On the makeup:
Aliana: Our trainee makeup team is doing the faces for both the Emerging Designers and the ID show. The Emerging Designers show has one look – it is a subtle make up with quite strong lips. ID has a different makeup look for each designer. We are using Revlon, one of the sponsors of the show. They had a bit of a break but have come back on board this year which is fantastic. They are an awesome brand.
Bron: How many makeup artists on your team for Emerging Designers?
Aliana: There are ten of us, some of them in my advanced makeup class, and some from the beginners’ class. The beginners will just be doing lipsticks and foundation, and the advanced students will be doing the full look. It’s a great opportunity for them. You could have been on that team Bron! (Small chat off the record, Ali has been trying to lure Bron back to Dunedin for a while now)
Bron: Are all the models in the shows (Emerging Designers and ID) from your agency?
Aliana: Yes, they are all Ali McD. We sourced about a quarter of the models this year at orientation week (Otago University), and the rest are already on our books. We have been training the Orientation Models up over the last couple of weeks. We wanted the models to be a bit taller this year than last, so they are all above 5”8 (the minimum height for international models), and they are all aged 14 upwards. Models for New Zealand Fashion Week must be aged 16 upwards, but because ID is just two shows, and we are very protective over them – we are all there, watching over them – the polytech tutors, the whole fashion community, they are in safe hands.
Bron: Have you discovered any potential golden girls in your latest model hunts?
Aliana: I have found a couple of very amazing girls lately that are going to be represented internationally. One of them I found at a local school, she walked past me, I stalked her and gave her my card, and the next day her Dad called me up.
(A break in the interview as a cute bumbling schoolgirl comes shyly in. “There’s no class today remember Daarling? REMEMBER? It’s fashion Week! Sorry Daarling!” The uniformed girl smiles coyly and shuffles out. Back to the interview and Alis’ new discoveries)
Aliana: Both of the girls are amazing, one is just 13 years old though, and they have to be 14, so she is on hold. From the age of 14 the models can start being developed and trained. They both sign next month to Trump Models. You just wait, at the end of this year they will be everywhere. Here you’ve got to see them (Like a proud Mother, Ali pulls up snapshots of the two girls on her laptop. Sans makeup, they pose in their school uniforms, looking rather awkwardly at the camera. It is hard to believe that these two coy school girls have international model potential. These basic photos Aliana tells me are the exact images that Trump Models look at when gauging a models’ potential). “They have to be bare faced, no makeup.” Ali says. “We have to be able to see their face shape.”
Bron: How does it feel to know that you have been instrumental in changing all these girls’ lives so dramatically?
Aliana: I have this eye (for talent spotting), and I didn’t even know it until recently, so it is happening to a lot of girls now. (Aliana stops answering my questions now, and begins scrolling through images of her models, chuckling proudly and pointing out particular favourites and their stories. The interview naturally comes to a close, and as I leave her it is very obvious that she is as happy as the models are with their new jet setting lifestyles.)