“Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.” — Marc Jacobs
The dream of every model is to get discovered but have you ever wondered how some models actually get discovered?
Becoming a model can be daunting. Even when you have the right looks, getting discovered is often challenging; it takes perseverance, discipline and an unwavering commitment but most importantly, the right contacts. It’s not always about being the most beautiful, it takes someone who sees the uniqueness in you and is willing to invest their time and energy in you to unlock your potential.
Typically, each model’s road to discovery is a different journey but for Megan McNierney, Achenrin Madit, Aviana McClish and Esscence Taylor, their modeling career started out the same thanks to Berny Martin, well-regarded fashion designer, founder and owner of Catou Designs. Mr. Martin was the first fashion designer to have these now famous and highly successful models on the runway, his runway, in his designs.
Edgy and elegant, flirty and sophisticated, Catou clothing makes a bold statement and has been recognized on BET, MTV and in dozens of big magazines worldwide. Drawing from his background, travel experiences, as well as his studies in college and at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (FIT), Mr. Martin designs with a creativity that extends beyond conventional fashion to offer a distinct look. He creates his pieces with the consumer in mind, paying close attention to detail in order to guarantee well-made clothing that compliments its wearer with a sophisticated, timeless fashion.
Working in tandem with Mr. Martin is modeling coach, Pilar Ammons, Model Scout and Runway Coach of Simply Pilar Modeling. A day in the life of a modeling coach comes with a great deal of responsibility; to prepare aspiring models for the runway with personalized coaching and extensive training that will teach them confidence and professionalism. Behind the scenes models are provided all the fundamentals and taught skills on how to walk the runway with poise, perfect posture and controlled facial expressions. They are taught the importance of creating a high-quality portfolio, maintaining their physical appearance by eating healthy and adapting to a regular exercise program; they attend hair and makeup classes and the list goes on and on. A runway coach’s job is demanding, intense and unbelievably rewarding. Ms. Ammons is in charge of coaching the models who come to the Catou auditions. Mr. Martin and Ms. Ammons offer these models free modeling classes and runway classes. If Ms. Ammons sees something unique in those models, she offers them a dream come true. They are given an opportunity to walk the runways in New York City and some go on to Milan, Paris, London and other big fashion cities around the globe.
Twice each year, Mr. Martin hosts an event called Midwest Fashion Week, and for each event in every city where their fashion show is held, he holds open auditions for potential models. The goal of the open audition is to give an opportunity to young models, especially those with little to no experience, a chance of a lifetime to be part of a professional runway fashion show. Being a model is not always about being the most beautiful, it takes someone who sees the uniqueness in you and is willing to invest their time and energy in you to unlock your potential.
Through his open auditions, Mr. Martin discovered Aviana McClish, Essence Taylor, Megan McNierney and Achenrin Madit who have walked in his designs on the runway in both Chicago and Indianapolis. Other Midwest models that started their career on the stage of Midwest Fashion Week include Tyrie Rudolph, Ashely Chew and Amanda Pfingston. These models have all gone on to have highly successful careers, making their mark in the fashion industry!