“Anybody can be a model. Literally anybody,” said Phillip Volcy, a mass communications major and model for Group MODA.
As VCU’s oldest fashion organization and modeling troupe, Group MODA has worked to embody and promote diversity in fashion for over 20 years.
“We take on people who aren’t traditionally accepted into the modeling industry. So shorter people, plus sized people, just people of very different categories, and we teach them how to do runway walks and then give them contacts with people who are involved with RVA Fashion Week,” said Crystal Douglas, president of Group MODA and mass communications major.
Group MODA is an opportunity for amateurs to learn how to model like a professional, to gain experience on the runway and to develop a modeling portfolio. Members of their organization have gone on to model professionally, including two who did a photoshoot to promote Black Radiance Cosmetics and one former member who walked the runway at New York Fashion Week last Spring.
“It’s definitely a networking thing and it’s also a learning space as well. If you’re really interested in being in the modeling industry, this is a place for you to groom and build up those skills,” said Douglas.
“Some of the garments in fashion week cost the same as my tuition, and some of our models have the opportunity to wear those and they rep Group MODA with so much pride,” said Sierra Brown, Secretary of Group MODA and mass communication major.
Sierra has been a member of Group MODA for two years, and she says the confidence she gained from modeling with the troupe helps her in every aspect of her life, especially her career as a broadcast journalist.
“I’m prepared to walk into a newsroom at any given time. I’m going to walk in, not necessarily like I’m on the runway, but with the confidence that I would have on the runway. Like yeah, I’m the stuff. You should hire me and this is why,” Sierra said.
Group MODA teaches their models how to strut with impeccable posture, how to arrange their face to match the vibe of the song they’re walking to, how to match the energy of the show, and most importantly, how to model with confidence.
“The walk is more than just the runway walk. I try to tell my models that the walk really has to do with you as a person on the inside because we also want to build confidence. That’s our goal,” said Douglass. “It’s about how you carry yourself and the energy that you bring. We want you to be very confident and we want you to have that stunning energy so if you want into the room, people are like who is that? something just draws me to you.”
Participation in the troupe is not limited to VCU students, and both male and female applicants are encouraged to join. Group MODA’s annual spring show will take place May 6th, the theme of which has yet to be announced.
By Megan Schiffres