Models Share Their Success Stories and Their Favorite Moments from NOFW

By Megan Baptiste

I got the chance to sit down with some of NOLA Fashion Week’s models and talk to them about their experience modeling on the runway in one of the largest and most ground breaking shows in the South. They shared their favorite moments, some advice to upcoming models, and their recent successes since walking for NOLAFW. Katherine “Katie” Elam, shares with us the importance of confidence on the runway. Angel Glaude, who recently appeared on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23, shares her experience working with industry icon Tyra Banks, and Katherine “Kat” Gainey talks about what she looks forward to in her first NOLAFW show this year.

 

KATHERINE ‘KATIE’ ELAM

 Fashion Awards Gala | Credit: Eduardo Benitez

Fashion Awards Gala | Credit: Eduardo Benitez

 NOFW6 | Credit: Eduardo Benitez

NOFW6 | Credit: Eduardo Benitez

Age:21 | Height:5’10  |Hometown: Stanford, Ct.  | Years modeling: 10 years

How did you start modeling and when was the moment you realized it was something that you loved to do? 

I really started to get into modeling when I was in college. Modeling was kind of like a response to my high school years. I was the only black girl, I stuck out and felt like the ugly duckling. Modeling is a form of expression for myself and that’s how I fell in love with it. 

 

What is the best advice you would give to an up and coming or aspiring model?

Above everything, confidence is the key. Nothing else matters if you’re not confident. It doesn’t matter what you weigh, it doesn’t matter what your body shape is, or how thick your hair is. None of that stuff matters if you’re confident in yourself to know your limits. And when I say limits I don’t mean what you will or will not do, but what you’ll expect or won’t expect of other people relative to yourself. When people tell me I have really big thighs and if I would ever want to walk in New York I should slim my thighs, I’m like “My thighs are my thighs!” You have to accept your differences.

 

What model and/or designer inspires you and why?

One of my favorite models is Joan Smalls. She’s just effortlessly on point and fierce. But in such a theatrical way, even though her face is so strong and fierce she still creates an emotion and expression in her face when she’s on the runway. My favorite designer is Karl Lagerfeld; he plays such a huge role in the industry. He embodies his own persona while still connecting it to the Chanel aesthetic. I think he’s really cool, he’s driving it into the future and driving it in the new age.

 

What are some of your hobbies or aspirations outside of just modeling?

I love photography and blogging. I also like to paint and workout. I’ve also been working on a clothing line, my friend taught me how to make dresses. I just like to learn, honestly. I’m like a sponge.

 

What is your favorite way to unwind after a runway show or busy day?

Cocktails. Wine and great food, you name it! I love being around good vibes and friends. I love going to parties and having a great time. 

 

Where do you see your career taking you in the next few years?

I want to go to school in New York. I want to be part of a major fashion production, it doesn’t matter which one, I just want my vision to be heard.

 

ANGEL GLAUDE

 Credit: Joshua Alexander Simmons

Credit: Joshua Alexander Simmons

 Credit: Mike D Photography

Credit: Mike D Photography

Age: 21| Height: 5'9 ½ | Hometown: Lafayette, Louisiana| Years modeling: 4 years

Prior to NOLAFW have you ever did a runway show or modeled?

Yes. I've done numerous runway shows in Lafayette, Nola, Los Angeles, Miami but it all started with NOFW.

 

How did you start modeling and when was the moment you realized it was something that you loved to do?

I started modeling my junior year in high school by taking modeling classes that my sister enrolled me in. I remember for my very first show, my mother bragged in the audience and the next day to all my family members. Her excitement is what warmed my heart. I knew I was making her proud. Still to this day, anytime I do anything with modeling I get the same reaction from her and I love it!

 

What opportunities have come your way since walking in NOLAFW?  

NOLAFW was the start of my modeling career. I went to New York and was on the revamped America’s Next Top Model cycle 23!

 

What is the best advice you would give to an up and coming or aspiring model?

Be careful who you work with/what you agree to. Not everyone has your best interest at heart and will try to take advantage of you. This industry can get tough but keep going. Remember that everything takes time and patience is key.

 

Your best or favorite moment at NOLAFW and why?

My favorite moment every year is getting to grace the same runway as my lovely sister! I adore her so much and love that we both get to share the experience together at Fashion Week.

 

What are some things you would like to accomplish in your career and why?  

My dream like any other aspiring model is to be a Victoria's Secret Angel! I think it would be a perfect fit "Angel the VS Angel"   I really want to sign with IMG. I plan to also have my own agency one day probably start off back at home in Louisiana since it's limited here for models and grow from there.

 

Katherine Gainey  KATHERINE GAINEY

 Felicity Magazine | Credit: Titus Childers

Felicity Magazine | Credit: Titus Childers

 Credit: John Dye

Credit: John Dye

Age 17 | Height:0 | Hometown: Gulfport, MS | Years modeling: 1 

What was your casting call far NOLA FW? Were you nervous/excited? And why?

My first casting for NOFW I was very nervous; I had only found out about it a few days before and it was my first casting ever. I found out what to wear and even used my old homecoming shoes because they were my best heels; I later found out not many people wear shiny bedazzled heels to castings…..lesson learned. However, Ms. Tracee came out as bubbly as always and the models around me helped calm my nerves. It was a great experience

Prior to NOFW have you ever done arunway show or modeled?

No, NOFW was the first local event I had heard of. A few days prior to the NOFW 2015 casting, I asked my friend who models with them how she got into it. She told me the first show she had done was NOFW and that there was a casting this weekend that I should go to.

 

What opportunities have come your way since walking in NOFW?

I have not yet walked in NOFW, but will be walking this year. Ever since going to the 2015 casting and connecting with Ms. Tracee, I have walked in multiple shows in the southeast, Pensacola FW, Mobile W, Coastal FW, and South Walton FW. I have even walked for Christian Siriano in both South Walton Fashion Week and in his trunk show in Rosemary Beach last October. I have been published with editorials in Exalte Magazine and Elegant Magazine as well as online in Felicity Magazine. In the past year, I have gotten farther with modeling than I was thinking I would in years.

 

What is the best advice you would give to an up and coming or aspiring model?

Many people come to me asking how they can get into the industry, and I always tell them the same thing: You have to want it. John Dye has drilled this phrase into my mind forever, "No one is going to show up at your doorstep and hand you your dreams!" You have to find castings, walk up to designers at shows (whether you are walking for them or not) and introduce yourself, find photographers to work with, and practice. Never go to a casting without practicing, never show up to a show without everything you need, and never stop working. The more professional you act, the more professional you will become.

 

What is your favorite way to unwind after a runway show or busy day?

I love to drive. To me, the most relaxing thing is to take the top off of my Jeep and ride down the beach as far as it takes me. If it is too late in the night for that, I often paint in my room. I get my canvas, easel, and my music, and it is truly relaxing.

 

What are some things you would like to accomplish in your career and why?  

My goal is to get as far as I possibly can with my modeling, without sacrificing my education for it. I would love to sign with a major agency, walk in NYFW, and shoot with some of the industry's top photographers.