Top Models pose in very little clothes

by Beacon Staff • March 25, 2009

Big hair, stunning makeup, flashing lights and runway radiance will walk the walk at Emerson for its second year in a row. Although this scene may sound like a scene from iAmerica's Next Top Model/i, there is no Tyra Banks instructing young women how to be fierce models; instead 12 female Emerson students will strut their stuff and flaunt what it means to be young, confident and personable.

As the kick-off event for Emerson's Fashion Week 2009, taking place March 30 through April 4, Emerson's Fashion Society, a student organization that seeks to represent the creative ideals of the fashion industry, is hosting the second annual Emerson's Next Top Model. The Emerson version of Top Model has the same basic structure as the television show, minus the bodacious Tyra Banks and her cast of celebrity judges. In their place, there will be a panel of three Emerson judges, Fashion Society President Timmy VanWart, Executive Director Sarah McTeague and Senior Art director Jason Guttilla.

McTeague said a lot of the judging is based on the girls' personalities, which is different from the show, and the emphasis on the individual and her inner beauty is what gives this Top Model competition an different flavor.

"We are trying to do exactly what the show does, in our own unique Emerson way," said the junior VMA production major.

The models, Alexandra Smolen, Rachel Harrison, Chiara Bianchini, Livija Kelly, Iman Artwell-Freeman, Felicia Terrat, Rachel Rosenbloom, Brittany Perro, Ashley Blom, Mariel Brandt, Adriana Echandi and Caitlin Linney were chosen from a pool of girls who auditioned last month to participate in the competition.

Last weekend each of the 12 models posed for the camera in a series of five photo shoots with different challenges for the contestants. The themes varied from pin-ups through the decades, where six sets of two girls were each given a different decade to portray; to a princess and prince charming shoot, which asked that the girls pose with male models. A Pollock-esque element was added to the shoot that had the ladies naked in a tub with their faces covered in paint. To top off these top models in more than one sense, there was also a semi-nude vanity shoot. The girls posed for about ten photos for every shoot and Fashion Society will choose the model's best photo from each shoot to be displayed at the show.

"All the themes and the ideas for the photo shoots were so creative," sophomore Rachel Harrison said. "We got at least 10 shots so hopefully one out of ten will be good."

Many of the models said the other girls are much nicer than the ones on television and the experience has been a lot of fun.

Varying from the original iAmerica's Next Top Model/i, the air of cattiness was absent from the photo shoot set. Instead, all the models laughed and enjoyed each other's company as well as the experience.

"It's not like you see on TV. There really are no bitches here," said junior broadcast journalism major Alexandra Smolen. "Everybody is really nice."

At the show, which will be hosted by junior theatre studies major Emily DeSimone, the girls will get the chance to show off their hard work. Harrison said their pictures from the five photo shoots will be reviewed and critiqued by the judges and the girls will undergo several live competitions.

"We don't see our photos before hand," said the writing for film and television major. "They don't tell us what the live event competitions are going to be, so there's the element of surprise."

There will be cuts throughout the night, so only those girls who advance will continue to have their photos judged. Admission to the show is free and Harrison said the Fashion Society urges people to come and support the contestants, whether by making signs or just cheering extra loud.

"The audience is encouraged to come out and support the models," she said. "[The Fashion Society] wants the audience to be part of the show."

iThe Emerson's Next Top Model show will take place in the Bill Bordy Theatre on March 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is free./i