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Model Behaviour

by Archives January 27, 2009

Hundreds of hopeful young women herded to Montreal’s Les Cours Mont-Royal Thursday night in the hopes of becoming Canada’s next modeling sensation. The open casting call at the downtown mall marked the penultimate for CTV’s Canada’s Next Top Model, now in its third season.
The event was set up for the women who had failed to take advantage of the competition’s online pre-selection option. The price for procrastination was set at waiting in a two-hour line stretching around the third floor mezzanine, all for spending 30 seconds on the catwalk under the watchful gaze of modeling agent Elmer Olsen. Olsen currently manages a handful of Canada’s most successful models, including Ontarians Daria Werbowy and Amanda Laine.
Still, the contestants remained optimistic in spite of the waiting times. “I’ve waited an hour and a half, but the experience is worth it,” said 21-year-old Ronda Derocher of NDG.
While most girls dressed up for the occasion, Derocher strutted her stuff in a pair of blue jeans and black patent leather pumps.
Some were a little too familiar with the process. After getting kicked off the show in the first round of eliminations during season one, 22-year-old Regine Borno was ecstatic after being selected by Olsen for a one-on-one.
“I’m speechless,” gasped Borno. “I know what this reality show is about, I wasn’t ready last time.”
Girls from near and far flocked for their chance to rise to reality TV stardom, a modeling contract with renowned agency Elmer Olsen, a $100,000 beauty contract from Procter & Gamble, and an editorial spread in Fashion magazine. Eighteen-year-old Lea Girard Nadeau from Alma, Lac Saint-Jean took the bus to Montreal a day early to make sure she wouldn’t miss the audition. She wasn’t surprised she was selected for round two.
“Spending $160 on bus tickets, and missing three days of school for something like this requires a little bit of self-confidence,” she said.
Not to mention that Nadeau, standing at 5’9″, has the very look Olsen was looking for. Walking down the runway, her fire-red hair flowed across her strong jaw line – the kind of characteristics Olsen and his team keep their eyes peeled for.
Nadeau, along with the other open casting selections, progressed to round two, where they were thrown into a one-on-one with executive producer Sheila Hockin. As the hours went on, Olsen selected fewer and fewer girls for the second round. At times, his honesty could easily be mistaken as cold, brisk rejection.
“I believe models are born, not made, it’s all in their parents’ genetics,” he said.
Genetics seemed to be the last thing on anyone’s mind when bikini-clad women lined up four at a time against the white backdrop in their best and highest heels. After taking turns walking for Hockin, Olsen and the CTV cameras, they got dismissed as quickly as they came.
After the first round of girls left the room, Hockin turned to Olsen and offered a word of advice. “Be picky, okay?” she said.
For Olsen, round two was more important than whatever had happened on the catwalk.
“A lot of these girls are clever dressers, so this phase is important because it shows us their natural proportions,” he explained. “Great natural proportions are exactly what we’re looking for.”
Not all girls were as lucky as Nadeau and Borno. Even those toting professional portfolios from other agencies didn’t make the cut. You either have it or you don’t, but what is that seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

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