|Photo Credit: Randy Pond Photography|
Melissa Monz: The Runway Model inspiring young women
By: Candice Marshall
“Some people in the industry will say things to me like: you’re too old, too short, or too fat. I have the maturity to be able to deal with these kinds of (negative) comments, but for a younger woman or girl wanting to pursue a career as a model, this can be devastating. It’s really frustrating for me to experience this but I feel even worse for a young woman or girl who is truly beautiful and receives this kind of harsh criticism,” said Edmonton born Melissa Monz, Runway Model for Trisha Pasnak (Fashion Designer also based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).
|Photo Credit: Darcy Evans Photography, |
Fashion Photography for Designer: Trisha Pasnak
Upon first meeting Monz, it’s not hard to see why: she exudes natural beauty and grace that is demonstrated through her photo portfolio. It is why she is the muse for photographer, Darcy Evans (previous Coaches Corner feature person) and is coveted by Pasnak for the upcoming Spring Fashion Runway Show on March 26thfor (Western Canada) Fashion Week.
“I am considered ‘old’ in the fashion industry. I’m only 32, but most models are anywhere from 14-18 years old. I am also short and most models are at least 5ft 9” or taller. I am not doing this as a career move though. It’s more of a hobby for me. I love modeling but to be able to do some of the tough poses for photos, I work out (she attends hot yoga sessions to keep her tiny 5ft 3” frame in shape!), however, I am a human and I like my food, “said Monz smiling.
Unlike most competition in the Industry, Monz truly does enjoy modeling as a hobby as opposed to a career. “At fashion Runway shows, I help out backstage. It’s a lot of fun! We typically start at 8am and finish around 10pm. It’s a long but rewarding day. There is a lot of pressure to do a great job while out on the runway, but it’s always a great feeling at the end of the day knowing I did my best and had fun too!”
While working the runway is nothing new to Monz, creative photography is what she enjoys best and would like to do more of. “I am working on a creative project with a photographer at the moment. We are going to do a Scooby Doo (beloved Saturday morning cartoon television series)Photo shoot. I’m being casted in the role of Daphne. I even have the costume made for it! These are the most draining physically as you are doing a lot of different poses for long periods of time, but to me, they are the most fun!”
In a society obsessed with weight and appearances, Monz appears confident in herself and her image despite the obstacles of criticism one might experience in the fashion industry. However, she seems quite concerned for the younger generation of models wanting to ‘make it big’. “These young women coming in (to the industry) are impressionable and are often not prepared for what they are about to experience. There are 'professionals' that may say hurtful things to them (during a photo shoot or runway show) that they wouldn’t normally say in out in the real world. I have seen some young girls very underweight as a result of being told they are ‘too fat’. In addition, they are often unsupervised and can easily be misled by a so-called photographer who does not have the proper credentials. As a precaution, I always do a background check on anyone who wants to do a photo shoot with me and I encourage these young women to do the same,” said Monz.
“Another thing that they don’t realize is that there are a lot Representatives from Modeling Agencies who will ‘scout’ out for new talent and approach these young women on the street with their business card telling them that they should be modeling. They tell them that they are pretty and it gets them excited. Then, when they call the agency, they are (more often than not) told that there is a ‘fee’ to enroll in their program. If an agency really wants you to model for them, they will be paying YOU, not the other way around,”warned Monz.
|Photo Credit: Darcy Evans Photography|
|Photo Credit: Darcy Evans Photography|
|Photo Credit: Michael Legge - Acceleration Images|
“One strong piece of advice I would like to give young women or girls pursuing this lifestyle is this: being ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful’doesn’t always translate onto a camera. I’ve seen some very ‘average’ looking people take the most amazing photos. These people look like someone much different behind the camera. The ‘unique’ look is often what most designers or photographers will notice more and choose for their runway shows or photo sessions. I encourage all young girls to approach this industry as a ‘hobby’ as opposed to a career. The experience will be much more enjoyable.”
Well said Melissa!
|Monz modeling in one of many "Creatives' from |
Darcy Evans Photography called 'My Doll Collection'