Ahead of its open day on Saturday, December 9, Extreme Models and Beauty owner Verushka Barnard gives the inside track on what to expect if you – or your child – signs up with a modelling school
Extreme Modelling Agency is holding its open day on Saturday at the Humewood Hotel between 10am and 1pm, open to boys and girls from three, and men and women up to the age of 60.
The Nelson Mandela Bay modelling agency and grooming academy looks at each model’s appearance, performance and interaction proficiency.
“Models are schooled in a variety of disciplines ranging from personal grooming to interpersonal communication skills,” Barnard said, noting that young models needed certain qualities. These included: a healthy lifestyle, height, a fresh look, strong features, willingness to work hard, and dedication.
“The modelling industry is an amazing industry to be part of, but just like anything else in life, everything is hard work,” she said.
Barnard said opportunities in modelling could include TV commercials, advertising, photographic or runway projects, and more.
“I am aware of people who see the modelling industry as ‘you are vain, you like yourself’ and it’s for underweight people.”
However, “growing up in this industry for 26 years, I love everything about beauty, dressing up, travel, meeting new people and of course we believe in what we do, promoting a healthy lifestyle and fashion everywhere we go.
“Have you ever thought of no posters, TV commercials, images for beauty products, clothing, hair, make-up, presenting or corporate brand awareness? This is who we are, we keep this industry alive and interesting.
“A lot of your business owners, actors and actresses, top fashion house designers, presenters on TV, and media personalities come from the modelling industry.
It’s hard work
“You need to be a go-getter, hardworking, prepared to work long hours, be a people’s person, think out of the box, and create new looks for yourself.
“Each job is different and it is very important to know each client’s work.
“Working for a mother agency that promotes you for different job opportunities, you need to be loyal, invest in a good profile that they present to their clients – without it you will not get work.
“Out of experience, I know how hard top designers and fashion houses work; to put their storyboards together; to create something beautiful like campaigns that you see on billboards, at shopping centres, in advertorials and TV adverts that are very challenging and I really appreciate their creativity.
“Models travel the world and the hours they have to put in are ongoing as they go for interviews, prepare and plan for jobs, keep updated and have general knowledge as the season for fashion changes.
“Some travel from a young age like me but I did matriculate and studied while I was traveling.”
Barnard said there was a demand from parents in Nelson Mandela Bay for a finishing school or academy for boys and girls with no confidence to help build their self-esteem, teach them table etiquette and life skills, and more.
Barnard does warn that if you want to become a professional national or international model, there are certain specifications.
“You need to fit a criteria of 1.72m and taller to start with as a female model, and males from 1.8m with a good, strong bone structure and fresh face.
“Advertising models must be very well spoken, have good clear skin, good teeth, and a brilliant smile to sell.
“If you don’t fit any of these you will not become the professional model that you would like to be because these are the basic things you need to have!”
Advice for parents
She also has advice for parents who always wanted to get into the modelling industry but never managed to.
“Now you want your child to do it – but we will know if we can go forward with your child, and if there is no interest from your child side, accept it.
“If your child enjoys it, love every second of it and support your child’s dream.”
Extreme Models and Beauty’s finishing school starts in the first week in February and models attend one session a week with packages including individual grooming, self-confidence, “who am I”, your inner beauty and much more.
“I love kids, I love helping people, and I love giving back to my community,” Barnard said.
“I have been very fortunate to travel overseas for modelling, and I decided to come back home to start my business 14 years ago to help develop our youngsters of today to believe in themselves, to grow as individuals, to stand up and be go-getters.”