True, behind every scene in a movie lies months of set design, teams of producers and cameramen, makeup artists on constant standby and the hearts and souls of the writing staff. However, the fact of the matter is that the fate of every heavily invested scene and the collective efforts of countless staff members rest on the shoulders of the scene’s actor. It is the actor who brings the script to life, creates a product ultimately worth marketing and interacts with the beautifully constructed sets. Reasonable or not, the performance of the actor sets the groundwork for the entire production’s ultimate judgment. The same can be said of models and fashion productions. Despite months of preparation and countless consultations covering everything from audience seating to individual makeup looks, it all boils down to the brief moment when the model struts down the runway; and all that ultimately matters is that she. not. fall.
Denver Fashion Weekend Fall/Winter 2011 is almost here, and a slew of excited models will be performing shuttle-runs between rehearsals, hair, makeup, look book shoots and wardrobe. Do these models recognize the immense responsibility placed upon their shoulders? Daunting: yes. Pressure: definitely. 303 Magazine interviews Oumou D, one of Denver’s most memorable and successful female models, as well as the agent who managers Oumou and an artillery of Denver talent: Donna Baldwin Talent’s Diana Gormley.
Oumou D, Model, Donna Baldwin Talent
303: Most people think hair and makeup is a pampering experience, but does it ever hurt?
OD: Taking out extensions can hurt sometimes, but otherwise there is usually no pain involved with hair and makeup. It is indeed a pampering experience.
303: What types of fabrics are most difficult to wear?
OD: I would say Satin (polyester/silk) and cotton can be difficult to wear due to easy wrinkling, so we have to be extra cautious.
303: Any runway disasters from nightmares past?
OD: Few years ago, my stiletto got stuck in a crevice when I was walking on a raised wall. I walked around with one pump while tippie-toeing on the other foot, and that was definitely a challenge!
303: Do you rehearse your catwalk backstage?
OD: If I’m not certain about a pair of shoes I’ll rehearse a bit, just to get used to them.
303: How do you tame your nerves into a calm, expressionless face for the stage?
OD: I find a focal point once I walk out on the runway. Looking at that point fades everything else around, and that helps a lot.
303: Do you keep your runway makeup for the festivities that follow after?
OD: It depends on how much makeup I have on and if it is appropriate for whatever’s happening.
303: Describe the energy backstage of Denver Fashion Weekend.
OD: The energy is dynamic backstage, and the hype begins a few minutes before the show.
303: What do you like most about modeling? What are the challenges you face?
OD: What I enjoy the most about modeling is being able to work with different fashion professionals such as the designers, hair stylists, makeup artists, photographers, etc…. And I also enjoy walking on the runway and feeling the audience’s energy and excitement, and I love seeing their reaction to certain garments. A challenge that I face is with my look, which is sometimes found to be too exotic for the Denver market.
303: When you’re on the runway, is there something that you feel most self-conscious about?
OD: Being bra-less on the runway can make me self-conscious because wardrobe malfunctions can occur.
303: What advice do you have for up and coming models?
OD: The best advice I can give up and coming models is not to forget about school. Working as a model only lasts so long, and I feel that education is important for a brighter future. If they stop modeling, they can always have something to fall back on. They should have fun with it while it lasts!
Diana Gormley, Modeling Agent, Donna Baldwin Talent
303: What role are you playing in Denver Fashion Weekend?
DG: I work closely with production on model casting/selects…coordinating the best possible runway models for she shows.
303: How did you get involved with the mayhem?
DG:I love fashion shows and have worked in model casting of shows for over 15 years so it was a natural fit for me. My models are well known in the fashion community and we all love 303.
303: How do you anticipate the fashion industry evolving in the Denver community?
DG: I feel strongly that the fashion community in Denver has a lot to offer. I see it growing in many ways. I love seeing designers come to life here and find the support they need to develop. Hair and makeup artistry continues to grow. Fashion photography is growing at every turn as well as fashion production. Models are getting more and more experience and careers are blossoming. My belief is that the fashion community will continue to grow as long as everyone works together and towards a growing fashion economy.
303: What excites you most about sending your models down the Denver Fashion Weekend runway?
DG: I love my models…anyone who knows me knows how special my girls and guys are to me. I love watching them confidently show their art on the runway and I love watching the audience appreciate their beauty.
303: What advice do you offer to models before big bookings?
DG: My advice is to do your best and to be confident. There is a reason they were booked and that reason is because they are special. So I encourage them to shine!!!
303: What about Denver’s fashion industry do you think will surprise outsiders?
DG: I think the most surprising thing to the outside world would be that there is so much genuine interest in fashion here…people really do love the industry and want it to succeed and flourish. There are many many people here dedicated to making fashion a big part of the city and people are not giving up. That is the kind of dedication that breeds success.
303:What is the defining deference between a good model walk and fantastic one?
DG: Confidence. Confidence. Confidence. That coupled with one’s own unique style makes a model a star!!!