The decision makers at the International Modeling and Talent Association convention in Los Angeles have a difficult task in front of them. The event attracts hundreds of aspiring actors, dancers, singers and models vying to be the next Hollywood “It” girl or guy. The up-and-coming talent gathered here at the Westin Bonaventure hotel have an edge over most other industry wannabes by virtue of the invaluable training they have already received from schools such as Barbizon and AIM.
Now they have the opportunity to present themselves before managers, agents, casting directors, music producers, and industry heavyweights such as Disney, Elite, and Pageantry to prove they have what it takes. They’re here to put that talent on full display to show these career makers they have that “X-Factor,” you either have “It” or you don’t. But, what exactly is “It?”
When modeling scouts or talent agents in attendance at IMTA compare notes, there will always be similar themes in common. These themes are not always specific, but they are general qualities that tend to be the determining factor when making a decision on a model, singer or actor. For example, a lot of casting directors will look for a positive demeanor or attitude. When interviewing talent hopefuls or watching models perform on the runway, that positive aura will often catch our attention. It could be the way they smile or in the confidence they exude when they make eye contact. It could be in the positive body language a dancer uses when moving with the music. Sometimes it may be as simple as a model’s listening skills and the willingness to follow directions. That little bit extra will grab a scout’s attention and transform this unknown into someone valuable, and out of that could come a working relationship that will benefit all parties involved.
When Pageantry magazine is casting for the world’s largest on location fashion photo shoot for Prom and social occasion gowns, we are frequently approached by interested models that ask us, “What specifically are you looking for?” Aside from the specific height and fitness criteria we need to fulfill for our girls to model one-of-a-kind prototype gowns you see on the runways of Paris, New York, and Milan, we also search for that little bit extra that sets this particular model apart from the others. We have broken the selection process down to a science, but assigning a specific value to that “X-Factor” variable is anything but scientific.
It’s a quality that’s indefinable for us because it’s always different. Sometimes that quality is an unbreakable spirit of optimism as the model’s positive attitude is infectious to the point that we can see it will be a valuable asset on the set of a photo shoot where models wake up as early as 4 a.m. for makeup and work a grueling schedule in the sweltering heat until sundown. “It” may be defined in another model as a solid work ethic or an ambitious desire for perfection. Those models that have shined have proven to be successful throughout the photo shoot and throughout their entire careers. We owe a lot of our success from the Pageantry & PromTime Fashion Showcase to IMTA, because by attending the convention, we have been able to cast some of the most impressive young people from Barbizon over the years.
When the question of defining “It” was posed to Pageantry magazine’s own Eve Matheson, she provided us with surprising knowledge on the subject. “Famous nineteenth century novelist Elinor Glyn (sister of Lady Lucille Duff-Gordon who staged the first ever runway show, in London) referred to sex appeal as ‘It,’ coining the term ‘an It girl.’” Said Eve, “In today’s world I would include charm, intelligence, beauty, poise, talent and a large dose of ‘je ne sais quoi.’ ‘It’ is a bit of an enigma.”
Fashion Show Producer and Celebrity Runway Instructor Michael Maddox, of dearmichaelmaddox.com and michaelmaddoxrunway.com, defines “It” as possessing an indomitable will. “A lot of models give up because if they lose a competition or don’t book a casting, they think it’s the end of the world.” Michael went on to explain, “Sometimes in life, you have to stand atop a mountain of a lot of ‘no’s’ in order to get a successful ‘yes,’ and then you win. Because if it doesn’t work out for Sally today, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work out for Sally tomorrow; everyone has a season. A good runway model is unique, strong-minded, and has a lot of courage.”
Do you have It? Continue to follow your dreams and hone your craft and you will find that unique quality within yourself that separates you from the rest of the competition. Believe in yourself and your best qualities will surface for you and shine before all those who can see. IMTA provides an unprecedented opportunity to display all of your finest attributes before industry leaders and star-makers with a proven track record of discovering icons such as, Ashton Kutcher, Eva Longoria, Jessica Biel, and the future of young Hollywood with rising stars such as Tyson, Josh Duhamel, and Ashley Greene.
The difference between a star and a wannabe may not be the young man or woman possessing that “It” factor, it may have more to do with the right people recognizing “It” or not. With a proven track record that the IMTA convention boasts, you can rest assured your talents will not go unnoticed.