What does your role as managing director of Vipaj Modeling centre involve?
I take care of all the modelling courses and arrange appointments with other teachers that come in to teach drama for photo modelling, image and personality. I teach everything else within the course and plan the photoshoots with the students. Two other major roles are organizing our two competitions Miss Vipaj – Maltese Final for A New Star Stelle Per Lo Spettacolo and also Look of The Year Malta. As from November there will be an added role organizing a new challenge for Vipaj Modeling Centre – You D Model. This will be a Photoshoot and Fashion Challenge programme that will be aired on Youtube and is open to male and females from 3 to 25 years of age. The most important role for me personally is the constant contact with students and models, making sure they get the best support from me and to give them exposure abroad, which is my main goal.
Do you encourage anyone interested in modelling to join the modelling centre or are you more selective?
Since the courses consist of more than just catwalk and they’re not only aimed for those who want to become models, I am not selective. The course gives confidence and personality to every single student that walks into our centre. I’ve seen girls who walked in really shy turn out to be the best models who’ve also won abroad. Regarding promotions we do select the ones with best outgoing character, but then again, this is all taught during the course. As for Miss Vipaj, since we have different categories – modelling, photo modelling, singing, dancing and acting – there’s room for everyone who wants to be part of show business. The only time I’m selective is for the competition of The Look of the Year Malta since I have strict guidelines to follow.
As license holders for Look of the Year and A New Star Stelle Per Lo Spettacolo, in your experience what can make or break a model’s chances of achieving his/her goals?
One thing that can definitely break a model, is not taking care of her appearance. Unfortunately in Malta girls tend to start dying their hair at a very young age and eating junk food. Being natural and having good skin has been the most demanded quality from both Italian organizers. Diversity and confidence can definitely make a model, especially when it comes to photo modelling. Girls who are willing to experiment with styles, know their body limits for posing and be different and/or talented are the ones that got better results in Italy.
Who/what is your favourite subject to photograph?
I love fashion photography, mostly close-ups, and being able to photograph my students and models… the smile on their face when they see the finished product is priceless!
How does your experience as a former model and dancer influence your work now?
Being a former dancer, definitely helps when it comes to organizing our two major events. I also found it very helpful when I recently organized and choreographed the dance and fashion shows for the three-day-show in Assisi at A New Star Stelle Per Lo Spettacolo Italy 2013.
Being a former model helps me mostly with teaching, as I perfectly understand what the girls feel and I can help them overcome most of their problems. Although I was a model myself, I do not teach ‘the catwalk’ that I was taught, since a lot has changed in the industry, especially abroad. As a teacher I have to update the catwalk styles, hence my travelling to Italy and taking training myself with International coaches. Both dancing and modelling have one major influence on my work today – determination. If it wasn’t for that I would have never made it to my dancing scholarship experiences in UK, or to open up my own Modelling Centre with a course that has unique topics and not just ‘the catwalk’.