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What Modeling School Instructors Should Teach Your Girls but Are Not
There is more to looks than meets the eye...
When you send your daughter to a modeling school-what is she learning? Are you getting what you are paying for, is she learning what she needs?
I was recently reviewed by the director of a long lived beauty school, to be hired on as an instructor. During phone conversations she explained that the curriculum consists of; self confidence boosting exercises, personal hygiene suggestions, modeling techniques, poise and posture classes and a number of other lessons to teach a girl how to carry her presence. I was asked to come in to interview and observe a class. The way it was portrayed on the telephone, made the position appealing to me. I did the normal paper work and was handed a binder which contained the lesson plan, class by class. I was ultimately disappointed with what was not apart of the curriculum and felt like the parents of the girls whom are paying for their children to take these classes are not getting their moneys worth.
As I observed the class I noticed right away that the instructor did not give constructive criticism to the girls as they were practicing how to walk on a catwalk. Each girls eyes were on her feet and most were slouching so badly that I not only did not notice what they were wearing, I felt confused as they struggled to find a natural beat to their stride. By criticism I don’t mean I feel like they should be called out and embarrassed about something that they are obviously attempting to learn. The instructor just said to each as they struggled through-good job, great, nice… Why could she not say, “that was good-now lets try this, don’t look at your feet- think about your purpose-if you are walking in a fashion show, you are having your picture taken. You should be constantly spotting the crowd as you walk, and at the end of your stride-when you pause before you make your journey back down the catwalk, look at the photographer directly ahead of you, they are the main photographer and that is more than likely your featured shot. Just as you do not want a picture of you picking your nose in circulation-you do not want a picture of you looking at your feet.” Many people, children included, do better when you explain to them what they are doing and why they are doing it. It tends to give a much better perspective and visual so it becomes easier to master..
The school handed out beauty kits, and were shown how to apply makeup-and vaguely told what their colors are. They don’t explain other things like how to accent your features. They tell you this is a day look, this is a night look-but not something important to a fifteen year old, which is how to apply makeup to a blemish which is inflamed. The pimples instead of being masked-seamed to be highlighted by the makeup. Again, they did not tell the girls why you stick with your color pallet. How your color palette is chosen, what to stay away from, it was one makeup kit for fair skin, one for tan and another for dark. I know that although both my sisters and I are fair, we do not wear the same colors, I have red hair, my youngest sister is a blonde and my older sister is a natural brunette turned blonde. Both my younger sister and I have full lips, my elder sister has thinner but better defined lips. We do not and should not do our makeup exactly the same. The makeup I apply and the colors I choose are based on my skin tone, skin type, eye color, hair color and most prominent features, as well as which feature I am choosing to play up. No one explained what shimmer vs. matte colors work for or against your appearance. Or when you are taking a black and white photograph the best bet is very limited makeup if any-and no color applied to the lips only gloss or your lips go dark. Again, what was gone over by the instructors was said, but with no explanation as to why.
Each of the girls was as different as any other girls in any other classroom would be. Different shape to each girl’s body, different height-yet some girls, had no idea how to dress their bodies. It isn’t just about the unappealing rolls hanging over the top of their jeans. Or the shirts that added about 10 pounds to a girl with a larger chest. Shouldn’t teaching a girl how to dress be important? Dress is part of the first impressions process, and if I was basing my opinion on some of the girls based on their attire-some would not like the impressions I got. Enforce Classy not Sleazy. Teach them how to make their appearance reflect who they are and who they would like to become. Trends are misunderstood from my viewpoint. People, girls in particular take pictures that they see in a magazine and transfer it into their closets and onto their bodies. NO, NO, NO!!! Don’t do that-pictures in an advertisement, on a model are suggestions, ideas and starting points. Just as an assignment inn school they give you the topic and you build your own creation using the tools provided, which is the subject matter. Just because you like something in a magazine or fashion advertisement, does not mean that it works on your particular body. Woman with large chests should not wear a top that only looks appropriate when you are not wearing a bra-because you do not look appropriate wearing a top without a bra. Skinny Jeans-they have made a come back-does not mean if a girl is 55 lbs over weight, she should think that she looks well kept and classy when she wears a pair of low rise skinny jeans with her gut hanging over the top. Take the trends take the girls and teach them how to look fashionable and put together. Show them how to make decisions that will work with the body God gave them-not against it.
More than anything, if you are teaching a girl who is aspiring to be a model, shouldn’t you teach her how to use her better judgment? Shouldn’t you teach them about model releases, contracts and clauses? Tell them about scams that are targeted for young naïve women, teach them to say NO, and walk the hell out of a photo shoot when they feel uncomfortable. Make sure they understand what their rights are as a human being, even if they are getting paid. I am a photographer and have done hundreds of photo shoots. I have model releases, and clauses that can be filled out, which give me the rights to the photographs. Technically if I own a photo, I can put it on a billboard in the middle of Time Square in New York City, if I want to, if I am authorized to do so because of a signature. I have my own standards and rules for myself as well as anyone I am working with or around. If I need to adjust a pant leg or collar- I let my model know what I need to adjust, and them ask for their permission to make the adjustment. Every good photographer I have ever known does the same. It is me as the photographer, respecting you as the model and not invading your personal space.
I hope that not all modeling schools are as vague as this one. I hope that there are some out there that truly want to leave the best lasting effect on their students. I hope that there is a modeling school that is about more than the typical physical appearance but rather the overall girl herself. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and what your daughter is getting with these schools. From what I read in the teaching manual and observed- the information provided was information that can be learned from a Seventeen Magazine, by watching What Not to Wear and Top Model and by going to a makeup counter in JC Penny’s such as Lancôme. Parents ask questions. Are you expecting head shots be provided for your child? If you are going to the school I observed-sorry…No professional photographers are hired to photograph the girls at any point in time. From the five pictures I saw, they are taken in fluorescent lighting and lucky if you have the head in the photo and sharp. If you are expecting to be able to get a gig-they will attempt to get you an interview after the school is completed-but make no promises of a paying modeling job. As long as you know what you are looking for and what the school is able to provide, things should be much easier to decide on when you are writing that check for $1000.00.