With a tattoo-artist-inspired fashion designer and talent competitions in its lineup, the inaugural iPOP! show sought to infuse the fashion and modeling convention with a music-and-entertainment-industry twist. Two beneficiaries of that strategy, Models of the Year Josh Silva and Jessica Smith, share their experience with Pageantry.
Some 125 top agents, managers, and casting directors came face-to-face with a promising pool of talent participants earlier this year during a new week-long training session and showcase called iPOP! — the International Presentation Of Performers. iPOP’s president and co-founder, Helen Rogers, hoped her strategy of creating intense one-on-one programs would appeal to talent candidates seeking to merge their fashion and modeling background with the music and entertainment industry.
By the week’s end, Ms. Rogers and her organization were pleased to have welcomed 1,200 registrants, along with more than 800 parents, to New York City for iPOP! 2005. The talent, ranging in age from 4 to 24, attended workshops, auditions, and showcases in the modeling, acting, dancing, and musical-performance fields. For four days, students confronted the critical eyes of agents, managers, and casting directors, who judged them in auditions and showcases. From there, participants competed for opportunities to be featured in the Talent Showcase, presented at the final night’s awards ceremony.
The Top 30 models took part in a special New York premiere fashion show that featured former Von Dutch head designer Christian Audigier’s new colorful line called “Ed Hardy Vintage Tattoo Wear,” which has been seen being worn by celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Usher, Paris Hilton, Mariah Carey, and Jamie Foxx. Out of the Top 30 models, Jessica Smith and Josh Silva were chosen as iPOP!’s Female and Male Model of the Year.
Josh Silva, 21, is a self-proclaimed “country boy” discovered by the CEO and President of John Robert Powers Ron Patterson while Josh was working on Patterson’s farm. After Josh completed a five-week runway and acting class at the John Robert Powers School in Sacramento, he landed a runway show for Christian Audigier’s Clothing Launch Party in Hollywood, and from there found himself on a plane headed for iPOP!
““I thought I was just meeting with a bunch of agents,” Josh recalled. “When I got there and realized that this was a huge competition, I wasn’t expecting to go far and hoped to just learn from the experience.” Instead, he won his Model of the Year title, and quickly signed with L.A. Models and Buchwald and Associates, a leading agency for actors and models.
“It was like playing basketball for me. I had to focus, get in the zone, and just be myself.”
– Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith, a 20-year-old self-professed “tom boy” from Ridgecrest, California, who was proud of her skills on the basketball court, received her training in the Runway Modeling course of the John Robert Powers Beverly Hills school. Her teacher suggested that she attend iPOP!, which led to her big break as Female Model of the Year.
“I wasn’t intimidated by the other girls who had been doing this their whole life,” said Jessica. “It was like playing basketball for me. I had to focus, get in the zone, and just be myself.”
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