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September 20, 2011
Lina Dornieden: I feel so special. I don’t even know what to say!

Two Vincentian lasses have snagged the honour of representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the regional round of an international modelling competition.{{more}}

Terranza Franklyn, 19, and Lina Dornieden, 12, were selected by a panel of judges, fending off stiff competition from approximately 33 other hopefuls.

The model casting for the Elite Model Look Caribbean 2011 competition took place at the Aquatic Club last week Thursday, September 15.

Franklyn and Dornieden were both visibly elated at being selected, and said that they are highly anticipating going on to the next round.

Franklyn, a Chateaubelair resident, said that she is excited at the opportunity, and hopes to make it to the top three in the regional round.

“I’m just going to go out there and do my best!” she asserted.

Franklyn is a graduate of the SVG Community College and an active member of Image Modelling Agency. She has a wealth of experience under her belt, including winning the Miss SVG Teen 2008 and Miss North Leeward 2010.

Dornieden is a first form student of the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown, and admitted that this is her first foray into the world of modelling.

“I feel so special. I don’t even know what to say!” said the Bequia native.

Dornieden said that as well as being her first time taking part in a modelling competition, it will be the first time that she travels to Trinidad.

“I’m really excited; I can’t believe it!” she gushed.

Franklyn and Dornieden will compete on November 12 in the regional leg , which is scheduled to take place in Trinidad and Tobago.

The panel of judges included Jean-Pierre Begon, vice president of Elite International; John Bilboa, director of Elite Latin and South America; Debbie Barbour, Vincentian designer; and Nadine Kanhai, project manager of Elite Model Look Caribbean.

Head judge Jean-Pierre Begon said that this is the first time that the competition included SVG, but that it won’t be the last.

Begon admitted that he was impressed by the quality of young hopefuls who strutted their stuff before the panel’s scrutinizing eyes.

“I was a bit afraid about the level that I would find here… honestly I was surprised by the good quality of girls!” he admitted.

Describing the local winners, he added: “They are different, you know? Unique. It’s a nice opportunity for these girls, because the director of scouting will be there in Trinidad.”

Begon pointed out that even if Franklyn and Dornieden don’t make it to the international round, it is possible that they might still land contract offers from affiliated agencies.

Local Elite Model Look Caribbean representative Kimya Glasgow said that she was very pleased when she was contacted by the organisers of the competition, and said that it was a boost for our often under-recognised fashion and modelling industry.

“This is something I’ve been praying for for the longest while. By Elite coming to St. Vincent, it means that they take us seriously!” she explained.

Three winners will be selected at the next level of the competition, which will see beauties from eight Caribbean destinations taking part, and they will go on to compete in the Elite Model Look World competition. It will take place in December in Shanghai, China.

The winner of the Elite Model Look World will be given a modelling contract with Elite Model Management worth US$325,000.

Models told to beware!

Although there are many well-known and reputable modelling agencies like Elite Model Management, there are also many agencies who scam their clients. The Federal Trade Commission (USA) provides some tips for avoiding modeling scams on its website.

  •  Steer clear of modeling companies that require you to use a specific photographer. Compare fees and the work quality of several photographers.
  • Be suspicious if a company requires an up-front fee to serve as your agent.
  • Be cautious if the school has a special referral relationship with a specific modeling agency. The two could be splitting your fees, or the agency may not be suited to your needs.
  • Ask yourself, “why me?” Don’t let your emotions — and the company’s flattery — take control. Think carefully and critically about how you were approached: if it was in a crowded mall, think how many others also may have been approached.
  • Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Never sign a document without reading and understanding it first. In fact, ask for a blank copy of the contract to take home and review with someone you trust. If the company refuses, walk away.
  • Be leery of companies that only accept payment in cash or by money order. Read it as a strong signal that the company is more interested in your money than your career.
  • Be wary of claims about high salaries. Successful models in small markets can earn $75 to $150 (USD) an hour, but the work is irregular.
  • Ask for the names, addresses and phone numbers of models and actors who have secured successful work — recently — based on the company’s training.
  • Check out client claims. If an agency says it has placed models and actors in specific jobs, contact the companies to verify that they’ve hired models and actors from the agency.
  •  Ask if the company/school is licensed or bonded, if that’s required by your state. Verify this information with the appropriate authorities. Make sure the license is current.
  • Get everything in writing, including any promises that have been made orally.
  • Keep copies of all important papers, such as your contract and company literature, in a safe place.