The Inside Look Behind the FUNARI NEW YORK Collection

I am always drawn to collections that have a deeper meaning.  The FUNARI NEW YORK collection that walked down the runway at Style Fashion Week AKA the Fearless collection was epic! It was all about being fearless, never hiding behind a mask and being brave even if you think you might fail.

You should always be bold, strong and powerful.

I was so excited to interview Designer Janelle Funari, the heart and soul behind FUNARI NEW YORK. I wanted to find out more about her collection and touch on what makes her such a unique designer.

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Photo by Style Fashion Week

Here is our exclusive interview:

Jenny A. : Tell me a little bit about your Fall 2018 collection. What was the inspiration behind it?

Janelle: I was inspired by both the David Bowie exhibit I saw and also the 1980s! I loved David Bowie’s bold, daring attitude and the risks he took as a performer! This collection is about fun, bold punches of color, functionality, technology, & couture finishes. The line is inspired from the 80s where women were bold, strong, and powerful. I wanted to empower both woman and men to be who they want to be and not hide behind a mask. The collection is about freedom, excitement, and liberation!  There is a nostalgic feeling of that 80s carefree attitude. Reminiscing about enjoying life, spontaneity, and dancing in the streets or at an iconic club!<

Jenny A: Tell me a little bit about yourself as a designer. What makes you stand out from the crowd? 

Janelle: My newest endeavor is the couture performance market. The line stands out as it is elegant, timeless, comfortable and practical! The line can be worn all day and all night. You can go to the gym or out to dinner, just put on a pair of boots or heels! The brand is about versatility, technical advancement, and functionality. The FUNARI line is for both Men and Woman and represents quality, style, and innovation.

Jenny: What makes you fearless? What is your story?

Janelle: What makes me Fearless is trying new things and not being afraid to fail. Many people fail before they even try. They let others tell them it’s not possible. I say, “block out the noise!”  I give 200% in everything I do in life!  My mantra is to never look back, never regret, and to always give it your all! I believe that, in life it is better to try, then to not try at all. LIVE like there is no tomorrow & we only have today, so make it happen! Never say “no” or “it is not going to happen”

Anything and EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Put your heart and mind towards your goals and you’ll see that dreams do come true!

Jenny: What is your hardest challenge as a designer?

Janelle: Making my collection in New York City and sewing it in the USA! The cost is much higher for me because it is all made here in NYC.

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Photo by Style Fashion Week

I want to thank Janelle Funari for inviting me to her fashion show. It was fantastic. You can check out her collections here .

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode 

XOXO,

Jenny A.

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From Last Year to This Year: Meeting Victoria’s Secret Model Sadie Newman

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Jenny A. (left) & Sadie Newman (right)

It’s that time of year again! New York Fashion Week is right around the corner, school’s back in session…and models from all over the world come into New York City to audition to be in the big Victoria’s Secret fashion show!

Last year I blogged about what it was like to be at the Victoria’s Secret castings. This year, I didn’t know what to expect. I only had 20 minutes to be there. But what can you really do with 20 minutes? Little did I know that in that short amount of time, I was able to meet Victoria’s Secret model Sadie Newman. Some may call it destiny and some may just say it’s a coincidence, but last year Sadie was the first picture in my Victoria’s Secret post. Now a year later, she’s posing with me in the middle of Manhattan.

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If the Jenny last year could see the Jenny this year, she’d be shocked. So much has changed in my life, it’s incredible. Many of you have been asking where I’ve been… The truth is I took the summer to refocus on myself. Just a few days ago, I received the sweetest phone call from one of my original models, Shinice Kelly. She told me that she is actually putting her first fashion show together in March. It really touched my heart to hear what an impact my blog had on her life. It’s moments like those that really remind me how important my blog is.

So with that, I just want to thank you for all of your love and support.

 You can read last year’s post about what it was like to be at the Victoria’s Secret casting auditions here.

XOXO

JENNY A.

Nothing is Impossible: Charlotte Smith Models for Designer Dan Liu

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“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’” – Audrey Hepburn

I can’t tell you how proud I am of model Charlotte Smith. She’s made something that might have seemed impossible into a reality. She walked for her favorite designer Dan Liu during New York Fashion Week. Here is the inside scoop of what it was like!

Catching up with Charlotte Smith:

Jenny Alweiss: How was modeling for Dan Liu?

Charlotte Smith: Absolutely incredible! He’s my favorite designer. What I love about Dan is that he cares about every model. He won’t put a model in a dress he doesn’t think fits. He wants the model to look incredible. He puts heart and soul into every look and it shows!

Jenny: What inspired the collection?

Charlotte: The Spy Who Loved Me movie with James Bond. His collection was a powerful Bond girl. It was sexy. We wore sunglasses and a headscarf on the runway which was based off of Audrey Hepburn. I adore her.

Jenny: What is Dan Liu really like?

Charlotte: He’s so talented. He has a strong vision and brings out your confidence. He told each model “this is what you’re doing” and explained what he wanted. He boosted the overall moral and he’s very enthusiastic. He was so excited to be there. He told us for this collection, “no smiles, you’re dangerous – you’re a badass spy!”

Jenny: What was it like to be on the runway?

Charlotte: I was on cloud nine the whole time! I wore one of his signature pieces – a jacket with a bird on the back. Dan chose me to be the one to rip off my sunglasses and wink at the end of the runway.

Jenny: What were you thinking about when you were on the runway?

Charlotte: I was imagining myself as a spy. I kept thinking “I am a spy. I am a bad ass. I’m so happy to be here.”

Jenny: Were your outfits comfortable to wear on the runway?

Charlotte: Yes! His clothes are incredibly well made.


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Jenny: Speaking of being a spy, do you have a favorite spy movie?

Charlotte: I love the James Bond movies. They’re great!

Jenny: Were there any funny moments at the fashion show?

Charlotte: Yes – Madeline, one of the models needed to borrow my heels even though were in the same show! It was chaotic. Also, there were like 5 people working on me at the same time –  spraying my hair,  touching up my makeup, and helping me get into the clothes. They were just zipping up my dress right before I had to go.

Jenny: What were the other models like?

Charlotte: They’re so sweet. We were all supportive of each other. We got waffles together after the show with all of our hair and makeup still on!

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Photographer: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images North America

Jenny: Question from Igor in the audience: What drives you?

Charlotte: I have a mantra “I’m working to be the best version of myself.” You can’t change yourself for a designer. You have to stay true to yourself. You are enough and if a designer doesn’t like you, don’t take it personally. Always keep your options opened. Be your best self.

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Photographer: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images North America

 

Check out my first blog post about Charlotte and her sister, Natalie Smith. You can follow her on Instagram @charlotte.smith

I want to give a special thank you to photographer Frazer Harrison / Getty Images North America for the photos. Thank you! 

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode 

Love always,

Jenny A.

 

 

 

Model Victoria Summer Whetzel Speaks Her Mind

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Photographer: Jake Pierce

Back in January, model Victoria Summer Whetzel and I were both fashion show judges for PLITZS Fashion Marketing’s Model of the Year competition. I admire how sincere she is. First off, she had a really cute Betsey Johnson telephone purse which has a removable phone set handle that plugs into her cellphone. Basically, her purse can turn into a working phone. How cool? But in all seriousness, Victoria is a really sweet and down to earth model.

During the competition, she pointed something out to me that I didn’t realize. For the Model of the Year competition, there were 3 categories – petite female models, male models and 5’8″ female models. She mentioned how PLITZS Fashion Marketing didn’t have a plus-size category for curvy models to compete in. As a curvy model, Victoria hopes that the next year’s PLITZS Fashion Marketing’s competition will have a plus-size/curvy category.

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Photographer: Jake Pierce

Meet Victoria:

Jenny A. (Me) : When you were a judge at the PLITZS Fashion Marketing competition, what were you looking for in each of the model candidates?

Victoria Summer Whetzel: I was mostly looking for someone who could command the space as soon as they hit the runway. This is the modeling industry, so everyone is beautiful. But I believe the standard of beauty is changing. It’s more than a pretty face and a physique that lives up to society’s standards. Beauty is taking care of yourself and being proud of who you are.  Beauty is being able to walk a runway and silence a room by your presence. Beauty is being kind to others and being kind to yourself. That’s what I look for in a model.

 

Me: Is there something you are looking to see more of on the runway? A specific look, personality, walk…etc? 

Victoria: I would love to see more plus-size and curvy models of course. Models like Ashley Graham, Denise Bidot and SO many more. Plus-Side models are body activists and I think their activism has moved mountains in the modeling industry. They have paved the way for many emerging models, including myself. I hope one day I can be a leader in this movement too.

 

Me: You’re trying to break into the modeling industry as plus-size model. What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Victoria: I think the hardest challenge I’ve faced so far, is proving to myself that I have what it takes. Far too often, we are the ones holding ourselves back. Sometimes it’s important to take a moment to remind ourselves that we are enough and celebrate ourselves for all that we have to offer.

Question from Liana in the audience: What kind of food do you usually eat? We hear all these stories about how models don’t eat to stay thin because “thin is in.” How do you cope with that kind of mentality?

Victoria: Being thin has never been a part of who I am, so I just try my best to put foods into my body that make me feel good.

Me: Do you eat certain foods before modeling?

Victoria: I don’t eat anything specific. I eat whatever I feel will make me do my best work that day.

Me: If you could be a fruit or veggie, what fruit or veggie would you be?

Victoria: I would be a watermelon. They have a ton of seeds that represent growth and they are better when shared in the summertime. 🙂

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Photographer: Jake Pierce

Me: Overall, do you find it difficult to be a plus-size model? 

Victoria: Being a plus-size model is hard. Being any kind of model in this industry is hard. But you just have to remember that you get to tell people who you are. They don’t get to tell you who you are. One example of this comes from a recent experience here in New York City.

I attended an open call for an independent designer’s showcase for their swimsuit line. Most of the girls at the call were sizes 00-6, but there were a handful of plus-size girls there too. Probably around 5 or 6 in all. All of the petite model’s took turns modeling a bikini from the designer’s line. The designer then decided she wanted me to also model one of her designs. She said I was the most ‘fit’ of the plus-size girls and she wanted a curvy model. She gave me a swimsuit to put on, and as soon as she handed it to me, I realized it was the same exact bathing suit she had the petite models wear. This swimwear was not designed for girls like me. It was made for a model probably around a size 6.

At first, I felt embarrassed because the swimwear didn’t fit, but I put it on anyway. That day, I saw my first real glitch in the industry. I was being asked to wear this suit, so the designer could say she designs for plus-size models. But I am not a Size 6. I am a Size 12 and I am grateful for designers out there who celebrate me for being just that.

 

Victoria modeled for New York Fashion Week at PLITZS in Feb 2018. You can follow her on Instagram @theofficial.vsw

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode 

Love always,

Jenny A.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day from Model Sergio Delavicci

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Photography by Richard Simpson

I was looking at the schedule for New York Fashion Week when I realized something. Valentine’s Day and New York Fashion week overlap! I was really curious what it was like to model on Valentine’s Day and what it was like to date as a model. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to reached out to model Sergio Delavicci (Gio) and ask him what his dating life is like.

Valentine’s Day… Gio Style

Jenny Alweiss (Me): As a model, what is it like to date?

Sergio Delavicci (Gio): I like to be as professional as possible. I try not to date within the fashion industry. On one hand, if I date someone in the industry, she would understand my lifestyle. On the other hand, it can get messy. She would be more likely to get jealous if she sees me taking pictures with other women.

Me: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Gio: I believe in interest at first sight. I can see someone and be interested. I think it can lead to love down the road.

Me: What is your ideal date?

Gio: A nice romantic spot. Maybe somewhere with a candlelight dinner where we can sit across the table and get to know each other.

Me: What was your most adventurous date?

Gio: Skinny dipping.

Me: What would you say was your worst date?

Gio: I met a woman through a dating website and she didn’t look anything like her pictures! We met at an expensive restaurant and started talking. First of all, she didn’t have good oral hygiene and she kept ordering all this expensive food from the menu. I’m not cheap but I was looking at the menu and the bill was going to be $175! To be honest, this girl was not my type to be splurging in that kind of way. I excused myself from the table, got into my car and drove off.

Me: What do you look for in a woman?

Gio: I have to be attracted to her. Since I take good care of myself, I want a woman who is also in shape. I like a woman with nice hair, nice skin and nice teeth. Once I’m attracted to her outside, then I get to know her on the inside. I look for someone who is spontaneous and is not afraid to do new things.

Me: Are you single?

Gio: Yes.

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Photography by Richard Simpson

 

Me: Have you ever modeled on Valentine’s Day?

Gio: I have been modeling on Valentine’s Day for the past 5 years. 3 out of the 5 years I’ve modeled for NYC Live which always takes place on Valentine’s Day.

Me: Is modeling on Valentine’s Day any different than modeling on a regular day?

Gio: No, it’s the same. It doesn’t feel any different to me to do fashion shows on Valentine’s Day. Modeling is a full time job. I’m focused and I want to be successful.

Me: Did it ever bother you that New York Fashion Week and Valentine’s Day overlap?

Gio: It doesn’t bother me because I’m really not into Valentine’s Day. Holidays to a professional model don’t mean a lot. There are still going to be fashion shows, even on holidays. If you don’t want to model on Valentine’s Day, you’ll just be replaced. I want to be on a level where I am irreplaceable.

Me: Are you modeling on Valentine’s Day this year?

Gio: Yes, I am. I’m modeling for NYC Live.

Me: Did you ever celebrate Valentine’s Day while you were at New York Fashion Week?

Gio: Yes. While I was at a fashion show, someone passed a Valentine’s Day card to me from the audience who is a big supporter of my work. In the card she asked if she could take me to dinner after the fashion show and be her Valentine.

You can follow my blog on Instagram @newstylemode and check out model Gio’s Instagram page @ruffryder_84

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love always,

-Jenny Alweiss

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.

 

 

New Hairstyle? New Me? Maybe Not Exactly…

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Have you ever felt like you just wanted to switch things up a bit? I don’t know what came over me but, I really wanted a new look. I had bought a LMAX Salon Spa promotion for a wash, cut and dry about a couple of months ago and I thought it would be the perfect time to use it. After all, a new hairstyle can make you look like a new person.

For weeks I was googling all types of hairstyles trying to figure out the best one. Did I want to try something completely extreme and chop off all my hair? Nah. Did I want to have shoulder length hair? Too frizzy. Maybe I should get bangs? Nope, too much work.

What I really wanted something beautiful, classy and fit my face.

When I finally sat down in the chair and the hairstylist asked me what I wanted, I still hadn’t made up my mind. After chatting about all the different trendy hairstyles, I decided to go with “long layers.” The hairstylist looked at me, looked at my hair and then back at me. “You already have long layers!” she laughed “They’re just really long layers!”

The hairstylist trimmed my hair and curled it at the bottom for some volume. When she was done, I looked at myself in the mirror and my hair looked so healthy. I had gorgeous long layers cascading down my shoulders and onto my back.

Before                             After

 

While my hair didn’t look so different, I definitely felt different. It’s amazing what trimming a few inches can do!

What are your thoughts? What do you think?

Be sure to subscribe to my blog, follow my Instagram @newstylemode and like my Facebook page!

Love always,

-Jenny A.