Encouraging Greater Focus on the Beauty Within

October 8, 2013 Updated: October 8, 2013

NEW YORK—As fashion designers increasingly opt for quirky looking models that don’t quite fit the mold, this will inadvertently be followed by the reverse trend of classic super-model beauty. The fashion industry is marked by this seasonal oscillation between one trend and its opposite in the next season.

One company seeking a different path is Top Choice Models, an agency that recently kicked off its #BeYou Campaign. The campaign encourages models to express themselves and share their stories.

“This means a lot to me because of my background and what I went through, having anorexia,” said model Lina Weiss who participated in the ‘#BeYou’ Campaign photo shoot and reception. “I defeated the disease and learning to love myself again so this event is all about being yourself, who you are is beautiful. It means a lot to me.”

Syrah Scott, Top Choice Models CEO, sought to build an agency that redresses what she perceived as a marked lack of “ethnic models” in the industry.

“If you look at the world now there is a lot of gentrification, there is a lot of multi-ethnic cultures that are really coming though and the buying power has changed, so it’s only right to have that sort of mix for models and feature them in ads and magazines,” Scott said.

The campaign emphasizes the need to work through frequent rejections by understanding and nurturing one’s strengths.

“How to get over that obstacle is to always keep working on you. Keep developing yourself,” said Scott.

The agency’s social media sites provide a platform for aspiring models to write about themselves, with particular emphasis on encouraging them to identify their strengths.

The #BeYou campaign includes motivational seminars in which the Top Choice Models team will visit a number of middle and high schools to speak about the importance of accepting and embracing themselves. The launch of the seminars will take place at Liberation High School in Coney Island, along with campaign founder, April Leong.

The #BeYou Campaign will culminate in a gala event on Feb. 11, 2014. One student will receive a $50,000 scholarship at the gala. The student must have demonstrated academic and/or artistic excellence, along with other outstanding achievements, and aspire to own his or her own business.