by - July 10, 2014

On Monday July 7th, I had the pleasure of being among media/blogs specially invited by The Collection Moda to cover the launch of their Moda Model Grooming, a one week workshop geared towards preparing aspiring models for the runway. Since 2012 The Collection Moda has been a chief platform in Jamaica for celebrating fashion and expression through different events, the grooming workshop being their latest venture. Under the guidance of Miss Universe runner up Yendi Phillips, America's Next Top Model's cycle 14 winner, Krista White, celebrity stylist Arnold Milfort and several other industry experts, the ladies will gain a rounded experience to prepare them for or enhance their modeling careers.

Conceptulizer of The Moda Model Grooming, Kerry-Ann Clarke shared "What we want is for them to leave the workshop being more confident, being more poised, and being more ambitious and having more presence within themselves." Beginning with a life coach session, the girls are given lessons in make up, posing, posture, walking, nutrition, skin care, hair styling, photography and fitness over the course of 5 days.

(from left) Kerry-Ann Clarke of The Collection Moda alongside Miss a Universe runner up Yendi Phillips
-photo by Infuzion Inc-

Milfort spoke of the importance of workshops of this nature particularly at a time in young women's lives when they are vulnerable and trying to find their space in the world and especially in the world of fashion. Phillips, who is no stranger to this type of initiative, highlighted however that, "Whether we want to be apart of the fashion industry or not everyone needs to be confident and poised and know themselves and understand their own worth. I find a lot of youngsters don't know how to tap into what makes them different and what makes them special." This is particularly what the mentors hope to achieve with the workshop.

Amidst external pressures or influences from social media, reality shows and peers, White and her fellow mentors hope to use their experiences to insight positive change in these young women who are susceptible to low self esteem and insecurities for not fitting in with the status quo images that they are bombarded by on a daily basis. Krista White became a television sensation in 2010 and with that she also attracted her fair share of naysayers, many of whom have taken to social media to voice their grievances even today- four years later.

"I think its important for us to teach them to find their identity. Right now in the times that we're living in social media is so huge and if you look at everybody, they all look the same," White griped, adding "Everybody doesn't have to be a celebrity or look like Kim Kardashian. You're beautiful the way you are. Find out what you like or what works for you and be happy with that."

The reality that the fashion industry is dynamic and what is in today is irrelevant tomorrow is also something they highlighted, noting that it only takes one person to break the mould. In spite of White and Phillips' successful modeling careers they recounted having doors closed on them and how self confidence and ambition kept them afloat. They plan to use the workshop to encourage the ladies to do their homework to seek alternative avenues rather than the traditional ones especially as a minority (race, etc), to be determined and look for windows of opportunities when they encounter closed doors in the future.

Young ladies from the workshop paused for a photo op with their mentor Yendi Phillips

While image is a significant part of the fashion industry the mentors intend on placing emphasis on self acceptance, personal growth and self actualization while equipping the ladies with the skills they need to enhance their craft.

For more information on The Moda Model Grooming and The Collection Moda you can visit their website and Facebook page.

Do Good, Dress Well

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