Rookies strut down the runway

As Charlotte Peng and Brianna Li navigate their way down the runway, they try to impress designers by adding their own unique touch to their poses to showcase the designs they’re wearing. 

Peng, a DBHS sophomore, started runway modeling last year because her parents thought it would be an effective way to improve her posture. She attends iDance, where she practices how to walk and pose on a runway. 

Peng attended IFSM Fashion Week in October 2018, where designer Hoa Jia spotted her at the show and asked Peng to perform for her. In order to walk at ISFM, Peng auditioned in La Habra eight weeks prior to the show and modeled for four judges. During the show, she had to go through several wardrobe and hair changes. 

To prepare for each performance, Peng practices how to walk. In order to impress the judges, models must perfect walking in a straight line with tall heels, keeping their shoulders back, holding their hands behind their back and standing up straight.

“It doesn’t seem that hard, but walking is so hard,” Peng said.  “It’s just a bunch of different details. People think it’s just confidence, but it’s technique too.”

 Peng also spends two hours each Sunday at iDance working on her posture, posing, dancing, acting and public speaking. She said learning to dance helps with modeling because it synchronizes your steps to the beat and makes movement smoother. 

Initially, Peng was hesitant about attending competitions since she didn’t feel like her walking was up to par with the other models. However, after her coach assured her she was ready to audition, Peng went to Fete the Venue in Costa Mesa and received emails from designers Julio Quintero and Valerie Barney inviting her to work as a model. Through modeling for several shows, though, she’s learned to love it enough  to pursue it as a professional career.

“I like going on shows,” Peng said. “I like the feeling the adrenaline and going on the catwalk.”

On the other hand, freshman Brianna Li started modeling two years ago as a way to break out of her shell. Li works at SBS Wonder Culture, where she attends fashion shows in order to sell the company’s designs.

“My modeling teacher’s boss is the CEO of SBS Wonder Culture, so when I walk on fashion shows they’re mainly [through] the company,” Li said via Instagram.

Li helps mentor other girls in the company. Li said that Her teacher uses her as an example of how the other models should walk and pose down the runway. While working with SBS Wonder Culture, Li attended The Movement LA, which is a 45-minute dance lesson that focuses confidence and positivity. 

At The Movement LA, Li was noticed by fashion designers Rosee&Babee as well as Hao Jia. Impressed by her performance on the catwalk, they offered Li the opportunity to walk the show dressed in the clothing they designed, which she accepted. 

“There was a lot of preparing, most of which was makeup,” Li said. “I went up to the fashion designers and showed them my catwalk [and] then they chose an outfit of their designs for me”

 As Li gains more experience, she hopes to venture outside of California. Li considers modeling as something that helped her develop more confidence and intends to keep attending performances for years to come. 

“I see myself as a fashion model in the future,” Li said. “The first time I performed in a fashion show I was really happy [and] excited.”