(Make no mistake. The following is not my writing, though the interview was with me. The actual interview is part of the text for the EFA Runway Robics soon to be announced, and can be found here)
Here is an interview with Tempest Hennesy, our dedicated and driven models teacher and mentor to realize how important runway skills are in this industry…
Bobie Woodget: Tempest Hennesy, you know better the anyone how to express the true attitude that makes one blossom.
Tempest Hennesy blushes. Thank you.
Bobie Woodget: So, when you’re at a show what makes you say: “that chick has been professionaly trained?”
Tempest Hennesy: Well, there are more than a few who think it’s easy to ‘walk’ in a show. As easy as pointing in a direction and moving there, but it really does take more than that. To me, when I see someone who knows what they’re doing, that person makes it look almost fluid… almost real; well as real as you can get in a virtual environment. Can they go from walking, carrying themselves, to a pose and make it look like it’s not being done by a robot or a doll? Can they make the people watching stop flipping windows and pay attention because, along with the mechanical, they’re also bringing the personality into it? Then, they’ve got. It’s all of that. The mechanics, the timing, the poise, the grace… the knowledge to pull it all together.
Bobie Woodget: So to you it starts by identifying the image you wanna show the audience?
Tempest Hennesy: Exactly. If you want to be a model, a professional model, then as much as it’s practice practice, practice, it’s also perception. If people can’t look at you and see professional, then you can practice till you’re blue in the face and your feet bleed. Show the audience that you’re serious. Then, they’ll be watching while you pull everything else together. Well… not you, LOL! You already do that.
Bobie Woodget: Hehe thanks! At your opinion… when does the model’s image interfere with the designer image? In other words, how flexible does the model have to be with his/her own image?
Tempest Hennesy: While I don’t agree with being a tool, like a hammer or a nail… that’s my personal choice, though… a model still needs to be the canvas for the designer and their clothing, or the photographer and their vision. Things such as hair and behind shape (to make the system skirts not so big) should be a given and easily changed. Piercings and tattoos, though… those are the individual. Those really have no place in the designer’s outfit unless that’s the look their going for. I have a tribal, and a belly pierce that I adore. They’re a part of me… same with my earrings, but if a designer, or coordinator, asks for them off, they’re gone. I also Neko, sometimes… but, again, that’s a personal choice and, as a canvas, it’s not my place to force it on my designer if that’s not what they want.
Bobie Woodget: I see, and what should be the limit for a model in her/his flexibility? When can she/he say no? Or can he/she?
Tempest Hennesy: Again, this is my personal… it could vary from person to person, for whatever reason because it really could limit their exposure. They have to decide if it’s worth walking away from one job and hope there’s another… I don’t change shape, and I don’t change my ethnicity. I am a proud, black woman, and I won’t be portrayed as anything else. I’m also a Tyra Banks style model, with all the curves, and I won’t slim down for anyone, either. But it takes /a lot/ of strength to walk away from a job because they don’t want that… It takes a lot of tears to know you were passed up because you can’t…won’t, change. But it also builds a lot of respect for people, even designers and models, who see you take a conviction and keep it. That’s where I am, now. That’s what’s made me successful. It’s hard… I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody, but this is me.
Bobie Woodget: Hehe, yes it is and everybody who’s worked with you (including myself) is glad you are “you.”
Tempest Hennesy blushes. Thank you.
Bobie Woodget: What kind of attitude on and out the runway is a deal breaker to you?
Tempest Hennesy: Oh, arrogance is a huge deal breaker. I tell my trainees that there are two sorts of divas… Diva demanded, and diva earned. A diva demanded is one who yells the loudest and thinks that everyone owes them everything. They’ve GOT to walk first, no matter what. If they don’t like the designer, they will say it out loud, in front of them, and if they don’t get what they want then they will throw a temper tantrum and everybody has to stop and feel sorry for them… A Diva earned is one who has worked hard, compromised where necessary, asked for whatever and stepped aside when need be. They don’t always have to be first, they’re just happy to be there… They’re the ones that you hear people say, “I respect her. She’s what a Diva’s about”. They give you the title.