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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
Sasha C. Yates
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.
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.
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.
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