Brandeis’ model students

Undergraduates show their style with atypical extracurricular activity

From left to right: Aviva Paiste '14, Ama Darkwa '16 and Geneva Boyer '15

Geneva Boyer ’15 is involved in an extracurricular pastime not usually associated with college. Instead of wearing a blue and white soccer or cross country uniform at Parents Weekend last month, the tall blonde donned a stark white, tulle wedding gown as she walked (and occasionally sank) in 5-inch stilettos through a budding autumn-colored campus to shouts of “mazel tov!” from admiring families.

But there was no groom at the end of her walk. Instead, Boston wedding photographer Dimonika Bray captured the perfect fall wedding look.

Earlier this year, Boyer, who is studying art, began her foray into fashion modeling as a favor for an acquaintance in need of a tall woman to fill in at a local fashion show. She discovered the fashion industry is not too different from the arts community.

“Fashion is very similar to art,” Boyer says, before correcting herself. “It is art. Essentially, I get to be somebody’s canvas. The instructions are ‘show up with clean hair and nothing else’ and they paint you.”

Boyer models regularly in fashion shows and fashion shoots for local designers and photographers, mostly for fun and as favors to members of the fashion community, but she’s not averse to the occasional professional gig, either.

And she’s not the only Brandeis student to model. Despite the stereotype that models have to be a certain size and shape, anyone can model, Boyer insists.

“I always wanted to do it but was discouraged because I’m 5-foot-4,” says Aviva Paiste ’14. “But three years ago I saw a Groupon to do a photo shoot with a Boston photographer and figured I’d try.”

Since then she has worked in shows and print ads for designers and clothing stores during school breaks, all without a modeling agency.

Paiste enjoys the challenge of finding new gigs and says the key to successful modeling is understanding your body and facial expressions well, and knowing how they’ll appear on camera.

“It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work,” she says. “Getting to the point where you know yourself well enough takes a while.”

Ama Darkwa ’16 was scouted by an agency in New York City in seventh grade.

“I did some fashion shows through high school but never took it seriously,” she says.

As a premed student, Darkwa is more focused on her studies these days, but continues to receive calls from designers and does occasional print work, which is less time consuming than runway work.

“I have a lot of fun doing it,” she says. “Just like people may play sports for fun — I model.”

Categories: Arts

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