KAPAA — Two of America’s Next Top Models will be on hand coaching and judging during a model call today at the Courtyard Marriott at Coconut Beach.
The free event, hosted by Hawaii Fashion Week, is open to all models ages 5 to 30, or classic models with a ‘30s look, and will offer modeling opportunities in New York, London, Milan, Paris, Los Angeles and in Hawaii.
After living in Hong Kong, Kauai resident Joseph Figaroa, president of Hawaii Fashion Week, has always loved the fashion industry and said he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur when he returned to Hawaii.
“Everywhere you turn there’s somebody selling something or creating something. Moving back to Hawaii, I brought that new awakening and I had my inspiration to say ‘I love the world and the cultures,’ and to me that’s the wealth of the world,” he said.
So he decided on the Figaroa Collection that features international fashion designers and artists.
“With that, I started to see that art is truly a universal language,” he said.
Through his store, Figaroa said he learned that art bridges a common connection between cultures and helps create a realization that we’re not all that different, he said.
“That’s when I said, ‘this is bigger than I think,’ and so, from there, I realized throughout the state at that time, no one was really giving creative individuals as well as international worldly-minded people (freedom) to express themselves,” he said.
So he decided to bring Hawaii’s creative community together, and has used Hawaii Fashion Week as a tool to bring everyone together.
“Hawaii Fashion Week from day one has been doing that, not just bringing international, but really supporting the regional designers. The vision is to connect the regional artists to the consumer,” he said.
The first Hawaii Fashion Week was in 2000.
Because of Hawaii Fashion Week’s focus on community, producers from the show “America’s Next Top Model” reached out to him and, before he agreed to connect with them, Figaroa said he asked them to do something for the community first.
“Why don’t we give an opportunity, because there’s so many different cultures here in Hawaii, give an opportunity for local residents here and talent to be featured on a national platform?” he asked.
The producers loved his idea for the community event. Kiara Belen and Ava Capra are here today, coaching and judging model walks.
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bethany Freudenthal, crime, courts and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.