Conversations with Coco

Coco_Mitchell_08In this third installation, supermodel Coco Mitchell gives advice to young models about personality, charm and evoking mood and feeling in front of the camera. Always aware of what the industry currently requires for new models, Coco Mitchell with great care and intelligence imparts her pearls of wisdom. She truly  is a benevolent keeper of the secrets!!


Dear Ms. Coco,

I’ve been trying to launch my modeling career for a year now. I keep hearing I need personality. I HAVE PERSONALITY!!!  But for some reason my personality is not coming through. I need some clarity. HELP!!


Coco Mitchell: It’s not about not having personality because we all have personality. Our personalities evolve through our experiences. It’s obvious that you are frustrated and that part of your personality should never be shown to the public. Like it or not, as a working model you are now a public figure. The personality you need is bigger and brighter than what you think.

I believe that you can attain this bigger, brighter personality by first putting aside your feelings of frustration and humbling yourself. Become excited about life the way child anticipates receiving a gift or a toy or going to Disneyland. That child sees himself already on the rides at Disneyland. That child will turn on the charm, too. Stir up that excited, anticipating and charming child inside!

Don’t let go of your dream. Eventually that light of excited anticipation will turn into charm and it will be there all the time. Clients, friends, and even strangers will be drawn to it. Practice the art of anticipation.

Good luck!!


Hello Coco:

I’m a male model and I need to know what is posing and how can I improve my technique?

 —Southern Comfort

Coco Mitchell: Posing is not what it was in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or even the 90’s. Sometimes, at a photo shoot the designer or the photographer will tell you what they want; but not always. Currently, in the industry for male models it is more about emoting than the positioning of your body. Emoting is projecting on the outside what you’re thinking, and your thoughts and mood you are evoking will determine how you will position your body. In other words, you become an actor projecting through the photographic  image to the consumer “you will feel like this when you wear these clothes.”

This is a very powerful position to be in. Practice in the mirror. Take pictures of yourself. Do free tests with a variety of photographers—always know beforehand what the photographer has in mind.




Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Backstage Fall/Winter 2013

Collages188Though Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week fall/winter 2013 is over, as well as London, Milan, and Paris, memories still linger. We all love the way the collections look on the runway, and the way each model brings that extra something that makes us look at silhouettes, construction, fabrications and the designer’s point of view in new ways. Still, it is not all sparkle and shine.

In Fashion Reverie’s unique way of presenting texture, nuance and a broader spectrum of perspectives and with the assistance of our photo editor, Ernest Green, we demonstrate that Fashion Week is a collaborative effort. Putting a runway show together is a lot of hard work and without the collaborative spirits of makeup artists, dressers, the ground crew, PR firms, the technical crew, and the models and designers themselves the stunning presentations that we hold near and dear to our hearts would not happen.

That said: Fashion Reverie celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week fall/winter 2013 BACKSTAGE!!

Collages184The models backstage at Porsche Design know they look good. And they do!!

Collages186Gimme head with hair, long, beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen— “Hair” lyrics from the musical “Hair.”  Hair images are backstage at Richard Chai fall/winter 2013.


Downloads340Mama said there would be days like this.

Downloads339First looks backstage at Malan Breton fall/winter 2013

Collages185Oh the joy, excitement, and brotherhood that comes from being in a Nautica show.

Collages182The darker the berry the sweeter the juice. Does that apply to lips, too?


Fashion Reverie’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Model Watch

Downloads297Linda Evangelista, Jourdan Dunn, Liya Kebede, Gisele Bundchen, Coco Rocha, Naomi Campbell, and Karlie Kloss made names for themselves appearing in glossy fashion bibles and landing campaigns that have become legendary. Still, before any these hallowed models became household names, they had to learn to dazzle on catwalks from New York to Milan to Paris and all the other fashion capitals of the world.

With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week less than a week ago, there is much buzz about which statuesque beauties will become the next Naomi, Coco or Karlie. One thing is sure, Fashion Reverie’s three picks for supermodel status will be sure to enchant and bring their special brand of goddess glamour.

Downloads295Juliana Schurig

Juliana Schurig didn’t start her modeling career until after she finished high school, but since then she has walked in all the major fashion capitals. Her runway credits include fashion shows for Viktor & Rolf, Acne, Derek Lam, Antonio Beradi, Versus, 3.1. Phillip Lim, Preen, Sass & Bide, Anteprima, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Theyskens Theory, Victoria, Y-3, Christopher Kane, Moschino, Jonathan Saunders, Barbara Bui, Cacharel, Missoni, Prada, Chanel, Dries van Noten, Fay, Jil Sander, Max Mara, Salvatore Ferragamo, Matthew Williamson, Isabel Marant, Sacai, Angelo Marani, Versace, Kinder Aggugini, Lanvin, Vanessa Bruno, Alexander Wang, Nicole Farhi, Loewe, Giambattista Valli, Emilio Pucci, Just Cavalli, Louis Vuitton, Rochas, Philosophy, Reed Krakoff, Saint Laurent, Valentino, Erdem, and John Rocha.

She appeared in editorials for Nylon, Glamour Germany, Elle Italia, T Magazine, V, French Revue des Modes, Ones 2 Watch, Nylon Japan, Cake Mag and Teen Vogue. Juliana Schurig is currently signed with Ford Models in New York City.

Downloads296Cara Delevingne

This United Kingdom‒native is the 2011 face of Burberry. Cara has been featured in campaigns for Chanel, Blumarine, H&M, Asos, Dominic Jones Jewelry, Burberry, Clark Originals, Nelly, and A|Wear. And she has had editorials in V Magazine, Wonderland, Love, Numéro, M Magazine, and the British, American, and Brazilian editions of Vogue.

Cara has also walked in shows for Victoria’s Secret, Fendi, Chanel, Stella McCartney, Dolce &Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Jason Wu, Moschino, Clements Ribeiro, Burberry, Fashion East, Krystof Strozyna, and Louise Goldin. Cara Delevingne is signed with DNA Models in New York City.

Downloads294Manon Leloup

French model Manon Leloup’s breakthrough season was spring/summer season 2013. For the spring/summer season Manon walked in 30+ shows in New York, Milan, and Paris. She has walked in fashion shows for names such as Valentino, Calvin Klein, Christian Siriano, Aquilano.Rimondi, C’N’C Costume National, Rad Hourani, Reem Acra, Missoni, Prada, Elie Saab, John Galliano, Roland Mouret, Stella McCartney, Emporio Armani, Frankie Morello, Carven, Céline, Julien David, Loewe, Pedro Lourenço, Rochas, Costello Tagliapietra, Ohne Titel, The Row, Venexiana, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Jil Sander, Marco de Vincenzo, Miu Miu, and Nina Ricci.

Manon has had advertising campaigns with Balmain, Proenza Schouler, and Alexander McQueen. She is currently signed with Wilhelmina Models NY.

—William S. Gooch


Award Season Recapture

Click the photo below to scroll through Award Season Recapture, enlarge photos by clicking icon in the top right.

Holiday Season RecaptureHoliday Season Recapture

Art Direction: Coco Mitchell
Photographer: Frank Louis
Makeup/Hair Stylist: Yvonne Forbes
Styling Assistants: Joe Quezada, T. Bates
Models: Agency Model Management – Brianna Flores, Mika Furuya, Sara Longoria, Elizabeth Makhnachova, Tash Moore, Katherine Small

Conversations with Coco

Coco_Mitchell_03With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week fall/winter 2013 just two weeks away, our esteemed colleague, supermodel Coco Mitchell, in this second installation, answers questions about model casting and model preparation for fashion week. As always, Coco has her pulse on current trends, what potential clients are looking for, and what models need to have a successful career.

Question: Fashion week is quickly approaching and my agency is telling me about designers that have runway shows and presentations. Is one more important than the other, and how do I prepare? I don’t want my agency to think I’m stupid. Please help!!


Coco Mitchell: Don’t feel stupid. How would know if you don’t ask? Don’t be afraid of the your booker at your agency; it is the booker’s job to help you. And remember, the agency can make up to 20% of your bookings.

Usually agencies have people, like me, that they hire to help new models with their runway walk. Now, a presentation is different from a runway show. There is usually no walking involved, and model could be posed in a variety of scenes that evokes the mode of the collection. A presentation, like a runway show, also calls for the model to channel her inner actress.

During a presentation the model is expected to change positions and give the audience a total impression of the designer’s point of view. Presentations can also last from an hour to two hours, so take your vitamins and have energy.  There is nothing worse than a lethargic model.

Be Blessed!!

Question: Coco, I am a new model and recently my agency sent me to have some pictures shot for my portfolio. It was horrible. I had no idea what to do. How can I prepare for the next shoot? Help!!


Coco Mitchell:  Jessica, in the fashion industry preparation is key to a successful career. Don’t wait until you are placed in an uncomfortable, unknown situation.  Try to be as prepared as possible. When it comes to images for your portfolio, I have a tendency to go for “the Fierce” first. I suggest, if you can afford it start buying fashion magazines. I suggest the higher end, European magazines (which are pricey) but give you the best examples of attitudes and poses and don’t use celebrities as models. Study every pose from head to toe.

If you cannot afford to purchase the magazines, go to a book store and look at the magazines over a cup of tea. Another good source is Look at the pre-fall and pre-spring images that are used for the lookbooks where you will get great examples of poses.

STUDY, STUDY, and STUDY some more!!

Question: I’m getting ready to start castings for New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. Are they different? I need your insider advice.


Coco Mitchell: The only difference in shows in New York City and Paris is the location. And unfortunately, you will encounter some casting directors and industry professionals in both locations that have an attitude, and are not friendly. That is just a part of the industry, so get used to it.

No matter where the casting is located, become acquainted with the design aesthetic and point of view of the casting you are going on. GOOGLE EVERYONE!! And if you have the time, go to and look at collections of the designer.

One thing that helped me my first season in Paris is that I realized that the casting person did not know me. Since you don’t know them and they don’t know you, use the unknown to your advantage. Don’t assume that they know that you are still trying to figure it all out.

Overlook the attitude that you may receive from the receptionist, the casting director, and maybe even the designer. FOCUS; don’t lose sight of your goal, which is to book the job!!!

Be confident, and don’t act like a beggar. Hold your head up and go for it. Remember, this is your opportunity, and you deserve this chance!!












Model Spotlight: Patrick Conboy

Downloads270The path to a successful modeling career is never silky smooth. There are lots of challenges and possible diversions along the way. Still, for those committed few, the winding road can lead to self-discovery and a sense of accomplishment.

Though Patrick Conboy in his wildest dreams would never have chosen modeling as his career of choice, he has wisely taken up the fashion mantle of this road less traveled. A natural in front of the camera—and I have witnessed it first hand—Patrick brings that relaxed ease, confidence and charm that is crucial component of every top model’s skill set.

No longer just another handsome model on the boards, Patrick is hitting his stride. And with the muses of creativity and inspiration in his court, Patrick Conboy is setting his own standards and playing by rules that work for him.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get started as a fashion model?

Patrick Conboy:  I was aimlessly going from job to job with no real direction. One day walking down a street in Charleston, SC, a photographer approached me and wanted to take some photographs of me. I later learned he was recruiting for an Abercrombie and Fitch campaign being shot in Charleston later in the month. My pictures were submitted and I ended up in an Abercrombie and Fitch editorial shot by Bruce Webber. Bruce Webber connected me to an agency in NYC, so I figured I could give modeling a try or keep working a series of no-where jobs.

FR: So, modeling was not on your radar prior to being discovered in Charleston.

Patrick Conboy: Fashion came out of nowhere for me. I really didn’t follow fashion or read men’s fashion magazines. I knew the names of some brands, like Abercrombie and Fitch, but I was not really into fashion. I hated shopping; I basically wore what my parents bought me. My daily outfit was jeans, white tees, and boots.

FR: What happened when you pursued a modeling career in NYC?

Patrick Conboy: I immediately signed with Click Models and did a lot of editorials, some runway shows, but after a couple years I really was not enjoying modeling. It wasn’t working for me.

Patrick_Conboy_01FR: What wasn’t working for you, New York City, modeling, or both?

Patrick Conboy: I love NYC and I loved the perks that came with modeling; you know getting into the clubs easily, the beautiful women, everyone smoozing and cheesing on you because you are in a hot editorial or you are with a top agency. At first, it was really overwhelming, especially coming from the South. But, after a while I felt that there was something more I could do where I could use more of my personality, so I started taking acting classes.

FR: How does acting appeal to you in ways that modeling didn’t appeal to you?

Patrick Conboy: Modeling started to flatten out for me and was starting to feel like work I was no longer interested in, while with acting I could explore all these different parts of myself as a human being. Every time I was on stage, there was an opportunity to learn something about myself. Acting felt like a safe place to experience life.

FR: But you came back to modeling, why?

Patrick Conboy: I knew Nolé Marin while he was at VNY Models. My contract was about to expire with Click Models and Nolé wanted me to sign with VNY. But, I was looking to take a break from modeling. While Nolé was building Aim Model Management, we stayed in contact, and after much contemplation I realized that Nolé wanted to take me on the path that I was interested in.

FR: And what path is that?

Patrick Conboy: I am really interesting in becoming a stage and film actor, and Nolé wants me to be successful and happy in whatever I am pursuing. Nolé wants me to be myself and if I am myself and fulfilled, I can bring that freshness and joy to the fashion industry. That approach is so different from my experience at other agencies.

FR: What frustrated you at other agencies?

Patrick Conboy: I was kind of put on the back burner at my other agency. Though I got steady work, primarily in editorials and runway work, I didn’t feel that the agency was pushing me and helping me expand.

PatrickConboy_019FR: What opportunities are you getting at Aim Model Management that eluded you at other agencies?

Patrick Conboy: I was the underwear guy and/or shirtless guy at other agencies. Nolé believes I can do a lot more than that, even though I am 5`11. Recently, I was photographed in Angelo Galasso cocktail jackets for a holiday editorial in Fashion Reverie. I knew I had the ability to do more international work, and Aim Model Management is proving that I can do more than American sportswear.

I lived in Europe for a short time and I realized how great European men look in clothes because of the tailoring and construction. After living in Europe, I began to understand that there is a place for me in fashion internationally, and Aim is pushing me toward that goal.

Who are your favorite designers/brands?

Patrick Conboy: I recently discovered Moods of Norway and they make great suits, shirts and jackets. I love Harley Davidson boots; they are so comfortable and I do ride motorcycles. I also love John Varvatos.

Downloads271FR: What is your personal style?

Patrick Conboy: I am a very casual guy. I love a great pair of fitted jeans, comfortable shirts and some kick-ass boots. I have recently started wearing hats.

FR: What designers would love to work for?

Patrick Conboy: I would love to continue any work with Calvin Klein. I would also love to work with Guess, John Varvatos, Moods of Norway and European designers that really understand how to make a guy look and feel good.

FR: Who are your favorite actors?

Patrick Conboy: Daniel Day Lewis, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Downey, Jr., and over the years I have become a big fan of Brad Pitt. Oddly, I love Olivia Newton-John in Grease.

FR: If you could live in a different time, what time would you want to live in, and why?

Patrick Conboy: I would love to live in the 1950s because the style was really cool. Everything seemed more pure. As great as technology is, it sometimes can be isolating. In the 50s, if you wanted to talk to someone you either had to see them in person or call them up. Your friends were your friends, not virtual Facebook friends.


All images courtesy of Aim Model Management

FR: Now that you have your feet in the worlds of fashion and acting, where do you want your modeling/acting career to go?

Patrick Conboy: I have been with Aim Model Management for about three months now and after being out of the industry for two years I have had to get back to being a model size. Which hasn’t been difficult because I continued staying fit. I have grown my hair out to give me more versatility.

Acting has helped me be more in touch with my emotions and I really observe people more, and I am bringing more intensity and awareness. And that focus and commitment is becoming evident in my editorials. I now create a narrative for myself at every shoot.

In essence, acting has helped me understand the personality and perspective of each designer and design aesthetic. That sensitivity was not there before I became an actor. So, the sky is the limit for me with both acting and modeling.

—William S. Gooch

The Spicy Nights of Auld Lang Syne

Click the photo below to scroll through The Spicy Nights of Auld Lang Syne, enlarge photos by clicking icon in the top right.

 Art Director: Nolé Marin
Photographer: Chris Knight
Hair and make-up: John Henry Edington
Style Assistant: Stephanie Green
Models courtesy of Aim Model Management: Josipa Harmicar, Jae Childs, Tim Rupp, Patrick Conboy, Desmond Daniel

Conversations with Coco

Fashion Reverie has quickly become one of the premier destinations for all things fashion and as a part of Fashion Reverie’s initiative to facilitate more interactivity with our viewing audience Fashion Reverie has established a bi-weekly question and answer segment with our esteemed colleague, supermodel Coco Mitchell. Every two weeks Coco Mitchell will answer 3 to 4 questions from our viewers about fashion, modeling, and life.

In this first installation, Coco Mitchell responds to questions about starting a modeling career, good skincare, and transitioning from college into the world of work.


Question: If someone lives in a small town and wants to be a fashion model what can she or he do to make it work for them? Small Town Girl

Coco Mitchell: If you live in a small town and aspire to be a fashion model you can start preparing yourself where you are.  Here are a couple things you can do in your small town before you hit the big time.

1) Buy a pair of high heels and practice walking in them. Remember, you will have to walk in high heels and all types of crazy shoes on international runways.

2) Use the internet to familiarize yourself with what is currently going on in the fashion industry. You Tube is a great resource to view all the current fashion weeks in New York, Paris, Milan, London, and other international cities.  You will even find videos of me walking in some shows. Wink, wink!!

3) Purchase fashion magazines (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Marie Claire),  and if you can afford it, subscribe to a few.  Don’t just peruse the beautiful clothing; study each issue from cover to back. Learn the current trends and observe the styling in each editorial. And most importantly, study the attitude and poses of each model from head to toe.  Remember, an educated model is a working model!!

4) Work on your personal style. Industry models look like models all the time, even if they are doing laundry. Lucky Magazine is a good source on style and ANTM’s Aminat Ayinde gives good advice in her recent Fashion Reverie interview.

5) See if there are any local modeling agencies where you can get experience. That said; never, ever pay for photos upfront at a local agency. Reputable agencies only subtract for portfolio development based on paid assignments, not prior to signing or before models have received paid work. If the local agency request funds upfront, RUN for the hills!!

6) Last, but not least, in all honesty, you eventually will have to develop your career in a major fashion capital, like New York City. So, PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE!!


Question: For young women transitioning from college life to becoming a young professional what is the best way to break into a new field and create a presence? Erica

 Coco Mitchell: The transition is not as hard as you might think. While you were in college you chose your field of interest. While you were an undergraduate you may even have had work-study jobs in your desired field. So, you are already on the right course.

In becoming a young professional you can interview and acquire a position in your field of choice immediately after graduation or you can test the waters and apply for paid or unpaid internships, which can you hands-on experience. If the internship is a little more than being a gopher, be the best gopher you can possibly be. Remember, your future is your own hands, and there is something valuable to be learned from every work experience. By showing initiative and doing your best you are creating a presence.

Throughout your work and personal life you will always experience change. But with hard work, guts, commitment, determination, focus, and most importantly trust in the Divine, the transition won’t be difficult.



Question: What is the biggest piece of advice that you would give to a woman of color starting out in the fashion industry. How do I stand out and make a name for myself, without falling prey to stereotypes and being overlooked?  Also, any skin care advice for flawless aging would be appreciated. Sandra B.

Coco Mitchell: My biggest advice to you as a woman of color just starting out in the fashion industry is to recognize that you are God’s beautiful creation and other people’s perceptions of you have nothing to do with your beauty and potential. Remember, you make your own opportunities.

Show yourself approved and stand out by being the ultimate professional. Ask yourself if you  have prepared yourself for a career where the girls that are working are BEYOND, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Stand out by being current and knowledgeable of your craft.

If you search the internet and fashion magazines there are more women of color working in fashion as opposed to a few years back. So, the industry is catching up to what the rest of the world looks like.

As for advice on flawless aging skin, I apply the 8 Rule; 8 hours of sleep every night, and eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day. If you wear makeup, never sleep in it. Invest in a good skincare regime. If you can afford it, get your skin analyzed by a professional aesthetician.



Model Spotlight: Aminat Ayinde

What ever happened to some of the top contestants from America’s Next Top Model (ANTM)? Though Lifetime and the Style Network continually show reruns from all of the many cycles, other than Fatima Siad, Molly Steenis-Gondi, Jaslene Gonzales, Eugena Washington, and a few others, most of the contestants seem to have faded into model Neverland.

Though Aminat Ayinde is still not a household name, she definitely has not disappeared into fashion oblivion. Since 2009, Aminat has walked in every New York season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and can currently be seen as the model of choice for Emilio Sosa on Project Runway: All Stars season 2. Just witness the fierce strut of this gamine beauty, and it is all too obvious that Aminat Ayinde was destined for a career in fashion.

Unlike some ANTM alumnae, Aminat has transcended the ANTM post-career quagmire by staying clearly focused and using her charm and intelligence to stay relevant. And she didn’t have to change her name or her look to accomplish her goals.

Aminat Ayinde graciously sat down with Fashion Reverie and discussed her post-ANTM career, her faith and her love of fashion.

Fashion Reverie: Was modeling on your radar before you became a contestant on America’s Next Top Model?

Aminat Ayinde: Fashion was not on my radar before ANTM. My career pursuits centered around becoming a physical therapist. When I was recruited for the show I was a student at William Paterson University majoring in biology and African American studies. I assumed my path in life was to get an advanced degree, get a good job and have a comfortable life.

FR: If modeling was not on your radar, did you stay abreast of fashion and new trends?

Aminat Ayinde: I always loved fashion because my mother was very stylish and often flew to Europe to buy fabric for her garments. I am from Lagos, Nigeria and most fashionable women in Nigeria get their garments made by a tailor or a seamstress because wearing tradition garments is the norm in Nigeria.  There is not a huge retail or mall culture there, which I didn’t encounter until I came to the US.

But, I have always loved fashion, especially shoes. I have recently fallen in love with Jill Sanders.

FR: That said; who are some of your favorite designers?

Aminat Ayinde: I love Isaac Mizrahi from the late 80s and early 90s. I adore Paco Rabanne, YSL, Givenchy, and Valentino.  I love designers that understand a real woman’s body. I love some African designer such as Jewel by Lisa, Duro Olowu, Tiffany Amber, and David Tlale. They are combining traditional African design with modern construction and innovative textile fabrications, which is so refreshing.

Images courtesy of “America’s Next Top Model”

FR: Most people know you from ANTM, how did ANTM happen?

Aminat Ayinde: I was scouted for cycle 12, but prior to that I had been scouted for early cycles and I always turned it down. Monique Peters, who scouted me, finally convinced me to do it. Although I didn’t have to do an open call, the casting process was still tough.

When I finally heard back from the ANTM team I had already started my senior year at William Paterson University and I didn’t want to jeopardize my academic scholarship by leaving school and going on the show. I come from a strict Muslim household and my family and community frowned upon setting aside education for something as risky as a career in fashion, especially modeling.

FR: How do you balance fashion modeling with your faith?

Aminat Ayinde: The balance for me is quite easy. If you know where you come from and you understand the essence of your faith, the balance happens organically. I don’t like to put labels on anything. I am a citizen of the world. If I happen to be around elements in the industry that go against my faith or personal choice I avoid those things without judging people. Everyone has free choice.

I avoid things that would have a deleterious effect on my health. I am a fashion model so it is imperative that I look presentable and positively reflect my profession.

FR: Now back to ANTM.

Aminat Ayinde: There was this conflict of interest between my education and the show. My boyfriend at the time talked me into it and I got a leave of absence from my university. Prior to ANTM, I had only modeled in one fashion show for my university. So, I really was very green and had next to no experience. My only reference was what I read in fashion magazines and what I had witnessed on television.

Images courtesy of Fadil Berisha

FR: What happened to your career after your turn on cycle 12?

Aminat Ayinde: After the show I went back to school and graduated with honors. I naively thought that ANTM would immediately open a lots of doors for me, but after the show I couldn’t get representation by a major agency. The rejection did not deter me and subsequently in 2009 I walked in the ARISE Africa show at Bryant Park.

Interestingly enough, I booked the ARISE show myself, not through an agent or an agency. Originally, ARISE only wanted me as their in-house fit model for all the ARISE designers; however, I used that opportunity to showcase my abilities, and I ended up walking in their show. I learned from that experience how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity, and learn from every experience.  I will always be grateful to ARISE for giving me my first opportunity outside of ANTM.

FR: Which designers have you worked with post-ANTM?

Aminat Ayinde: I have walked in every Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC since 2009 and I have walked in Nigeria and South Africa Fashion Weeks. I have walked for Heatherette, Supima, Sergio Davila, Ahn Young Chee, LaQuan Smith, Korto Momolu, ARISE Africa, Zulu Rose, David Tlale, Lanre DaSilva-Ajayi and many others. I have appeared in Ebony, Seventeen, Essence, Genevieve and WD magazines, as well as some bridal magazines. And I booked all these shows and magazines without an agency. I really want aspiring models to know that if you cannot get agency representation, do not give up.

Image courtesy of Keith Major

FR: You are Emilio Sosa’s model on the current Project Runway: All Stars. How did that come about?

Aminat Ayinde: The producers of Project Runway also produced cycles of ANTM. One of the casting directors who knew from ANTM asked me to try out for Project Runway: All Stars season 2; and they cast me. What is great about All Stars is that you work with the same designer throughout your tenure on the show.

It is also great to be back on primetime television. Some people may not agree with me, but if you are smart, television can open a lot of doors for you as a model. So many more people will get to see than will ever flip through the pages of a fashion magazine or attend a runway show.

FR: It is important as a model to have a sense of your own personal style. That said; what is your own personal style?

Aminat Ayinde: It is so important for an industry model to have a sense of their own personal style because in a major market there are so models that have charm, beauty and a great personality balanced with a great sense of style. You have to stand out among the plethora of working models, and one way to get noticed is to have your own personal style.

Now, that does not mean you should wear too much make-up and jewelry; you still want to look industry appropriate. But, you need a style that speaks to your personality and your perspective on fashion.

My personal is sophisticated, sexy chic. And I love to mix and match high-end designers with affordable clothes that show off the feminine silhouette. I actually have booked jobs just walking down the street based on my personal style.

FR: What’s next for you?

Aminat Ayinde: My immediate goal is to get agency representation with a top NYC agency and to walk in major shows in London, Paris, Milan and other major international cities. I would also like to transition into more television and film work.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie Announces “Conversations with Coco”

Fashion Reverie has quickly become one of the premier destinations for all things fashion and as a part of Fashion Reverie’s initiative to facilitate more interactivity with our viewing audience Fashion Reverie has established a bi-weekly question and answer segment with our esteemed colleague, supermodel Coco Mitchell. Every two weeks Coco Mitchell will answer 3 to 4 questions from our viewers about fashion, modeling, and life. The questions with responses from Coco Mitchell will be posted in our new Conversations with Coco section, located under the Model Spotlight tab.

Chado Ralph Rucci runway images courtesy of

Discovered by the legendary Eileen Ford, Coco Mitchell has graced the covers of high glossy fashion magazines and walked the runways of some of the most acclaimed fashion designers for over three decades. Coco Mitchell was the first African American woman to appear in Sports Illustrated. She has walked in runway shows for Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler, Valentino, Giorgio Sant’Angelo, Paco Rabanne, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Patrick Kelly, Gian Franco Ferre, Versace, Sonia Rykiel, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Badgley Mischka, Bill Blass, Zang Toi, Betsey Johnson, just to name a few. For over 16 years Coco Mitchell was a personal favorite of Ralph Rucci.  And Coco Mitchell has appeared on the covers of French and Italian Vogue, Essence and a wide array of domestic and international fashion magazines.

Coco Mitchell gives back to the fashion industry by coaching young models, and advising emerging fashion talent. Coco Mitchell is the creative consultant at Fashion Reverie, and is signed with MGMT, a division of Major Model Management.

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