Northeastern asks, “Wanna be on top?”

First-ever top model competition is in full swing on campus

By Laura Finaldi, News Staff

Photo Courtesy/Haute Fashion

People can say what they want about Tyra Banks, but there’s no denying the fact that, for the better part of a decade, Americans have flocked to their television screens to watch her lead dozens of modeling hopefuls down the runway and in front of the camera.

Come the end of December, the world will be able to watch Northeastern’s answer to the national phenomenon on Northeastern University Television (NUTV), courtesy of Haute Fashion, Northeastern’s fashion club.

As devoted “America’s Next Top Model” fans, it made sense to members of Haute Fashion to bring the competition to campus. Right now, they’ve narrowed it down to three contestants. Each model possesses a distinctive look and brings something new to the table. The winner will be featured in Haute’s spring advertising campaign and will get to walk in its annual fashion show.

“The models that we have – they’re super into it and they’re very excited,” said club president Bianca Gracie, a middler communication studies major. “The potential that they have – they’re very strong with their skills. I like that they’re so interested. We put so much time into it that the fact that they care about it as much as we do [is great].”


Fierce beauty

Growing up in New York City, Sophia Altholz’s parents never wanted her to be a model. Dozens of agencies and talent representatives would approach her, hoping to make bank off of the tall redhead with big ice-blue eyes and long lashes. But the answer was always no. It wasn’t until a family friend asked her to be in an infomercial for Warren Tricomi Salon on the Upper East Side that she took her first dip into the modeling pool.

Scouts aren’t the only ones who noticed her enticing beauty and enchanting presence. Stephanie Zhang, a member of Haute, said Altholz knows how to make herself look good on camera by using the right angles, and Gracie agrees.

“Her fire-engine red hair is so beautiful, [and] her faces are very calming,” Gracie said. “Her eyes captivate you when you look at her.”

The real art in fashion lies in photography, she said, because of the artist’s ability to make the subject look beautiful, whether he or she is to begin with. Altholz sees modeling as a stepping stool to expose herself to the world of fashion she hopes to eventually work in — but not necessarily as a model. Her favorite fashion icons are photographers such as Annie Liebovitz and Richard Avedon.

“As I grow older, I want to become the brains of the industry, not necessarily the icon,” she said. “Nothing would make me happier than to get involved with the creative side of the whole industry and make it better.”

 Established professional

Daniel Sabau has danced onstage with Katy Perry, quoted Wendy Williams directly in a paper for class and was Chris Evans’ butt double in “What’s Your Number?”

For Sabau, getting as much experience in the acting and modeling industry is the most important thing in the world, and that’s why he entered the Northeastern’s Next Top Model competition.

The Laguna Beach native, who arrived at Northeastern in September after a year at the University of Miami, currently works four jobs in addition to his classes and makes frequent trips to New York City for auditions. He was in Betsey Johnson’s runway show when she was in Boston, was an Abercrombie kids model at 13 and was signed last week to Boston-based modeling agency Maggie Inc.

“I know what hard work is,” he said. “Even though I know nothing may come of it, I’ll never stop trying,”

He looks up to Ashton Kutcher and Josh Duhamel, who were both models before they were actors. Modeling, to Sabau, is something he hopes will launch him into the acting world.

“I love clothes. I love modeling. I just do it because it’s fun and if it turns into something, great, but I love acting and I that’s what I want to do forever,” he said.

After meeting Perry, Williams and a plethora of other famous people, Sabau no longer gets starstruck. He knows he’s a potential player in the game and is ready to face whatever comes his way.

“You can’t just be shell shocked all the time. You need to be able to control your emotions,” he said.

 Blossoming belle

In Hanna Suh’s native Korea, the only people who pursue modeling careers are those who are either exceptionally talented or have already made it as models.

“If I told my mom I was every doing this as a hobby, she would freak out,” she said. “She’d say ‘Oh, that’s a waste of time. You should read something.’”

Still, the middler human services major is in the final three – and loving it. She eventually hopes to land a career in the human services field but still wants to build her modeling portfolio as a hobby.

So far, the competition has been very photo-based, something Suh said she struggled with because she prefers the runway. Above all else, her main goal is to get more confident with every click of the camera.

“When I’m [modeling] right now, I’m really happy because I’m having fun,” she said. “Because I’m not looking at this for a career, if I get eliminated, it’s not the end of the world.”