Monday, 11 January 2010 19:00
A look at Eldersburg’s Next Top Model
January 12, 2010
Anyone interested in the fashion world need not look far outside of town; Eldersburg’s Next Top Model has all the bells and whistles of a professional modeling competition.
The competition has been spearheaded by Nick Hayes, 18, an Eldersburg resident currently attending college in Boston. Maura Bernstein, 20, a current judge in Eldersburg’s Next Top Model (ENTM), mentioned that Hayes started the competition a little over a year ago along with residents Chris Harvey, Joni Sheckler, and Sam Warren, all age 18, who acted as judges.
“There wasn’t one defining moment in which we decided this was what we were going to do, we were interested in photography and fashion and, of course, America’s Next Top Model, and it took off from there,” said Bernstein.
For Hayes the competition is a good match to his personality. “I’ve always been a very aesthetic person and I think the fashion and photography we do reflects that,” he explained.
The youths who run ENTM make ample use of online social media to get the word out. This does not mean they do not use more tradition means, however. “Facebook is the most valuable tool we have for spreading the word about the competition but we also rely heavily on word of mouth as well,” explained Bernstein.
Bernstein said ENTM starts off with 10 models during the summer. At the beginning the models are put through photo shoots and other challenges. At the end of the cycle each model can choose their favorite eight photographs for judge consideration. The judges look over each model portfolio, and by the end of summer vacation they pick a winner.
Bernstein mentioned that there are few restrictions for models. The minimum age for models is 14, while the maximum is the early twenties. Other than that, “We welcome models of all shapes, sizes, and genders,” she said.
But what does the winning model get? Bernstein explained that they receive a portfolio of their work. Previous winners, Bernstein included, also received judging positions.
Multiple judges, varied tastes
There are six judges total in ENTM: Mary Kate Stromberg, Sam Warren, Joni Sheckler, Nick Hayes, Chris Harvey, and Maura Bernstein. All of the judges except for Bernstein and Stromberg were creators of the competition. With so many judges, it’s hard to pinpoint what they key trait is to be successful in ENTM.
“Overall, we want a well rounded model but in the end, each judge has something in particular they look for of focus on,” explained Bernstein.
Some of their tastes are as follows:
Nick Hayes: “I am definitely more high fashion oriented than commercial modeling focused but I think it’s important for a model to be versatile. I like the models to listen and go along with what I say. When they listen, they get a good picture.”
Maura Bernstein: “I look for a model who can not only take good pictures but who can also walk the runway well. Walking is definitely more important to me than pictures at times because I feel like it requires a certain level of skill.”
Joni Sheckler: “I look for consistency, variety, and versatility - also their presence as a model.”
Chris Harvey: “I look for something that makes them pop and stand out from everyone else, a quirk if you will.”
Last Model Standing
In addition to the yearly summer competition, this winter saw the first installment of the Eldersburg’s Next Top Model Last Model Standing (LMS).
Bernstein explained that the LMS competition was created to be slightly faster paced than the regular ENTM cycle. One could argue it’s also a little bit more cutthroat.
“What happens is we start out with our eight models and each time we do a photo shoot whoever has the worst picture is eliminated,” Bernstein explained.
But it is not quite as simple as that. Bernstein mentioned that whoever has the best shot from each photo shoot gets a challenge token, which gives them a second chance should it be their photo that is rated worst in the next shoot.
“This means if they land on the bottom and get eliminated they have the chance to challenge the model with the second worse picture to a walk-off, whoever wins stays in the competition,” she said.
This first competition came to a close last Sunday, with Laura Walker winning a portfolio, the chance to use two of her LMS pictures in her ENTM Cycle 3 portfolio, and choice of a shopping trip or a photo spread.
The other participants ranked as follows:
8th place – Jenna Reed
7th place – Shane Moran
6th place – Caitlin Whitlock
5th place – Melissa Cutts
4th place – Charlotte Duggan
3rd place – Robin Alonge
2nd place – Kelly Lowe
Bernstein mentioned that Cycle 3 of ENTM would start around June of this year. Those models participating in the competition have freedom to get photos taken whenever they want during the cycle, but they must have at least eight shots and have participated in a runway walk by the end of the cycle.
“ENTM takes a lot of planning and we’re very serious about the competition because it takes so much to get all the parts working together,” Bernstein said. “We would like to extend an invitation to photographers, designers, models, makeup artists, stylists or anyone else who’s interested in ENTM. We’re always getting better and we’re always looking for new and exciting things to do.”
Anyone interested in the competition should check out Eldersburg’s Next Top Model’s Facebook page.
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