Michael Wenye Li/ Sun Senior Photographer

Mikaela Matera-Vatnick '21, modeled for Cornell Fashion Collective's fashion show in 2018 and will again this year.

March 5, 2019

Modeling at Cornell is All About ‘Confidence’ and ‘Letting Go’

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Often clad in winter coats, many Cornell students may see modelling as a distant idea. However, from runway shows by the Cornell Fashion Collective to advertising campaigns for the Cornell Store, many undergraduate students have taken on this side job and learned important lessons from it.

Emma Antoine ’21, Tomas Greenberg ’21 and Christian Medina ’21 have all worked with Cornell Store photographer and stylist Erica Holt ’21 on photo shoots for the store, who said she was never concerned about photographing people with no prior experience.

“I’m always trying to encourage people who don’t think they would make good subjects to try it out,” Holt said. “I’m used to working with people from behind the camera, but I generally look for people who are comfortable being in front of the lens on their own because confidence translates through photos.”

Both Antoine and Medina — who was a child model for a brief time — were asked by friends to model for the shoot, and Greenberg was drawn to modeling “completely randomly.” When a friend already booked to model couldn’t make it, he asked Greenberg to fill in for him.

“I didn’t have anything to do, so I said yes,” Greenberg told The Sun.

Modeling at the Cornell Store pays through Cornell Store gift cards, according to Antoine.

Antoine, Greenberg and Medina all mentioned the importance of confidence when modeling. “Having confidence is a huge part of doing anything but especially in modeling,” Medina said. “Anyone can model if they wanted to and I encourage others to try and do so.”

Modeling was “all about letting go of any fears of embarrassment, taking risks with the poses you make, and just having fun with it,” said Greenberg.

The Cornell Fashion Collective, Cornell’s fashion and fashion management club, also frequently employs models like Ariane Bowers ’21 and Mikaela Matera-Vatnick ’21.

Joyce Bao ’19, vice president of designers and models, said that she chooses her models based on how well they fit into her overall design goals.

“All of my models were either selected from CFC’s model call that was held in the fall semester or friends that I reached out to,” Bao said. “As a senior designer, I picked my models based on how well they look cohesively, as well as how they fit my personal design aesthetics.”

Matera-Vatnick previously modeled with CFC designer Jackie Fogarty for last year’s fashion show and has been working with Bao for this year’s show.

“The designers, both last year and this year, always made sure that I was comfortable doing what they asked me to do. I developed a very good relationship with both the designers,” Matera-Vatnick said. She also acknowledged, “on a deeper note, I think that modeling in the CFC takes confidence.”

Bowers, who has also previously modeled for CFC, said, “I think it’s powerful to have representation from all types of people regardless of race or background, it adds a humanity to all of the art on stage. I also think from the model’s perspective, it gives a lot of people more confidence in themselves and that’s a really beautiful moment to witness.”