There is a common perception that modelling is easy. You pose, you walk, you pout. Coupled with the perceived glamour of the industry, perhaps this is why there are so many aspiring models waiting for their big chance.
But the truth is, being a successful model isn’t as easy it looks, it requires more than just a symmetrical face and a perfect body. You need to be able to express yourself without words, be aware of your body and know your best angles. You must be professional, take direction and work well within a team. And on top of this you need to have that something extra.
If you are interested in modelling, have just started or are looking to further develop your skills, a new workshop will help you tackle all of the above and so much more besides. Industry experts Jordan Martin and Tina Nikolovski have come together to lead a full day masterclass in modelling.
We caught up with the pair to find out just what is offer in the Models 101 Workshop.
Leiden: What first sparked the idea for this workshop?
Jordan: I have been mentoring models for as long as I can remember. Even when I started out with agencies I would get double booked and my agency would ask me to train other girls so the clients knew what they were getting. Fashion is a busy industry and clients need reliable, consistent models.
Tina and I hit it off as soon as we met several years back, but I returned to the UK. Now that I am back in Canberra as a permanent resident it was inevitable that we would join our complementary skills and our shared values.
Tina recognised the need for this type of training in Canberra on a larger and more structured scale than what was on offer, and we have made it happen pretty quickly.
L: How will this workshop be different from others on offer?
J: It is out of the box. I come from a psychology, communications and holistic background and I have taught many young people as well as mentored them. With experience in instructional design too, the aim is to allow the models to enjoy themselves while learning at the same time. We provide feedback throughout but the models will also self assess, which is much more important. The content of the course aims to extract that special something that every model needs to get a job. Getting re-booked isn’t just about your look.
There was lots of stunning competition when I was modelling but I was re-booked season after season for brands like Armani and Vivienne Westwood, and for TV clients as well. This was because of my approach, my attitude, that extra spark I brought to my work.
Our job as mentors is to provide a structured, practical day that gives models tools they need to be successful. These are tools that they can take away with them so they can learn and continue learning. One intensive day of training isn’t enough time to learn everything there is to know but models will have access to Tina’s twelve years of experience in photography, creative direction and model coaching as well as her knowledge as an agent, and my twenty-five years in modelling, conceptualisation, creative direction and media. And it is our combined experience that sets the workshop apart, as well as the opportunity to spend time with unique, dynamic mentors.
This industry just happened, it doesn’t have a strong foundation like other career paths and training has often been associated with a promise to sign with an agency or courses that are run by people without international experience or much knowledge of the industry at all. Our focus is on the models, their future and their direction.
L: What do you hope participants will come away with?
J: They will have more understanding of themselves and more body awareness. They will have the right type of confidence or at least have been exposed to it, and they will have more faith in their ability to deliver on set or on the runway.
Most models starting out are young, and all young people need guidance, especially in an industry that is stereotypically superficial. The areas local models need to work on are movement, engaging expression with body, varying that expression, runway walks, communication, understanding briefs and of course general mindset.
For this reason the day is mostly practical, I am currently editing a book with more theory. As you can probably tell, there is a lot to cover in this so-called glamorous career!
L: How do you think the fashion landscape is changing in Canberra?
J: I am sure Tina will have some thoughts on this, for myself I think the scene has grown a lot in the last few years, even since I first arrived in Canberra. It has become more eclectic, less conservative.
Like many societal shifts, it is the younger generation that lead, and this is apparent in Canberra, even when just walking around Westfield. It is still not as whacky as Europe and London in my opinion, but everyone in Canberra always looks well turned out for the most part, even if they are running around the lake. With all the fashion houses I have worked in, it is my experience that style is way more important than fashion trends. Style is often ingrained, however, trends often revolve rather than evolve.
Just like modelling, it is more about what you do with what you have, not just about what you have. I know some people that could look amazing in a bin bag because they have the natural ability to style it. I actually had to wear a bin liner once for a hair runway show come to think of it.
Tina: I’ve been in the industry for twelve years now, and I have seen how the Canberra fashion landscape has evolved over time. It’s been absolutely incredible to watch, particularly because in the start of my career (as a student) I was continually told that I have to move to become a fashion photographer and that there was no market here.
I always thought it was really unfair to say this, and I wasn’t ready to move — because I saw an immense amount of talent in Canberra — from fashion designers to makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, models, creatives.
I think events such as FASHFEST have helped shift this perception, and I think that over time we are becoming more and more fashion-conscious. Whilst we may not be able to compete with the ‘fashion capitals of the world’, we have something really special here, and it makes me so excited to celebrate this and bring awareness to it. I think that this is just the beginning and Canberra’s fashion scene (and subsequent perceptions of it) will continue to evolve over time.
L: What attributes does a model need to stand out?
J: Other than having a unique look for high fashion or editorial, or a marketable look for commercial modelling, models need to be humble, they need to possess an inner confidence that is not arrogant and that can be called upon during photoshoots and runway. They are actors that need to be able to express emotion often without words. They also need to shine with qualities that we expect of all decent people that put effort into their work — kindness, the ability to listen to a brief, to work as a part of a team, to extract the best from others, to be flexible on every level and to be resilient.
Getting rejected is tough for humans, and in a job like modelling you have to learn to take it on the chin and move on. You have to reframe rejection and look at it as just not being right for that client or that job. Many young models allow rejection to knock their confidence which can have an effect on getting more work. Again, as humans we naturally compare ourselves to our peers, however, when we stop the comparison and just work to our individual best, then life is good. There is plenty of work for everyone, and you can make some really great friends for life in this industry if you have the right attitude.
In a nutshell, it wont be your pert butt, long legs, muscles or gorgeous facial features that make you stand out, it will be your overall attitude and professionalism. And show up! No client likes a no-show! So much goes into planning a shoot that there has to be a really valid reason for a model not to show up. There has to be a respect from the model for the industry.
T: Apart from having all the skills that makes a model capable, their authenticity, energy and attitude will make them stand out. There are so many attributes that cannot be taught, or bought, that are so important to making a model stand out. Much like the saying ‘your business card is the way that you make people feel.’ Everyone is unique in their own way — knowing how to portray this and truly believe it at your core, and then allowing yourself to reach an ultimate state of flow in your shoots will make you unforgettable.
Models 101 Workshop Canberra
with Jordan Martin and Tina Nikolovski
Sunday November 11, 2018