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modeling & talent ● modeling By Eve Matheson Embracing Change While sometimes a frightening prospect, the ability to change can be the key to success C hange is a word that instills terror in the hearts of some people, no matter what business they are in or what crossroads in life they have reached. They don’t want any part of it. Others realize that change is inevitable but complain about, worry about, and resist the process as much as possible. The young and the young-at-heart, of course, embrace it. It is here to stay. The fashion industry has been faced with major changes since the dawn of the internet in 1989. More recently, the impact of the social media phenomenon has brought a tsunami of change in the way designers present fashion shows and market their product and in how models, agents, and modeling schools do business. To shed more light on this social media revolution and other significant changes in the modeling world, I chatted with two of the industry’s leading educators, Laura La Belle, chief operating officer of Barbizon USA and Jamie Manella, vice president of advanced scouting for Barbizon International, at the company’s impressive headquarters in Tampa, Florida. Laura and Jamie have the awesome responsibility of maintaining the high standard of integrity which has been the company’s most significant credential for over 75 years. My first interview questions were for Laura. Q. What major changes have you seen recently in the industry? A. I would definitely say the biggest change is social media. Social media channels are completely changing our industry. In both modeling and acting, your numbers are important, and by numbers I mean the number of follow- ers you have on Instagram or Twitter who are actively watching you. Young actors who audition for Disney or Nickelodeon or other casting opportunities don’t just sign 44 PAGEANTRY WINDS OF CHANGE: Supermodels such as Christie Brinkley began their careers in an era before the postitivers and perils of the social media age. in with their name, agency, and manager. They now must list what their followers or numbers are. Even model agencies are opening social media divisions for models who do not have the required statistics for a fashion model, to work in other areas such as product placement because they have a large number of followers. You see the Kardashians doing product placement all of the time and making millions of dollars. It means that a girl from Plano, Texas who we would not necessarily define as a model or talent, who has done make- up videos on You-Tube and has garnered an incredible fol- lowing, now has a presence and a captive audience that trusts her. As a result, makeup companies send her loads of makeup, and she is approached to recommend or do a tu- torial for a certain type of makeup. Then they make a deal where there is reciprocity, and she can receive an income for recommending that product. So much of what we are seeing with product placement is that the kids and the audience - that is the followers who are watching - don’t feel they are being sold something be- cause they don’t see it as an ad. They feel it is a lifestyle and that the person got there because of the makeup she is MODELING Continued on page 76