Alternative Model Contest: April Casting
The thing I love about the North East is that we are a region who are not only diverse but don’t care about being unique and different. Many of you who have been following the local news would have been aware that an amazing event took place this month – Alternative Model Contest Auditions over at Banana Studios in Byker, Newcastle.
I was intrigued when I heard about this event a few months ago so the amazing events team invited me over to the auditions on 21st April 2012 to see what was going on. I love new experiences, so of course I did not have to think twice about accepting the invite.
Before the event started you could see all the contestants enter the room to register, each with a name badge making it easy for the photographers and the judges to identify them. Before any modelling could take place we were all given an overview of what we could expect throughout the day and the structure for the rest of the competition.
Introduction over it was time to get things going. Taking my place in the corner with my Darkus photography team (Sarah and Ellen), I watched in amazement as I saw the contestants pass by me getting ready to show their confidence in front of the camera. As you may be able to tell from the title Alternative Model, this means alternative fashion where the only thing that matters is not who looks stunning or matches the stereotype high street look that society is obsessed with. No in the case of Alternative Model its all about individuality and being proud and confident of who you are regardless of age, body shape, height etc. I have a saying which I tell many people, in the eyes of Darkus everyone is beautiful and this was definitely the case for the contestants at the event.
Now this is a modelling audition, so it would not be much of a review if I didn’t tell you about the contestants. Well before I go any further I spoke to Event Organizer Kieran during the event who was quite happy about the days turn out. What was quite interesting was that he informed me that in the past year there have been an increase in male applicants to the auditions which should be duly noted because there is often a misconception that modelling is a cruel world. Alternative Model Contest should be applauded because they are giving everyone the opportunity to take part which I know was a key factor contestants appreciated when I spoke to them during the event.
So then you know I spoke to some of the contestants so I just want to tell you about some of the interesting and lovely people I had the privilege of talking to.
She explained to me that she was excited when she heard about this event on Facebook as there are not many opportunities for alternative people to express themselves, which listening to I totally could see how much it meant to her. What I liked even more about Anna’s story was that this was a new experience for her so I love her even more for taking the risk to try new things.
Now this is the second time this young lady has been to the A. M auditions. She first came to the earlier January auditions, but having not been successful she thought to her self “hey I will not give up my dream and give it another go”. You totally have to admire people like her, because however times do you come across someone with a true fighter spirit.
What Gabriella told me was extremely fascinating. She herself has a passion for photography, so it was a real refreshing experience to be on the other side of the camera for a change. Loving what she had chosen to wear to the event I had to ask one key question – how long did it take to find the ideal outfit. Her reply was a good couple of hours of which she admitted involved changing her mind about 5 times – ha bless her! Modelling is not only just about looks, personality is imperative too, so I absolutely respected her when she explained to me that its important that people are confident about their own features which I am certain everyone should be able to relate to.
Probably the contestant who has travelled the furthest, Xenor had taken place at Alternative Modelling events back home in Russia, so she was quite eager to compare the scene between Newcastle and Russia. The main difference she found was in Russia there is no auditions process, its more of a case of models contacting Photographers themselves. I see logic in this, but at the same time I would also be more in favour of what Kieran and his team are doing because it’s a chance to show more than your looks off, it also acts as a great foundation to show how well you adapt, and for your personality to shine through.
Wow what an amazing young lady. As a profession, Sarah is a fire breather, which for anyone who knows me will know when it comes to anything daring as that I am in total heaven. She did not know until the night before that the contest was taking place. Again you could tell just from looking at her outfit that she was someone who enjoyed being her own person. That’s the remarkable thing about Alternative Fashion – there is no guide book or stereotype which I wish more people in society would get into their heads as well!
One of my favourite contestants I spoke to on the day, was the amazing Jocelyn Anderson. Being a transgender it came as an absolute delight to hear about the Alternative Model Casting, as it was felt that there are not many opportunities for transgender people to express themselves in a market such as this. How great is it to take part in a contest that the only thing you are being judged on is confidence and personality! I know I have already mentioned it a lot, but my word I just cant get over how amazed I am at the whole concept of Alternative Model Contest.
As I said before, Kieran (Event Manager) explained to me that there was an increase in male applicants this year, so with this in mind I felt it necessary to speak to some of the guys who were taking part.
Working in the entertainment industry as a dancer and fire breather this cheeky chappy totally loved the whole experience, especially as he had no idea what to expect from the event. When asked why the judges should choose him for the next stage of the competition he explained that he was in the middle, because he did not consider himself to be in a particular trend – a nice balance of all worlds! I needed to know what he had in store should he get to the finals – sadly he would not tell me anything other than “a surprise for the catwalk”. – Keep me in suspense why don’t you Joni! Ha – no fair!
Dressed in smart yet casual attire, which I must say looked very awesome, I totally ask this young man how long it took him to find the ideal outfit. With the help of his loving girl friend it took him at least a good week to find the perfect combination. Although he may have been nervous about taking part, he was nevertheless feeling good about what was going on.
Now for anyone who knows me, you will know I aint exactly the tallest of people so, when Sarah introduced me to Simon, I thought to myself – damn I feel short! At 6ft 7 – a whole foot and a bit taller than me, I listened to his story as he explained to me he modelled when he was younger. What he quite enjoyed as well was the section of the event (being judged by Anna Holt) as it encouraged contestants to express themselves using the props provided. All about using your imagination!
Time was getting on and not many contestants were left to have their shoots so after a busy yet fun day I was a bit sad all the fun had to come to an end. What I had seen in the good few hours I spent at the casting audition was a variety of people who all may have been dressed differently – but had one shared valued, the passion to be their own person! Obviously watching the event is completely different to taking part so I kid you not when I say July 21st (the next auditions) – yours truly will be putting down the trusted note pad and taking my place in front of the camera.
If you want to enter as well for an experience that seems unreal then please get in touch with the Alternative Model Team by visiting http://www.alternative-modelling.co.uk/. Who knows we could be seeing you in the finals.
Thank You Kieran and the Rest of the Alternative Model Team For such an amazing day and letting Darkus Magazine take part in this fantastic experience.