Denver Fashion Weekend Spring ’16 is just around the corner. Colorado’s largest fashion show, now with five days, is bigger than ever. For this season, the non-traditional night returns for a second time. The groundbreaking show showcases models of all ages, body sizes and shapes. Get to know some of the faces that will be walking down the runway with our Q&A below, then get your ticket for non-traditional night before it sells out.

RSVP Your Seat to Denver Fashion Weekend 2016 Here

Than Ngo.

Photo courtesy of Than Ngo.

Than Ngo – 303 Award Alternative Model Nominee

What made you audition for DFW?

I have always wanted to walk for DFW since I first auditioned back in Fall of 2013, because DFW represents the best of the best from models to hair stylists, makeup artists, and designers in the fashion community here in Denver.  

What made you want to start modeling? 

Since I was young, I always loved being in front of the camera and been told that I am very photogenic. Looking in magazines and seeing all the models wearing beautiful clothes, I told myself one day that will be me. I decided to give modeling a try and fell in love with it. For me, everything about it, from being on the runway to posing for a photo, is so addictive. I just can’t get enough.  

Do you have a favorite Denver designer or boutique?

I am a big fan of Gino Velardi and Ruckus Apparel. Both have different styles but a taste of elegance and urban. I always try to support local designers and boutiques as much as I can.

Were there obstacles you had to overcome as a model?

All the time. People think being a model is an easy job but it’s actually a full time job. There is a lot of competition out there and people are always looking for something new and fresh. Having to reinvent yourself and deal with the competition can be an obstacle to overcome. I am constantly working on myself to improve and be better at what I do so the competition doesn’t get to me. 

What advice would you give to empower those pursuing the fashion and modeling industry?

My advice is to never give up on your dreams. Be persistent and involved. Showing up to castings and being present is a start. Having a good personality, work hard, and be professional because people will always remember the first impression you give. Lastly, have fun and don’t take everything so serious! We are all here to create something memorable.  

Photo courtesy of Abella Harlow.

Photo courtesy of Abella Harlow.

Abella Harlow – 303 Award Alternative Model Nominee 

You’ve been nominated for the 303 Awards as a top “alternative model.” How do you define alternative modeling and why do you think it’s important for the future of the fashion industry?

Defining an alternative model is a little tricky. Essentially it’s people who do not have a traditional commercial look. They’re often defined by tattoos, age, “unnatural” hair color, larger dress size, or shorter than 5’9″. Alt models are important because fashion is about staying current and understanding trends. Alt models represent a huge counterculture that more and more people are becoming a part of. By definition, the fashion industry needs these models in order stay current. Modeling is about selling an image, an idea. People want images they relate to, and traditional commercial looks are becoming more difficult for the vast majority of Americans in the 21st century to relate to.

What is your favorite part of Denver Fashion Weekend?

 I look forward to the 30 seconds I’m on the runway. I love the adrenaline and the honor of representing someone’s artistic creation to the public.

“Alt models represent a huge counterculture… The fashion industry needs these models in order stay current.”

How do you define Denver fashion?

 For me Denver Fashion is about self-expression and creativity. We’re not Paris we’re not New York and we shouldn’t try to be. Designers like Xavia Schmidt and Andrea Li really represent our culture here. Xavia’s clothing has an “unfinished” dark Cinderella/Tim burton feel to it. Andrea uses unique rock formations for jewelry. Both of their work has a very Colorado, organic feel to it. I adore our industry here. It’s been such an honor to work with the talent in our growing city.

Photo courtesy of Ming Min.

Photo courtesy of Ming Min.

Chu Ming Min Luftig – Inked/Petitie/ 303 Award Alternative Model Nominee

What’s your favorite thing about modeling? 

Being able to create art and remembering that first time someone sees your work, it’s a moment in time you can never relive. 

How would you describe your personal style?

No style in particular, whatever I see [that] is beautiful to me [and] I want to wear on my body.

Were there obstacles you had to overcome as a model?
I’m short but I don’t care anymore because I should be appreciative of my body. Life is precious and we take what we have and spin it into something petty and meaningless.

What would you tell people who want to become a model, even if they might not fit typical fashion standards?
You do whatever makes you happy! We only have one life to live and we shouldn’t
waste away [by] thinking [and instead by] doing.


Photo courtesy of Tory Langas

Photo courtesy of Tory Langas

Tory Langas, Voluptuous 

As a voluptuous model, how has the industry changed for you? 
Over the last few years, voluptuous models have been far more prevalent in the industry than ever before. Iconic models like Ashley Graham have totally changed industry standards and paved a way for models like myself. I think it’s amazing to see the industry change and grow, and I am blessed to be a part of it here in Denver.
What would you like people to know about being a voluptuous model?
As a voluptuous model, I want people to know that I embrace the curves that God gave me while living a healthy lifestyle. I think it is important to represent all body types and above all health. Working exercise into my everyday life is important to me. I want all girls to know their bodies are amazing and they can do anything!

What made you want to start modeling?

Modeling has always been a dream of mine, especially now that there has been such a growing presence of plus size models within the fashion industry. Growing up I was self-conscious about my body because it didn’t look like all of the models I was constantly seeing in media around me. As I got older I became more confident in myself and was truly inspired by plus models making a difference in the industry. I want to be part of something bigger than myself in changing industry standards and promoting healthy body image. I want to show girls that all bodies are beautiful and beauty goes so much further beyond your size.

What do you love about the Denver fashion industry? What do you dislike?

I love that it is growing and you can really see it! There are more and more boutiques popping up with the growth of the city which is awesome. I also think that the influx of transplants to Denver is really adding to the growth of fashion, art, and design in the city.

What are you thinking about when you’re on the runway?

It’s all about strength and confidence! I channel an “I’m unstoppable” kind of attitude. 

Do you have a favorite Denver designer or boutique? 

Some of my favorites are A Line Boutique, Sous le Lit and Common Era. Also, my favorite curvy blogger is my sister! She’s my style icon and knows how to accentuate her curves just right. Go check her out at and on Instagram at @raeannlangas


Photo courtesy of Kendall Lee.

Photo courtesy of Kendall Naetzker.

Kendell Naetzker, Inked

What made you want to start modeling?

Modeling came about as an accidental hobby for me. What I enjoy about it is the ability to create mood and feeling in coordination with a photographer and perhaps multiple stylists, as well as other models and creative types.

Can you tell us about your tattoos?

My tattoos represent the innermost turmoil, development and personal success of my current and past self. My back piece signifies who I am as a woman and how I came into being that strong and powerful person. The bone comb and lady face tattoos that I have are symbolic references to my career as a hairstylist. My tattoos adorn my body in ways that make me feel beautiful and whole. I can play up my tattoos or covertly hide them, depending on my chosen style for the moment.

What are the biggest misconceptions about being a model with tattoos?

A tattooed model can perform just as well as a non-tattooed model. Simply because a person has tattoos on their body should not make them any less appealing than another human being. Preconceived notions of what is ‘right’, ‘wrong’ or socially acceptable should not dictate what modeling agencies want to represent. Agencies, stylists and photographers should embrace the tattooed model more. There’s an untapped world of raw talent, mood and emotion waiting to be revealed.

Photo courtesy of Kendall Naetzker.

Photo courtesy of Kendall Naetzker

What are you thinking about when you’re on the runway?

Hall & Oates, “Maneater”

Were there obstacles you had to overcome as a model?

Acne sucks. Love yourself and your confidence will shine through. Battling my own self doubt and negative talk is my biggest problem.

Non-Traditional night will be Night 2 of Denver Fashion Weekend and will take place Thursday, April 7 at City Hall Amphitheater. RSVP HERE.