Model Darien Willardson : Part 1

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Photo by Jennifer Alweiss 

When model Darien Willardson told me he was visiting New York, I was so excited to meet with him. I really admire his determination, energy and creativity. Even though it was snowing, he put on his cowboy boots and trudged into the city for our interview.

I loved how much energy he had both in front of the camera as well as off camera. I have to say that I really appreciate his acting experience! He was really comfortable in front of the camera. When I was testing my camera, he started making funny faces! He made the whole experience fun  – we were cracking jokes and laughing during the interview.

He didn’t mind when I made him do a few versions of his video interview which personally, was a huge relief. Not only was he patient while I got all the pictures and footage I needed, he also gave me different ideas for our interview.

Without further adoEnjoy Part 1 of our interview!

Meet Model Darien:

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Photo by Jennifer Alweiss 

What is your style? A mix between country, skater and hipster. I’ll wear skater boy shoes and slim fit jeans.

Where do you love to shop? H&M, Zumiez, PacSun, Calvin Klein, J. Crew, and Ralph Lauren.

Who is your role model? Johnny Depp because he plays all of his characters really well. Also, Heather Ledger.

What is your #1 hobby? Snowboarding. I actually used to be a snowboarding instructor at Powder Mountain.

Do you have any quirks? Hmm selective hearing? Day dreaming? I would say visually creating something in my head.

What is something that you can’t you live without? My friends and family. I like having people around.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Being a model and actor. I’ve been in 6 films – My top ones are Storm Rider, The Last Straw, Wild Horses and Noctrune.

What are your goals and dreams? I want write a book about my life and my recovery of being a heroin addict.  I was addicted to drugs for a year of my life when I was 19-20 years old. Since then, I’ve been clean from heroin.  I want to inspire people who are addicts to better their lives and dream big. I want them to think with an open mind and an open heart. I would tell the story about the young creative storyteller that went into drugs, got clean and is now acting in movies – It’s a huge jump. I was the black sheep in my family. Even the lone wolf – I want to show that you can change.

Do you have any advice for aspiring models? Find a hobby. You should have a deeper talent and broaden your talent spectrum. For example, learn how to snowboard. Also, you should also embrace your weaknesses.

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Photo by Jennifer Alweiss 
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Photo by Jennifer Alweiss 
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Photo by Jennifer Alweiss 

Darien has modeled for Theory Clothing Line (NY), Magnum Bikes ( Salt Lake City) and Jane.com (Salt Lake City).

You can follow Darien on Instagram here: @darienwillardson

Stay tuned for Part 2, our video interview!

Love always,

Jenny A.

 

 

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Model Carina Castagna Gets Real About Being a Model

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Photographer: Joe Harary

As a model, Carina Castagna’s biggest accomplishment was when she walked the runway for Style Fashion Week at Madison Square Garden. It was around her 18th birthday and she was praying that she wouldn’t fall on the runway. She looked out into the crowd that filled Madison Square Garden and felt her adrenaline rush. She decided to use her nerves and channel them into positive energy so that she could perform her best. And she did!

Carina lives her life by the saying “pressure makes diamonds” which her mom has always taught her. She says you need to put yourself out there even if it’s uncomfortable because, at the end of the day, you’re growing. “Everyone goes through pressure. You just need to be positive and grow from it.”

Although Carina has walked the runway in New York Fashion Week for a few years now, she hasn’t always had an easy time modeling. While Carina is a size 2 and is 5’10”, which sounds like a great fit for the runway, she’s experienced being called “fat” based on her athletic build. She has developed strong toned muscles from playing sports, where she has a strong core, and fit thighs. She shared that during one of her modeling castings, she had to measure her thighs with a tape measure to see if they were too big. “Honestly, it dehumanizes the model. We’re human.”

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Photographer: Gary Kirk Brown

If someone says she can’t do it, she’ll turn around and say “watch me.” She’s competitive with being her best self and takes that mindset from her athletics. Carina says that in modeling you have to have a “business self” and a “personal self.” When you hear “no,” you can’t take it personally. She believes hearing a “no” in a casting is the same as hearing “no” in a workplace. “It’s a job,” she explains “you cannot bring home negative energy about yourself, there is nothing positive that can come from that and it’s honestly not healthy.”

Carina explained how intrigued and happy she is with France’s new laws where models need to give a doctor’s certificate to show that they are overall physically healthy. She says that models shouldn’t have to starve themselves to be thinner. Every individual is an individual, and they shouldn’t be compared to one another. “A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that’s like women too.”- Miranda Kerr, Australian Victoria’s Secret model.

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Photographer: Joe Harary

Carina’s role model is Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima. One of the reasons why Carina admires Adriana is because she also has an athletic build like Carina. She’s happy that Victoria’s Secret promotes working out and being athletic.

Carina looks forward to finding a big modeling agency to sign with. She is excited for what her future endeavors are.

You can follow her on Instagram @Carinacastagna6  and on Twitter: @AngelCarinaC

Love always,

-Jenny A.

Model Marcus Killebrew’s Advice for Facing Your Fears

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Photo by Melissa Whitely

It was almost 11:00pm and everyone was getting ready to go home from the Unique Blend Models fashion show. It was such a long day but I didn’t want to leave without speaking with model Marcus Killebrew. So there I was sitting in the lobby with Marcus while he opened up about his modeling career.

After speaking with Marcus, I was inspired. He said that fear is an illusion and it only prevents you from moving forward. Very wise words. While there are many things that might be scary, I decided that right now I am going to focus on my own fears.

Meet Marcus:

“Take more risks and see what happens.”

Model Marcus Killebrew is a personal trainer who believes in the power of takings risks and not letting fear stop him from accomplishing his goals. He shared that when he was younger, he used to be bullied and that lifting became a type of therapy for him. It helped him build up his confidence. Through his experience as a personal trainer, he is constantly tring to help others break through their fear and anxiety.

Marcus’s top goal is to grow himself into a strong brand for both (1) his modeling career and (2) as a coach. He shared that some of challenges he’s faced as a model has been trying to better understand the business side of the modeling world and adopting to all of the politics. Even through all of the challenges, he is always trying to learn and grow from his experience.

Marcus likes to hang out in the comfort of his own home. You can find him watching an episode of Game of Thrones or playing some video games. When he goes out, he likes to check out the different eateries and dessert spots which NYC has to offer. One of his most recently discovered places is Tipsy Scoop, which serves ice cream with a boozy twist. Cheers!

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Designer: @jagandco Photo by: @katlow257

Fun Facts about Marcus:

  1. His favorite weight training exercise is the deadlift.
  2. If he could be a fruit or vegetable, he would be a raspberry because it is both sweet and tart.
  3. Rush Hour 2 and The Matrix are his favorite movies.

Marcus modeled for the PLITZS Fashion Marketing and for the Unique Blend Models fashion show.

You can follow him on Instagram: @flexykilla

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Love always,

-Jenny A.

 

Model Natali Pillgrim : Never Give Up

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by @bklynborn81

“If you want to be somebody, never give up and always be true to yourself.”- Natali Pillgrim

I love model Natali Piligrim’s piece of advice – “If you want to be somebody, never give up and always be true to yourself.” As a fashion blogger, I am always faced with different challenges. One of them is time. Since I conduct a lot of interviews with fashion models from all over the world, my calendar can fill up pretty quickly. Sometimes it can be hard to find time to schedule an interview. So when Natalie and I had to keep rescheduling our interview, we were patient with each other. We just had to keep on trying to find a time that worked for the both of us. I stayed true to myself and never gave up. 

I was so happy when we finally sat down to chat! We spoke about her personal fashion experience as a model, her challenges and what makes her unique.

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Photo by @badjoe

“If you want to be somebody, never give up and always be true to yourself.”- Natali Pillgrim

Here is our interview:

Meet Natali

Jenny A. (Me): What was your craziest modeling experience?

Natali Pillgrim: When I did an underwater photo shoot. I had to stay underwater, keep my eyes opened and look both comfortable and hot. Did I mention, I don’t know how to swim!?

Me: How did you do an underwater photo shoot if you can’t swim?!

Natali: Using my imagination plus my strong belief that everything is possible. There was a pole that I could held onto in the water, just in case (laughs). From time to time, I had to grab onto the other models who were in the photo shoot with me…just to breathe. (laughs)

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“Underwater Shoot” by Mary Durante Youtt

Me: What was it like to pose underwater?

Natali: It was hard to stay still. (laughs) The heavy dress kept pulling me up!

Me: As a model, what do you think is the biggest challenge?

Natali: To believe in yourself. Just because a designer tells you that you’re not good for a show or their clothes, don’t give up. It is just one person’s opinion.

Me: What do you think makes a successful model?

Natali: Someone who (a) never gives up (b) learns from their mistakes / experiences (c) is social and (d) always listens. Even if someone tells you are good, always keep practicing and growing.

Me: Where did you learn to model?

Natali: I learned through YouTube tutorials and videos, I looked at other model’s photos and asked people with more experience. Some photographers are very helpful and will guide you. Never be afraid to ask what you did wrong. It’s better to ask a question and look like a “fool” for five minutes rather than keeping silent and looking like a “fool” for your whole life. It’s very important to work as a team and communicate with your photographer. You can learn faster and have better results by working together with your photographer.

Me: Which fashion shows have you modeled for?
Natali:  I was a part of last year’s FIT fashion show called “4 elements.” It was amazing! It was my first experience as a runway model and I grown a lot from then. There were so many talented students. I really enjoyed it and I am so thankful. When I was a part of NYFW ( Couture Fashion Week ), I was so impressed and happy with my designer, Pamela. It took her a several weeks to make each swimsuit. I also modeled in Tech Fashion Week, Brooklyn Fashion Week and many more.

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Photo by @saudkh

Me: I noticed that you have a nose ring and a lip ring. Have your facial piercings ever affected your modeling career?

Natali: When I walked for New York Fashion Week, I took out both my nose ring and my lip ring since the fashion show wanted a more conservative look. Depending on the fashion event, some people don’t care about piercings or even want a punk rock look.

What do you live your life by?

Natali: My greatest inspiration is Leonardo da Vinci’s quote “Realize everything is connected to everything else.” If you want to be successful, you have to learn a little bit of everything each day.

Me: What do you like to do for fun?

Natali: I like to dance, travel, walk around and explore the city. I also like rafting and indoor ski diving.

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Photo by @Red Dream Factory

Me: If you could be a fruit of vegetable, what would you be?

Natali: Broccoli because it is unique, healthy and makes you feel good.

Me: When’s your next fashion show?

Natali: I am modeling for the FACE THE SWEET FASHION SHOW 2017. It is a charity event to help raise money for diabetic supplies for people who have suffered from the effects of 2017’s natural disasters. The show will be held this Saturday, November 18th in New York City. For more information, please click here. 

You can follow Natali on Instagram: @nataliat666

Love always,

-Jenny A.

Bonnie Sofia Shares Her Advice for How to be a Model

Honestly, I have made my own career path by fumbling through the modeling world and just learning along the way. The most important thing I would say is you don’t need to wait for a top agency to accept you in order to become a model. When I was 16, I was really excited about modeling. When I first got rejected from the top New York agencies, I assumed that path was permanently closed to me. It wasn’t until I was 24, when I was living in Jordan and started freelancing as a model there for local designers, that I realized there are 100 different pathways into this industry.

You should never feel that your fate rests with a few individuals who might have the power to tell you if you have “the look” or not. Obviously, working with a top agency is ideal if that is an option for you. If not, that should not stop you from modeling. I started modeling for local designers until I built up my portfolio. I would also go to castings for runway shows which even allowed me to walk during New York Fashion Week. Finally, after a year of working on my own, I was offered representation.

For models interested specifically in walking during the Cannes Film Festival, I would advise them to attend a casting held by Andres Aquino for New York Fashion Week. He holds castings for his New York shows but not for his Cannes ones. But if you can slip into New York, you can ask about attending Cannes.

I would also advise keeping an eye out for information about castings or fashion shows in Cannes starting in April or the beginning of May. Even if you don’t see a notice that is specifically about a casting, there is nothing wrong with contacting the organizer of a fashion show and asking if models are still needed. I have ended up on the runway more than once by simply reaching out and asking.

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Model: Bonnie Sofia Photographer: Jamie Cheyenne Instagram: @colorstorymagazine Stylist: Geneva / Cozy Closet MUA: Dayna Marie
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Model: Bonnie Sofia Photographer: Jamie Cheyenne Instagram: @colorstorymagazine Stylist: Geneva / Cozy Closet MUA: Dayna Marie
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Model: Bonnie Sofia Photographer: Jamie Cheyenne Instagram: @colorstorymagazine Stylist: Geneva / Cozy Closet MUA: Dayna Marie

A huge thank you to:

Model: Bonnie Sofia (@bonniesofia)

Instagram: @colorstorymagazine
Stylist: Geneva / Cozy Closet (@czycloset)
Photographer: Jamie Cheyenne (@chystudios)
MUA: Dayna Marie (@themakeupartivist)

-Jenny A.

 

Modeling Advice from International Runway & Catwalk Coach Mandy Dyonne Lieveld

 

Do you want to become a professional model? International Runway & Catwalk Coach Mandy Dyonne Lieveld shares her advice on modeling with fashion blog New Style Modé!

For more information about Mandy Dyonne Lieveld’s classes, please visit: http://www.runwaycoachnyc.com/

Glamour Magazine’s Lauren Chan Made Her Dream Come True

You’ll never guess who came to my blogging class! Lauren Chan, the Fashion Features Editor for GLAMOUR MAGAZINE! Not only does she work for Glamour Magazine, she is also a former plus-size model! I was so excited to meet her! I love how lively and down to earth she is. She just tells it as it is. When she mentioned to the class that magazines can look at different blogs for content, it really opened my eyes to how important blogging is.

Back in March, I decided to take a blogging class at FIT so that I could work on my blogging skills and meet other bloggers. I figured that it would be a great experience and I just wanted to surround myself with people also starting their own blogs. I never thought that we’d have a guest speaker from Glamour Magazine, let alone a former model.

I love that.

A lot of the models that I interview for New Style Modé have so many different interests. I’m so glad that Lauren is able to use her experience as a plus-size model and follow her dreams to write for fashion. Believe it or not Lauren actually writes about trendy plus-size fashion, models and body diversity! You go girl!

I decided to do a little bit of homework and read some of Lauren’s articles. Personally, I loved her article about the interview she had with supermodel & plus-size model Ashley Graham. It was a great interview where they talked about Ashley’s experience as a plus-size model and some of the challenges she faced. What spoke to me the most was that even though Ashley faced a lot of obstacles, she didn’t give up…she still pushed forward and followed her dreams. I won’t go into too much detail about the interview but if you’re interested, you should definitely read it. Please note that some of the content in the article is a bit mature. [Click here for the link to the article.]

It might be cliché to say but keep follow your dreams. Just look at Lauren. She started off as a plus-size model for Ford Models, she kept working on her dreams and now she is an editor at Glamour Magazine.

What are your dreams? Are you still following them? Tell me about them in the comments below! I’d love to hear them. 🙂

-Jenny A.