The spotlight hit the stage. The packed audience grew silent in anticipation as the graduates of Elmer Olsen’s Bootcamp 2 Bigtime stepped onto the runway like seasoned professionals at This is London nightclub.
International modeling agents and other fashion industry professionals perused the fresh new faces. Was the next big star in the industry on the stage?
The models showcased Greta Constantine designs — the females were draped in red dresses and the males were dressed in stylishly cut jeans and tees.
Just hours earlier, the group had gone through Bootcamp 2 Bigtime, a day of training for Elmer Olsen’s “newest and brightest” talent. Models were offered a rare opportunity to receive advice from industry experts and to meet major agents from New York, Paris, Milan, London, Germany and Tokyo. Elmer Olsen Model Management is one of the top modeling agencies in Canada and the sponsoring agency of Canada’s Next Top Model. The agency held its fourth annual Bootcamp 2 Bigtime Model Showcase last month at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Toronto. The fashion show at This is London concluded the event.
The day started with runway lessons at the Hyatt. “And you girls thought walking was easy,” laughed Elmer as he coached a group of aspiring models in the art of perfecting the walk. “Longer strides,” he called out. Runway lessons were followed by a lecture series. Among the speakers were international photographer Christopher Wadsworth, and fashion designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine.
The speakers all agreed that personality is a key component of success in the business. Personality is expressed as a positive attitude and is crucial to a successful model’s career. If a model is having a bad day, she has to carry on as though everything is fine.
“Modeling is unbelievably difficult,” Elmer said, “because you’re always ‘on.’” In his speech Stephen added, “You have to be professional. It’s a job.”
Amanda, Jessica, Elise and Taras, all successful Elmer Olsen models, were on hand to share their experiences and offer advice. Models often travel to foreign cities for international shows. “It can get quite lonely,” Elise said. But she reassured the group that the benefits of modeling, like the life experience, far outweigh any difficulties.
Another issue for models is maintaining a required weight. Dean Rodgers, an agent at the Marilyn Agency in New York, cautioned that although weight still matters, there’s a fine line between thin and too thin. Although designers want their clothing to drape on the runway, they do not want a girl who looks sick. “Being too thin is dangerous and does not guarantee success,” he said.
What takes a good model to international stardom?
She should be 5.10 to 5.12” — perfect height is 5.11” — with small hips and long, long legs with small ankles, extra slim legs compared to the average. And small busts work better for big designers.
She must have some sense of magic — perhaps an other worldliness she projects in her pictures, or a sparkle in the eye. It’s so hard to describe, “but trust me, I know it when I see it,” says Elmer Olsen. “Think about the unmistakable quality of undone elegance like Daria Werbowy, or the cool tomboy likeability of Amanda Laine.”