scouted so I’ll keep you updated.

 

Aylin and I were sitting in the dorm getting our casting call looks ready. She was still on the fence.

 

I was not nervous about the casting call. To be frank, I was just going for the experience. A lot of the girls came to the camp specifically for the chance to be a model. 

 

 I went to sleep. 

 

Thursday, June 27

David Cunningham and Jeni Rose

The next day, the girls were up again practicing. They were stumbling down the hallway. I put on my casting outfit and Aylin decided not to go. I headed out and I knocked on Keythlin’s door. Her and I got on the cart and rode to the Field House. Before the call, we had a Q & A session with Jenni Rose and David Cunningham. Rose is the lead modeling scout for IMG in Paris and Cunningham is the head of scouting at the New York headquarters. They both sat on stage and answered questions about the call. 

 

One person asked about the height requirement. Rose answered that in order to be an outlier to the height rules, you would have to be an influencer or already famous in some other way. She explained, “Between 5’8” and ½ and you’d really have to be super fantastic at 5’8 and ½. The sweet spot is 5’10”. You can really sort of do everything. We consider girls between 5’8”-6’0”. After 6’0” it’s almost too tall. We do have several models who are over six feet, but when we scouted them, they were 5’10” and then they continued to grow.” 

 

She continued,“The reason why you want the same sort of height range is because when the girls are on the runway, if somebody is very small, height wise, all of a sudden everyone in the audience is like, ‘wait a minute that girls 5’3” why is she on the runway?’ So all of a sudden you’re no longer thinking about the clothes. Meaning the buyers and the journalist in the audience. They’re thinking ‘Why is that girl in the lineup?’ The designers want the same sort of unanimity through the whole thing. So that they can really focus on the girls.”

 

She corrected herself, “On the clothes, rather than actually who’s walking in them.”

 

Cunningham chimed in, “For guys, it’s really between 6’1”-6’3.”

 

 He said that there are exceptions. Karlie Kloss is taller than 6 feet and Lucky Blue Smith is 6’5”. 

 

He added, “If you’re under that, there’s exceptions too. Halima’s here this afternoon and she’s 5’7” I think.”

 

Cunningham said Halima Aden was able to be an exception because she is so sweet and genuine. Later that day, we were meeting Halima Aden. He began, “She’s so unique. You’ll see this afternoon if you haven’t… most of you haven’t met her before. You’ll see why that works.”  When he said “that” he meant how she got signed without meeting the requirements.

 

“If you’re not that tall, at this point, for today, definitely go through this,” he advised. Cunningham believed whether or not we wanted to be a model, we should still go through the casting for the “skills”. 

 

Rose began, “For guys… the measurements are even a little more strict than the girls. Because you have suits. And suits come in a 40 regular. How a suit fits on a…male model is really important. So for the guys, I find when we scout, that they’re almost even a little bit more strict with the sizing.”

 

Cunningham added,“For guys too, shows are almost the only way to break into the business. Whereas for women, it’s a little bit different. There are other ways, through editorial or whatever. For guys it’s really if you can’t do shows you’re really not going to make it as a male model.” 

 

Women have the ability to start off doing photoshoots then do runways, but men have to begin doing runways.

 

Another girl asked if there is a specific shoe size. 

 

Rose answered, “For years, you didn’t have people who had really huge feet for some reason people start to have very big feet now. It’s sort of the hidden thing that you don’t see cause you’re sitting looking at this gorgeous, ya know, person in front of you who has absolute potential to be a model and then afterwards you find out they have a size 12 shoe. That will mean you can’t do the runway because designers don’t make shoes, in most cases, that big, especially in European sizes. That size to them is like a canal boat, that’s huge. So yes it really does make a difference. We signed a girl once from Lithuania and afterwards we found out she had a 43 shoe which was like huge, was maybe even bigger, like a 45 shoe, it was huge, she really had a size 13 men’s shoe. She used to wear Doc Martens all the time which look really cool but when she tried to go she could not fit in a shoe which was an issue… I’ve never had a problem with a girl who had too small of a foot size.”

 

“Small’s never been an issue,” Cunningham said sometimes girls with specific shoe sizes are asked for. 

 

The girl who asked the question asked if a size 7 was ok and Rose and Cunningham said, “7 is fine.”

 

Cunningham said him and Rose learn as they go. He referred back to the time when they signed the girl from Lithuania: “It was heartbreaking to watch her go out and get jobs and they couldn’t find shoes for her so she got cancelled and sent home so many times.”

 

Rose interrupted,“For shows, especially. [But] for print…”

 

“They made it work,” Cunningham chimed in. 

 

Rose interrupted, “But then she was very limited.”

 

Cunningham agreed, “Right. So it’s not like oh these are wild parameters that we made up and we’re just holding [on]to. It’s just you don’t want to set someone on a path where they’re going to waste their time. As scouts, we take our jobs very seriously… If somebody came to me and said, ‘Hey, I know that you love swimming and I think you can be an Olympic swimmer.’ And I set out to do that at 51 years old uh. It’s like sad… You don’t want to set these goals if they’re just not attainable. I think that’s why when sometimes people say, ‘Oh well I really want to do it. I’m never going to give up.’ It’s not that you want to crush somebody’s dreams. It’s just that you want to say, If you were my son or daughter I would say, “Know that this is going to be really really hard and you’re going to face more disappointment than I would ever want someone in my family to face.’ So I think that’s the important thing.” 

 

Rose agreed, ”People say, ‘Couldn’t you just try?’ It’s like for a model to. Sometimes we’ll have girls that are absolutely not ready to do the shows or for one reason or another we don’t think it’s the right time for them to do it. We always say to the girl and to their parent, ‘It’s the same amount of work for you and for your manager to make 105 appointments for you and for you to go on 105 appointments and get nothing. It’s not like it’s a little bit less work. You can still put in a really huge amount of effort and time and end up with nothing. So if we sort of feel on the outside that it’s not gonna work rather than making you go through the paces, it’s just easier for you and the management to be realistic about it.”

 

Cunningham added, “And to follow up, not to like beat this to death, I do think that the one great thing that’s happened before is like having an ‘Oh I’m going to give it my all and I’m never going to give up being a model.’ You can get an endorsement… I would say to somebody in my family… ‘If you want to be a model and you want to do endorsements and you want to be famous and you want to be on magazines, by all means, there’s a lot of other ways to do that.’ It’s like, if you’re at all interested in acting, study acting. You can be 5’2” with a size 14 foot and still go into acting and if you’re a great actor or an actress believe me. When you’re in your big starring role, we’re gonna be knocking on your door saying we’d love to represent you for endorsements. And even though you didn’t fit any of the criteria of a model, because you have another core business. And I think people love or hate influencers they’re here they’re here and they’re not going anywhere. And I think now more than ever, everyone in this room has the opportunity to have their own voice, to show what they stand for and bring something to the table. Because as I said, it’s not just about being pretty anymore. Being pretty doesn’t get you there anymore. It’s like, what is your story, what do you stand for.”

 

Rose interrupted “… I’m sure a lot of you know who wonder woman is. Sorry, superwoman is. That’s somebody who made a YouTube channel.” 

 

“Lily Singh,” Cunningham corrected.

 

Rose agreed,“Lily singh. And started doing her own thing. And now we represent her as a model. Had she come to us traditionally as a model, I’m not sure we would have started with her. But now we do. And we’re able to do things for her because of what she can do because of her voice, because of her persona. Because of who she is. You know? She’s also super attractive to young girls, [and] young women she’s very empowering. So brands are very interested in her. UNICEF’s interested in her… But that’s something she made. She started from the ground up and then we came on board later because she really had something to offer.”

 

Cunningham explained, “It used to be you had to wait for… us to sign you and then we would send you out to customers. We’re gonna send you to Vogue magazine and you had to wait for Vogue to maybe, hopefully, book you one day. And then you shoot. And then you waited three months for the pictures to come out. Then you’re like ‘Ok great that’s amazing.’ Now, it’s like every single one of you is a publisher. You have a phone, you have Instagram… you have social media. You can post your own media and your own images everyday. You don’t have to wait for our approval.”

Diana Silvers. Plays in the movie, Ma and Booksmart.

Rose added, “And It’s really nice too… I scouted Diana Silvers. Who I’m sure you guys have seen Booksmart, she’s in that, and she’s in the new movie Ma. It’s like when I found her on Instagram, she was like, ‘Thanks I mean I would like to be a model’. And she was doing stuff for Brandy Melville*… locally, where she lives… but she was like, ‘But i really want to be an actress. I got into the Tisch school. I’m gonna go to NYU I want to be an actress. Will you work with me while I’m working on that?’ We were like, ‘Absolutely.’ And her acting took the front seat of what she wanted to do and now she’s fast becoming a really really big deal in Hollywood. But we were there from the beginning but it was like something she put out there first. It was what she wanted to do and we worked with her to do it.”

*Brandy Melville is an Italian fashion brand.

*The Tisch school of arts is a performing arts school at NYU.

 

Someone else asked what kind of schooling Rose and Cunningham had to get to become scouts. 

 

Rose answered,“The best experience I had to be a scout was being a camp counselor, strangely enough. It was like I was dealing with kids and people.”

 

Rose continued, “I mean there really isn’t anything.” 

 

There is no educational qualifications needed to become a modeling scout.

 

Rose added, “What you can do is if you’re interested in scouting is to sort of look at what’s out there. I mean I used to be veracious. I mean I really always wanted to do this, David [Cunningham] never did. So it was like he fell into it and I set out to do it. There was not sort of a good way to do it but I realized when I was young that I could sort of look at someone who was a beginner in like Seventeen Magazine, that was like the big magazine when I was little and then they would end up in Vogue. As they started growing up, and it was really hard to figure out who was who because it wasn’t all out there like it is now… I think looking at faces and I always did that. I remember when I started high school, I got the yearbooks from some person that I knew that was a senior and I went through… like day one I knew who everyone was. Like when this guy walked passed, who was like the quarterback,  I was like ‘oo I know who he is.’ And I knew all the cheerleaders. I knew who everyone was because I liked to look at faces. So for me, it was really grounding to understand the lay of the land, in a huge public high school, who everyone was when I got there. So I mean I was always looking at faces. And I think that is something that if you’re interested go through websites. Look what models look like and agencies. Go through the development divisions. I mean sometimes I would see people in magazines and I’d be like, ’Why are they famous? Why is this a model?’ I didn’t understand. But I think the more you look, you start to understand. Then when you scout and you see a face that you really haven’t seen before in a certain way, it makes it very interesting.” 

 

She explained that’s what her and Cunningham are looking for: “People always ask ‘What are you looking for?’ What we’re looking for is something we haven’t seen before. For me, a really classically, boringly, [and] pretty girl that is just like a pretty girl is like a yawn to me. I want something that’s just at first like, ‘No.’ then ‘Maybe.’  and ‘Oooo.’ It’s gotta be inspiring cause it’s the same way with a photographer… it took me a long time to realize this… what we think is what a customers gonna think further along. So when you see a face… when you go shopping in a store, you’re buying what the store curated. So you go into a store and… whatever’s in that store is what you’re buying. And that’s a little what it’s like in a modeling agency. It’s like what customers are booking is what we’re putting out. So we’re sort of the first line. And it has to be compelling. A face has to be compelling, it has to be interesting. There’s gotta be something.” 

 

Someone asked how the scouts develop a girl after they sign her.

 

Cunningham responded, “Depending on where in the world she comes from has a lot to do with development just because of the Visa* situation. But Assume there’s no Visa situation. What we would do is we would figure out where we think that particular person might get their best picture for start so you might… be from America but we’d be like, ‘She or he would resonate so well in Australia we’re gonna send that person to Sydney to build their book.’ …Even though New York might be a train right away, you might actually start in Sydney, Australia because that would be the best place for your look for this moment, for right now. Or for what’s going on in the fashion industry. Maybe there’s shows that are coming up, ok, we know you can walk, great, let’s do that. So it’s sort of unique to every person, but we would start building a book, building a portfolio. That’s pretty much where we start. We figure out… are you ready for shows. If you’re 18, we would probably say, ‘Ok great let’s start shows now.’ It’s a good time to start, but it’s really unique to everybody.”

*Visas are required to work in and be in different countries. Acquiring a Visa can be a difficult process for Non-U.S. citizens especially.

Rose added, “But it’s also you want to make sure that a model is ready. David always says this, and it’s so true, ‘You only get one chance to be the new girl.’ So we want to make sure that when a model meets the customers, that can make a difference for her, the casting directors and photographers that they’re really ready. Because sometimes people will sign a model and they’ll be 14 or 15 and they’ll already put them on the website. Meanwhile, they’re doing 2 test shots a year because they’re kids and school comes first. Modelings always a hobby until you’re finished with high school. Um, but customers are looking at those pictures on the website for three years and for them you’re not evolving as a model only cause you’re 14, 15, 16 years old…We always say keep the girls off the radar screen until they’re really ready. And then it’s such a pleasure to have a girl that’s really properly prepared or guy that understands the business and has a nice little portfolio and knows how to walk on the runway. Knows how to sit for a photoshoot. Knows how to interview, knows how to dress. Knows how to be far away from home. Knows how to manage their money… We had one girl… She started very young… she was from Poland. She would go every single summer with her mother to one place. For two weeks some place… she’d go to Singapore.. To Japan. And she’d make money and she got experience. And at that point you could work in New York under 16 and she started booking people and boom she walked in and she immediately confirmed Calvin Klein and became a contact model because she was really well prepared beforehand.”

“You only get one chance to be the new girl.”

-David Cunningham

 

Another person asked, How long are the days and what are they like.

 

For photoshoots, it is 8 hours on set and it varies at a fashion show. Rose explained that when Galliano had shows there was a “3 hour call time before because the hair and make up was so intricate.” Rose continued, “The younger models, the newer models, start first. Because the famous models come in later because they’ve earned that. Sometimes for a show that takes ten minutes.. you can be there four or five hours in advance.”

 

Several girls stood up and left. Most of the girls that left were short. I guess they thought they didn’t have a chance. I’m 5’1”, but I stayed, because, “What the hell, I’m here.” But the talk was super discouraging for sure. If it were up to me, all that height and weight stuff wouldn’t matter. Who cares. 

Rose and Cunningham actually DM girls on Instagram so if you want to be a model make sure your Instagram reflects you.

A note to Jeni Rose and David Cunningham,

 

I enjoyed the casting call it was fun! I enjoyed listening and learning about you both all week. Continue the great work that you do!

 

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

The Call

 

We were all given note cards and we had to fill our our name, age, and where we were from.

 

They dismissed us by rows and made us stand in a line. Some girls were pulling their hair back in a ponytail. After we got to a certain point, there was measuring tape on the wall where they measured our heights. We had to take our heels off and stand up against the wall. Derek measured me, my height was 5’0”. I stood in another line and then we were let back into the room where we had the Q & A. I walked across the room in my heels and handed Rose and Cunningham my card. They smiled at me. They asked me about myself and I told them about the films I was working on and then I left. 

 

I stood in another line where Patrick took several photos of me. I also had to walk again on camera. Lastly, he recorded me doing something funny for a silly video he was making for all of the campers. 

CLICK HERE to check out the silly video Patrick made

I left the room and grabbed some snacks. I waited on Keythlin and some other girls so we could head to lunch. There was one girl who was freaking out. She claimed she did really bad and she was having an anxiety attack. Everyone tried to give her comfort. “I’ll just try again next year,” she assured. Finally, Keythlin came out, we walked to the dorm to get Aylin and then we went to lunch. 

 

We told Aylin how it went and ate lunch. 

Halima Aden

Halima Aden

We headed back to the dorms and changed out of our casting call clothes. Then, we headed back to the Field house. We stood in a line waiting for them to open the doors to the room. They let us in, and as usual, everyone scrambled for seats close to the stage. This time the chairs were arranged like an amphitheatre and the tables were all in the back of the room. We sat down and then Halima Aden walked in. Aden is a Muslim model. Aden was the first model to wear a hijab. I have been following her for many years on Instagram so it was unreal to see her in real life. She came in with music playing and she made us stand up and dance to Lizzo*. Then she sat directly on the stage with her legs dangling off it. She was not interviewed by anyone, she just told us her life story. 

*Lizzo is a musician

Halima came in dancing to Lizzo

Aden explained that she “grew up in a world away from fashion.” She began, “I was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and I spent the first few years of my life in Kakuma.” Aden believes we are all connected to refugees if it is a relative or classmate, we all know someone who is a refugee. The formative years in the refugee camp shaped Aden into the woman she is today. Aden explained, “It taught me community.. How we could all be different but at the end of the day, we have shared interests, we have shared values.” Her family is from Somalia. Her parents came to the refugee camp in 1994 and that is where she was born. She had friends there from Ethiopia, Uganda, and many other places. Many different holidays were celebrated because there were so many different beliefs and religions. Everyone celebrated all the holidays, even Christmas. The parents and older people had a harder time with accepting one another because they came to the camp with different prejudices, but the children accepted one another. “Early on it taught me, communication is everything,” Aden claims. She would see adults getting into fights over the well. They had to collect their water from a well because there was no plumbing. They did not have shelter either, they had to build their homes. Aden had recently went camping with friends and she realized that the way we camp in the U.S. is luxurious. “Girl I think my camp days are behind me,” she joked. She shared that the adults got into arguments on simple things. In one culture, petting on the head could be seen as an apology while in another country, it could be seen as disrespect. “Body language is night in day in other countries and also, our parents didn’t speak Swahili.” All the children spoke Swahili because they grew up in the camp. The parents did not speak a common language. The parents all spoke their native languages. Therefore, the parents were not able to communicate with one another causing another barrier. The kids all got along with one another. There was no school and no toys so they “had to be there for each other.” “We had to create our own toys. We had to create our own games,” Aden added. 

“It taught me community.. How we could all be different but at the end of the day, we have shared interests, we have shared values.”

-Halima Aden

 

There was a large board outside of the refugee camp. Every couple of months, a letter would be stamped relocating refugees. 

 

Aden’s hijab came tumbling down mid sentence.  She laughed and wrapped it back up. “Walah,” she rejoiced. “Ok, she’s gonna stay,” Aden referred to her hijab as she.

 

She then continued telling the story. “Our parents would be like, ‘Please let it be me and my kids we want to leave.’… Then all of us youngins were like, ‘Please don’t let it be me,’” she recalled.

“The idea of leaving… the only world that you know, the only environment that you’ve ever been exposed to and going to the unknown was frightening.”

-Halima Aden

Aden explained,“The idea of leaving… the only world that you know, the only environment that you’ve ever been exposed to and going to the unknown was frightening.” Aden continued, “If you’ve never seen anything better you almost feel like, ‘I’ve made it in life and I’m good where I’m at.Aden’s parents were happy to leave because they knew there were so many better places, but Aden was too young and inexperienced to understand that. “One day my family’s name was on that list and I remember breaking down and crying,” she reminisced. Then she realized that America was wealthier than the camp. “I made this little promise to all my friends. I was like, ‘I’ll send you $5, I’ll send you $500. I’ll send you, how are you going to give me for that gum? I’ll send you that much. Thinking like oh my gosh we made it, money’s growing on trees in America. Like oo oo oo! I might come back and adopt you guys,” she laughed. Aden’s mom sat her down and told her that there were more opportunities in America and Aden asked, “Ok, well what do you mean?” and she was like, “I don’t know.” They “took that leap of faith as a family.” Aden came to Saint Louis when she was seven. Aden continued, “Ya’ll I stepped off that plane and I was like, ‘Child, [is] this refugee camp? I don’t want to be here. Cause it was ghetto first of all. I’ve never heard gunshots before we moved to St. Louis.” Aden went through culture shock. She started attending school everyday and she could not speak English. “I thought I was a bright kid when I was at the camp because I spoke fluent Swahili. I spoke fluent Somali… I would go to school everyday and sit in my desk and never learn anything… because it was such an impoverished elementary school that they didn’t even have an ESL program.” ESL stands for English as a Second Language and it is a class for students to learn English. Aden continued,“I also had this crazy African mama who literally the second week of school was like, ‘Read this book to me.’”

“If you’ve never seen anything better you almost feel like, ‘I’ve made it in life and I’m good where I’m at.

-Halima Aden

Halima Aden telling us her story

Aden explained, “Ya’ll we had one radio in that camp and it was lit lit lit! But they played Kelly Rowland Dilemma on replay… I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know the meanings, but I remember memorizing what she was singing.” Aden’s mother would make her read books to her aloud in English. She sang the lyrics to the song,Dilemma, to make her mother think she could read. “I don’t speak is English, but get this, you don’t speak English either, so who’s gonna correct who?” Eventually, after Aden read the song over and over, her mom figured out she was not learning anything. They moved to Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Aden asked who in the room was from Minnesota. Now she lives St. Paul. “I rep my home state so much,” she laughed. She bragged,“We have 4 seasons, we have 13,000 lakes, we have the biggest mall in America.” She added,“ We have the largest monk community, the largest Somali diaspora community, the largest Ethiopian community.” 

 

At her new school, Aden received ESL classes and teachers who “went above and beyond” to help her learn English. They stayed after school to help her and taught her during their breaks too. They knew that if they sent her home with homework, her parents could not help her. Her mother came to the school everyday to show the school and the teachers that she cared about her daughter’s success in school. The teachers saw the mother’s concern about her daughter and treated Aden like their own child.

“We didn’t have a car for the first 8 years,” Aden explained. The winters were rough and it was an adjustment from the warm climate in Kakuma. Every time they would walk to the store in the cold, someone would stop and offer them a ride. Aden tried to explain to her mom that hitchhiking is illegal, but her mom referred to the people as a “new friend.” 

 

Refugees are assigned a case worker who helps them get resettled. Aden’s case worker bought them gloves and clothes. “Out of his own paycheck,” Aden explained. He was always helpful to the Aden family and her and her little brother. “Those experiences I hold dear to my heart… Even today, I chose to live in Minnesota,” Aden shared. Aden never desired to move to a fashion capital. She continued, “I feel like I have to stay loyal to my state.” 

Aden that day

Aden talked about the misconception that refugees come to the United States just to steal jobs and participate in criminal activities.”There’s people who chose not to make the most out of their opportunities in every single group yes,” Aden agreed that like any group of people, some are bad. Aden explained, “You have the refugees like myself who is a proud taxpayer. Who does love to give back to her community.” Aden reflected, “All those experiences make up who I am.” 

“All those experiences make up who I am.” 

-Halima Aden

 

Aden shared her experience in school. “Middle school was like the toughest time for me,” Aden described. “Middle school was tough for me because I did not know how to be me,” she explained. Aden’s middle school had few people that looked like her. She described, “Especially not seeing people wear a hijab, celebrated, had a huge hit on my self esteem and how I viewed myself.” Aden advised, “You should never look elsewhere for your own self worth, that is in you.” “You are 100% in control of how you see yourself,” Aden argued. Aden dealt with bullying. “I got teased and picked on for wearing a hijab,” she shared. Now, Aden believes she dealt with bullying because people did not understand the hijab. Aden believes, “The fear of the unknown is a real thing.” “If you want to know just ask,”she encouraged. “I would much prefer you asking me, ‘Why do you wear that thing on your head?’ then making assumptions, ‘Oh she doesn’t have hair.’… ‘She’s an alien head,’”Aden continued. At the time, those words hurt Aden. “What seemed like such a blow [then], now I laugh,” Aden reminisced. Aden struggled with accepting herself at the time. She shared, “At that age you feel like, ‘My world is crumbling down, how will I go on?” Aden would retreat to her friends that were Muslim and wore hijabs when she faced criticism from her peers. “It felt like, they know me and I know them and they’re not gonna hurt me, but that’s not how you grow,” Aden explained retreating to her Muslim community was not the solution. “In today’s world, if you don’t have a group of friends, especially girlfriends, that come from all different walks of life, you’re missing out,” she advised. “Your friends should be from all different walks of life, they add so much enrichment to you as a person,” she continued.

“I did not know how to be me.”

-Halima Aden

 

“You should never look elsewhere for your own self worth, that is in you.”

-Halima Aden

“You are 100% in control of how you see yourself.”

-Halima Aden

 

“Your friends should be from all different walks of life, they add so much enrichment to you as a person.”

-Halima Aden

 

Aden went to high school. She became her high school’s first Muslim homecoming queen. When the homecoming queens were nominated, boys would come and throw confetti on the girls at 3:00 A.M. while they were asleep. Aden’s mother was not happy about the homecoming situation. “My African Mama was like, ‘What? No!’ She slammed the door. Boys? In her room? To throw confettis? No no no! She was like, ‘I don’t send her to school for this nonsense,” Aden described. “I was so mortified ya’ll. To a point, I honestly wanted to drop out of the whole thing,” Aden reminisced.

ClICK HERE to see Halima Aden talking

The teacher who was in charge of homecoming requested that all of the nominees give her baby pictures. She wanted birth photos and all the photos of their lives leading up to their senior heads. “You know how many childhood photos I had? Maybe two. But at the time just, one.” Aden explained why, “I spent seven years in the camp so my mom had other priorities than memories, so I don’t blame her.” Aden began going on Google and trying to find pictures of children that might look like her. Aden explained, “I went on Google! You know where this is going!… I was like, ‘Kenya refugee child, big forehead,’ Literally like, ‘Feed the children campaign from 1997 all the way to.’ and I tracked myself down, I think… So I submitted it.” The teacher was confused with the picture quality and asked Aden for better pictures. “In my head I’m like, ‘If you knew the trouble I had to go through to even find pictures to give you,” she laughed. Aden went to her cousins and got pictures of them. She reminisced, “I had to literally audition all the little girls in my family!”  “Of course I chose the ones that looked nothing like me,” she laughed. “My classmates were like, I feel like it’s five people who grew up… it seems like it’s five different people,” Aden’s classmates expressed. Aden continued, “Nonetheless girls I still got it! I still was crowned!” Aden thought the struggles were over until she had to get her parents to walk her around the field at the game. Aden’s mom was not walking her. Aden explained, “She said, ‘No.’ So I had to audition my friends’ parents!… If I show up to the school with a Chinese mama I they’re gonna have a lot of questions.” She got a Somali mom who was her neighbor to escort her. “If I could go back, I would have just been honest with my teacher,” she regrets. Aden’s mom believes school is somewhere to “become a doctor or a lawyer or a engineer period.” “Where she came from, girls were not even getting the opportunity to go to school everyday,” she explained. Aden’s mom did not see the importance or purpose of American culture including homecoming. She believes school was solely for educational purposes. After homecoming, many Muslim girls came and asked Aden for advice on how to do things that were not normally expected. They asked her how to join choir and be apart of different activities in school Muslim girls were never apart of. “They were looking up to me as the spokesperson for the community,” she continued. 

Halima Aden as homecoming queen

Aden wanted to continue to represent her community as she went to college. She became the first Muslim student senator. She then competed for Miss Minnesota USA. “I competed, I wore a hijab, I wore a burkini*,” she described. “It changed my entire life,” Aden explained. Libby, who was sitting across the room called Aden that day and told her that IMG and Rihanna called. Libby flew her to New York. She sung, “All I heard was Rihanna and I was like, ‘Sign me up!’” Aden was apprehensive because there was never a hijab wearing model. Aden continued, “I have to credit Carine Roitfeld, because that woman believed in me.” Aden recalled, “I was wearing my braces, like literally straight out of high school, 5’5” with a 6’0” foot attitude. I’m kidding! A petite girl.” Roitfield shot her for the first time. Aden and Paris Jackson got the cover of a magazine.

Halima Aden’s first cover with Paris Jackson

Aden thanks Roitfeld immensely for her bravery. Aden knows it must have been difficult to shoot a woman with a hijab because it had never been done before. The cover happened in 2016 and Aden reminisced on the intense political climate that “made it hard for someone like me to do these things.” Aden believed it was the best time to make a statement that Muslim women are “different but equal.” 

*Burkini, a modest swimsuit

Halima, Miss Minnesota

Aden explained her first meeting at IMG. David Cunningham, Libby, Lisa Deruko, (I couldn’t find Libby’s and Lisa’s last name so if you know it, please let me know) and Aden’s management team sat down talking. Both sides were nervous but “it went great!” The meeting ended up lasting for four hours. Aden learned about Cunningham, Libby, and Deruko and how they got into fashion and she shared her story. They made a plan. UNICEF came up in the meeting and now Aden is a proud ambassador of UNICEF. Aden encouraged, “Don’t be afraid to own your dreams.” Aden expressed,“ They saw me for who I am.” Every time Aden does a shoot, IMG makes sure the designers know what she can wear. She has never gone on a shoot where they made her wear something against her religious values. Aden expressed, “You don’t even know how many times a stylist has said, ‘Don’t even worry about it, we’re gonna go with a different look.’” Aden has always been accommodated on set. “And that was me starting out. Newbie model! Didn’t even have a professional headshot taken. Besides yearbook photos,” she reflected. “Don’t change yourself, change the game,” she demanded. She made us repeat it. “You are future fashion leaders if not world leaders. Today it’s this room and tomorrow you take over the world,” she predicted. “If you don’t see yourself represented in any space or any field, please take it upon yourself to be that person,” she advised. Aden was scared to be the first Muslim model. She did not know if the community was ready or the world was ready for the first Muslim model. “We took that leap of faith,” she described. Now there are dozens of Muslim models. Aden believes,“We have reflected on our consumers and we want to make sure our runway represents that.” Aden said, “I’m so proud to be in this generation.” Aden quoted Yara Shahidi, “It almost feels like we were born with a debt to pay.” Aden believes there has been a shift in the world for all people to be accepted. 

“Don’t be afraid to own your dreams.”

-Halima Aden

 

“Don’t change yourself, change the game,”

-Halima Aden

 

“If you don’t see yourself represented in any space or any field, please take it upon yourself to be that person,”

-Halima Aden

Carine Roitfeld, French Fashion Editor

Aden came out with a hijab line. The hijabs are premade and do not have to wrapped. Aden saw a lack of hijabs that were for her generation. She partnered with the brand, Mona Lisa, to create Halima & Modanisa. The hijabs are for all different types of occasions including parties and everyday wear. Aden struggled with finding fashionable hijabs that catered to her unique style so she created a brand. “I want to be like Tyra Banks, like I admire her so much, like Ashley Graham. Model turned mogul,” Aden explained. Aden described that modest clothes were boring and targeted towards the older community of Muslim women. Aden expressed, “I’m still a young girl, I wanna zip and zoo it!” Aden was able to choose the fabrics that were breathable and comfortable. Aden has received great reviews from Muslim women about her modern hijabs.  “I don’t believe in pins, all my turbans are pin-less,” she described. “Plop and go,” she said. “Don’t wait for an invitation to the table, grab your seat and pull it up,” she recommended. She created the hijab line she was looking for when she was growing up. “This is my first collection ya’ll, I can’t even,” she laughed. We screamed and clapped. Aden continued, “Modanisa. is the number 1 modest Etailer.” Aden and Modanisa partnered to make a hijab collection. Aden believes there is no well-known modest brand. Modesty is Sexy,Aden stated. “I can only speak for myself. I love hijabs. It’s beautiful, it’s so feminine,” Aden claimed. When she did a shoot with the hijab line, she had all women wearing the hijabs, including non muslim women.“These turbans and scarves are not exclusive to Muslim women,” she explained. Aden’s line is for all women, not just Muslim women. Etail which is an electronic retailer, Modanisa, was founded in 2016 in Istanbul and it blew up. “88% of the designers that are with this company are women,” she explained. Aden wanted to start her line because she would get so many DM’s and comments asking where to get her turbans from. Aden always did her turbans herself. She shared, “Random fact, but did you know, every shoot I’ve ever done, there’s always a hairstylist. They literally never do anything. They just sit there have a good time and play good music.” Aden always does her own turbans and always tries to wrap them in fun ways. Kenny Charles is a hairstylist but he also does turbans. Charles will help Aden or a few other people, but normally, she does it on her own. When women would ask her how she did her hijabs, she would never know how to tell them. Now, she has her own line of hijabs. “I just want to get hijab wearing women to get away from using pins in 2020,” she professed. “I don’t want a receding hairline by the time I’m thirty,” Aden described the importance of a breathable fabric on a hijab. Aden showed us several of her hijabs that ranged from formal to informal. The hijabs on the market now are for all purposes, but she believes there should be unique hijabs for different occasions. “I want to one day be the number one hijab brand,” Aden shared. 

“Don’t wait for an invitation to the table, grab your seat and pull it up,”

-Halima Aden

 

“Modesty is Sexy.”

-Halima Aden

 

I tried to look for the pictures she showed us and find the website but I don’t think the brand is out yet.

Aden was asked how does she feel about women being forced to wear a scarf. Aden answered, “Scarves should not be compulsory…no one should ever be forced to wear a scarf. At the same time nobody should be band from wearing it…” Aden believes all women can wear hijabs whether or not they are Muslim. Aden thinks modesty and Islam are not the same thing. Someone can be modest regardless of their religion. “If you search on where a headscarf came from, you’ll see every culture had their own forms,” she explained. “I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong wearing a scarf if you’re not muslim,” she added. “I think it’s something like a hat, an accessory,” she continued. “No one is forcing me to wear a hijab. I could take it off right now if I wanted to. I just chose not to,” she expressed. 

Group photo with Halima

“I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong wearing a scarf if you’re not muslim.”

-Halima Aden

 

Aden also struggled storing her hijabs. Aden showed us baggies she created to store hijabs and hang in the closet. 

 

Aden wanted to personalize her collection. Each hijab comes with a message that says, “With the Halima by Modanisa collection, I want to celebrate women around the world through fashion and encourage them to be pace setters and change makers. Beauty is power and it comes in so many forms. We as women need to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Love, Halima.” Aden described thehard work she put into the scarf line and she hopes to continue making strides for her community. 

Halima and Kayla. This picture is on Vogue’s Website. Lol my friend Kayla is famous omg!

I got to talk to her before she had to leave. I’ve been following her on Instagram for years so it was honestly a dream for her to be even better than I ever imagined.  She wants to work on a TV series with a Muslim woman as the lead and I told her that I could help her with that since I do film. She agreed and I gave her my card. 

 

 

CLICK HERE to see the article Vogue wrote on Halima Aden at camp

 

A note to Halima,

 

I have been following you since I found out about you in 2016. You are honestly a dream and I was shocked to realize you are even more magical in person than on Instagram. I wish you luck on the new line, the scarves are wonderful and I hope to purchase one soon, now that I know they’re not just for Muslim women! I would also love helping you with your TV series about having Muslim lead, because there aren’t many and it is long overdue. I hope all your dreams come true!

 

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

 

We began making our Mood Boards…

 

Thursday I will be writing about the Mood boards, Thursday night at IMG, and the last day when I met Gigi Hadid and Luiz Mattos.

3rd Day of Fashion Camp

We got to the pool and everyone was raving about this strawberry drink. Aylin, Keythlin and I went to go check it out. We stood in line at this place called the hut. The hut served drinks and food. Hanging out at the huddle (the pool, football field, basketball court, and ping pong tables area) was the only place we could interact with the people there for sports. There was a boy standing in front of me. He turned around and said, “Oh your name is Sasha too?” I looked at his name tag and we were both named Sasha. It was super funny and I got to take a picture with him. I have never met someone with my name before. All the fashion girls got in the pool and I sat on the edge because I was NOT getting my hair wet. 

 

Eventually, the pool closed and we headed over to the football field. Aylin, my roommate, headed back to the room. I wanted to meet all the athletes so I stayed. I met a guy named Josh who was there for track. I turned around and then there were a group of people standing beside me. I met a girl named Leah who ran track. I also met a guy named Logan, who was 6’7. Yes, 6’7. I was looking up at him, but I guess we all were. I also met a girl named Sophia. She said she wanted to hook me up with some IMG boys so I said “What the hell” and followed her around. I met a couple of guys but they were all way too young. I also got to meet international people. Sophia introduced me to a guy who was from Guatemala. I got to use some of my Spanish. Hahaha or should I say Jajajajaja.

 

Then we headed to the volleyball court. Sophia told me she thought all the fashion girls were mean. I asked her why. She said she was on an elevator with some girls from the fashion camp and they were rude to her. They whispered about her and said “Why is she sweating so hard?”

 

I was upset to hear the fashion girls had a bad rep. I had to clear the fashion girls names and interact with the athletes. I played a game of volleyball with a bunch of athletes. The girls were all apprehensive to interact with me because they thought I was mean like some of the other fashion girls. Eventually, they warmed up to me. The girls were from all over the world. I met people from Brazil, Spain, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and so many other places. I managed to get through a game of volleyball without actually hitting the ball (I was not breaking a nail). Eventually around 9:40ish the councilors blew this horn and made us all go back to our dorms. I got to exchange contacts with all of the people I met and then I headed to my dorm. Aylin and I stayed up talking for a while.

Wednesday June 26th

 

The next morning I skipped breakfast again. I wore a dress made by my mentor, J. Renee Prudhomme.  I headed to go see Karla Welch with Keythlin. The athlete boys literally attacked the golf cart and we barely got a seat. We arrived at the Field house again.

 

Karla Welch, Celebrity Stylist

Karla Welch is a celebrity stylist that resides in Los Angeles, California. Welch was on the stage and was interviewed by David Cunningham. She was asked how she defines herself as a stylist. Welch described herself as a “Psychologist, the best friend telling you you’re going to fit into the dress…an image maker… an indispensable part of a celebrity’s team.” Welch was introduced to the world of fashion through music. Welch’s husband is a photographer and a director. Welch would assist him on set.

 

Next she was asked, “Do you have a mentor or an important relationship that helped you get to where you are today?”

“I find having the relationship of a mentor super important.”

-Karla Welch

 

Welch did not automatically know what she wanted to do in life. She has been in many different industries including the restaurant business and the clothing industry. Welch believes it is normal to not know what you want to do with your life. She advised, “Don’t really sweat it.” Welch added, “I find having the relationship of a mentor super important.” During her career in the restaurant industry, she had “two wonderful male mentors.” Welch claimed she has not had a mentor in her stylist career. Welch believes styling is an “insular career” where the “stylist is alone.” Welch has a team but the looks and the way she styles falls on her. Welch added, “Being insular is not always good.” Welch believes she had “side by side mentors” that are women who she “came up with.” Welch believes the mentor does not always have to be an established successful person, it can be “someone to share your ideas with and realize you’re not alone.” She added, “Sharing is caring.”

“Being insular is not always good.”’

-Karla Welch

 

The interviewer, Cunningham, chimed in, “Everyone should work in a restaurant.” He continued, “If you can be a great waiter or waitress, that is a great skill.”

“Everyone should work in a restaurant.”

-David Cunningham

 

Welch agreed, “The skills I learned there, I can apply to every job. It’s the act of service and the act of taking care of people.” Welch continued, “Service is an act of kings.” Welch’s restaurant skills have helped her further her career: “I use those skills every single day.” Welch jokingly demanded, “And tip ya’ll.” The audience laughed. 

“Service is an act of kings.”

-Karla Welch

“And tip ya’ll.”

-Karla Welch

Tonne Goodman and Karla Welch captured Justin & Hailey Bieber

Cunningham inquired, “What type of jobs are common for stylist? And what’s the difference of styling onset vs. for an event?” 

 

For red carpet events Welch works with celebrities and does “everything, from press junkets, to their ad campaigns, to all their appearances.” Welch talked about red carpet styling vs. editorial, “It’s become equally as powerful, If not, I’d say more, than an editorial stylist at this point. It wasn’t like that when I started at all. Editorial stylist were like ‘red carpet’ we were kind of like the black sheep but now we’re like ‘haha’.” The fashion industry is changing and now stylists are not restricted to being editorial or red carpet, they can do both. Welch referenced her being able to style Justin and Hailey Bieber for an editorial Vogue cover with Tonne Goodman. Welch talked about Goodman, “Talk about a mentor. She was so wonderful to me. It was one of the best experiences of my life to get to do a shoot with her.” Welch believes editorial stylist have a responsibility to create a vision and a look while red carpet stylist have to be more serviceable and reactive. Welch reminisced on a recent vacation she was on, “Justin [Bieber] called and was like, ‘I need you in the studio in like 15 minutes with 15 hats.’ and I was like, ‘Well, I’m in Mexico’. “ Welch was able to get in contact with her team to help Bieber with his fashion crisis and get him what he needed. This example, shows how hectic the stylist profession is.

 

Cunningham, the interviewer asked, “Can you tell us the process of getting booked on jobs?”

“I know what I want almost 90% of the time.”

-Karla Welch

 

Welch explained that her agent will call her and give her the job. The agent lays out “the parameters” of the job and gives Welch a color scheme and the model’s sizes. Welch then connects with her team. Welch described herself, “I’m very like a directorial stylist,” she continued, “I know what I want almost 90% of the time.” Welch described her team’s role,I rely on my team to inspire me and bring me ideas.” Welch explained her process, “For example, I’m going to do a Levi’s campaign with Lily Aldridge tomorrow in Nashville. I’m gonna go there after this. We had to think about, ‘what kind of shoes do we want to project this look.” Welch envisioned Aldridge to look like the lead singer in the band, The Velvet Underground & Nico, Nico. 

Tonne Goodman, vogue Editor

Welch continued, “I take the time with my team and I take the time with myself to really tap into my own feelings on something and then do my research. It will be pulling up pictures of Nico. What are the shoes of the season? And thinking ahead to next season. What’s everybody going to walk in? What’s going to feel like Lily? What’s going to feel like Levi’s?” After that, Welch and her team begin shopping in showrooms and shops. Welch explained, “My team will send me photo streams and I’ll tap on each picture of what I want.” Welch shared, “ Styling is incredibly creative and fulfilling but it’s also very repetitive and very very grueling. It’s a lot of moving.” Welch believes people will either love or hate being a stylist, she compared it to a “gateway drug.” 

 

Cunningham continued, “What does an average work day look like for you?”

 

Nico, the late lead singer in the band, The Velvet Underground & Nico

Welch gets to her studio at 9:00 A.M. Normally Welch has already received many emails because she is on Pacific time and most people in the fashion industry are two hours ahead on Eastern Standard time. The night before, they plan the next day. When her team is in the studio in the morning, they go back over the plans for the day. Welch shared, “Let’s see, today at my studio, what’s everybody doing? We have a girl going to a premiere very last minute. So we’re out pulling clothes right now. We have a political client who is being apart of the debates tomorrow so we’re also dealing with that. And then we’re prepping for Lily and then it’s answering emails. And doing returns to the showroom… So the interns are packing returns, we’re doing FedEx.” “I mean I probably get around 300 emails a day,” Welch estimated. “And then for me as well, I have a brand, so I work on that part as well,” Welch added. 

 

Wow, I honestly never knew how much goes into being a stylist. Listening to all the speakers that week, I realized that all jobs are equally as stressful, no matter if the job is fashion or another career. Managing stress is a part of any job and it is important to really enjoy what you do and take time for yourself.

 

Cunningham asked, “Do you have any off time?”

 

Welch responded, “6:00. 9:00-6:00 and if we’re done, we can go home early.” During demanding fashion seasons, Welch and her team can stay until 11:00 pm and they do not leave “until the work is done.”

 

Cunningham asked, “How did you build your client base?”

 

Welch responded, “Never saying no.” Welch began her career working in advertising and with her husband on his shoots so she was able to get access to celebrity clients. Brooke Wall discovered Karla Welch in Barneys.

“Instincts are a really important part of the business…”

-Karla Welch

Brooke Wall, Founder and president of the Wall Group

“I think there’s always a bit of luck in people, but I think you have to work for your luck,” Welch explained. Welch was discovered in an unusual place. Welch reminisced, “I was prepping a job for the singer Feist, and I was working a job… 12 years ago.” Welch was wearing high waisted jeans, a striped shirt, and red lipstick. “This woman kept on following me and I’m always really friendly, it’s important to be friendly. But I was like, ‘what is this chick doing following me?’ and she was like, ‘excuse me.’ And I turned around and said, ‘I don’t work here,’ and she looked at me and she said, ‘I love everything about you… are you a stylist?’ and I said, ‘Yeah are you an agent?’ she’s like, ‘Yeah I’m Brooke Wall’.’” Welch went home and looked up Brooke Wall who is the president of the Wall group. The Wall group is owned by IMG which is owned by Endeavor. All of the stylist, hairstylist, and make up artist I met that week, worked for the Wall Group while all the models and talent worked for IMG. Welch met with Wall again and Wall signed her “right on the spot.” Both Welch of Wall are Canadians. Welch discussed, “Instincts are a really important part of the business…”Welch continued, “That little voice that is saying do that or don’t do that is usually right.” When Welch signed to the Wall Group she immediately decided to say yes to every job. Welch explained, “Even if it wasn’t a job that I could possibly be interested in. Cause I knew I could learn from it.” 

“I think there’s always a bit of luck in people, but I think you have to work for your luck.”

-Karla Welch

 

Cunningham interrupted, “But you seem to work with a certain kind of person.”

“…it’s important to be friendly.”

-Karla Welch

 

Welch responded, “I think that has all kind of happened. I think there has been a rise of really strong powerful amazing women and I got them all.” Welch added, “Now I get to say no and I pick people who I really believe in… And their projects and what they stand for and of course, how they look.” 

 

Cunningham continued, “How do you work with designers and brands? And how do you build those relationships?” 

 

Welch responded, “That’s the best part of my job because at the end of the day I’m a total fashion junkie. If I could have done it all over, I would have moved to New York and been Anna Wintour’s assistant. There’s no denying I love fashion, but this has worked out great too. So it’s fine. So that’s my favorite part is having formed these relationships.” When Welch works with a client and requests clothes from a fashion house, “the houses are either going to say yes or they’re going to say no.” Welch adds, “But when you work with them enough, then you have leverage.”  Welch still experiences rejection: “Givenchy says no all the time.” Welch believes, “It’s all relationship building.” She advises, “Take no with a smile.” She added, “Just keep asking.” 

“Take no with a smile.”’

-Karla Welch

 

Cunningham continued, “How do you pull specific looks for you clients?” 

 

Welch has a specific system and “alchemy”. “If I style you, I’ve been thinking about you for a while,” Welch explained. Welch believes it is important to keep an account of references. “Always clock in you mind, and it doesn’t even have to be in your mind, you guys all have smartphones now you can Pinterest the hell out of life,” Welch joked. Welch “clocks references” and remembers specific images in her mind. Welch used Sarah Paulson as an example, “She was dressing in T-dresses and frilly shit. And it just wasn’t what I thought she was, which is a strong, quite handsome, powerful woman.” She began thinking about her and then styled her more “modern and chic”. Welch is constantly doing research, she looks at every single show on Vogue Runway and she “screen grabs” and makes her “book”. She then “reaches out three weeks in advance” to secure looks. Welch believes her younger clients like Amandla Stenberg can wear anything, but her older clients need an established look. “I love creating threads,” she continued. Threads are established, identifiable looks. 

 

“How do you work with hair and makeup?” Cunningham asked.

 

Lacy Redway is one of Welch’s favorite hairstylist to work with. Welch believes she is the “captain of the ship” when it comes to hair and makeup. Welch decides all parts of the look including hair and makeup. She talks to her clients first and then goes to the hairstylist and make up artist to discuss what she has chosen. “Some stylists aren’t like that, but I am,” she added. “9/10 times they’re receptive,” she continued. She believes it is important to take the hair and make up team’s thoughts into consideration but it is also important “to have that thick skin to say no, ‘this is what we’re doing’” when the hair and makeup disagree. “If you want something you have to really be able to take it and standby it,” Welch added.

“If you want something you have to really be able to take it and standby it.”

-Karla Welch

 

“Do you have a style muse or someone you would point out that is your biggest inspiration?” Cunningham asked.

 

“Not really, I’m kinda just really, really open. I’m my own muse,” Welch responded. 

“I’m my own muse.” 

-Karla Welch

 

Cunningham asked, “How do you convey your personal style through clothing and how do you convey someone else’s personal style through the clothes that they wear?”

 

Welch explained, “I just want people to be the best version of themselves.” “Those red carpets are pretty horrifying and in a way we’re creating a bit of armor for them,” Welch continued. Welch defined her own personal style, “I’m kinda a real kind of Tomboy, little French style. But I have pieces that I put on that I feel great.” Welch professed, “I think that’s the best part about cultivating your own personal style, what makes you feel like the best version of yourself.”

“What makes you feel like the best version of yourself.” 

-Karla Welch

 

Cunningham asked about Welch’s collaborations.

Welch started her own fashion line. She believes she is at heart, a stylist, and she will “never” call herself “a designer”. She created her line to accommodate for what she thought was missing in the industry. “I wanted a perfect shirt,” she explained. Welch’s collaborations extend

beyond just beautiful clothes. “I also use all my projects as a form of social justice leveraging.” Welch worked with Levi’s and they became advocates for gun safety. Now their CEO, Chip Bergh, has made it the legacy for the company to uphold gun safety. Welch believes collaborations brought her passion for styling and advocating together.

“What advice would you give to someone that’s starting out?” Cunningham asked.

 

Welch advised,“The only way to become a stylist is to work with a stylist.” Welch continued, “Treat it like an apprenticeship, it’s a trade.” She advised, “Become that person’s indispensable arm.” Welch’s second assistant, Erica Cloud, worked with Welch for twelve years and now she has he own styling agency. “I look for assistants and even interns that can learn to think like me. I don’t want their take on a shoe for my client because my client has booked me, they have not booked my assistant,” she explained. Welch believes it is important to shadow a stylist for a long term amount of time. “6 months is not a job… commit to someone… go and do it for three years,” she stated. Welch believes it is important to work for someone that you are passionate about: “Find someone’s work you love and be their person.” 

 

Cunningham asked, “What is the best piece of advice someone’s given you?”

 

Welch advised, “Don’t let your ego be bigger than your skills.”

“Don’t let your ego be bigger than your skills.”

-Karla Welch

Sza wearing two pairs of jeans in Welch’s campaign

A slideshow began and Welch described some of her work. Welch did two looks for Levi’s. One look she did Joan. Another look she did SZA. SZA wore two pairs of pants. Welch and her husband shot the Levi shoot.

Karla Welch Levi’s Campaign

 

Welch showed us pictures of a model named Lily.  Welch loved the photos she took but hated walking around “hot and stinky downtown LA” to take

 

them.

 

Welch dressed Tracee Ellis Ross for Instyle in Paris.

Tracee Ellis Ross, Instyle Paris

 

Welch dressed Lorde in Billboard Magazine in the window. Lorde told Welch, “I’’m feeling like a puffed sleeve” and Welch had to put together an outfit with that feeling.

“I feeling like a puffed sleeve”

Welch references instagram to find new designers.

 

Welch dressed Sarah Paulson in a lime green dress.Welch had to beg to Prada to give her the dress. They made a longer version specifically for Paulson.

Sarah Paulson, Lime Green, Prada Dress

 

Welch also showed us  Amandla Stenberg in a suit. The brand was Tom Brown.

 

Q & A and Comments

 

Someone asked Welch how to create their personal style. Welch believes everyone has their own personal style.

 

Someone asked what Welch majored in in college. Welch majored in Art history and English. Welch ended up dropping out of college and pursuing other careers. 

 

Welch grew up working in her father’s menswear store and developed a love for fashion there. Welch believes the uprising artist, Lizzo, is a great example of the world being more accepting of being yourself and authentic. 

 

Welch is obsessed with menswear. Welch stated, “You’re going to wind up in a tux if you work with me.” 

 

When asked about how she dresses her clients, she tries to style them by their age. She never goes “super sexy on a young person.” She also does not style children.

 

Someone else asked about difficult clients. Welch believes it is important to learn from difficult clients as much as you can. She believes all you can do is try your best. 

 

I asked her how she balances her life. She said she is constantly trying to balance her life. She said there is no right or wrong way to balance your life, but she still has not figured out how and does not think she ever will. 

Styling Activity

My team styling our mentor Derek Walker

Slayyyy

 

After that, we did a styling activity. IMG bought clothes from Goodwill. Each group was given a theme and they had to dress their mentor in an outfit based on the clothes. My team and I got harajuku. Our mentor, Derek, was so cooperative. Derek allowed us to put him in a skirt and slick his hair back. He strutted the runway in his harajuku outfit and we got second place. Welch loved our outfit. Welch’s favorite look was Jared’s school guy look. My personal favorite was another councilor, Jibran’s cowboy look. 

All the looks

I really enjoyed the styling activity and it was one of my favorite parts of the week.

 

I got to talk to Welch after and she was very genuine and sweet. She loved my outfit.

 

 

My team and Welch

A letter to Karla Welch,

 

It was so nice to meet you and learn about how you became apart of the Fashion industry. It was comforting to know that it is ok to not have everything figured out and I appreciate your genuineness. 

 

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

Karla Welch & I

Lunch

We headed to lunch and I was sick of eating IMG food. Kayla, Sienna, and I devised a plan to order Chipotle on UberEats. We had to ride all the way to the hotel on the other side of the campus to get the food. We did not want to order it to the cafeteria because we thought we might have not been allowed to order food from off campus. Eventually we got the food and I was sweating in the Florida heat. We rode back to the cafeteria, but by the time we got back, it was time for Christelle De Castro’s session. We ate and headed to the golf carts. As we approached the cart, there was an army of kids waiting to pounce on it. Before it stopped, the boys attacked the cart. The driver got up and yelled at them to never get on a moving Cart. Kayla, Sienna, and I were left stranded and had to hike all the way to the field house. The IMG boys were definitely gentlemen, they took all the seats without even thinking about the girls. Wow. How attractive. 

Christelle De Castro

Eventually, we got there late. We had to sit all the way in the back. Castro is a renowned photographer/videographer. Castro was on stage giving an activity. She told us to write down our intentions and goals for our lives. After we finished, she began telling us about her life. She was not interviewed, she just told us about herself.

 

Castro began photography at 19. She described nineteen as a late time to begin photography. Her interest in film began when she took a TV video production class at fourteen. “I went to like a really bad high school,” she explained. She continued, “Academically, not the best, but where we really shined was in the creative.” Castro described, “There was like a 30 minute segment that we had on public access TV.  So I grew up, as a kid, watching all these cool high school kids on TV. And I just wanted to start making these video projects just like they did.” Castro enjoyed the film class thoroughly. “My teacher really believed in me. I think I was the only student that took it really seriously,” she added. Most people only took the class because the teacher was lenient and they could skip class. “I took his class and I really really enjoyed myself and he just let me take cameras home and he really just fostered my interest in filmmaking,” Castro continued. The teacher allowed her to take whatever equipment she needed. He even let Castro take home a computer over the summer so she could edit. Castro reminisced, “When I was at fourteen, I was like, ‘I want to be a director, that’s what I wanna do’.” Castro’s parents owned a mom and pop grocery store. She was not able to pursue her directing career because she had to stay local and help her mother on the weekends. Castro went to San Francisco State. The college was a train away from the store. Castro really wanted to go to New York, but she settled. “I was bored out of my mind,” she added. She felt that the school was too big and missed the one on one attention she had received from her high school teacher. She began reaching out to local filmmakers in neighboring schools and worked on projects with them. One student she met was a photographer. She had focused more on videography and photography was a new world. Castro explained, “Photography and filmmaking definitely goes hand and hand but it’s two different mindsets. Photography, you only get one still.” Castro was fascinated by the idea of only getting one picture and not being able to use video. The student photographer encouraged her to try photography and gave her a camera and film. Everyday, they would shoot together. Castro felt comfortable to learn and grow with her peer mentor. “None of my questions were stupid [to him],” Castro explained. Castro began doing street photography and taking pictures of people and items in San Francisco. Castro remarked, “In a year, I had my first photo exhibition.” After the exhibition she realized, “Holy Crap, there might be something to this.” She began establishing her aesthetic and blooming as an artist. Castro started showing in group shows in galleries and a couple of years later, she got her own show in New York city. After the show, Castro began taking photography more seriously. She moved to New York in 2008. She was working in a diner in San Francisco and dreamed of making photography a career. When she moved to New York, she became a commercial photographer. She started shooting for brands and fashion. Castro’s niche is fashion and musicians shoots. Castro defined herself as a photographer, a director, and an artist. 

Castro’s shoot with V Files

Castro began showing us her work in a slideshow. She told us a story about the band Five Seconds of Summer. She described, “They are so nice.” After a year long tour, she photographed them and they were so kind. She expected them to be grumpy from touring but she was pleasantly surprised. “I can’t say enough good things,” she added. She also advised, “I like people with good attitudes.”

 

 Every single person who has presented has emphasized the importance of being nice to people. If there is anything you should take away from this series is to be nice to people.

 

Austin Mahone by Castro

She continued scrolling through her photographs. “Do you guys know Austin Mahone?” she asked. The audience responded, “Yes!” Castro continued, “I totally didn’t know who he was when I shot him. Also, super nice. Lovely.” 

 

Castro also had pictures of V files. 

 

She also had pictures of her bestfriend’s shoe line, Nicole Saldaña. Check out her shoes! They are really cute! But super expensive! 

 

Castro told us a story about how she received a vague email from a hotel. They were requesting her help on a project. She initially thought they wanted some pictures for their lobby and agreed to help them. They actually wanted her help with a twenty-two story building. She was commissioned to take pictures of people native to the Bowery district in New York. She began taking pictures of business owners and influential people in the district. She would introduce herself to people in the area and then request photograph them. She photographed 66 people and covered every window of the building with their portraits. She used Duratrans Prints to put the portraits on the windows. The windows look normal in the day, but they illuminate at night with faces. It was beautiful. 

Building with Castro’s portraits in the Bowery district

 

Castro also teachers at Parsons in New York. 

 

Q & A

 

The first person asked Castro if she shoots digital or film and how does she retouch photos. Castro used to shoot exclusively film. She was “against digital” for a long time. Now she shoots both digital and film. Castro hates retouching photos and she has a team to do it for her. Castro believes a photographer’s personal style comes with time.

 

She saw my hand way in the back of the room and chose me to ask a question. Castro was the first person I met all week that was employed in the film industry so I was really excited to meet her. I asked her what was her favorite camera at the moment. Her favorite camera is the Arri Alexa. I thought it was going to be a Blackmagic. Blackmagics are popular right now. She also emphasized that the camera is not important. She believes it is important to focus on the quality of your work instead of purchasing a fancy camera.

 

Someone else asked how to know if they are on the right track. Castro explained that there is never a right choice. She believes it is important for people to explore all their interests. She also said being one thing does not mean you cannot be another thing. She encouraged us to not limit ourselves.

 

Another person asked how to shoot pictures well. Castro emphasized the importance of being personable and making sure the client is comfortable. 

 

Another person asked how to not get overworked. Castro believes it is important to give yourself enough time to complete jobs. She shared that she has had times where employers have expected her to complete projects in three day windows and that she had to decline. “I need more than three days,” she demanded. 

 

She was asked how she stands out when she creates her work. She believes it is important to have a personal style. She believes style and aestheticism is formed over time.

 

Lastly, she was asked why she likes being a photographer. She enjoys the messages she can convey with photos. She feels the way she grew up shapes the way she takes photographs. Castro is an immigrant from the Philippines and she said that shapes her perspective and inspiration. She believes we should seek inspiration from our environment. 

Castro looking at our photos

Activity

Castro’s work, a longshot

We began an activity where we had to take pictures of each other. Kodak lent us Printomatic cameras. The camera had film in it and printed the photos immediately. We had to work with our team and take pictures. We had to take a close up, a long shot (full body), an extreme close up (only apart of the face), and an extreme longshot (full body and the surrounding environment). My team and I headed out and we started to take pictures. It was so hot that we eventually lost momentum. We got some good pictures. Castro told us to take fifty pictures but our camera stopped printing after a while. Eventually we realized each camera only had 10 pieces of film in it. After we got more film, we went back to the fieldhouse to show Castro our work.

Some of the pictures my group took

Castro’s favorite pictures from each group

She came around and took her favorite picture from each group and put them all together. We all went and looked at the pictures. I also got a chance to talk to her about film separately and she was extremely helpful and informative. 

 

Me taking a picture with the camera

 

 

 

 

 

A letter to Christelle de Castro,

 

I believe it’s interesting how you started in filmmaking and then switched to photography. I also think it is interesting that you do both. I only know people who do one or the other. I enjoyed talking to you and I felt like I was being heard when I spoke to you individually. You have a really humble and impressionable presence and I hope to learn from you further in the future. 

 

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

Dinner & The Mermaid Pool Party

(left to right) Gia, the mermaid, Aylin, and I

The fashion girls headed to dinner and then we got ready for the mermaid pool party. They were serving mock-tails. Aylin and I got one and then we hung out by the pool with the other girls. We played truth of dare. We also got to meet a real mermaid. Everything was fun until it started storming and we all had to go inside. IMG shuts down the whole campus when there is rain because Florida has frequent destructive storms.

Look at a video of the whole day

The next Blog post will be on Sunday on how the casting call works at IMG and Halima.

2nd Day of Fashion Camp (PART 2)

After lunch, we went back to the field house for the next speakers.

Charles Gooch

Charles Gooch

Charles Gooch is the head of leadership at IMG. Gooch did leadership building activities with us. He made us mingle with one another and get to know each other better. After rock paper scissors and other activities, he gave a presentation. He told us that fashion is a 2.4 trillion dollar business. Fashion grows by 5.5% annually. Fashion has a huge involvement in movies, sports, TV, and social media. Gooch believes that all parts of the fashion industry are equally as important. Gooch stated that in order to be successful in the fashion industry, one must hone in on their superpower. Gooch had a slideshow of all of our pictures that we took for our IMG lanyards and he edited them on superhero bodies (I looked a mess but it was funny). 

“What’s your superpower?”

-Charles Gooch

The picture he used to animate us all into superheroes

Gooch gave us cards. Each card had a different item on it. Some cards were a color and others had pictures on them. Gooch made us walk around the room and learn each other’s names. We sat back down after mingling, and he called the people with cards that had stars on them. Aylin, my roommate, had a star on her card. She was so nervous and did not want to go up. She begged me to go up for her. I tried to reassure her that it was ok but she was inconsolable. Gooch called, “I have one more star out there that needs to come.” The rest of the people with star cards were at the front waiting. I took Aylin’s card and went to the front. At this point I was so frazzled I could barely remember names. Gooch talked to me first, “Great,” I thought. He asked me to find the last people I met. I pointed out the people I remembered. They came up beside me. Gooch asked, “Now what are their names?”

“She’s from Hollywood and she’s from Michigan,” I said. They both nodded.

Gooch continued, “Ok so what are their names.”

“I don’t remember,” I said while I looked at Aylin the one who was supposed to be up there.

 

They said their names and then Gooch moved on to the rest of the people in the line. I was not quite embarrassed because I did a noble thing and helped a friend out, but I felt dumb.

 

Me pointing out the girls

Everyone standing sat down and Gooch continued with a speech. One of Gooch’s hero is his brother. Gooch needed a kidney transplant and his brother offered to give him one. Gooch’s brother was not a match. When Gooch’s brother found out he was not a match, he still gave his kidney to someone else. Gooch received a kidney from Cassie. Cassie passed away and her organs were donated. Cassie is Gooch’s hero.

 

Lol I’m sorry I forgot your names that day.

Gooch struggling to find a kidney was crazy to me. It is interesting how you never know what someone is going through. In life, we are bothered by so many things that do not really matter. I think it is important to be grateful for your health because it is never promised. 

 

We did an activity where we drew heroes with a group. We had to give our character a name, powers, vulnerability, and how they benefitted others. My team made Charles Gooch and gave him a big heart and big ears for listening. His weakness was being too nice. We all presented our superheroes. We took a picture with Gooch and then he left.

Our picture with Charles Gooch

Lucky Blue Smith

Lucky Blue Smith entered the room and the girls were excited to see him. He was dressed like a hipster farmer. He wore jewelry and many rings. He said he got his jewelry from his friend’s company, Ellie Hallielie, (I might have spelled it wrong, I couldn’t find it. If anyone does, let me know) and the rest of his jewelry was from resale stores in Paris. Smith was interviewed by his manager Mimi

Mimi Yapor-Cox, Lucky Blue Smith’s Manager

Yapor-Cox. 

 

Smith is from Spanish Fork, Utah. Smith’s family instilled values in him. His parents and his older sisters always taught him to be thankful. Even when he played sports, his parents would make him go shake the coach’s hand and say thank you. 

 

The interviewer asked, “How do you keep your cool in the madness of the fashion industry?” 

 

Smith responded, “I genuinely care, I love what I do. You have to take it serious… but also have an underlying… don’t take it so so serious.” He continued, “Everyone’s a human. They put their pants on the same way you do.” Smith emphasized, “Being excited, but being super chill at the same time.” 

“Everyone’s a human. They put their pants on the same way you do.”

-Lucky Blue Smith

Yapor-Cox reminisced, “I remember the first time I was at fashion week, he [Smith] called to give me a recap on his day… he said, ‘oh by the way, I had dinner with that girl, Anna,’ and I said ‘Anna Wintour?’ and he said, ‘Yeah with the cool hair,’ but it was always his way of being impressed by people, but not going over[board].”

 

“It can be really intimidating,” Smith added, “they’re just humans man, they’re chill.” 

 

“They’re just humans man, they’re chill.” 

-Lucky Blue Smith

Yapor-Cox continued, “You’ve always had a personal style, as exhibited today, how did that help get you scouted? And how has it evolved as you’ve grown up?”

 

Lucky Blue Smith

Smith responded, “When I was younger, I didn’t think about it as style. I just tried to be different from everybody at my school. I just tried to do my own thing. Where I’m from, everyone wore gym shorts and Nike socks. And like a Nike “just do it” t-shirt. That’s all they wore. I just didn’t like that. I was really into Rockin’ Billy, really 50’s style. I had the full-on Rockin’ Billy type deal going on. Pant cuffs, like 5 inches and wearing chucks.” 

“Mental notes”

-Lucky Blue Smith

Smith continued, “In the fashion industry you have the opportunity to be around amazing stylist. I’ve definitely gotten tips, keeping mental notes.” Smith stated, “I try to stay true to myself.” When it comes to fashion Smith believes it is important to “do your own thing.”

 

  “Do your own thing.”

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

Rockin Billy, An old Rock n Roll Band

Smith’s agent chimed in, “When lucky was 12 years old and scouted at our agency he had the combed hair. Actually, his sisters came down to be signed to our agency. And he was sitting in the lobby and he had massive style already. He had this little tank top on, 501’s perfect, cuffed. And he was combing his hair in the lobby and I thought it was awesome that a 12-year-old even owned a comb.” The audience laughed. 

 

“ I thought it was awesome that a 12-year-old even owned a comb.”

-Mimi Yapor-Cox

Yapor-Cox asked, “How did you get signed? What role does your agent and agency play for you?”

 

When Smith was 10, he lived in Utah. His sister was scouted. She had to go to a meeting to meet with agents on a Saturday. Smith was grounded and forced to tag along to the meeting with his mother and sister. A man took interest in Smith and encouraged him to come back when he was older. Smith was not interested in fashion, he would rather be with his friends. His sister was signed.

 

“You’re wack man.”

-Lucky Blue Smith

A few years passed, and Smith went on a road trip to Los Angeles with his family. His sisters went to be signed to a Los Angeles agency. He went into the agency with his sisters and got the attention of his present-day manager. He was signed and the rest is history. 

 

Smith’s agency helps him in many ways. Smith believes it is important for an agent to be like a best friend. Yapor-Cox became Smith’s best friend. As he became a model, Smith missed hanging with friends, but his agent, Mimi Yapor-Cox, was always there for him. He stated, “We would go get wings.” The audience burst out in laughter. 

 

“We would go get wings.” 

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

Agents also set wake up calls for their talent. Smith is a heavy sleeper. Yapor-Cox chimed in, “You’re just a really good sleeper.” 

 

Smith responded, “When I sleep, I sleep. OK?” Agents also introduce their talent to photographers to book them on jobs and connect them with clients. Smith described Yapor-Cox, “She’s a really good strategist.”

 

 “Thanks, Lucks,” Yapor-Cox responded. 

 

Each shoot differs Smith described, “It depends what photographer’s there shooting or the stylist. Some of them might be a little more serious. Or at least they’re putting that on.” Smith believes it is important to feel people’s energy. People on set can be in a good or bad mood but Smith believes it is important to find a person that makes you comfortable. The person may be a fellow model. Smith continued, “I really like finding that one person and being a buddy with them the whole day.” Smith advised, “The hairstylist and makeup artist, you become homies with them.” At a set, there is usually food then the talent goes straight to hair and makeup. Clients want different things on different sets. “You’ll do something you think they really like and they’ll just hate it and you’ll do something that’s random and they’re like ‘oh yes’ clapping in the background,” Smith spoke from experience. Smith believes every client is different and it is important to communicate with them to give them what they want. 

 

 “The hairstylist and makeup artist, you become homies with them.”

 

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

Yapor-Cox inquired, “As a model who’s walked the runway globally, how does the different casting work?”

 

A model can have from three to eleven casting calls a day. Smith stated, “It’s like how are you going to make it to all those? Cause some of them take so long.” If the model misses a call due to another call lasting a long time, the agent has to reschedule with the other castings. “You meet a lot of interesting people,” Smith reminisced. “It’s also a great place if you haven’t experienced rejection. It’s a convenient place to experience rejection,” Smith added. Smith learned how to handle rejection and ‘not take it so seriously.” “Once it’s done, wipe your hands and forget about it,” Smith advised, “forget it and move on.” 

“Forget it and move on.” 

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

Smith’s first casting was for Versace. Smith reminisced, “I was excited, I was like, ‘oh Versace. Let’s do this.’” The way the casting call is run depends on the designer. At Versace’s casting, in order to be cast, the models had to be approved by the assistant, then the designer. At Smiths first casting, he did not make it past the assistant. “They told me to dip,” he remembered. The next season, Smith tried out again and booked Versace. 

 

“They told me to dip,”

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

Yapor- Cox asked, “Do you have any do’s and don’ts for aspiring models?” 

 

Smith demanded,“Shake every single person’s hand on set.” Smith continued, “I’ve gotten booked on jobs, I’m pretty sure, by just saying thank you and being nice.” 

 

Everyone I met that week seemed to place huge importance on being kind. 

 

“It’s so simple to say thank you and appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given,” Smith advised. Smith’s parents instilled courtesy in him that he is grateful for. “Don’t be a diva,” Smith added. People on set deal with many divas and it is so important to be appreciative. Smith does not like people bringing him refreshments or waiting on him. When it comes to being waited on Smith stated, “Even just the small stuff, maybe do it yourself. Instead of having someone to get it for you.” 

“Don’t be a diva,”

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

“The vibes are so important in the shoot,” Yapor-Cox added.  

 

Smith agreed, “If you show up with a good positive energy and a nice vibe, that’ll translate to someone who’s not having a good vibe that day.”

 

Yapor-Cox shared, “From the agents perspective, like when we see someone and they bring that energy, that’s a start. That’s someone people want to work with over and over again. Also, you see all the other models up their game a little bit when that person’s onset.”

 

The agent asked Smith how he stays true to himself. 

 

Smith answered, “You really have to pay attention to your mental health.” Smith continued, “If at the end of the day, you’re starting to get affected and you’re having anxiety, take that day off.” Smith owes his sanity to his family and sisters who were “always there.” Smith’s daughter is an important part of his world. “And my daughter, every day I’m on set and when I go home to her, it’s the best thing in the world,” Smith stated. “It’s all about finding a balance,” he added.

“It’s all about finding a balance,”

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

The agent asked about Smith’s relationship with social media.

 

On social media, Smith always had a following. One time, he got the idea to invite his followers to a fashion show and to meet and greet with them afterward. “That was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done,” He reminisced. That invitation expanded his brand and caused a storm of press at the show. “The upside is you get to connect with so many people in this world that you would never connect with before,” he argued. Smith believes social media can cause mental health problems by creating an ego based on likes and comments. “There’s so much pressure,” he continued, “it can really affect your mental health.” 

 

The agent asked if Smith had any tips on developing one’s personal brand on social media.

 

Smith believes it is important to be yourlself. “There’s literally one you in this world,” he said. “You might have a twin that looks like you, but your personalities are different…Utilize that,” he demanded. 

 

“You are the Only you.” 

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

Yapor-Cox asked if Smith had a favorite photoshoot and fashion show?

 

“Yea, I got to go to Iceland with my sister Piper. One of the coolest places I’ve ever been. I shot with Annie Leibovitz with Moncler. We got in cars and just drove around a lot of the country. It’s just an insanely beautiful country,” Smith climbed mountains and had a wolf on his shoulder. Smith spoke highly of Leibovitz. 

Lucky Blue & his sister Piper Smith shooting with Annie Leibovitz in Iceland for Moncler.

Smith’s favorite show was Kavali. “I really loved my look,” he said.

 

His agent asked what is next for him?

 

Smith wants to continue modeling. “Relationships are very crucial and keeping up with your relationships,” Smith recommended. “I honestly can say I might have not done the best with that,” he criticized. Smith builds relationships with photographers.“If you’re working with a photographer try to go and get his or her number and go out to lunch… when you have a friendship, they’re going to think about you way more for jobs,” Smith stated. Smith’s next step is acting and he is working on a few films now. In the future, he wants to win an oscar.

“Relationships are very crucial and keeping up with your relationships.”

-Lucky Blue Smith

 

Q & A 

 

An aspiring actor asked Smith for some tips. 

 

“Read as much as you can,” Smith answered. He added, “Go for it.” 

 

Another person asked how to manage nerves. Smith believes the best ways to manage nerves is breathing and exercise.

 

Someone asked the manager what she looks for in a model. She responded, “Being magnetic.” The person needs to have a quality about them that makes them attractive. 

 

Another person asked if Smith was not doing modeling or acting, what would he do. Smith would either run track, play football, wrestle, or be a lawyer. 

 

Smith was asked on where his fashion inspiration comes from. Smith’s style comes from James Dean, Elvis Presley, and the 50’s era.

 

Smith was asked how he figured everything out. Smith figured it out “as he went.” Shaun Ross helped him with his walk and he would always take mental notes from people. 

 

Someone asked about tattoos and whether or not they were ok to have if they pursued a modeling career. Yapor-Cox, the agent, chimed in. She believes tattoos and hair dye can hold a model back. She has many male models that have tattoos that do very well. Once, she did a Lana Del Rey video where all of her male models specifically with tattoos were requested. Therefore, it is not impossible to be a model with tattoos. Yapor- Cox believes it all lies in one’s confidence.

 

One person asked about how to identify yourself in the modeling world. Smith responded that a mixture of modeling and “being a nice person” are important. Smith wants to take control of situations and be his own boss. He encouraged, “Think longterm.” 

 

Smith was asked on whether or not he would let his daughter become a model. Smith responded, “She can be whatever she wants to be, but I want her to have a normal life.” Smith placed an importance on his child having a “genuine childhood.” He believes the best time for her to be a model is when she turns eighteen and graduates high school. 

 

Someone asked how Smith deals with mental and physical obstacles. Smith uses his confidence to deal with mental challenges.

 

Smith was a very docile person and seemed to deal with anxiety issues. He looked extremely nervous and uncomfortable when speaking. Smith taught me that we are all human and no matter how rich or successful one gets, we all put on our pants the same way. 

 

A note to Lucky Blue Smith

 

You were really cool! I like your colloquialisms and the way you are unapologetically yourself. Being around you, is like hanging with a friend. I wish you nothing but the best and I look forward to seeing you win an oscar!

My group with Lucky Blue Smith

A Note to Charles Gooch,

Me with Charles Gooch

I enjoyed the activity we did. Thank you for sharing, your story put a lot of things in perspective. I really enjoyed hearing your values and I hope to emulate them. 

Later that day…

 

There was a sunset beach trip scheduled for that night, but everyone agreed they would rather hang out at the pool. All of the fashion girls met up at the pool. There was also a petting zoo outside of the dorms. Aylin and I stood at the petting zoo for thirty minutes, mesmerized by the rabbits. Eventually, we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the pool….

 

Continued Thursday!

2nd Day of Fashion Camp (PART 1)

After Akman’s workout and a shower, I headed to the fieldhouse. At IMG, there are long golf carts that transport campers around. My friends and I got on the golf cart. We arrived at the field house and disembarked. We went back to the room upstairs and waited from Lacy Redway and Vincent Oquendo. Redway is a hairstylist and Oquendo is a makeup artist. They arrived with smiling faces.  Redway was wearing a blue snake print dress with a belt. She looked fabulous. Her shoes had a short heel and were white. She shared with us that she got the dress from Topshop and the shoes from Prada. She reiterated that being fashionable does not have to be expensive. Also, your outfit can consist of pieces that are at different price points. The whole outfit does not have to be cheap or expensive. Oquendo wore an all-black ensemble. I noticed that week that most people in the fashion industry wear all black. 

Lacy Redway & Vincent Oquendo

The interviewer asked both where they were from and how they got started in the fashion industry. Redway began, “Hair kinda happened accidentally. I’ve just always known how to do hair. I was like the girl in school always doing everyone’s hair.” Originally, Redway believed she would be a publicist and that is what she majored in in college. Both Oquendo and Redway originally wanted to be a publicist. Redway always knew she had a passion for fashion, she just did not know how to pursue it. She began assisting. Redway continued, “Assisting is so important if you want to work in fashion because you just really don’t learn enough information behind the desk. You really have to get in the field and like really… shadow someone and you get to learn also from their mistakes… and take it and make it your own.” Redway assisted a hairstylist who did photoshoots. While assisting, Redway had an “aha moment” that revealed to her that hairstyling was a profession she wanted to pursue. She enjoyed the process of being on set and seeing the final product in a magazine. 

 

Oquendo responded to Redway, “First off, I didn’t know you wanted to be a publicist. I wanted to be a publicist.” Oquendo also went to school to be a publicist. Oquendo knew he liked working with people. He also wanted to travel the world. He pursued being a flight attendant. Then he realized he could work with people and travel the world by being a makeup artist. The moment he realized he wanted to be a makeup artist was when he was in Paris assisting Pat McGrath. Oquendo described, “I remember I started crying it was at Galliano. I got all the heels and I was in the lineup. And I remember a model turned to me and was like ‘Are you ok?’ and I was like ‘I am so good!’. Oquendo continued, “I didn’t come from money. I didn’t come from anything… I never thought I would end up in Paris. Even just going there… and being apart of something so much bigger than myself, that is when I knew.” 

 

Redway and Oquendo have known each other for over ten years. Redway stated, “We both were assisting backstage. So we kind of grew up in the business together. So it’s nice to sit here next to you and be like ‘Wow girl we made it!’.” Everyone smiled and laughed. Redway assisted Guido Palau, “probably one of the biggest fashion hairstylists in the world”.

Guido Palau, renowned hairstylist

Redway was able to stand out because she knew how to do all types of hair. Redway could not only do all types of hair, but she could braid. Redway did not notice her uniqueness because she had always been accustomed to working with all types of hair. Redway could easily adapt to any head of hair unlike most of the competitor assistants. “When I was backstage, I think it was at Alexander Wang’s show… a crowd of assistants stood around me, watching me.” After that moment, Redway realized, “I kind of have something here. I really need to push and pursue it”. 

“Everybody starts off somewhere,”

-Vincent Oquendo

The interviewer asked about how to treat people on set and what are the roles of a hairstylist and makeup artist on set. Oquendo began, “Everybody starts off somewhere,” he continued by using an example of Gigi Hadid, “Gigi, I remember when she first started, I worked with her. And how things change… people grow and you grow with them.” “Like when you start out… when you’re an assistant, just knowing your place and… having that set etiquette and being nice, being polite, anticipating what the person needs before they actually say that they need it,” Oquendo advised. Oquendo believes, “We all get hung up on what we don’t have, but what we do have is drive. Use that drive.” He was nice to everyone on set and made sure he said good morning and goodnight. He continued,” [Also,] being kind to the models, bring them water, making sure they were ok. That makes such an impression.” Oquendo worked with both of the Hadid sisters in the beginning. Oquendo reminisced, “In the very beginning I did Bella’s Jalouse

Jalouse magazine cover with Bella Hadid

cover. And this is when she was Gigi Hadid’s little sister. She had under a million followers. It was all brand new for her and I was just really nice to her on set. And then we exchanged phone numbers. And then when she started doing red carpet stuff, she asked me to do it. And it was all so new for us. And then we just got to walk through that together.” That encounter initiated “a new chapter” to Oquendo’s career and “the most exciting and lucrative chapter yet.” His success came from “small kind acts” while he was on set.

 

Redway chimed in, “It’s about being nice [and] saying thank you. It doesn’t take anything out of us to say ‘thank you’ or ‘hello, good morning’.” Redway continued, “A lot of what I get my jobs from is yes, you have to be super talented, but people have to want to be around you.” Redway believed that “energy” and “what you can bring to the space” plays a huge role in getting hired. Traveling around the world can cause stress and sleep deprivation. “It’s about having a group of people around you that you really and enjoy and that are nice. And bring good energy and good feels to the room. It’s about the vibe,” Redway professed. “There could be someone just as talented as you but they’re gonna go with the person that’s nice,” Redway declared. 

“There could be someone just as talented as you but they’re gonna go with the person that’s nice,”

-Lacy Redway

 

When working on set, Redway states, “I have to make everybody in the room think I’m doing exactly what they want me to do but also do what is best for my client.” Redway explained, “It’s learning how to work that space in a seamless way where it’s not so obvious that you’re doing what you think is best.” When Redway is on set, she is the expert and there is no one else above her. She has to be able to communicate and not only make the vision come to life but do what is in the best interest of her client. 

“It’s learning how to work that space in a seamless way where it’s not so obvious that you’re doing what you think is best.”

-Lacy Redway

 

Ella Balinska’s makeup at the Met by Oquendo

Both Redway and Oquendo worked at the 2019 Met Gala. The interviewer complimented Redway on Tessa Thompson’s braid and Oquendo on Ella Balinska’s eyeliner. The interviewer asked, “What is it like working on an event like the Met Gala?”

Planning for the Gala can begin up to five months prior. After the theme is decided for the Gala the conference calls, dialogue exchanged between designers and stylist, mood boards, making the gowns, and the diets begin. Oquendo describes it as “a proper… political campaign.” The day of the Gala, the preparation can cause stress. “The celebrities are nervous and you have to sort of create an environment they feel good in,” Oquendo explained. Oquendo believes that makeup is a small portion of his duty: “Makeup is about 25% of my job, 25% is listening, and 50% is creating that environment in that moment and being receptive of my client’s needs.” All the preparation can go out of the window if something goes wrong. “I’ve had clients like have full-on mental break downs before they walk out the door and they start crying and everything starts melting,”

Zazie Beetz, Hair by Redway. Met Gala

Oquendo remembered. The success of an event is determined through the client’s emotional state. “As long as they feel like their best self when they walk out the door,” Oquendo commented. I learned that doing makeup or hair and leaving was not the beginning and the end to their jobs, they have to offer emotional support as well. “I think what Vincent is trying to say is that we’re therapist, doctors, we are lawyers, we are all that,” Redway laughed. It is easy to forget that celebrities are just regular people. “They’re human beings, they’re people, just like us, they get emotional just like us,” Redway empathized. 

“…we’re therapist, doctors, we are lawyers, we are all that,”

-Lacy Redway

 

Redway never chooses a hairstyle until she sees the dress. Redway designs the hair around the outfit. This year, Redway did Tessa Thompson, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Zazie Beetz.

Tracee Ellis Ross, Met Gala, Hair by Redway

Redway has an “army of assistants” to help her with these types of events. She assures, “I can’t do it alone.” Redway has agents and business managers that assist her also. She was able to keep all of her clients in hotels in close proximity to one another so she could easily move around. “I had one assistant helping me per girl so that I could shuffle between the hotel rooms,” she explained. Redway also does a hair test. The day before a big event like the Met, she will do a hair test to see how the hair looks in reality and in photographs. “The Met Gala is the Superbowl of fashion,” Redway described.

“The Met Gala is the Superbowl of fashion,”

-Lacy Redway

Redway’s favorite event is the Met Gala. Redway began doing editorial and then celebrities.“It’s where I get to like marry my editorial background with my red carpet sensibility,” Redway states the Met is her favorite because she is able to both of her specialties. For those like me who did not know the difference between an editorial shoot and a red carpet event, an editorial shoot is a photoshoot that goes into print and articles, while the red carpet is just styling a celebrity for an event. The Met Gala is normally considered both because the celebrities walk the carpet and their looks go in magazines.

Watch a video of Redway and Oquendo talking

The interviewer asked how they established themselves in the industry and what it is like having an agent. Both Redway and Oquendo are managed by the Wall Group. The Wall Group is owned by IMG and IMG is owned by Endeavor.

Tessa Thompson, Met Gala, Hair by Redway

“When we were young little babies, we thought having an agent was like opening the gates of heaven. It was like, ‘Now we made it. Now we get to sit back and cash checks,’’ Oquendo assured us that having an agent is not salvation.  “I got signed I was like ‘Ahhhhh’,” he mimicked a heavenly sound, “except, it wasn’t.” The agent can only do so much for their clients. Oquendo stated, “You have to work just as hard as your agent works.” The agent can help to get jobs but “you are your brand and never forget that”. Oquendo advises, “No matter how fabulous the agency is, [no one] is going to put in the work you need to put in yourself.” There can be one hundred people who are better than you, but “nothing compares to the work you put in”. “Showing up every day on time, early, being kind, not leaving until the job is actually done… being present,” are the things that will set you apart. Oquendo advises to stay away from your phone and to be as present as possible. “Be present,” he demanded. 

“No matter how fabulous the agency is, [no one] is going to put in the work you need to put in yourself.”

-Vincent Oquendo

Social media completely changed the fashion industry. When Redway and Oquendo were beginning their careers, there were only platforms like MySpace and Model Mayhem. Model Mayhem was a site similar to LinkedIn that created a space for people in the fashion industry to network. Redway made connections like Jamie Nelson on these social platforms whom she still works with today. Redway believes social media was a great tool then and it was not as diluted as it is now. Redway believes social media has been beneficial for her career: “Beyond having an agent, it allows me now to use my own voice and… advocate for diversity in the industry and reach people all over that we would have never reached before… So I’m able to share my gift with the world and also inspire people.” 

“Be present!”

Vincent Oquendo

 

Physical portfolios have become a thing of the past. The interviewer quoted that Devon Windsor looks at people’s Instagram before hiring them.  Redway agreed, “People go to your Instagram first, like when you’re being hired for a job, they don’t go to your portfolio first.” In the prehistoric days, one would need a 9 by 12 portfolio. In order to be booked, the agent would send the portfolio out to clients and they would choose based on the book. 

 

The world of creativity has evolved. Redway reiterated, “Now the industry has grown so much and there are so many people that it is a lot harder to stand out so you have to be really good and really nice.” 

 

Oquendo interrupted, “And take down all those thottie photos from your Instagram.” There was an uproar of laughter from the audience. 

 

Redway emphasized that it was important for the people at fashion camp to network with one another.

Redway taking a selfie with the Fashion Camp

“You guys are all here for a reason,” Redway professed. She used her and Oquendo as an example, “We came up together. I never would’ve dreamt I’d be sitting up on stage talking to you guys.” Redway is a Jamaican immigrant. She lived in a one-bedroom apartment with her parents and brother. “I’m getting chills just talking to you guys about it,” she reminisced on her life, “It’s really surreal to see how far hair could take me.” 

 

“It’s really surreal to see how far hair could take me.” 

-Lacy Redway

“I just came off a huge press tour, I was in like four or five countries in seven days. I was on private jets… It sounds lavish but I’m sleep deprived… but it’s also incredible… God really has me covered,” Redway reflected. Redway does believe divine intervention and connections had a lot to do with her success, but that only took her so far. “Nothing gets handed to you,” she added, “you really have to put in the work.” 

“God really has me covered”

-Lacy Redway

 

Redway, Oquendo, and Fashion Camp

The interviewer asked what the difference is between Youtubers doing makeup and being a full-time makeup artist. 

 

Youtube and social media are now a huge part of the Fashion industry. Redway stated, “If you don’t want to get left behind, you gotta learn how to adapt.” Trends are always changing and it is important to always be abreast of what is popular. Redway uses Youtube and social media to stay current on trends. People can easily succumb to the mindset of the old fashion world and get left behind. When it comes to, Youtubers Redway says, “they can teach you a thing or two,” and that she is “always learning.” Redway with decades under her belt in the hairstyling world, believes she has not learned everything. “Once you feel like you’ve learned everything, I feel like that’s when you kinda die,” she added.  In any industry, it is important to “evolve, and stay relevant.” Redway continued, “I do look at Youtube and I do respect what YouTubers do.”

“If you don’t want to get left behind, you gotta learn how to adapt.”

-Lacy Redway

 

“Evolve, and stay relevant.”

-Lacy Redway

Oquendo questions what exactly success means. He stated, “The ceiling keeps shattering and the work keeps opening up… the goal keeps changing.” Oquendo believes there is a huge difference in YouTubers, beauty influencers, and actual professionals. Oquendo confessed, “I think the responsibility falls on the viewer of knowing the difference.” Youtubers are not experienced makeup artist. Oquendo continued, “This person is specialized at doing make on themselves.” Oquendo highlights the difference, “This person may be amazing at doing makeup on their own face, but if you put someone else in front of them they might not be able to recreate those kinds of looks.” Oquendo has been a makeup artist for seventeen years. He claims he can fit any look to any face, skin tone, or feature and give a similar effect. “I could create a similar look so that you essentially could walk in the same runway show and fit it to your face and make you look the best in that look,” Oquendo clarified, “A beauty influencer is gonna make that look look amazing on themselves but they may not be able to adapt it to everybody else.” Oquendo respects influencers and their work, but he believes what they do is different. Oquendo shared a story of a brand hiring an influencer and then giving the influencer celebrities to work on. The influencer was not able to recreate the looks on the celebrities because they had only had experience using makeup on themselves. Oquendo advised, “If you want to be a hair person or a makeup person get a job at a makeup counter. Even if you do it one of two days a week.”

Sir John, Makeup Artist

Oquendo described working at the counter as “one of the best things I ever did.” Sir John, who does make up for Beyonce, Micheal Anthony who does make up for Katy Perry, and Oquendo all started off working at the same makeup counter. 

 

The other issue with hair and makeup is perception.

Micheal Anthony, Makeup Artist

Makeup and hair look different under varying lights and angles. The makeup and hair may have to be altered if the light or angle does not match. Certain looks on Youtube do not look right in the real world. Before a shoot begins, Oquendo makes his models test the light. He tests the light so fore he does makeup, he knows where the shadows fall. 

 

Oquendo believes, “A real talented artist is defined not by what they do, it’s what they don’t do” Oquendo quoted the late Coco Chanel, “Take off one thing before you go out the door.” Oquendo remembered when he was assisting Pat Mcgraph, “When I was doing these shows in Paris, sometimes Pat would have us do beautiful makeup. I remember at Prada one time we did this amazing makeup. Then she would say, ‘oh now take this greasy oily remover and take it off, smudge it,’ and that was the look. The look was the destroyed make up look.”  Oquendo was shocked by all his hard work being destroyed. 

“A real talented artist is defined not by what they do, it’s what they don’t do”

-Vincent Oquendo

Redway does the same thing with the hair. Sometimes she hides braids and pieces in the hair to make it look more full. 

The interviewer asked how do Oquendo and Redway feel about the shift of brands becoming more inclusive to all tones and textures and if there is still more progress that needs to be made?

“I personally believe there’s still a lot more work to be done,” Redway continued, “I can speak specifically as a woman of color working in the industry.” Redway is a woman of color and she still deals with racism. “There are still times where I feel challenged,” she stated. “I feel like I’m constantly proving myself,” Redway added. Redway feels like she does not get the same treatment as her peers: “Also getting the same, fair opportunities as my counterparts.” Redway feels lonely being one of the only black hairdressers at her level. She feels as if there needs to be more women of color who are able to reach her level. The fashion industry is oversaturated with white people, leaving little representation for minorities. Redway never wants to feel limited: “I don’t belong in a box, don’t put me in one.” Redway, as one of the very few successful minorities in her field, feels a great sense of responsibility. “I feel like I represent women of color,” she explained. Redway has a goal to not only represent women of color but to help them.“I’ve made it my goal to open doors for other women coming up after me… specifically women of color,” she continued, “diversity is something very important to me.” She also says, “I am willing to sacrifice relationships to communicate properly.” She has lost many friends and opportunities for using her platform and voicing her opinion on injustices. “I want to work with the people who enjoy me, and also want to stand with me and fight for the same things,” she professed. 

“I don’t belong in a box, don’t put me in one.”

-Lacy Redway

Both Redway and Oquendo are brand ambassadors. Oquendo is the ambassador for Maybelline. He made it very clear before partnering with them, that he would be using his platform to make a change. Recently, Oquendo piloted Maybelline’s first pride campaign. The people apart of the campaign are apart of the LGBTQ  community. In the campaign, they shared their coming out stories. Oquendo came out when he was thirteen and struggled not seeing representation. Eventually, he came to a point in his life where he realized he needed to stand up for what is right. “I’m going to do this whether it’s successful or not because I know it’s the right thing to do,” he stated. Oquendo was fully aware of the consequences of being himself. “This might be the end of my career, but at least I’m going down in a blaze of glory,” he laughed. Oquendo believes his job extends past being a makeup artist. “It’s bigger than makeup, it’s about making people feel like their most confident self in their own skin,” he explained, “We’re making people feel like their best selves.” Oquendo believes the makeup is not really important the most important part lies in “the power of listening to someone”. “You changed their life in that 45 minutes,” he described. 

“I’m going to do this whether it’s successful or not because I know it’s the right thing to do.”

-Vincent Oquendo

Redway added that life is about “making anybody who sits in your chair feel like the most important person… because they are.” Oquendo agreed, “Don’t be afraid to speak your truth.” Everyone has traits that make them unique. Oquendo continued, “All those things that set you apart, that you may question, are the things that make you special, that make you magic.” Oquendo dealt with accepting himself: “I didn’t need to be like that person, I needed to be me.” Eventually, Oquendo learned to appreciate himself: “I love the way I am. I love my weird laugh.” Oquendo dealt with people constantly criticizing him. He shared, “Even agents told me in the past, ‘be a little less you,’” he continued, “And I left them because that wasn’t right for me. I knew I had to be my true self.” 

“The power of listening to someone.”

-Vincent Oquendo

“All those things that set you apart, that you may question, are the things that make you special, that make you magic.”

-Vincent Oquendo

 

Redway enjoys the shift in the industry towards equality, but she hopes that brands are being honest. She began, “I love the way that the industry is going and that we’re being more diverse but I just want to also make sure it’s from an authentic place.” She believes, “It’s not trendy to include the LGBTQ community or to have more women of color on your covers or in your campaigns… it should be the way the world is because it reflects the world we live in. I feel like some brands are doing somethings because it’s what is of the moment.” She also emphasized on the new generation’s responsibility: “You guys are the future leaders and you guys are gonna change the world.” She wants us to “be authentic” and to “do what is right, not just because it’s going to sell.” Both reminded the audience to stay humble because “it could all be gone tomorrow.”

“I love the way that the industry is going and that we’re being more diverse but I just want to also make sure it’s from an authentic place.”

-Lacy Redway

Q & A

Sasha Yates asking a question

The question and answer portion began. One person asked how Redway and Oquendo deal with criticism and negativity. Redway believes that it is important to not internalize negative energy. “Don’t take that energy into your body. Keep your energy,” she explained. Also, they both believe the unfollow and blocking feature in social media is essential. If someone is being negative, block them. 

“Don’t take that energy into your body. Keep your energy,” 

-Lacy Redway

Another person asked how to be accepted in a world with unrealistic beauty standards. Redway replied, “Change beauty.” Redway believes we are the generation that is changing the world. Models like Ashley Graham and Winnie Harlow would have never existed if it was not for the industry shifting to being more inclusive. Both speakers also believe that “patience” and “finding your own voice” are important. 

“Change beauty.”

-Lacy Redway

Redway was asked to give hair styling tips. Redway swears by Nexus products. She believes Nexus works on all hair types. She loves Nexxus dry shampoo and believes it adds volume. We were all given a Nexxus shampoo and conditioner when we left the room for the next activity. Thanks, Lacy Redway and IMG. 

 

Redway was asked how red carpets and editorial shoots vary in difficulty. Redway believes editorial is easier because the environment is controlled. Also, editorial is two-dimensional. Redway can easily get away with having braids in the back of the hair that are holding the style together because all that is being photographed is the front. While on a red carpet, all angles of the hairstyle have to look good. On a red carpet, the hairstyle has to look good, but it also has to be durable. In a photo shoot, the hair could fall apart at any second, but it is ok because it can be quickly corrected. On a red carpet, the hair has to last the whole night. 

 

Oquendo advises us to not text or be on the phone when getting makeup or hair done. 

 

We took a break and left the room. Redway and Oquendo stayed and got ready to do Devon Windsor’s hair and makeup. We returned to the room. They decided to give Windsor a beach look. They continued answering questions.

Watch a video of Oquendo and Redway doing Windsor’s hair and makeup

Another person asked about scandals and how they should be dealt with. Redway worked on the set of a controversial Pepsi commercial. The commercial included Kendall Jenner being a protestor in a riot and ending the riot by giving the policemen a Pepsi. The commercial caused controversy because it conveyed the message that if a white supermodel led the Black Lives Matter movement with soda, then maybe the world would be a better place. Redway was seen in the background of the commercial and caught fire for being associated with the message. Redway was just there to do hair. Redway learned that she should ask more questions about her jobs before she commits to them. She was just there as a hairstylist, but she believes she should have been more aware of the storyline of the commercial. 

See the controversial Commerical 

Another person asked how to stay passionate about your profession even if you stop liking it. Oquendo responded that it is important to “adjust lenses” and “change directions”. It is important to take a step back and remember what made you love what you do. It is also important to give yourself a break and recalibrate. 

 

Someone asked how they find inspiration. Both Oquendo and Redway find inspiration in everything and there is “always a point of reference.” They believe inspiration is found in albums. They also believe it is important to look into what other people do and see what they reference. Redway thinks everyone should know iconic decades and have references from the past.

 

Redway added, “There is enough room for all of us in the industry.” She does not believe in cutting other people down to stay ahead. She believes there is enough room for everyone in the fashion industry and welcomes us all.

“There is enough room for all of us in the industry.”

-Lacy Redway

 

A letter to Vincent Oquendo & Lacy Redway,

 

Dear Vincent, 

I enjoyed hearing your story. You have a wonderful personality and are a joy to be around. You taught me that what I want is already mine if I work hard enough and believe in myself. 

 

 

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

 

 

Dear Lacy,

I enjoyed being around you. You truly made me feel special. I appreciate everything you do for women and how you carry yourself radiantly. One day, I hope to affect people in the way you affected me. 

 

 

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

My selfie with Lacy Redway

 

1st Day of Fashion Camp (PART 3)

Day 1 continues…

 

After Trey Laird and Akin Akman’s interview, we broke into our groups. Akman and Laird hovered around the room to give us help. We would be making a brand with our group over the week.

Laird and Akman came around to help the groups with our ideas.

Each group had a counselor in charge. My counselor’s name was Derek Walker. Walker is the assistant of Luis Mattos. Mattos is a manager at IMG. He works with models like Gigi and Bella Hadid. I will be posting an article about him in a couple of weeks. Walker was an extremely wonderful person that I grew very fond of over the week. Walker taught us about the fashion industry through his first-hand experiences.  I also thoroughly enjoyed my group. My group consisted of Olivia, Lauren, Sydney, Amelia, Lauren, Sienna, and Alisa to name a few. We were in charge of making a brand that would be presented on the last day. Lauren and I automatically thought inclusive and gender-neutral clothing. Olivia thought we should do leather jackets, I thought suits, and Derek thought dresses. We spent an hour trying to figure out the product and approach. Akman and Laird came around and helped us form our brands. 

(left to right) Luis Mattos and Derek Walker

I got to talk to Patrick Phillips. He was one of the videographers who was in charge of taking our pictures and videos. I talked to him about his experience and I showed him some rough edits of my film. We had a great talk and we were able to exchange contacts. Over the week, I got to learn about film through him.

 

 

 

Patrick Phillips, Videographer for IMG

An IMG school bus pulled up in front of the Field House. We went downstairs and got on the bus. We all had snacks from the snack bar. I got goldfish, gummi bears, and sour patch kids. We went to the beach. It was scorching and I was not getting my hair wet under any circumstances. Olivia, Lauren, Kayla, a couple of other girls, and I went to get ice cream. You cannot drink alcohol on the beach in Florida. I did not know that, but I thought it was a fun fact. It was so hot the sand burned my feet. Aylin, Keythlin, and I stood in the water. My ice cream began to melt all over my hands so I had to eat it fast. Everyone was taking pictures. We got back on the bus and went back to IMG. It was time for another day of slop, I mean dinner. 

Image-1

(left to right) Sienna, Kayla, Sasha, Aylin, and Keythlin at the beach

Aylin and I headed to our rooms before dinner to change out of our beach clothes.

Walking with Devon Windsor 

After we ate, it was time for us to go back to the field house to meet Devon Windsor. When she walked in, she alluded a striking presence. Her skin glowed and she towered over us. Windsor is almost six feet tall. Her hair was sleeked back into a neat bun. She was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved black shirt. Her shoes were boots with a tiny witch looking heels, a look she could only pull off. Jenni Rose interviewed Windsor. She sat on stage and began telling us about her humble beginnings. 

Devon Windsor, Model

Windsor described her younger self as, “Super not cute.” She continued, “I was very awkward for a long time.” 

 

She told us how she was scouted,” I was actually scouted at a bat mitzvah which is not glamorous at all.” A local photographer who also did high fashion photography and bat mitzvahs discovered young Windsor. She grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri. 

 

Windsor recounted the photographer’s words, “She was like, ‘Wow! You’re so skinny. Like here’s my card… And if it’s ok with your mom, I’d love to do a test shoot.”

 

Rose asked, “Were you already tall?”

 

Windsor responded, “Yeah, my whole life. Like I was always consistently taller than everybody… Always tall, always lanky.” Windsor described how she felt, “I was like oh my God. This is the coolest thing ever! Because I was not cool in high school. So I was like me?” 

Jeni Rose, IMG Model Scout Paris

Windsor did the shoot and then met with a local agency, West Models in Saint Louis Missouri. Windsor started sporadically doing jobs. “Two years later I signed with IMG in New York when I was sixteen. But I didn’t full-time model until I graduated high school because that was important to me,” she added.

 

Jeni Rose is the head of modeling scouting in Paris. “So we got you in Paris?” Rose interrupted. 

 

“Yes,” Windsor laughed.

 

Rose asked, “What was it like when you found out you landed the Victoria Secret show in 2013? Were you nervous? And is it really as exciting as it looks?” 

 

Windsor laughed, “Yes it is!” She reminisced exactly where she was when she found out, “I was in Zara and I was shopping. And my manager, at the time, called me. And I was like omg! I was nervous. Did I get a job? You never know when your manager calls you. Like are you flying immediately… [He] calls me and is like, ‘So I got the news from Victoria secret.’ I was like, ‘Yeah whatever.’ ‘Cause I never ever dreamed that I would ever get the show. It wasn’t even imaginable. He was like, ‘Yeah so you got it.’’ 

 

Rose interrupted, “Did you scream?”

 

“I did scream,” Windsor remembered. She was in the checkout line holding a scarf and yelled, “Oh my God.” She immediately “ditched the scarf” and called her mom. She described, “It was probably the best moment of my life. Finding out I got it and walking it were hands down probably the best moments of my life.”

 

Rose continued, “So tell me about the casting process for a show? How does it actually work? Like how do you get booked?”

 

Windsor responded, ”So, for Fashion Week, for instance, it’s a long process or it feels like a long process. You go to New York a week before the shows even begin and you just start meeting casting directors. Or you would meet the designer to meet the casting directors, who book the shows and you go in.  There’s like so many girls. Like unimaginable amounts of girls. All lined up. Like all in heels. All beautiful. And it’s super intimidating. You walk in, you wait. Sometimes I wait for hours at casting.” Windsor continued, “It’s not in and out. It’s hours waiting and then finally we walk in and there’s people in a room. And you kinda walk in and they’ll be like, here’s a dress. And you change into a little casting dress. And you walk out.” The casting directors may or may not ask you questions. “They may just tell you to walk and take pictures and you just pray to God,” Windsor added.

 

Rose interrupted, “Then you wait and you find out, you got booked.”

 

Windsor has walked in Prada, Chanel, Mcqueen, Dior, Tom Ford, Balmain, Celine, Versace, and many more. Rose stated, “One season you did 120 shows!” Rose continued, “Once you are cast in shows, you have an uncanny ability, which is what everyone says, to interpret the designer’s vision with the walk that you do.” Rose then asked Windsor to show us how to walk.

See Devon walking

Windsor started strutting around the room. She pretended like she was on a catwalk. She leaned back a little as she strutted. She showed different walks including her signature Victoria Secret walk. 

See me walking with Devon Windsor

A Note To Devon,

I had a ball walking with you and learning about your story. You are truly a vision and you’re so much more than just a model. You’re an inspiration.

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

My selfie with Devon Windsor

We all headed to the football field and walked beside her. She had a fun and light-hearted personality. I got a chance to compliment her on her outfit that was simple yet beautiful. We all swarmed her and got selfies. She took selfies with every single person. I thought that was amazing and showed a lot about her character. She came back the next day and Lacey Redway and Vincent Oquendo did her hair and makeup. I will be covering Redway and Oquendo Sunday! 

 

After Windsor left that Monday, later that night we had a welcome party at the huddle. The huddle is a place at IMG near the dorms with a pool, a basketball court, a soccer/football field, and ping pong tables. The huddle was where everyone hung out during their free time. It was the only time we had to really get to know all the athletes. The first day, I really did not meet many athletes. I just hung with the fashion girls. When I got to my dorm, I crashed. My roommate Aylin and I were trying to figure out whether or not to go to Akin Akman’s workout in the morning. The workout was early at 8:30 am.

Day 2 begins…

 

I woke up and put on my leopard one piece and my red lipstick. I headed to the huddle and we waited for the workout to begin. Everyone grabbed a Gatorade white towel to lay on. Akman’s parents were in the front leading the workout with several other instructors. Laird stayed in the back and worked out behind us. The sun was shining directly on us. Akman began instructing us but it was so hot. We were doing basic cardio. The workouts were basic but the speed was not. The sun did not help. Girls quickly started to turn red and sweat bullets. Akman would come over and yell at us if we started slacking. He encouraged us, “Get water if you need to.” I got water. I was about to die but I was determined to stick through it. I started with Kayla on my left and Keythlin on my right. Kayla and I got back up and got water again.  I saw some girls worn out sitting in the shade crowded by adults. 

Akin Akman training us at the Huddle

I heard one woman say, “We can get you a nurse if we need to.” There were girls hyperventilating and passing out. There was a mini Johns Hopkins on campus. I walked back to my towel in horror and kept going. Akman showed us altered versions of workouts if we were not ready to do the extreme version. For example, he let us do push-ups with our knees on the ground if we wanted. As you suspected, my knees were on the ground. I looked to my right, Keythlin was gone. She left! Kayla was still on my left trying to keep up. After a while, I looked over, and she was gone too. They were both sitting in the shade with the adults trying to cling to life. A woman trainer kept coming over to help me because I would barely see the instructors. After a while, they looked like ants and I could not figure out what they were doing. Every time I heard Akman’s voice getting closer I would do the workout perfectly. When he left, I would collapse on the ground. The workout was not even that hard! It was the sun! The Florida sun was hell. Akman kept encouraging us and eventually he got fed up with people quitting and said, “This workout is all about your willpower. You have to at least try. All of you are asking for internships but you can’t even show me you have the willpower to stick out the work out.” After that, I kept trying, but eventually, there was not that many of us as there was before. Most people were in the shade in between life and death. 

Watch us working out

I came out alive in the end. We huddled together and I got to give Akman’s mom a hug. I also took a picture with Akman.

My picture with Akman

Laird stuck through the whole workout and did not break a sweat. I told him thank you and then I walked back to my dorm to get in the shower. I got ready for the next speakers. 

Sunday I will be sharing my experience with Lacey Redway and Vincent Oquendo

1st Day of Fashion Camp (PART 2)

Later that day we came back to the Field House. We were told to dress in swimwear because we would be taking a trip to the beach later. 

Fitness & Fashion

Trey Laird & Akin Akman 

Trey Laird is a creative director that brands hire to revamp their image.

Akin Akman graduated from the IMG boarding school, which is where the camp was located. Akman is now the number one SoulCycle instructor in America. SoulCycle is a trendy indoor cycling class. 

Ivan Bart interviewed both Trey Laird and Akin Akman. Bart interviewed Laird alone first. The interview began with Bart describing Laird as a celebrity that he had always admired. Bart said it was a privilege to interview Laird. Bart began the interview by asking Laird, “Like How did you get started? Where did you begin? Where are you from?”

Akin Akman and Trey Laird

Laird answered, “I grew up in Texas. You’re going to hear that probably… it comes in and out.” Laird said he knew nothing about fashion, advertising, or branding. Laird continued, “I went to school in Austin, University of Texas.” After Laird graduated he said, “I moved to New York. I was always fascinated with New York. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do something there.” He moved to New York three days after he graduated. 

 

Bart asked, “What did you study?”

 

Laird responded, “I got a business degree in marketing and a minor in art history.” 

 

Bart noted, “Isn’t that amazing though? You set out your intentions, and then he ends up having a career that marries the marketing side and the artistic side.”

 

 Laird responded, “I know, I didn’t realize it at the time…”

 

I noticed Bart kept placing importance on setting one’s intentions and making them a reality. I believe you should set your intentions and then go after what you want. That seems like the continuity between most successful people. 

 

 Bart continued, “Currently you will recognize some of Trey’s work in the advertising campaigns of Tommy Hilfiger, Karl Lagerfeld, Tiffany’s. ” Bart noted, “That Tiffany’s Ad was pretty extraordinary… How did that all come about?”

 

Laird explained the new generation’s experience with Tiffany’s: “Well, Tiffany’s, we’d been working with for the last couple of years. And you all know Tiffany’s. You’ve probably gotten a graduation gift from there or something like that. The blue box. But I don’t know the last time you went in and bought jewelry for yourself. Right? It’s probably like your mom gave you a charm or something like that. So they really wanted to reintroduce it to your generation and make sure it’s relevant and not that you just admired it and were aware of it, but that you engaged with it.” Laird’s task was to extend the market of consumers from older people to the new generation. “I use the word relevance a lot because if you’re not relevant, you’re dead,” Laird laughed. Laird’s profession is centered around keeping brands relevant. Laird’s first steps were to find what was so magical about Tiffany’s. Laird decided that the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s would be a gateway to bring the old and the new generations together. Laird described the movie as, “[something] which obviously many of you know about and love.” 

For those who are unfamiliar with the film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it is based on the book by Truman Capote published in 1958. The movie is about an expensive escort named Holly who befriends her new neighbor. The neighbor is a man who is in a relationship with a wealthy woman who takes care of him. He aspires to be a writer.

The movie’s name comes from the main character, Holly. Whenever she gets down, she dresses up, buys breakfast, a scone or a croissant with coffee, and eats it in front of the Tiffany’s store in New York. She eats her breakfast while window shopping on the sidewalk. The movie is quite odd, but it is a classic. 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s the Film

Laird’s first approach was to use the movie as a marketing tool: “The brand had never done anything with that, but it was the most famous thing in their DNA. So we reimaged Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Laird described apart in the film where Holly window shops in her fancy clothes while she eats her breakfast: “I thought ok well what if there was a new Holly Golightly. So I cast Elle Fanning as Holly Golightly. [I] thought ok maybe she doesn’t wear a black dress, maybe she wears a hoodie. We still gave her a little tiara, but she had her coffee cup. And it was just this fantasy about what if New York City turned blue and came to life and showed you all those dreams came true.” 

Watch the commercial 

The next version, Zoe Kravitz was cast as Alice in Alice in Wonderland. She falls down a rabbit hole and lands at a tea party with jewels. Naomi Campbell is the mad hatter. 

Watch the commercial 

Bart described Laird’s profession as a creative director: “When brands are thinking about… what they want, they will go to Trey and Trey will help realize that…” Next, Bart asked how Laird defines himself as a creative director.

 

“It’s about having a point of view. And I think that’s something each of you have to figure out. What’s your point of view? What do you believe in? What do you stand for?” He continued, “…I’m always attracted to people that have a point of view. Um, I never respond to people that (say), ‘Mmm, I don’t know. Whatever.’ You know like, ‘what do you think’?” Laird believes, “…it doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with your point of view, but you have to have one.” Laird continued, “People hire me and my team for our point of view and [to] try and help them find theirs.” Laird described a creative director as the following: someone who does advertising, marketing, branding, product development, and intellectual property development. He says it is about “Taking that taste, that point of view, that decision, an idea and being able to fly it to any touchpoint.”

 

Bart reminisced, “Turning the clock back, someone with a point of view, Donna Karan.” 

 

Laird laughed, “Yeah, Donna has a point of view” 

 

Bart continued, “I don’t know if many of you know who Donna Karan is but [she] will go down as one of the greatest American designers and especially for women.”

 

Laird described him and Karan’s first campaign, “She had two brands at the time. You guys are probably not going to remember this you’re super young. This is super depressing,” Laird laughed, “Anyways there was two brands. There was Donna Karan Brand and DKNY. You’re probably more familiar with DKNY,” In the early 90’s, the campaign imagined a woman being elected president of the United States. Laird added hopefully, “Which has almost happened, not yet, but it will soon.” The campaign was called, “In Women We Trust”. Laird stated, “At that time she was the most famous fashion designer that was a woman and [thought it was] very important to represent women in a powerful way.” Laird described Karan as, “ …very much ahead of her time.”  

 

“In Women We Trust” Campaign

 

Laird talked about Rosemary in the grove with the hand on the vital shot by Peter Whimper. Laird and Bart laughed as they remembered it. Laird described Whimper as his fashion dad. (I tried to look up what they were talking about but I have not clue. If anyone does please let me know)

 

Laird reminisced on what we know today as the movie Zoo Lander: “Zoo lander was actually a spoof that was based on…the most famous male model at the time I found… [a] Dutch guy… named Mark Vanderloo. He was nothing at all like Zoolander who is an idiot. Mark was great.” 

 

Bart remembered representing Esther Cañadas an IMG model. Vanderloo and Cañadas fell in love on set and got married. Bart described the duo as, “Art imitating life or life imitating art”.

 

Laird added, “I’ve had a few of those” Bart and Laird shared a laugh. The two divorced a couple years later. So much for life imitating art. 

 

One of Bart’s mantras is “Through fashion imagery, we can affect social change.” Bart believes that the Donna Karan campaign with a woman as president manifested the idea of a woman actually being president. Like Bart told Cowan in the interview earlier that day, he told Laird to, “Keep doing what you’re doing” 

 

Laird responded with a laugh adding, “I’ve got more up my sleeve” 

 

The next question Bart asked was when Laird gets a new brand, how does Laird guide them if they may not know what they want. Laird responded by saying every brand has different needs. The brand may have business goals they are trying to solve for, some people don’t know they just want it to look better, some are dealing with business problems and their sales are down, and others are trying to introduce to a new market. Laird gave the example of Gigi Hadid, a famous supermodel: “A lot of people think ‘Tommy just hired Gigi to be… a fun model…’ it didn’t happen at all that way.” Laird met Hadid on a Tom Ford set and he was introduced to her by Karim. Laird met Hadid early in her career, about four or five years prior. He stated, “There was something different about her.” Laird described Hadid as, “Incredibly professional, an amazing person, totally present, really focused, smart, but also fun, a little bit goofy in the best way.” Five years later, Hilfiger is one of Laird’s best clients. Hilfiger had been a brand that appealed mostly to men and Laird was in charge of extending the market to women.  Laird stated, “Their business is almost 75% men. It always struggled kind of connecting with women… But they wanted to double or triple their women’s business over the next couple of years.” 

 

Laird’s solution was, “I don’t think you can. I think it’s impossible. And I know it wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear but that was the truth.” He told them, ”As wonderful as Tommy is… I just don’t think a millennial young woman is going to connect with that brand. I think we need something more.” Laird continued, “Instead of just hiring Gigi or somebody else to be a model in a campaign what if we actually had her be the company and be the brand and embody that and really take the spirit of Tommy which is always about American classic but serving it up to the world in a new way.” Laird defended why he chose Hadid: “Gigi to me, in my mind, like a new American classic girl. She’s from California, classic California blonde girl, grew up there, but her last name’s Hadid, her father’s Palestinean she has this global citizen side to her as well. To me, she sort of like was a modern American girl.” Laird worked with Bart and Luis Mattos, Hadid’s manager: “And she was up for it we talked to her about it with you and your team and Luis… and we decided to do this which at the time was very risky to kind of turn over the keys to this big multi-billion dollar global brand to an 18-year-old girl from California.”

Gigi Hadid & Tommy Hilfiger

Bart characterized Hadid, “She was a great partner because she was very involved.” He continued, “Every time we did a fashion show she was sitting in on the casting she wanted to make sure that those models were very diverse…”

 

Laird agreed, “She represents her generation in the best way. She’s on it and thoughtful and considerate and she has a point of view.”

 

Bart continued,“Let’s take a look at your other quite notable work.”

 

A video began to play called a reel, with campaigns Laird had been apart of including Beyonce’s Heat fragrance, Tommy Hilfiger campaigns, Tiffany’s commercials, and so much more.

 

After the video, Bart exclaimed, “Wow…” Bart and Laird had both grown together in the fashion industry and worked on many projects.

 

Laird looked over at Bart and responded,  “You’ve been here the whole time.” 

 

Bart laughed, “I tried” 

 

Laird and Bart smiled like old friends. 

 

Bart continued, “Tell us about the Tom Ford Dance line with Lady Gaga”

 

Laird reflected, “A lot of these things you know, in retrospect, people think just happen. But they usually happen for a very specific reason,” Laird continued, “Tom Ford which you may or may not know, also does movies. He directed his second film a few years ago called Nocturnal Animals. He was on set for about six months doing that movie so he couldn’t do a fashion show in Paris. So it became this whole thing. ‘What do we do? How can we not do a whole show? We’re gonna miss a whole season of press.’” Laird found a solution: “So we decided there are all these people live-streaming their shows… so we thought what if we not just do a show, we just do a live stream show.” Laird made history: “That was the first fully digital show that happened for a major global designer four years ago.” Laird described the show, “There was that old show Soul Train… it sort of had lines and people. And the people would go down and do the dance… we had to show 40 looks of fashion. If we could come up with a way that was entertaining… but we also needed something else.” Laird asked Lady Gaga to come to do an original song which sealed the idea of a live show. “The incredible director (Sam) McKnight did it!” he exclaimed.

 

Bart’s next topic introduced Laird’s partnership with Lane Bryant. Bart stated, “That campaign launched so many careers. It gave a great platform for someone like Ashley Graham and a lot of curve models. But it also shaped the way we saw women and saw bodies and what size is beauty… Tell us about that campaign.” 

 

Laird believes he has to approach any category with “the same standard”. Laird referred to him and Akin Akman’s mantra of “ a higher standard”. Laird believes no matter what brand he is working for he has to think, “How can you make it the best?”. He said that it always irritated him that “whenever we were approached to do anything that was sort of in a plus size range it immediately became sort of a catalog kinda thing.”

 

Laird quoted Ashley Graham, that she always tells the story that before the Lane Bryant shoot, the shoots would consist of, “her hailing a cab, or having a coffee in a cab and all of a sudden we had her black and white.” 

 

Bart interrupted, “…and naked…”

 

Laird responded, “Why not? I mean if it’s done in the right way…”

 

Bart asked Laird what he has been doing to keep his physique. 

 

Laird smiled at the compliment.

 

Bart exclaimed, “You look amazing!” he continued, “You obviously you ended up at Soulcycle.”

 

Laird began telling the story of his journey to SoulCycle: “I started going to soul cycle 8 or so years ago… and liked it cause I was never someone who liked to run. I hated the treadmill. I think it’s horrible, I still do, I can’t stand it.” Laird described SoulCycle was more centered around cardio and he enjoyed that more. “About two years later my sister took me to a SoulCycle class.” He stated, “That was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. In about 30 seconds I knew it was something totally different. It was the class of the guy you’re about to meet named Akin Akman.”

I looked over and saw Akman was standing on the wall across the room eager to be interviewed next.

Laird continued, “In seconds I thought, what the fuck is this. Like omg, it’s like insane.” He corrected himself, “I shouldn’t say that, but that’s what I thought if I’m being honest.” Everyone laughed. That day started Laird’s partnership with SoulCycle, he started to form the brand into more of a fashion perspective. His angle was to change it from just being a class to being a mind, body, and soul experience. Laird described Akman as his “inspiration”. “It was my own personal sort of physical transformation. Now, it’s just a huge part of my life and it just is. It’s not something that is ever going to change,” Laird commented.

 

Bart brought Donna Karan up again: “If we could’ve Donna Karan now, the president, it would be more moving more social. It was in Vogue. It was in magazines. It was like an 8-page spread which was pretty incredible watching this woman reach the highest office in the land… how has your job changed in the world of moving imagery and communications through social methods?” 

 

“In some ways, it hasn’t changed. It’s just the mediums have changed. You still need great ideas,” Laird answered.“ In other ways, though it’s completely different. I think it’s also about speed and I think content is key and it’s like a beast. Every day, we see something on our phone and it’s over and it’s the next thing,” Laird continued. 

 

“Speed and engagement,” Laird described as becoming real issues. He believes social media presents so many distractions. 

 

Laird answered, “It was funny with the whole phone thing I was really down about it a few years ago. At first, I couldn’t get my head around it. And I thought it was really depressing that all this work that we do boiled down to somebody looking at their phone. But then if you change your mind and you’ll get in a different perspective, you can go okay well how can I be inspired by this. And so for me it became a challenge. Like ok if the whole world is going to look at everything on their phone, how can I do something that makes that the best it can be and make a lot of people want to have it on their phone.” Laird advised, “How you approach something and how you choose to look at it really defines the way you can navigate it.” 

“How you approach something and how you choose to look at it really defines the way you can navigate it.”

-Trey Laird

 

Bart continued to name all the jobs that are important to bring a campaign to life: ”A photographer, the talent, the makeup artist, there is always a manicurist on set (fun fact most people do not know that) and sometimes even a choreographer. What’s it like to be around all these creatives and is there any part of the creative that stands out during the shoot?”

 

“Team work,” Laird responded, “It’s like a team and everybody’s got a role.” 

“Team work.”

-Trey Laird

“Whether it’s a fashion shoot or a baseball team everyone has got a role,” Laird advised, “If the team doesn’t work together, it doesn’t matter.” Laird believes that everyone is equally important on a team. 

“If the team doesn’t work together, it doesn’t matter.”

-Trey Laird

“My role is to not only assemble this great team, but I have to inspire them and make sure they stay focused,” Laird clarified.

 

Bart added, “Be nice to everybody. You never know, as you move through fashion, you meet them again, and they remember if you were mean or if you were nice. And That could also determine whether you got the job or not.” 

“Be nice to everybody.”

-Ivan Bart

Bart commanded, “Even if you’re not in a good mood, get in one.”

“Even if you’re not in a good mood, get in one.”

-Ivan Bart

 

Laird reminisced on getting Chinese food with his colleges the night before and they all had fortune cookies. One cookie said, “Courtesy goes a long way.” 

 

Laird added when he meets someone on set “if they’re not nice and they have a bad attitude, they don’t get asked back.” 

Pat Mcgrath, Famous Makeup Artist

Laird admired Gigi Hadid’s ability to always treat everyone on set kindly. After the shoot is over, Hadid thanks everyone. Laird added, “Whether you’re the assistant behind the computer or Pat Mcgrath… she immediately goes and thanks everybody and gives everybody a big hug.” Laird said Lewis Hamilton, a famous athlete, does the exact same thing. 

Lewis Hamilton, Race Car Driver

Akman started approaching the stage. Bart introduced Akman as a former boarding school student at IMG. They played Akman’s reel.  Now Bart, Laird, and Akman were on the stage together. Akman and Laird sat the exact same, crossing their legs. They also had on the exact same outfit. Their shirts were black with a logo that said team under it. Akman is a SoulCycle instructor and trains people to reach their athletic potential. Akman is also a model.

 

 

 

 

IMG_Fashion_Camp_Day_1_39.JPG

Akman and Laird at Fashion Camp

“When you’re doing your SoulCycle. How many classes a day would you do?” was Bart’s first question.

 

Akman responded, “I do around six or seven classes a day.” 

 

Bart in shock responded, “So how do you eat?” The audience laughed. 

 

Akman eats all the time, between classes, during class, and relies on snacks.

 

Akman described his normal day as waking up at five AM and going to teach around six or seven AM. He eats a protein bar sometime around those hours. Before his 10:30 class, he lifts and eats breakfast. After his his 10:30 class, he eats again. He then takes his brother’s class at 10:30. Then he goes into the office and does some work to further his brand. Lastly, he has two classes at night. He eats again. He goes to sleep around 11:00 PM. 

 

Bart then asked if Akman has a social life. Akman does go out sometimes, but he “usually watches movies or something.” He has more time for leisure on the weekends when his classes are only in the mornings. 

 

Bart asked how Laird and Akman began developing a brand together. Laird recapped from earlier in the article that they met when Laird’s sister dragged him to a SoulCycle class. Akman was the instructor and him and Laird became friends after class. Laird was working on a campaign for Tommy Hilfiger. Rafael Nadal, a famous tennis player, was the talent for the ad. During the meeting, Hilfiger’s team was looking for another model and their description reminded Laird of Akman. Laird immediately suggested Akman, who by that time had become his good friend. They worked on the campaign together.

 

After the campaign, Akman sought help from Laird to build his brand. Akman said it was not easy to get Laird to work with him: “I had to convince him.” Akman wanted to focus on sports medicine and graphic design. Akman had a rough time figuring out his logo and where to start. Akman would ask Laird, “Hey can I borrow your Illustrator and Photoshop? Can I come to your office and you show me some ideas of what you would think it should look like.”

 

Laird and Akin now have a brand together called Army. Army basically is a workout class. 

 

Bart inquired on where the name came from.

 

Akman responded it was his fans: “They said, ‘hey call us army.’.” Akman said Army originated from his love of exercise and training people and eventually it evolved. He added, “As people asked for things, I started listening to what they wanted.”

 

Akman is still in the development stage of his company. Bart asked Akman to give a brief summary of what Army is.

 

Akman said Army is inspired by IMG Academy training from the time he spent at IMG’s boarding school. Akman believes that nowadays everyone wants to train like pro athletes. Akman wanted to answer the question of how everyone could train like a pro athlete in a productive way for them individually. “Prehab, Rehab… nutrition, clothing,” Akman said were items that would be focused on in Army training. 

 

When Akman and Laird would work on the brand, Akman would always relate his training to IMG. Akman would say, “Well when we were at IMG, we would do it this way.” Eventually, Akman and Laird visited IMG in November. Laird had a first-hand experience of how Akman wanted to model his brand, Army, off of IMG training. After visiting IMG, Laird had a greater understanding of the conditioning required to be a great athlete. Akman wanted to find a way to apply IMG’s training to a mom, a lawyer, or anyone. 

 

Akman stated, “It’s a mindset.” At IMG mental and physical conditioning are separate. Later that week, we sat in an IMG mental conditioning class that I will be writing about in upcoming posts. For mental conditioning, athletes sit in a room and a coach tells them how to think in order to be successful. The coach also goes over the reasoning why an athlete performed good or bad and how they can perform better next time. Akman explained what is different about his class: “While I’m training, you’re doing the workout but you’re applying the action while you’re doing it. So it’s becoming your habits and rituals.” Akman continued, “You try to get people to see your point of view and where it could go. I’m trying to make people see their own potential and unlock that as they level up.” Akman dealt with his vision when he was growing up at IMG and he had to keep growing to understand himself more. Akman trained at IMG since he was five to be a famous tennis player, but after an injury, he could no longer play. He had to shift his vision from being a tennis player to becoming a trainer. 

 

When asked on how Laird and Akman make such a great team, Akman responded: “We’re pretty much on the same frequency…we complement one another… we divide and conquer.”

 

Laird said, “We come from the same drive…It’s different background, but it’s the same approach.” Laird and Akman claim to not argue much because they have similar mindsets. Laird complimented Akman, “When you’re job is to inspire all these people on a daily basis… sometimes it’s nice to find someone that inspires you. The coach needs coaching sometimes.”

“The coach needs coaching sometimes.”

-Trey Laird

 

Bart asked how fashion ties into the athletics. Akman responded he got recruited to model in Miami. He was sent to Milan and then back to New York where he is now. Akman hates the casting process required to be a model. He wanted to figure out a way he could incorporate his love for training into modeling so that he could run the casting calls instead of attending them. He began to build his brand on exclusively training. Akman did not want to just be a model. He used his platform as a model to leverage relationships with people like Trey Laird. Eventually, IMG became his representative. IMG books Akman for jobs that align more with his mission instead of just modeling jobs. Akman coaches people from the fashion world too. One of his greatest issues with his fashion clients is consistency. One of Akman’s clients is Edward Enninful, editor and chief of British Vogue. He lives in London but when he comes to New York, he dedicates himself fully. Then Enninful goes back home. Akman says he has many clients who are inconsistent. He says when they return they get frustrated when they cannot pick up where they left off. 

Edward Enninful, Editor and Cheif of British Vogue

Bart asked Laird and Akman for advice for young creatives.

“Stay open,”

-Akin Akman

Akman stated, “Stay open,” he continued, “If it’s not going exactly how you planned it, try to see it in a different… perspective.” Lastly, Akman added, “Don’t just play the game, be the game-changer.”

“Don’t just play the game, be the game-changer.”

-Akin Akman

Q & A

I asked Akman and Laird how they stay humble. Akman responded, “Don’t forget who you are and where you come from”

“Don’t forget who you are and where you come from”

-Akin Akman

 

 

A Note to Trey Laird and Akin Akman

I really enjoyed talking to you both! My sister loves SoulCycle so hearing more about it made me understand why she likes it so much. I enjoyed working out with you both the next day too! I almost died but it was worth it! I stuck it out all the way through and I was proud of myself. Lol. I hope to bring my sister with me to take one of your classes in Soho! I also hope to work with both of you one day! Go Team! Army for life.

XOXO

Sasha C. Yates

Wednesday @ 9:30 am I will be talking about the end of Day 1. The beach, meeting Devon Windsor, and working out the next morning with Akman. 

1st Day of Fashion Camp (PART 1)

How I Got to Camp…

I was having a really bad week, to say the least. I was directing my film Swerve, and everything was falling apart. I could not find my lead actress and I was running out of time. There was a woman at my job, where I was creating my film, who had a personal vendetta against me and would constantly cut me down at every chance she got. I ended up getting transferred, against my will, to another worksite. 

 

 I was sitting in my room crying again. I had to scrape myself off the floor to go to work the next day and start getting ready to film. While I was chilling at work, I received a notification, “Gigi Hadid would like to send you a message”. I automatically thought it was spam. I saw her page, she had over 40 million followers and a blue verification checkmark. I tapped on her story, there she was. She said my name, “The Harlem’s Fashion Row Scholarship recipient is SASHA YATES! I can’t wait to meet you!” 

See the videos of me getting into fashion camp

Wait, did Gigi Hadid just say my name? I was going to an over 2,000 dollar fashion camp in Florida. I started screaming uncontrollably and I called my mom. Then I called all my friends. My Instagram went crazy and I got 20 k views in a day. The next thing I knew I was planning on what I would wear and how I would carry myself while I was there. My outfits had to be perfect.

 

The week before I was flying out, I shot my film. I found my lead actress and we shot for 5 days straight.

IMG_0727

Day 3 of Filming

 

I was exhausted on Saturday night planning my outfits. I honestly thought my bag was going to go over the 50-pound weight limit. 

 

Sunday, June 23rd

 

I put it on the scale. It was so early in the morning at the Memphis airport. My bag was exactly 50 pounds. My mom laughed, “You’re so lucky!”. I got on the plane and landed in Tampa. I pulled up to IMG in Bradenton, Florida. It was such a random place. IMG was beautiful with the palm trees.

See the videos of me arriving to IMG

The first person I met was Jibran, who had been my travel coordinator. There was so much chaos. I didn’t know that IMG was for sports and that I would be coming to a sports camp. There were hundreds of people running around in jerseys with basketballs. I went to my dorm where I met my roommate. She was from LA. Her name was Aylin. We went to the cafeteria and I saw a girl sitting by herself. I welcomed her to sit with us. She told us she was from Panama and her name was Keythlin. 

 

We went to the first meeting which was with Jeni Rose and David Cunningham. They are the modeling scouts for IMG. The meeting was in the field house that was across the campus. It was about a mile walk. IMG stands for International Management Group. Rose is based in Paris and runs IMG’s agency there. Cunningham runs the agency in New York. Cunningham is the founder of the fashion camp and 2019 was its third consecutive year. They told us who we would be meeting throughout the week and then we were released for dorm orientation. 

 

We stood in the lobby of the dorm. There were fashion and sports girls. A lady came out and told us that there was a dress code at IMG. She said, “I only want to see 2 cheeks and those are the ones on your face, and no crop tops!” She added, “Oh and no thong bikinis at the pool and you have to wear a cover-up when you exit the pool. There are so many different religions and beliefs at IMG that we want to be respectful.”

 

A girl stated, “Well there goes all my outfits for the week.” I was so annoyed. Why is there a dress code at fashion camp? They should have told me this before I packed. Nobody abided by the rules throughout the week. Everyone still wore their crop tops and booty shorts. 

Monday, June 24th

Christian Cowan and the American Dream

IMG_Fashion_Camp_Day_1_14

Cowan and my wonderful group

The first speaker we had was Christian Cowan. Every day we waited until they opened the doors to the room. People sat in long lines trying to get good seats. I wore a green sequin jumpsuit. It was inspired by his Powerpuff girl collection. The main colors used were green, pink, and blue representing the characters. His collection included sequins and feathers so I thought the jumpsuit was befitting. Ivan Bart, the president of IMG models interviewed Cowan. Cowan was wearing an all-black outfit from head to toe. His last name is pronounced COWan, not COan. Like moo moo, I’m a cow. I did not know that until he was introduced.

 

It’s not about looking good for other people, it’s about looking good for yourself.” 

-Christian Cowan

 

The interview began with Bart introducing Cowan as a person who was raised during the age of the internet. Bart asked Cowan about a quote. Cowan stated previously, “If I wouldn’t click on it, there’s no point in making it.” Cowan agreed with his statement and said he had centered his career around the internet. Cowan stated how he grew up around the internet and TV.  His career had been affected by the influence of both.

Bart continued to discuss that the internet is an easy outlet to determine the consumers’ reactions to products. Bart asked, “Do you find yourself, like when you design things, like looking at what the feedback is?”

Cowan responded, “Completely, so when I started designing I looked at what things did the best online, what things resonated with people.” Cowan believes, “…the internet is kind of everything…” In Cowan’s day in age, he never had to wait for publication to determine the success of his work, he could use the internet at his own will. He goes off of what makes people smile and laugh and that determines whether or not he is on the right track.

 

Bart asked next, “You’re a self-proclaimed feminist and you’re designing for the modern woman. Tell me who that is.”

 

Cowan answered, “The modern woman is someone who owns whoever she wants to be.” Cowan reminisced on his childhood and stated that he was raised around women who were powerful and owned and accepted every part of themselves unapologetically. Cowan stated, “It’s not about looking good for other people, it’s about looking good for yourself.” Cowan believes the modern woman should focus on herself and stop being a doormat for patriarchy and I love that about him. He continued to describe his mother as, “A super fabulous, Spanish lady.” He painted her as being a force to be reckoned with and that she makes whatever she wants to happen, happen. When he described his mother, it reminded me of mine. His mother is the inspiration for his work. 

 

The modern woman is someone who owns whoever she wants to be.

-Christian Cowan

 

Bart questioned Cowan on his decision of attending Central Saint Martins, a prestigious fashion school in London, England. Cowan went because “…all of my icons went there.” His icons include Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. It was the only school he applied to. He did something unique with his application. He got a tin can and put all of his paperwork in a spiral that rolled out and inside was a big fold-out paper. He described it as, “cheesy and lame,” but I thought it was brilliant. That uniqueness and creativity landed him in the university. He was under the misconception that the university would give him all the tools to become a designer, but he quickly learned that he would have to figure that out on his own. Like anything, he stated the university had its challenges he had to overcome. He stated, “You’ve got to make it happen yourself.” This resonated with me because it was true. Whatever it is in life, whether it be fashion or film, you have to do it for you. 

You’ve got to make it happen yourself.”

-Christian Cowan

 

Bart alludes to the attention from celebrities like Cardi B and Lady Gaga Cowan got before he graduated college and how unusual that is for young designers. Cowan describes himself as, “an impatient person,” he stated that he almost got kicked out of the university several times for this trait. Cowan came from a world completely opposite from fashion so he desperately scrambled for the knowledge he had been deprived of. He got started by looking through magazines and combing through the internet, specifically, Instagram to find people in the industry. Cowan Dm’d stylists in search of a part of the action. Cowan began reaching out to a plethora of people and he still did not even know how to make clothes. But he knew what he wanted. Without a sewing machine, he glued together his outfits and put together what he described as, “a makeshift presentation”. His friends gathered and became his models and help. They helped him create a photoshoot that grabbed the attention of a famous drag queen in London named Dinah Lux.

Dinah Lux, an Incredible Drag Queen

She was friends with a UK magazine editor who Instagrammed some of the looks. Lady Gaga saw the look and he got a dm from her team two days later and then a week later she was wearing it. Bart asked where she wore the outfit to and Cowan did not know. He was invited by Gaga’s team to come to parties and events to meet her but he was in London studying and his education meant more to him. He was doing coursework. He wanted to learn everything he could then dive into the fashion industry. Bart inquired on how the outfit got to Gaga and Cowan said that her team sent him the FedEx details. Cowan did not have a box big enough to fit the hat so he just tapped boxes together. 

Cowan designed for Lady Gaga

Cowan transitioned from being in school full time to completing school and setting sights on America. Bart inquired Cowan on why he came to America. Cowan stated that American is one of the largest markets for fashion. He added that Asia is an equally large market for fashion, but he does not know the languages. Cowan believes London is congested with budding designers and New York was the place to be for him to stand out. Cowan described New York as the place for commercial designers and London as a place for young people. Cowan told his mom when he graduated, “I’m going to New York.” It seemed like his dreams of moving to New York were manifested through his dialogue with his mother. Bart asked if Cowan had ever made a mood board. Cowan has never made one, but he stated that he keeps posters and pictures all over his room and walls which are a constant source of inspiration. Bart suggested that Cowan should invest in making a mood board or at least writing down his intentions. A mood board is a poster with pictures, fabrics, and other items that can help one layout their intentions and goals for the future. We made them later that week. Bart believed when Cowan stated that he wanted to move to New York it was manifested into him actually moving to New York. Cowan defines himself as more of a list person. He creates lists that help him cultivate his dreams into reality. Cowan believes he is a visual person so he believes it is odd he has never created a mood board. Bart and Cowan both have different ways of organizing their dreams, but both ways are valid. There is no right way to do things, it is whatever way you like the best. 

An Example of a Mood Board Made Later That Week

Bart asked next, “What was it like to get to America and establish yourself?”.  Cowan responded, “If I sit and wait around until I work out a way to do this, it’s not going to happen. Because there’s always going to be another reason.”  Cowan stated, “You just have to go for it and work it out when you’re doing it.” He added, “You’ll never know how to do it until you do it.” Cowan believes that there is no right time: “I just moved. I packed up some boxes of stuff. I borrowed 3,000 pounds from my mum… and I moved out and just started making it happen.” Cowan named Patti Wilson, an iconic stylist from Vogue Italia, who is one of his many idols. He harassed her at every party he could: “Please stall my show”. He said to refrain from “…pestering people to a point where you annoy them.” Cowan feels you have to hustle to get what you want.

Patty Wilson, Vogue Italia

 “If I sit and wait around until I work out a way to do this, it’s not going to happen. Because there’s always going to be another reason.”

-Christian Cowan

 

Bart asked, “So when was your first collection?” 

 

Cowan responded, “My first collection was probably 4 or 5 months after I moved to New York.” Cowan commented on the collection,“This is such a bad collection, when I look back at it, oh my word, I really made whatever I could” His first fashion show got the attention of Kathy Horyn. Cowan says, “I had people like Kathy Horyn there who I had no idea how I managed to get there and I didn’t know who she was.” Cowan described Kathy, “Probably one of the most legendary journalists in fashion ever and I asked her who she was which is embarrassing.” 

Kathy Horyn, Legendary Fashion Critic

 

Bart asked next, “There is a lot of like A list celebrities that like wear your clothes and things like that, what’s your feeling about that connection as a young designer?” Cowan did not have an investor or a press release so he had to figure out how he could get the most press for the least amount of money possible. He began making sketches and sending them to celebrities and they could pay him to make clothes for their music videos or events. Then he would get exponential press. A word of advice for Cowan is, “Never be afraid to ask them to tag you” Cowan did Cardi B’s album cover and every time she tags him he gets 10,000 followers. The tags increase not only following but how much you can get paid for projects. Bart asked, “Of the 10,000 followers, how many say, I want that piece… Are there shoppable experiences through your followers?” Cowan responded that the fans of Cardi B and Lady Gaga cannot afford how the celebrities dress or even get to the clothes geographically.  He had to find a way to bridge the gap from the high and middle-class consumers. Cowan started his merch business and a collaboration with V files to reach the consumers who can afford lower price points. He also added he has some much larger scale collaborations coming out in October that he could not give too many details about. He believes it is about having “different product categories,” that can cater to different customers. He added that most companies separate the categories and it ends up damaging their high-end line. Cowan keeps all of his levels in the same line. Cowan explained further, “You see the sweatsuits with the gowns. I think fashion is for everyone. I hate when they separate like the lower costs stuff out of the show. There’s people that deserve the magic of fashion week. I like to mix them all up.” 

Cowan designed Cardi B’s album cover

Bart asked next about how the new age and old age of fashion collide. In the old fashion world, a designer had to receive acceptance from critiques, get their work into retail stores, and get buyers. Bart questioned Cowan on what it is like being a modern-day designer, but still having to deal with the more traditional aspects of the industry. Bart asked, “How do you convince people you are a great designer and that the clothes will sell?” 

 

Cowan said it was “super hard” he had to convince all of these old school buyers and editors the clothes would sell. He received criticism about only designing for high profile singers and how that would translate to the average woman. Cowan argued that he had only been designing for singers and that he had not had a chance to design for regular women. He added that he was never taught how to communicate with buyers in school so he had to talk to people and reach out to stylists on how to bridge the gap. He began to slowly break into both worlds by mixing his collection with high profile clothes and casual wear. Jeffrey Kalinsky, the owner of the Jeffery Boutique, was the first person to take a chance on Cowan and stock him.

Jeffery Kalinsky. Cowan’s Mentor and owner of Jeffrey Boutique

 

Cowan said it takes time to build momentum for a brand. He believes it is especially hard because you are spending so much money in the first few years but not making that much and you have to make up the difference. Instagram helped him break even by designing for high profile people and collaborating with brands. Cowan had to learn the business models for most brands and then cultivate them to fit his personal brand. Stores have a larger budget for Resort and pre-fall clothes. He cannot afford to make four collections a year so now he makes a majority of the September show early and he is selling it in Paris right now so it will land in stores just after September. It is like he is doing four collections but it is only two. 

 

Bart chimes in stating that resort is 70% of retail stores. I had to look up the meaning of resort. Resort is the midseason or preseason. It includes vacation and party clothes and it is the most profitable season. Cowan sells four times more resort clothing in his new marketing structure. 

 

Bart continued asking Cowan how he does selling on Instagram. Cowan responded that compared to other brands like Fenty where it is makeup and consumers can just buy off the internet. Cowan says clothes are different because people want to try them on. He said his merch collection helped him eliminate some of the issues with consumers having to try everything on and he hopes to create an accessory line.  He does not have the capital at the moment. He mitigated the issue with collaborations like Giuseppe. He created these fabulous heels with watches on them. 

Cowan & Giuseppe Collaboration

Bart questioned how Cowan feels about influencers. Cowan believes people will look at influencers and want to wear what they are wearing while with a celebrity, they just like the celebrity.  Cowan prefers working with celebrities over influencers because they give him more press. Influencers work better for bigger brands because they are more willing to tag bigger brands. Celebrities will not tag huge brands unless they pay a lot of money, but as a small designer, they will tag Cowan. He states, “Influencers are for the show and celebrities are for outside of the show.” He believes influences make a bigger impact when they are invited to the fashion show where they will Instagram and get really excited about it. Outside of fashion week, he manufactures mostly for celebrities.

 

Bart discussed how there is always a melting pot of high profile people at Cowan’s shows. After the shows, Cowan is always busy hugging and kissing people. He described himself as, “emaciated, disgusting and sweaty, and that’s the time everyone wants to film and take pictures.” 

PowerPuff Collection

The next question Bart asked was, “what is the latest you have been sewing before it hit the runway.” Cowan said, “During the Show!” According to Cowan, there is always a disaster and sometimes he has to rearrange his whole show to put one piece at the end because it is not finished yet. There was one incident where a zipper busted right before the model walked out and so he pretended like it was apart of the design. Cowan believes, “You’ve got to be a perfectionist and not at the same time.” Cowan assures that if you are over critical of yourself then you will scare yourself into not creating. You are your biggest enemy and Allie. Cowan felt as if most designers would have taken the busted seam dress off the runway, but it ended up being one of his favorite looks. 

 

“You’ve got to be a perfectionist and not at the same time.

-Christian Cowan

 

Bart inquired on where Cowan’s muse and inspiration come from. Cowan believes his inspiration for his collections comes from the way he was raised. His collections stem from where he is in his life at the moment. His first few collections were inspired by his adolescence and the tendency to party and wanting to have a good time. These looks included sequins, feathers, and loud colors. Now, Cowan is transitioning to a more familial direction. He wants to add more of a backstory to the brand including his heritage. He says he is influenced by what is happening in his life now. He is being influenced by his own community, LGBTQ+, and the new climate of inclusivity and freedom to be who you want to be. He even had a collection with George Micheal’s song, “Freedom”, playing. The next collection is about his family, but that is all he can disclose at this time.

 

Bart moves onto Cowan’s family and their dynamic. Cowan is apart of a blended family of eleven children. Cowan is the youngest and spent most of his childhood alone. Cowan said he definitely had to carve out his own identity because it could easily be lost in a sea of eleven people. All his siblings went to boarding school or they moved away so he was left fully alone to his own devices. He described himself as, “a weird kid.” He said he was born “in the middle of nowhere” and that “there was no one like him.” He lived in his own world most of the time. He described his parents as super strict but that they would spoil him when it came to arts and crafts supplies. As a result, he became very creative. He lived on the internet and was obsessed with it. He started designing when he was 12. When he was 14, his mom bought him a 30 pounds or 14 Dollar red, sewing machine. He began making clothes on that machine. He would buy clothes from Primark, a store in the UK, and remake clothes. For reference, he compared Primark to whatever the cheapest clothing stores are in America including Ross or Walmart. In the UK they have TK Maxx instead of TJ Maxx, which I thought was quite interesting. Overall, Cowan could not think of the equivalent to Primark in the U.S. and he suggested that we all should visit. 

British Clothing Store

Before he went to a fashion school, Bart asked Cowan what he was doing to further his career. He turned his home into a fashion house. Before Cowan knew how to sew, he would buy clothes and customize them. He would gather all his friends who enjoyed taking pictures or modeling and do photoshoots so by the time he applied to Saint Martins, he had a huge portfolio. The portfolio included sketches and paintings. 

 

Bart asked, “Where do you see yourself 10 years from today?” 

 

Cowan would like to design for a larger house. He believes it would be fun because they have big budgets. Cowan has big budget ideas but his brand operates on a low budget. He would like to also do more collaborations. He wants to scale his own brand larger as well. He would like to continue to make the brand more affordable. He also wants to do an accessory collection. 

Bart asked how his home space affects him being a creative.  

“You should never be like, ‘oh I’m done with it so now I can hang out and relax’ you should enjoy it so much that you want to do it the whole time.”

-Christian Cowan

 

Cowan likes his office and his home to be the same thing. His office right now is two floors above where he lives. Before he moved, his office and living space were the same and he prefers it that way. He only changed the space to accommodate “relationships”. He feels that if the space is one, he will easily get absorbed into the work. Cowan asserts, “Living and breathing what you do is important and it will set you apart from anyone else.”  Cowan states,You should never be like, ‘oh i’m done with it so now I can hang out and relax’ you should enjoy it so much that you want to do it the whole time.” Bart believes it is very interesting how a creative lives.  Cowan described his home, “There’s glitter everywhere by the way.

“Living and breathing what you do is important and it will set you apart from anyone else.” 

-Christian Cowan

Bart asked how Cowan felt about being an openly gay man on the quickly approaching 50th anniversary of pride day and if he felt any responsibility as a role model. 

Cowan believes he does have a responsibility being an openly gay man. He believes that many people live under an incorrect preconceived notion that being homosexual is accepted now. Cowan explained that there is so much more work to be done because there are so many parts of the world where it is not. He continued talking about members of the LGBTQ+ community being killed and that he does believe he has a huge responsibility. He says A, he has to help people and B, he has to advocate for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. and the U.K. so it stays the way it is. Cowan reiterates, “Things could always revert backwards… You can see it literally with many different cultures and civilizations things become very progressive and amazing and then they go straight back down again.” According to Cowan, “You always have to fight for people’s rights, whoever they are if its gay or trans or anything.” 

“You always have to fight for people’s rights, whoever they are if it’s gay or trans or anything.”

-Christian Cowan

 

Bart is proud of Cowan and encourages him to “Keep doing what you’re doing.” 

Bart asked, which side of you comes out more since he grew up in England but his mother is Spanish. Most of Cowan’s siblings are step-siblings and he has one genetic brother. His brother is the English sibling and he is the Spanish one. Cowan described himself as, “My mother’s child.” He said his flair and passion comes from the Spanish side. His full name is Christian Cowan San Luis and he shortened the San Luis because it is harder to pronounce. 

 

Bart asked Cowan for “A soundbite of advice” for budding creatives.

 

“There’s never one big break,” said Cowan. Cowan discussed the incident with Lady Gaga and how after that everyone believed he made it, but he said that was not the case: “You think you’re going to have that moment and things are gonna snowball from there, they’re realistically not.” Cowan continued, “You can have a massive moment and it’s just done. And you can see that for so many industries.” Cowan explained further, “It’s just about like thousands of small breaks…You have to keep hustling for the next thing and the next thing.”Cowan gave words of advice, “So never get disheartened if things don’t come about…80% of the things we start working on fall through.” Cowan continued, “Have faith in what you do, no matter what it is…It’s about how many times you can get knocked down and get back up again.” 

“There’s never one big break,”

-Christian Cowan

“We live in a world now where everybody wants to be perfect and everybody wants to be perceived as perfect.”

-Ivan Bart

Bart quoted, “In order to appreciate the highest mountain top, you have to be in the valley.” He added, “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.” Bart reflected on the world, “We live in a world now where everybody wants to be perfect and everybody wants to be perceived as perfect.” Bart believes you have to “Pick yourself up, move through it, and get to the other side.” 

Cowan quoted, “My greatest failures are my greatest lessons”

“My greatest failures are my greatest lessons”

-Christian Cowan

 

Cowan warned, “Protect yourself.” He says, “It’s easy when you’re so eager to do whatever you’re doing to just give everything for free and you have to at first for a while but then there’s going to be a state where you need to start applying some protection.” Cowan says, “Do not show your designs to a big fashion house without a contract” He advised us to not work with someone without being paid upfront.  “I won’t be doing that again,” Cowan reminisced. 

 “Have faith in what you do, no matter what it is. ”

-Christian Cowan

 

Bart asked, “What could we expect from you in the coming year?”

 

Protect yourself.”

-Christian Cowan

 

Before revealing his plans Cowan stated, “I’m the most forgetful person, hence the list, I don’t remember much.” Cowan will be releasing sunglasses worldwide. He is also launching a high street fashion line. After that, he will be releasing a jewelry line. Next is  a partnership with a famous singer. Lastly, he is doing a lot more commercial and diverse collections. 

Q & A

 

This is me asking Cowan a question

I was the first question. Cowan complimented me on my outfit and I nearly died. I told him I had been a fan since his Powerpuff collection. Ever so often a designer does the Powerpuff collection.  I loved how the Jeremy Scott collection a few years ago juxtaposed his collection this year. I found out about Cowan through the collection and had been following him ever since. So when I found out he was coming to fashion camp I nearly died.  I asked, “What’s your why? Why are you so passionate about designing, what keeps you going?” 

 

Cowan answered, “I’ve chosen something and I’m dedicated to it” He described his work, “Fashion is art you can live in and you can take on a persona and be whatever you want to be.” Cowan quoted RuPaul, “You’re born naked and the rest is drag.” Cowan says that every day what we wear reflects us and who we want to be. “I can design things that allow people to be their best and fullest self,” Cowan said. Cowan continued,“ I always see women trying on the clothes and smiling and having a good time. I’m like, ‘success’” 

“Fashion is art you can live in and you can take on a persona and be whatever you want to be.

-Christian Cowan

Cowan discussed how there are no originals and you just have to find things you like and put your own spin on them. Sometimes you have to say, “Screw that, I’m doing me.” 

 

One person asked how Cowan goes about people stealing his designs. Cowan discussed that people stealing your designs is inevitable, unless you have a huge team of lawyers like Chanel. He said you just have to keep going and hope to make something even better the next time. Early in his career, he made the mistake of sending his sketches and watching them be made without his input. He recommends sending everything in an email so if the ideas are stolen and reproduced you can dispute it with proof. 

 

Cowan’s business model includes many small boutiques. He places his clothes in small boutiques instead of department stores because he wants to get feedback. When he puts his clothes in boutiques, he is able to receive feedback from his customers. He has his clothes in 16 stores internationally. His clothes perform the best in the Middle East. In October, he is having a fashion show in Dubai. 

 

One person asked if age set him back because he is so young. He said that it did and he would constantly lie about his age. Eventually, he got offered to work in Alexander Mcqueen’s fashion house. He declined and made his own brand. 

 

Another person asked how he was able to design the watches on the shoe with his collaboration with Giuseppe. He said he believes we live in a world where it is about flashing your wealth. We constantly see people showing their wrist with fancy watches. He said putting the watch on the shoe is ironic and it makes fun of the whole idea of flashing your wealth. 

 

Cowan was asked about his sketches and he says that he keeps his sketches as simple as possible. He actually spent hours creating a sketch of a body and he just prints it and draws over it. 

 

Someone inquired Cowan on what he looks for in a model. He said they need to be fierce and unapologetic. Reiterating what he said earlier, the model has to represent the brand. The models have to reflect the Cowan woman, a woman owing who she is. 

 

The next question was how did Cowan become so successful. He said he always had a positive and welcoming personality. He emphasized the importance of being nice to people. He said that having a strong work ethic is important. He also said that you must maintain a social life. He said not to forget to be profitable and make money. 

 

Someone asked why he does not have a men’s line. Cowan responded that the women’s line is a larger market. He also said it is expensive to do a men’s line because that involves a second team and a second budget. He wishes to do men’s clothes in the future. 

 

Another person asked what is the inspiration for his own personal style. He said his mom always wore all black. That day he was wearing an all-black outfit. He also said Dilara Findikoglu and Paloma Spain influence his personal looks.

 

A Note To Cowan

 

Cowan taught me a lot. I enjoyed hearing about his life and it inspired me. He constantly commented on his idols and I hope he knows he is one of mine! If you ever read this, I hope to be like you and work with you in the future. 

 

Love,

Sasha C. Yates

Later that day I met Trey Laird, Akin Akman, and Devon Windsor. I will be covering their stories next week! 

Shook, The Movie

Three African American boys of different ages all attend the same private school in Memphis, TN. They symbolize the lack of emotional expression in African American boys and how bottled up anger can explode into violence.

Sign In & Monologues

Dear Actors & Actresses,

Thank you for coming to my casting call! Please click on the link to sign in.

Program for the Casting Call

4:30

Sasha will speak to everyone about the film.

4:40

Sasha will begin meeting with everyone individually

The Actual Audition (Not for extras)

(If you would just like to be an extra, I will send you the shooting schedule as soon as it is finalized)

The actual auditions will be 1 minute monologues that you will send to my email sashacyates@gmail.com

I am not placing a huge importance on memorization. I just want to see your acting range and how you make the monologue your own.

There is a list of monologues below. You can choose whichever monologue you want. I don’t care which gender or age you chose, just chose the one you like the best.

If you have a specific monologue you would like to do that is not listed, that is fine! Just make sure it is a minute.

Monologues

Teenage

Gender: N/A

Age: Child/Teenage

Description: When a young man heads off to university, it has a big impact on everyone, including his younger sibling.

“Why? There are so many other options! Why did you pick the school that is half-way across the country?” He didn’t answer. When summer was almost over and the time had come for him to leave, I couldn’t handle it. He was standing at the door, all packed and ready to go. I watched him as he said goodbye to my mom and dad. I was so overwhelmed that I just zoned out. Then, it was my turn to say goodbye. When he approached me, I looked up to see puddles of tears forming in his eyes.

Gender: Female

Age: N/A

Description: A character talks to a younger version of herself (or himself).

This is me. (Shows the picture.) Sometimes I take out this picture and talk to her. I tell her about what’s going to happen in her future, and I tell her that I miss the past. I tell her that I miss the days when I didn’t have to go to school. The days where I would just eat and play all day. I tell her that I miss all the attention I used to get from people., the times when I didn’t even think to worry what other people thought of me. I didn’t judge myself and my imperfections then, I was happy.

Gender: N/A

Age: Teenage

Description: A student panics while taking a test.

The white clock on the wall is mocking me. Counting down the minutes until I fail this test. It makes no sense. Hey, why aren’t there any posters hung up in Ms. Daniel’s room? I’ve never noticed that before. I need something to take my mind off this paper in front of me. This paper that will destroy my GPA. I’m grinding my teeth. I never grind my teeth. Wow. Look how interesting this pencil looks when I twirl it. Why is the second hand on that clock moving so slowly? And how is everyone else still working on this test? I can’t make sense of it.

Gender: N/A

Age: Teenage

Description: A teen expresses the frustrations of being vertically challenged.

Last night my world was shattered. I realized that my younger brother, Colin, is taller than me. He was like “Ha, ha. I’m taller than you, little hobbit.” Shut Up Colin! No one understands the daily struggles of being short. People use your head as an armrest, like ALL the time. I’m not an armrest, I’M A HUMAN BEING! People also assume you’re like 5 or 6 years younger than you are. When I went to the Ferris wheel, they asked if I wanted the twelve and under ticket. TWELVE AND UNDER!!!! I’M SIXTEEN.

Gender: Female

Age: Teenage

Description: A teenager accidentally sends a very personal text to the school gossip.

Oh-My-God, OH MY GOD! I did not just accidentally send a text to Sky about the fact that I have a crush on Gaston. Oh no, this is bad, this is really bad. I’m going to die! Gaston is semi-popular and he is definitely going to find out. Why does Sky have to be such a gossiper with her amazing looks and gorgeous hair, although she is still a “four eyes”, but I guess I can’t say anything (points to glasses). Ugh, I am literally going to die.

Adult & Teenage

Gender: N/A

Age: N/A

Description: The Pied Piper threatens the townspeople if the Mayor doesn’t pay him.

What do you mean you aren’t going to pay me? I just got rid of those rats for you. They won’t be back for a long time, if ever. So, where’s my money? What? This is a joke, right? I have a family to feed you know. You need to pay me now! I just single-handedly went from town to town playing my flute and had an army of rats following me. I got rid of them all, every last one! If it wasn’t for me, then you people would have gotten a horrible plague that would have killed almost everyone.

Gender: Female

Age: N/A

Description: A character talks to a younger version of herself (or himself).

This is me. (Shows the picture.) Sometimes I take out this picture and talk to her. I tell her about what’s going to happen in her future, and I tell her that I miss the past. I tell her that I miss the days when I didn’t have to go to school. The days where I would just eat and play all day. I tell her that I miss all the attention I used to get from people., the times when I didn’t even think to worry what other people thought of me. I didn’t judge myself and my imperfections then, I was happy.

Gender: N/A

Age: Teenage/Adult

Description: A pessimistic person describes life

I don’t get sleep but when I do, it’s always nightmares. I sit in a pit of an infinite amount of skulls, trying to remember their faces. I’m not scared, sad, angry or happy. Nothing makes sense and yet it doesn’t have to. Pain is make-believe, destiny is fulfilled and life is had. I’ve left little memory in this expiring world. What’s so great about life? Seriously. Happiness is a fleeting moment. Money? That’s pathetic. Our passions will never change anyone or anything.

Gender: N/A

Age: Teenage/Adult

Description: A person misses a family member.

We were in the middle of dinner. There was this- pretentious classical music playing, a store-bought smoked ham, Dad and Lori holding hands under the table like freaking teenagers, and I looked over to see which of us was going to call bullsh#t on all of it, and you were nowhere to be found. You got this call from Elena and disappeared. And I sat there by myself.

Gender: N/A

Age: N/A

Description: A person apologizes for using their sister

I know it’s a lot for you to come all the way here, and then for me to basically ask you sit on your hands until I need you. I know that was selfish. But I was afraid if I told you everything, then you wouldn’t come. And I needed you to come. Because I’m scared, and freaking out, and I need my little sister who always knows the best way to handle stuff to help me with this.

Gender: N/A

Age: N/A

Description: A person reminisces on the loss of a family member

I would give anything for you to remember how much you hate it when I leave the dishwasher full without running it. When I balance a soda like it’s Jenga in the recycling can instead of emptying it. How I spatter the mirror every time I brush my teeth. How do you not remember loving me?

Gender: Female

Age: Adult

Description: A woman describes a consistent pattern of irresponsibility to her partner

We said no gifts because we can’t afford any gifts. And you have never, ever understood anything like that. Never. Because everything is always going to be “fine”, isn’t it? It’s fine to use the land as equity. It’s fine to get the stainless steel appliances. “Sure, Bill. The tile can wait ‘til next week. That’s just fine.” And that is why they called in the loans. That is why the business failed. That is why we are in this mess to begin with.

Gender: Female

Age: Adult

Description: A mother inquires her child on her absences at school

I went to the typing instructor and introduced myself as your mother. She didn’t know who you were. Wingfield, she said. We don’t have any such student enrolled at the school! I assured her she did, that you had been going to classes since early in January. ‘I wonder,’ she said, ‘if you could be talking about that terribly shy little girl who dropped out of school after only a few days’ attendance?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘Laura, my daughter, has been going to school every day for the past six weeks!’ ‘

Here’s a PDF version

Official Monologues

Questions? Contact me