Today’s fashion model must be a performer. She must transform from a gazelle to a panther, with the click of a finger. Be it gamine or game hunter, her attitude must be on-point. Her instincts must be sharp. Her style must manifest in an ethereal gaze, by a killer-walk or through an irresistible smile, or just something in the way she moves, at least so say the new “it factor” finders.
Dewight Peters of Saint International, celebrates this elusive it factor, that it is a distinctive beauty and presence that takes the model beyond the scope of fashion. He speaks of the “off-beauty”, the non-traditional girl who transcends the expected breadth of possibility – Tami Williams, Kai Newman. He has parlayed his keen sense of picking this it-factor to snag coveted exclusive campaigns. I applaud him! Ivan Bart, president of IMG Models also endorses the value of something in the things she shows me, by maintaining the longevity of this “it” component when he references that your “social media page is your page for life.”
So this it-factor, this allure has a life of its own. The everlasting magnetism of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Miuccia Prada’s fascination with Shala Monroque’s it-girl status and touting her as Prada’s muse, all go a long way in reinforcing that power of presence.
I remember like it was yesterday, when Shanika Fernandez walked into the casting for Fashion Week Trinidad and Tobago (FWTT), back in 2010. The long, lithe and lissome ingenue was soon to be one of the brand faces of the event that year. In spite of her neophyte status as a model, she possessed a sense of presence which was captivating and commanding. Not at all mere whimsy, for her years of dance prior to that well-appointed day at The Hyatt Regency, prepossessed her aura and was about to bear fruit, thereafter.
Her incredible connection with the camera, her sheer willingness to follow directions and her je ne sais quoi it-appeal were clear indicators of her ability to do well as a model. That year, she blazed our runways for all the leading designers, making a mark for herself as the it-girl. From Anya Ayoung Chee to Meiling to Radical Designs, she established herself as a catwalk and campaign must-have.
With New York Fashion Week just passed, she blazed a trail on the runways, there, with her signature feline stride. Indeed, as a model, one must have staying power in order to be sustainable in the business, honed by excellent skin maintenance, photographic versatility, effervescent personability and that ever so stealthy strut as ‘Shan’ has graciously mastered. As dazzling as that George Harrison hit purports, something in the way she woos me, she has remained relevant a decade later, opening for Victoria Hayes, spotlighted by New York Times in Pyer Moss, and walking for Randi Rahm, Eliana Maragy and Naeem Khan, among others.
This John Crawford model is certainly making a name for herself, since being emblazoned on those FWTT bunting around the Savannah. Something in her style that shows me that she has way more to do in the international fashion world. You know I believe and how.