Temple rolled out the red carpet for some of the campus’ premier models on Sunday night. The University Top Model Competition, coordinated by the student organization Déjà vu, decided just who Temple’s own top model was. Eight contestants battled it out for bragging rights, as well as something to add to their resumes for a possible career in the fashion business.
Twana Kennedy won the overall competition.
“I was so bombarded with everything at once,” said Kennedy, a sophomore majoring in pre-Nursing. “Between school work and waking up early in the morning to balance school and the modeling competition schedule, it was really hard. I didn’t know any of the other girls before the retreat, and this gave me a great opportunity to establish friendships I wouldn’t have had the chance to. In my eyes we’re all top models.”
Déjà vu worked extremely hard to coordinate the event. The organization itself is focused on quality planning and the organization of events such as the University Top Model Competition.
Each year Dekwaun Postell, a graduate student at Temple and Déjà vu’s founder, coordinates the Charles Gregory Model Retreat on campus. Sources say the University Top Model Competition is a result of that specific model retreat. The competition was also a spin-off of UPN’s reality series “America’s Next Top Model” starring supermodel Tyra Banks.
“Working in the fashion industry is a great thing because it provides a way to express a sense of creativity,” Postell said.
Postell is only one contributor of many that has worked toward Déjà vu’s production and success. Leslie Hope, a sophomore finance and real estate major, is another event coordinator that has dedicated much of her time to the organization’s goals.
Kelli Greer, a former Temple graduate, trained the actual models themselves in their presentation and approach on the runway and in front of the photographer’s lenses.
“This is something that these models are passionate about,” Greer said. “Being a model means focusing on it 24 hours a day. Their ideal future constitutes really being able to break into the modeling industry, whether it is a part-time or serious career in the fashion business.”
The models featured in this year’s Top Model Competition were Chantee Lans, a junior majoring in journalism; Makeda Mutema, a freshman majoring in criminal justice and business management; winner Twana Kennedy, a sophomore pre-nursing major; Nakeisha Brownlee, a senior majoring in sociology; Christie Resilard, a sophomore majoring in pre-nursing; Krystle Johnson, a senior majoring in sports management and business administration; Alicia Fajardo, a junior majoring in early childhood education; and Sheena Boney, a junior majoring in nursing.
Chantee Lans was forced to drop from the competition due to a knee injury. If all else fails, all of these students have positive academic pursuits to fall back on.
In cooperation with Déjà vu, local companies in Philadelphia embraced the modeling event and offered prizes and opportunities to the winner of the competition.
Businesses like Charles Gregory 1948 and the resource Web site www.TheCatwalkofPhiladelphia.com made the Temple modeling event possible. At the conclusion of the event, Charles Gregory awarded each of the contestants in the competition a photo shoot to prove just how hard the decision actually was to pick only one model.
Aside from Kennedy winning the actual event based on a panel of judges, Nakeisha Brownlee won the student choice award in which the student body voiced their opinion as to which model they thought should win the title. The runner-up of the competition was Sheena Boney.
The eight contestants also had the chance to model at 16th and Walnut streets in the storefront of MAC, a cosmetic chain in Center City, throughout the process.
All eight contestants, as well as the crowd, cheered the models on all night. Besides the excitement, the event illuminated something of which Déjà vu as well as Temple University are extremely proud.
The main factors in the modeling presentation were all students, from those who coordinated it to those who actually competed in it.
The eight final contestants, in addition to the contest organizers and planners, all came from Temple’s student body and organized the event, from funding it to timing it, themselves.
It is unclear whether the event will take place next year, but its relative success and popularity indicate that it may. Students interested in participating should contact Deja vu for details on how to get involved.
T.C. Mazar can be reached at email@example.com.