- Soca 2018! -

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Work it!

One of the inquiries I receive is about modeling Caribana costumes. So I thought I should provide you with first hand information directly from a couple of people who model at band launches and for band catalogs/websites.

~How did you get started in modelling for Caribana bands?

Latoya: One year after a disastrous situation leaving my friend and I with no costumes the night before Caribana, we met a section leader who helped us out.  After talking with her, she asked us if we would be interested in modelling for her first ever solo band launch the following year.  That was the first one I've participated in, new band (TruDynasty), first model out on the stage too :)

 S: The first year I ever modeled for a band I was quite new to the carnival scene. My strategy was to simply contact  a section leader for an A band and just ask to participate. Funnily enough, that worked! In other cases I was asked by a section leader or applied to a casting.

~How does someone go about modelling for a band?

S: Each band is different - some do casting calls or others select woman they know/ are familiar with. The misconception with carnival modeling is that every pretty woman is capable of doing the job. However, it's really the presence and confidence you have when doing your walk or posing for pictures that sets you apart.

Latoya: Unless you know section leaders, it's best to simply keep an eye out for castings from bands, they usually start coming out in the fall.  Once you submit your details and photos, most bands get back to you within the week.  At that point they'll let you know what to expect.

~What are the auditions like?

S: I have only had to audition for one band and the process was quite similar to most model castings. First you must walk down the runway to a soca track with two other woman then your photo is taken. The judges were of course the section leaders.

Latoya: Usually at most 'formal' auditions, besides filling out the paperwork, models would bring their heels and/or swimsuit and do a walk for the panel of judges. Music is playing most of the time (so a lil wining and dancing won't hurt nobody) and it's not always just you and the band members watching, other models might be in the room with you.  Some auditions have you walking alone or with other models as well.  Sometimes you find out at the end of the audition, or you'll find out if you've been picked in a week or so after.

~Do models get to choose the section they wear?

Latoya: I've never picked the section I've modeled for, which is fine but you usually do have the option to set their expectations of what you are comfortable and not so comfortable wearing.  I've never had any restrictions, but I would imagine they are all pretty flexible if you do get selected.

S: I haven't had that opportunity to choose the costume I modeled. Usually you're placed in a particular section based on your height or perhaps skin tone. In many cases I showed up to the launch without
even seeing the costume.
I appreciate the advantage of being the first to wear the costumes. You get a first hand look as to how it would compliment you. Last year I fell in love with a costume I modeled and wore it down the road.

~How does payment work, is it just like any job, and do models always get a costume included?

Latoya: Payments?  No.  I have heard of bands saying they pay their models but I have never heard any confirmation of that.  You can however, get a costume of your choice after helping the band with the launch and any promotions.  Keep in mind that if you don't ask, you won't get anything though.  So never assume.

S: Unfortunately, most Caribana models don't get paid. Models are usually offered free or discounted costumes (which is worth $200 plus) or in some cases, one may receive access to events or professional photos.

~Describe the feeling you get just before you go on stage. What do you feel while on stage?

Latoya: That feeling of when you're about to cross the stage on Caribana is almost the feeling you get just before you go on stage to show off that new costume. Minus all the brukkin' out. lol
It's pretty fun being up there, you're one of the first people to see these new costumes and you get to free up yourself while you bring the costume to life.  The music is intense, so many eyes and flashing lights are on you, you're all pumped up--and then it's over. It's definitely an adrenalin rush.

S: I'm always pumped to hit the stage as it's one of my favourite places to be. One thing that usually enhances the moment modeling a costume is the song being played. My favourite moment has to be with Carnival Nationz in 2011. The section I was in walked to Bend Over by Machel Montano. The crowd's reaction to the track mixed with my love for the song made for a MEAN STRUT! lol

~If there has ever been any instances when a photographer or any back stage crew was unprofessional or got too handsy, how did you handle it?

S: I haven't been in this situation and I hope I never have to...OR ELSE!

Latoya: I've never been put in a situation where I felt violated or disrespected backstage whether between models, band members, assistants or even the media--thank god.

~How do you handle modelling a costume that isn't exactly your type, that you don't particularly like?

S: In such cases you still rock the costume like it is the best you've ever seen. When you agree to model you take on the job of trying to sell the costume regardless of how it looks design wise. Your preference of a costume design is simply YOUR PREFERENCE; there are probably several other woman out there that love it.

Latoya:  I have had to model costumes I wasn't a big fan of initially.  The funny thing is, once I had the costume on, looked at all the colours and details, it turned out to not be so bad after all.  I might not buy it, but I can make it look good! :D  Plus you have to keep in mind, there will be people who will love it, you just have to do the costume and the creative mind behind it justice.

~Have you ever had to deal with any memorable back stage drama with unfinished costumes, make up disasters, or costume pieces that won't work?

S: In the defense of all bands, that night is usually hectic. This is why one can expect some things not to go as planned while still hoping they do! Therefore, you'll see a lot of people running around frantically or others sitting around liming till the show starts. All in all most behind the scene action is pretty fun. Plus, what women doesn't enjoy getting glammed up - especially carnival style!

The worst experience I had that is worth mentioning was with a band called Trudynasty. The costume I modeled for them was completed literally 5 minutes before I went on stage at their costume launch.
Out of about 7 sections, only 3 sections were fully completed - one wasn't even presented at the launch. Many of the costumes looked unfinished, sloppy, and ill-fitting on the models. I still have a scar on my shoulder from the quality of the back pack I wore (1 year later). To make matters worse, the band leaders had the AUDACITY to get vex with me for modeling with another band that year. ---> #Lame #NoBueno #NeverAgain #HorrorStories #TalkThatTalk

Latoya: Once a belt on a costume I was about to go on stage with was way too big for me.  It didn't matter how I twisted it, the decorations on the back wouldn't centre... I tried to adjust it, told the powers that be about it but they didn't do anything.  Luckily I found safety pins and asked another model to pin the back of the belt to my panty so it would look proper.  As for makeup, I've only ever had one major makeup disaster, but luckily no one ever saw it because the band decided to redo the entire shoot.  But even through that, I just smiled and posed after checking with the section leader.

~How do you stay in shape, do you follow a certain diet or exercise program?

S: Everything in moderation!

Latoya: I'm not as active as I should be but I follow a pretty good diet!

~What tips would you give new Caribana costume models?

Latoya: It's actually quite an experience, you meet a lot of people and if you love mas as much as I do you just have fun.  I would tell anyone interested in applying to model for any band to just go for it!  Be yourself, smile and show confidence.

S: Stop chewing gum on stage - it's distracting and not attractive. Quit bruking out like your in a fete people need to be able to clearly see the costume and take photos if they like - that's the reason why
they came. On the contrary quit moving like a statue... Lol.
Simply be the happy medium and have fun!

~What other kinds of modelling do you do?

S: My performance background comes from dance however I have experience in runway, print, and promotional modeling.

Readers, if you have any questions, please ask away!


Nelly said...

Great post! I always wondered what the experience was like for the models...very informative.

Anonymous said...

LOL i smell a hater...why is one person named and pictured for the entire write up but the other is initialled and not pictured at all?

Karabana said...

Why did you post Anonymously? She chose to be Anonymous, so obviously there won't be any pictures of her.

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