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!