Sunday, December 20, 2009

Models of the Decade (Twin Cities edition)

One of my daily go-to blogs,, recently posted their picks for The Decade's Top Models, and it inspired me to ruminate on the Twin Cities' own bevy of model talent. I've had the opportunity to work with many of these models personally, freelance and with my stylist collective Eclecticoiffeur, since I began styling in 2004. (Sorry fellas, this a ladies-only edition.) Here's my top ten in no particular order:

[Greta photographed by Jennifer Crest/Styling by Jane Belfry, spring 2009]

Greta Sundquist
Greta's another hot up-and-comer, hitting the scene only this year and already making enough of an impact to be one of only two local models to have the chance to walk in the high-profile Glamorama show, wearing the likes of Marc Jacobs and Jean-Paul Gaultier runway. Greta is sort of our own Agyness Deyn, all platinum blonde cropped hair and a hard, sharp look perfect for runway and high-end editorial. She also has the fiercest walk of them all. Greta is currently with Vision Model Management.

[Lauren photographed by Jennifer Cress/Styling by Jane Belfry]

Lauren Wade
Another model to recently take off is the lovely Lauren Wade. Lauren recalls wide-eyed beauties like Lauren Cant and Alexis Bledel, and she outright owns the camera - every shot with Lauren is a keeper. She made the cover of Twin Cities Statement twice, and has become a favorite of local designers like Amanda Christine and a muse to the photography/styling team of Jennifer Cress and Jane Belfry. She's also picked up a lot of commercial work as of late, so it seems doubtful she will stay in this city much longer.

[Eve photographed by Nic Marshall/Styling by Eclecticoiffeur in December 2008]

Eve Rydberg
Eve is one of my all-time favorite models to work with. I first met her when I was Lead Stylist for a show called Fresh Face Showcase back in 2005, and she instantly struck me with her silent film-esque doe eyes, strong brows, and bow-shaped lips. She also has two key traits to a great model: an innate ability to transform her look, and a background as a dancer and actor. She now lives in Chicago, and is currently focusing on dance and theater as well as modeling. She is currently represented by Stewart Talent in Chicago.

[Ashley photographed by Nic Marshall/Styling by Eclecticoiffeur at Fashion Fight Night, February 2008]

Ashley Hawks
Via Steve Marsh's excellent article on the state of modeling in the Twin Cities, published January 2009: "At twenty-three, Ashley is one of the few working models in the Twin Cities. There are hundreds of girls listed with local agencies, but Ashley is one of the dozen or so who works regularly, weekly or thereabouts, most often for the city’s largest modeling client, Target." What I have to say about Ashley: her look is pure sex yet wholesome, all Angelina Jolie lips, come-hither eyes, and enough curves to make a straight girl swoon. A consummate professional, I once put her in shoes two sizes too small (by accident, of course) and she posed with aplomb despite having the circulation cut off in her feet. She is currently represented by Moore Talent.

[Joy photographed by Vanessa Meade/Styling by Eclecticoiffeur, September 2007]

Joy Phillips
Joy is yet another all-time favorite of mine, having worked with her more times than I can count. She served as the lookbook model for Voltage 2009, and was a cover model for in fall 2007. She is a true chameleon, able to look like an angelic beauty one moment, a fierce, other-worldly creature the next, and could just as easily pull off retro looks as she could futuristic. Like all my favorite models, she's since retired from the industry for a career in film.

[Monica, image credit unknown]

Monica Ulrich
Another all-time favorite, I first worked with Monica back in early 2007 for the first Fashion Fight Night. She has such a striking look, all fiery red hair, alabaster-white skin, and six feet of long, gazelle-like limbs. She did some modeling overseas and had a high-profile stint walking in Macy's Glamorama back in 2007, and recently returned to the fold. She's now with Ignite Models.

[Lily photographed by Bernie De Belles]

Lily Adriana
Lily, "the Fox." The "Lithuanian Audrey Hepburn." I could go on. Lily's is a look that doesn't so much as transform as she transforms it. Her trademark coquettish walk, her raised eyebrow that says coyly, "who, me?", and her natural cat-eye eye shape seduce all who come into contact with her. Oh, and she's twice been the cover model for She's currently represented by Ignite.

[Monique, photo credit unknown]

Monique Darton
I've never had the opportunity to work with Monique, but she caught my eye just last fall when combing the pages of Vision Model Management. By this point, she was already in such demand on the coasts that we couldn't land her, and it's no wonder why - that gorgeous hair and skin tone, and softly confident look, has landed her a high-profile gig as a contestant on the upcoming season seven of Project Runway. Kudos to the brilliant eye of Vision for first spotting her.

[Whitney, photo credit unknown]

Whitney Fransway
The very-young Whitney is definitely one to watch on a national level. I first remember seeing her headshot a few years ago in the Vision files, and only recently have had the chance to work with her on both of Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman's Spring 2010 shows (the Project Runway premiere in St. Paul and his Fashion Week show in NYC), as well as the recently-shot Spring 2010 campaign for Juut Salonspa. Her doe eyes and lithe frame showcase a delicate sophistication beyond her years. She's currently based out of L.A. but does work in the Twin Cities from time to time; Vision represents her in L.A. and Ignite represents her locally.

[Liz photographed by Kate Iverson/Styling by Eclecticoiffeur for l'etoile magazine/Opitz Outlet]

Liz Schoening
As easy as you'd think it'd be to find a good blonde model in Minnesota, it's hard to find one that doesn't look like an overprocessed pop-star/cheerleader, and few can pull off high-fashion as well as commercial. I recall spotting Liz's all-American freckles and sandy blonde hair on a Vision Models comp card and fell in love. The ultra-tall beauty's look is slightly awkward yet strong, and she's a real pro. Currently Liz is with Ignite.

Honorable mentions

Here's a few up-and-comers to watch for and personal favorites.

[Karen O photographed by Vanessa Meade/Styling by Eclecticoiffeur, September 2007]

Karen O'Bryan
Another all-time favorite, Karen O was always striking with her sleek chin-length bob, wide-set eyes, and aquiline nose. The former Vision model recalled both a '40s movie star and something more otherworldly. Her unusual look made her a favorite muse to local designers during her stints walking for Voltage. She has since moved to San Francisco to pursue visual art.

[Emily photographed by Nic Marshall/Styling by Eclecticoiffeur. Test shoot, September 2007]

Emily Gribble
Another model retiree, Emily G first enchanted us with her alternately adorable and smoldering look, pulling off both commercial and edgier editorial with equal aplomb. I adored her for her ability to play with the camera and bring energy to every shot.

[Tearra photographed by Filipe Marques]

Tearra Rosario
Tearra's Latin heritage is clear in her slinky walk and her coy smirk. Her vivid personality truly comes through in her modeling, but she is careful to not let it overshadow the styling - a balancing act only the best achieve. The one-time cover model is only 5'9", it's unlikely Tearra will burst out of the Twin Cities model bubble, but her gorgeous face and hair could bring her success in the commercial print arena. She's currently with Ignite Models.

[Kelly photographed by Rod Hasse / Dress by Amanda Christine]

Kelly Streigel
Though her frame can look awkward and she's relatively short at 5'8", Kelly really struck me when I first spotted her at an Ignite fashion show. Her look is very unusual, a doe-like gamine who pulls off high-fashion looks, and all the awkward posing it requires, like a pro. Unsurprisingly, she's become a favorite to showcase looks from ultra-cool Minneapolis-based website Shop Fatal. Watch for this up-and-comer to make more waves in the '10s.

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