Just be yourself, fashion guru tells aspiring models

Just be yourself, is the advice from a US modelling agency to Bermudians hoping to be ‘discovered’ at a fashion show next week.

Paul Nelson of Wilhelmina Models is to attend the Evolution Fashion Show at City Hall in hopes of signing talented Bermudians to the agency.

“Mostly what I look for is personality,” said Mr Nelson. “We want someone who looks good and is tall. We want someone who stands out with personality, poise and charisma. We want to see the ‘real’ them. We don’t want tons of make-up; we are looking for more clean and simple images. If we see anyone of interest in the show, we will take digital pictures and send them to our three offices in Miami, New York and Los Angeles from there we will decide if we are interested.”

Mr Nelson, who is based in LA, has travelled the world in search of models. A look that works well in one country won’t necessarily sell well in another.

“Here in California people who are racially mixed do very well,” said Mr Nelson. “The industry is always looking for interesting and exotic people.”

Bermudian Darios Dio (Darius Dayes) encouraged the agency to come to the Island. The Wilhelmina client, who recently landed a modelling contract with Gillette, is to model in next week’s event.

Mr Nelson has been in the business for 30 years. He started out at the bottom, answering telephones.

“The agent was sick or whatever the case and I would fill in,” he said. “That was in San Francisco and I worked there for 15 years. I did some modelling when I was 19. I moved into this side of things because I liked the steady paycheque and I liked to be behind the scenes. I liked taking care of the guys, helping them to figure out where they were going and what they would be doing. I like my job a lot.”

He said it depended on who you talked to whether male or female models were easier to deal with.

“I think the men are fairly easy, but it is not an easy business,” he said. “Men and women are both a lot of work. The fun part of it for me, and for a lot of agents, is to find someone new and to develop their career and make them into a top model. It is exciting when they get booked for a big job or a big client. Then we just guide their career and help them out.”

He said people interested in being models should also consider other careers in the fashion industry make-up, hair styling, photography, casting and producing.

“At times it is glamorous,” Mr Nelson said. “We often go to fashion shows in Milan and Paris. That is fun and glamorous with all the paparazzi around, but before all that goes a lot of hard work. There is scheduling and getting models there. There is hair and make-up and rehearsals. There is a lot of behind the scenes that go into making the show.”

Mr Nelson said he visited Bermuda briefly last year and was looking forward to returning.

“I had a great time when I was here last, with all the pink sand beaches,” he said. “I didn’t really meet anyone then, because I was on a cruise, so this year sounds more interesting.”

Wilhelmina talent scout Jorge Urena will also attend the July 7 show at 7.30pm at City Hall. There are 23 retailers participating.

Admission is free however VIP tickets are available for $50 from City Hall and models. Those tickets offer special seating, a cocktail reception, access to a cash bar during intermission and a gift bag.

There will be a party in Barr’s Bay Park following the fashion show, hosted by Vibe 103. Tickets are $20 in advance, available at City Hall, Mambo, The Edge, Secrets and Toxic Rose.

There will be a number of other fashion events earlier in the week including Mannequin Monday on July 2 with live mannequins modelling in their windows and a hair and beauty showcase at Harbour Nights on July 4.

From: Royalgazette.com

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