Model Citizen: A Day at Virtual Coco Rocha Model Camp
(Image courtesy of me. This is a picture during the second part of the master class where Rocha and her husband/manger James Conran answer questions from all the students)
At twenty-three, I never thought that I would go to camp. On May 15th, I along with a handful of other students had the opportunity to learn from The Queen of Pose Coco Rocha. Coco Rocha is regarded as one of the living supermodels. She has graced the cover of every fashion bible and walked for every major designer. She reigns supreme as her poses allow viewers to be engaged in a story. I was surprised how Coco and her husband James utilized vocabulary from my graduate program (personal branding, multimedia storytelling, etc.) to teach students the basics of the modeling industry. Here are a few takeaways I learned from this six-hour master class.
(Images courtesy of https://models.com/mdx/study-of-pose-with-coco-rocha/. Photographed by Steven Sebring,Study of Pose, 2014. This interview discusses Rocha's book Study of Pose. You can order a copy at https://www.amazon.com/Study-Pose-Poses-Coco-Rocha/dp/006232814X)
1. Posing is nonverbal storytelling.
The first half of the class was devoted to the art of the pose. Rocha taught us how to use facial expression, posture, and rhythm to tell a story. She opened her lecture by comparing posing to acting to the theatre. Acting is a more subtle and everyday expressions. Theatre is more over the top and allows the audience to know how you feel even if they are far away. Just like with advertising, the goal of a model is to engage an audience for eight seconds. While advertisers can use visuals and words, a model can only use their body to tell a story.
(Image courtesy of https://www.vogue.com/article/coco-rocha-best-moments-in-vogue. Photographed by Steven Meisel, Vogue, 2009)
2. Vocabulary Lessons
This blog has allowed me to learn more about the hospitality, fashion, and advertising industries. The second part of the lecture was Rocha and her husband/ manager James individually answering everyone's questions. This in-depth analysis of the fashion industry taught me how a model must master both business and fashion acumen in order to succeed. A model can either go freelance or agency route at the beginning of their career. If a model has an agency, the main agency would be the mother agency. This mother agency would be the model's main advocate by coordinate billing, organizing go-sees (the model would meet a designer or fashion house to see if they are a good fit to model the product for the brand), and more.
(Image courtesy of https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-02-19/coco-rocha-model-camp-trains-new-hires-as-photo-shoots-disappear-from-covid. Photographed by Rebecca Smeyne, Bloomberg, 2020)
3. Modeling is apart of The Arts
Rocha repeatedly told us that modeling is a part of the arts. It sits at the nexus between dance and visual arts. Rocha echoed sociologist Malcolm Gladwell's philosophy when she said, " It takes ten-thousand hours to be proficient in anything." Just like practicing a dance routine or pottery technique, a model should practice their craft. This can be done through a variety of methods including reading fashion history, watching fashion movies, and practicing posing in front of a mirror.
(Image courtesy of https://graveravens.com/2016/12/28/coco-rocha-by-zhang-jingna/. Photographed Zhang Jingna, Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, 2017)
This experience illuminated the way I saw the fashion industry. My blog has allowed me to learn how designers and distributers create product and brand differentiation. Camp allowed me to see how models utilize Strategic Communications techniques to market themselves. Coco Rocha's reputation is true. She is one of the nicest people I have ever meant. She created a warm learning environment, empowered novice (like me) to experienced students, and educated students about the realities of this industry. Thank you Coco, James, and the students at Camp Coco Rocha. I learned so much for each and every one of you and I can not wait to read a magazine and see your faces on the cover.
(Image courtesy of https://models.com/work/lofficiel-italia-lofficiel-italia-summer-2020-covers/1356970. Photographed by Luca Meneghel, L'Officiel Italia, 2020.)