By Sharon Quinn
Casting Director FFFWEEK 2013
The road to FFFWeek® 2013 was a fun, but definitely grueling one. Gwen DeVoe and I kicked off a 14 city casting tour that was sponsored by Lane Bryant® beginning in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2012. Although traveling almost every weekend while maintaining a full time job can be demanding on your body. I must tell you that this was one of the most fulfilling casting tours I have ever been on. Over 1500 women turned out for us to meet, greet and check out their runway struts. Out of that 1500, I had to narrow the selections down to a scant 50 models – this alone was one of the hardest tasks I have ever had to complete. In the end it really came down to the photos that each model submitted. Very few models stood out in my mind after each of the castings so their photographs REALLY had to be strong.
The directive that comes from Ms. DeVoe every year is to “Keep it fresh and keep it diverse”, so that means that I am always on the look out for new faces and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw on the road from the minute I hit the West Coast!
Although I would have loved to interview all 50 models for this article, that wouldn’t be realistic. So I sent 10 questions in regards to their FFFWeek® 2013 experience to a few of the models that “stood out” to me (for reason known only to me) and I am presenting their answers below:
Roberta Lynn Turner – I met Roberta (the self proclaimed “Nerd” and proud of it!) at the North Carolina casting call and I was intrigued with her because she was Asian and we rarely see Asian plus models on the runways of NYC and diversity is extremely important to me and Ms. DeVoe. I knew immediately that she was new and would need my runway intensive to get her to where she needed to be. Believe it or not, the hardest task for me was getting her placed with designers because as a newbie, she didn’t have any strong and/or professional photos for me to present.
(Photo by Lucaspictures.net)
What’s your name and where are you from? Roberta Lynn Turner and I live in Winston-Salem, NC
How long have you been modeling? FFFWeek® 2013 was my first modeling engagement.
In what city did you attend the casting call? I attended the Charlotte, NC casting call.
What was the casting experience like for you? I was extremely nervous and almost chickened out of going, especially since I had pulled an all-nighter at work the night before and really wasn’t feeling the drive down to Charlotte.
Tell me about your FFFWeek® experience and how it has affected your life/career? I loved being a part of FFFWeek®. On a personal level, I loved the change from my usual schedule. I spend much of my day sequestered in some dark closet somewhere behind a microscope, in front of a flow hood, or at my computer. It was refreshing to be around people for once, to look and feel pretty, and to see and wear the beautiful clothes. On a larger scale, it was exhilarating to be a part of an event that brought together such a diverse group of people in a celebration of fashion and beauty that transcends the trivialities of size, shape, and ethnicity.
What was your Favorite moment(s) during FFFWeek® 2013? There were so many! The Bloomingdale’s show was my very first runway experience and I was terrified because I didn’t know what to expect. There was so much positive energy in the room, though, that I started to have fun with it almost immediately. It was also at that show that I got to interact with the awesome and efficient dressers. It’s funny the kind of bond that’s formed when someone helps you dress!
I also loved the downtime before the Friday and Saturday showcases where I got the chance to talk to the other models and to the beauty team. They all had such interesting stories and came from such diverse backgrounds and I was really struck by how their beautiful personalities were as diverse as their beautiful looks.
How important do you think an event like FFFWeek® is and why? I think events like FFFWeek® are incredibly important. We’re bombarded daily with societal exhortation as to how we “should” look and images that try to dictate what beauty is. Looking around at the people attending FFFWeek® and seeing how comfortable everyone is in her own skin is really remarkable. It is more than a fashion show. It is a jubilant and collective veneration of body and self.
How and/or where can your newfound fans reach you? I can be reached via email at Roberta.email@example.com
Do you have any last words and/or thoughts regarding your FFFWeek® 2013 experience?
I couldn’t have asked for a more enriching experience than the one I received at FFFWeek® 2013. The people I met, the things that I learned, and the perspectives that I have gained will all be cherished. I sincerely encourage anyone who has ever entertained the notion of attending FFFWeek® to do so. It is an amazing event with amazing people and is not to be missed.