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Port City Models & Talent Interview with Caron Bryan-President/CEO
Port City Models & Talent, Inc.-
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See Press Herald Business Thursday Interview at MaineToday.com

Press Herald Photo by Derek Davis

What advice do you have for someone attempting to break into the modeling business?

A: Start your career by working with a local agency and do not drop out of school. Keep in mind that within each market there are specific looks that are in favor at any given time and some models fit the look of the moment better than others for that market. Try another near-by city if you are determined and your look isn't right for your particular city. Gain experience modeling or acting part-time, while ultimately setting your sights on New York. Work with several photographers locally to gain experience and confidence with working in front of the camera before attempting to work in a major market.

What separates one model from another? How important is personality?

A: Personality is extremely important, as important as having the right look. I often tell beginning models that your looks may get you in the door, but it will take much more than physical beauty to keep you there. Being tall, thin and beautiful is not enough for survival in this billion dollar business. When someone walks into an open call at Port City Models & Talent, who has all the physical qualifications that we require: appropriate height, great bone structure, blemish-free skin, and straight, white teeth, we also look for a strong, unique personality and individual style, as well as energy, enthusiasm, intelligence and professionalism. Those successful in the business will be well-spoken and possess that 'something special'  that makes him/her come alive…an inner drive…an 'attitude', known as charisma and presence. A model must have the ability to project a variety of moods from within to the camera during a shoot and on the runway, have a great attitude and enough confidence and self-esteem to deal with rejection on a regular basis. Modeling is one of the toughest and most sought after careers in the world. A model will get from the business what she puts into it!!!

How might a model extend her career beyond the catwalk?

Iman and Caron
Star Lounge-Fashion Week
A: If a model is intelligent, driven, motivated and works very hard (as with any business), she/he can certainly extend a modeling career far beyond the runway. I have had the opportunity to meet Heidi Klum backstage at Fashion Week in New York. Heidi made a name for herself beyond modeling through recognizing and seizing opportunities that came her way through her many industry connections and went on to create her hit Bravo TV show, 'Project Runway'. This past September, I interviewed Supermodel turned Designer, Iman, wife of rock icon David Bowie, at Lincoln Center during Spring/Summer 2011 Fashion Week in New York. Having strutted down the catwalks of every internationally renowned fashion house for 30 years, it would seem that Iman has done it all, however her latest accomplishment, along with hosting Bravo TV's 'The Fashion Show', is the launch of her exotic fabric collection, 'Iman Home', inspired, she told me, by the global cultures encountered during her extensive travels, as a model and by her Somalian heritage.

To celebrate the launch, Iman teamed up with interior design guru Carlos Mota to design the Mercedes-Benz VIP Star Lounge, the 'between-show', backstage, invite-only Fashion Week Lounge for celebrities, designers and fashion industry press, using Iman's new fabric line of colorful zebra-skin and peacock-feather patterns to upholster couches and ottomans, as well as cosmopolitan elements, such as African stools and with photographs of Iman taken by fashion greats Bruce Weber and Peter Beard adorning the walls from Iman's private collection. "Since I stopped modeling, got married, and had a daughter, home has become a passion of mine. The gods of interior decoration must have been looking down upon me, because all of a sudden, here was this great opportunity to create/design the Mercedes-Benz VIP Star Lounge".

Which Designer's Spring 2012 Collection shown at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week did you find most inspiring?

Christian with Sam and Charlotte Ronson

Sam and Charlotte Ronson
Backstage giving Kudos to Caron's
Black/Zebra 'Glam-Rock' Nails
A: That would definitely be Charlotte Ronson's Collection. I also had the opportunity to interview the Designer backstage following her show. "This Collection is a little more lady-like than usual with less of an edge," Ronson told me, after explaining that elements as diverse as Victorian detailing and 70s Bohemianism had contributed to this season's overall inspiration. Ronson has built her career designing for friends, such as Kelly Osbourne, Whitney Port, Lindsey Lohan and Nicky Hilton, who all attended the show, making for a celebrity-studded event. With her famous twin sister Hollywood DJ, Sam Ronson, in the booth spinning a rockin' soundtrack, the models strutted down the catwalk. Covered buttons and lace were highlights of the Victorian influence, while patch-work flared jeans and crochet crop tops exemplified an undeniable 70s Boho feel. Floral prints adorning sheer off-the-shoulder blouses added a prairie component to the mix, however the collection's easy silhouette and muted palette kept everything tied together. The mostly blue-hued show closed with a colorful bang as orange ombre dresses and a finale sheer, bold citrus embellished gown made its way down the runway. I was also fortunate to score a coveted VIP invite to attend the Sephora Meatpacking District Boutique's Grand Opening held during Fashion Week, debuting Charlotte Ronson's new make-up line sold exclusively at Sephora. Each item in the make-up line is named after one of the family members of her famous rock and roll bloodline. Samantha Ronson's band played at the event and guests of honor included 'Avatar's Zoe Saldana, 'Gray’s Anatomy' hunk Jessie Williams, and tattoo artist Kat Von D, who has a successful make-up line already sold at the beauty mega-retailer.

Q: Which Fashion Designer's Collection most impressed you for Fall/Winter 2011/2012?

Christian and Caron

Christian Siriano and Caron
Backstage after his
Runway Show

A: Christian Siriano's Fall 2011 Collection showcased the 25-year-old Designer's growth and represented a big step in his evolution as a Designer... away from the over-the-top style with which he's become associated and into a purer, more toned-down aesthetic. The first half of the primarily black collection was anything but boring. Siriano diversified black in a couple of ways... through meshing his knits, chiffons, silks, leathers, and cashmeres and pairing those textures in such a way that made the color luxe and rich and through the shapes and structures of his exquisite designs. As he moved on to color... gone were the loud fuschias of the past, replaced instead with more muted mauves and moss greens shown in his dresses. His detailed blazers were tailored to perfection. Amongst the jackets, skirts and pants were the Designer's signature red carpet dresses and fantasy gowns. Siriano, who designs for Payless Shoes, showcased his edgy, chunky, claw-heeled stilettos throughout the show. They were to blame for at least one major model runway fall, a couple of stumbles, and a handful of awkward walks. But, hey... what are a few casualties next to a slouchy black knit turtleneck with a gorgeous satin-faced organza tulip skirt? I'd be runway roadkill for that, too. The show's final look was perhaps its standout and telling of where Siriano is heading as a Designer... a charcoal short sleeved blouse paired with a beautiful mauve ruffled ball gown skirt that achieved all of the edgy 'fierce' theatrics of his past collections, but with a more sophisticated and refined, pared-down sensibility.

Q: In what direction do you see the Fashion Industry headed for Fall/Winter 2011/2012?

Twiggy on the cover of Vogue

A: Step back into the swingin' 60s and take some style notes from Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and Alberta Ferretti... Channel 'modern-day Twiggy' meets 'It Girl', Brit, Alexa Chung, with androgynous mod silhouettes and shiny textured fabrics in shift dresses with high crew necklines, updated to short modern lengths. The 60s continued their mark on the Fashion World for the Fall/Winter 2011/2012 season. Bottega Veneta and Prada runways displayed the era’s Mod hallmarks from bell-bottomed trousers, boxy silhouettes and peter pan collars to patent leather shifts and fitted knee high boots... a la 60s iconic model Twiggy. The season's dresses and coats are sleek fitting, maxi-length and feminine. Dolce & Gabbana and Libertine showcased an energetic dose of bright geometric patterns and the collections of Anna Sui and Versace featured bold flowers. Gucci showed prominent polka dots and Stella McCarthy... broken glass prints in their transparent dresses. Wild animal prints... maxi skirts to coats, from bags to boots, coupled with over-sized feather adornments were all the rage on the runways of Givenchy, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Topshop and Ungaro. As always, boots are a 'must have' for this season. Over the knee versions were either flat (Giuseppe Zanotti) or high-heeled (Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton). Ankle Booties, still a very hot accessory, were prominent on the runways of BCBG and Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. worn with opaque tights. They have the power to transform an ordinary little black dress or skirt into something fresh and trendy. Fitted Military Jackets were seen on the runways of Marc Jacobs, Balmain and Charlotte Ronson. Statement Necklaces, chunky cuff bracelets and large, eye-catching cocktail rings are go-to pieces this season, as are trendy, over-sized shoulder grazing feather earrings and clip in hair extensions. Whether you are looking for a necklace or a belt, using metal is an easy way to purchase a stand out piece that can be worn with a variety of looks... the more unique, the better, to put the stamp on your personal style.

Q: How has the Internet's global reach impacted the Model/Talent Industry?

view Caron's portfolio

A: The Internet has changed the face of the modeling industry significantly by increasing accessibility. Modeling/Acting is a profession that is based on connecting models and actors with jobs. Although an actual face-to-face evaluation is sometimes needed to determine if the candidates are the right fit for a particular job, the Internet  minimizes some of the costs incurred for in-person castings. Most Model/Talent Agencies and Management firms use their own web sites to showcase their models/actors to their prospective clients. Clients from around the country or from Europe/Asia are able to view the online portfolios/books/headshots of our models/talent instantaneously via our web sites. This gives our clients immediate access to our talent pool and offers our models/actors, increased global access to clients for bookings, being lucrative for all involved!

Q: Can you describe the ambience in the Bryant Park Tents, as you witnessed the final Designer Collections to be staged there commemorating the end of an era?

Bryant Park Tents - New York Fashion Week

Bryant Park Tents
New York Fashion Week
A: A somber mood enveloped New York's Bryant Park Tents this past February as the Fashion World's global elite made their arrivals (even more so after the sudden death of Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen) in anticipation of absorbing and celebrating Fashion Designers' newest creations for Fall/Winter 2010. The Tent walls were adorned with quotes from Vogue's Anna Wintour, Fashion Designer Donna Karan, TV's Fashion Guru Extraordinaire Tim Gunn, Supermodels Lauren Hutton and Giselle Bundchen and others... to celebrate and commemorate the end of an era. For the past 15 years, the iconic midtown park sharing the same block as the historic New York Public Library, has played host to one of the largest fashion events of the world, New York Fashion Week. The bi-annual event which showcases and previews upcoming seasonal collections from some of the most renowned and up-and-coming labels in the world (Ralph Lauren, Richard Chai, Max Azria… just to name a few) is estimated to draw more than 100,000 store buyers, fashion editors, socialites and celebrities.
As such, with some complaints from the park management that the 'invite-only' shows had grown too large and restricted public access to the park for two weeks a year, future Fashion Weeks will be leaving Bryant Park and instead, be held at Lincoln Center.

Q:How is the current economic climate affecting the Fashion Industry?

A: Inexpensive designs and clothing lines are getting a lot more attention... a backlash of sorts to the flashy, celebrity-driven, sexy style that has been dominant for the last decade. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood, who made a splash in her Spring/Summer 2010 collection by emphasizing fashion statements that work on a limited budget, including necklaces made out of safety pins and shawls from tablecloths, are going in that direction. We are seeing a shift in 2010 from trend-centered style to individually-based style, which will include a focus on vintage, consignment shop finds, as well as, clothing obtained through 'fashion swapping parties' (Swishing) and even thrift shops and flea market items. Vintage clothing has made a major comeback over the past few years worldwide and has recently become an extremely popular mainstream fashion trend. Aside from the positive environmentally friendly factor, mixing and matching vintage and current designer pieces allows you to create a hip, eclectic style that is unique only to you, as well as, offering the thrill of the hunt.Some people are choosing to view the current recession as a blessing... permission to re-adjust their values and to stop living above their means and buying things that they do not need or want, feeling that looking extravagant has become 'uncool' and feels emotionally wrong. Even those who are financially secure are choosing to cut back and place more value on substantive things, such as relationships, that are not based on buying, however, when times are tough, the arts and entertainment industries tend to thrive. People still need to get out and de-stress (albeit... inexpensively)... to socialize, to embrace the arts (go to the theatre locally and attend fashion show benefits), to sing and dance and to never stop following their dreams!!!

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