Teen Vogue Fashion University Conference

When I got the call that I won the competition for Torrid I was ready to drop all other opportunities that I had lined up but fortunately, I was able to still go to the Teen Vogue Fashion University Conference held directly after my time in LA. I was extremely excited to be going back to New York City!! I was flown in a day early but I got together with some of my friends and one of them had arranged a meet-up with twin eyewear designers, Coco & Breezy. These girls were sooo sweet and as you can see from the picture below, they also have amazing style! Check out their website to see some amazing futuristic styled designs!

Pictures by Grace Ajanaku

The first day of the event included a private shopping event at Juicy Couture. They had cute little h'orderves being offered by some of the finest male models as well as concert performances.

This year's conference included speakers from many key people in the industry. Editor in Chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, was the opening speaker, bridal designer, Vera Wang, was the key note speaker, and seminars included designers Rachel Roy, Jason Wu, Alexis Bittar, Zac Posen, Charlotte Ronson, Richard Chai, Justin Guinta, Erin Fetherston, Prabal Gurung, models Stacey McKenzie and Ali Michael, president of J. Crew Jenna Lyons, and the editors of Teen Vogue, along with many other fashion leaders.

 President of J. Crew-Jenna Lyons (I loved her outfit)

Jenna Lyons shows us her first clothing items she made while in school.

The last day was very inspirational with speakers that included Rachel Simmons, Ali Michael and Stacey Mckenzie who talked about the struggles of being a model and shared with us their personal stories. Stacey Mckenzie's story really touched me...so much so that I'm going to dedicate a separate post for her!

Overall, this trip was a great one...I have to make NYC-the nation's fashion capital- home to me one day.

Torrid House of Dreams 2010 in Los Angeles!

Hey everyone, today is the day when our pictures go up on the Torrid website, so be on the look out! I'd just like to share with you all a few of the behind-the-scenes photos as well as my overall experience in LA!

On Tuesday, I flew from Chicago to LA pretty excited to meet all of the girls. When I landed, I didn't know what to do. I didn't see any signs but I eventually noticed Melissa from the pictures I saw from the contest. She was so sweet! We both were still a little confused as to what was going to happen next, but we quickly worked things out. Isabelle spotted us standing outside and shortly after we met with our limo driver and started heading to our luxurious hotel where we would be staying for the next couple of days--The Standard Hotel.

When we got to the hotel, we were greeted by the front desk. They gave us Torrid gift bags and told us that during our stay, everything was on the house! We were in store for a great pampering session. 

Before heading our for that evening's festivities, I got to meet all of the rest of the model winners, including Krystal, the winner from Torrid's Puerto Rico Model Search. We all chatted in the diner before heading to KIIS FM Studios. When we went to KIIS FM we didn't get to meet Ryan Seacrest BUT we did meet some amazing people including famous LA DJ JoJo, Karli Henriquez and Nelson. After touring the building, we sat down with Karli and talked about the struggles of body image in society and specifically, the media. Karli used to have her own realty show, Karlifornia, on MTV Tr3s and as a curvy latina she felt pressured by producers to be something she was not. It got really emotional in the room but was a great way for us to open up and hear each others stories. 

 Us w/ JoJo

Us w/ Karli!

Immediately after leaving KIIS, I got a chance to experience the infamous"LA traffic." It took us about an hour and a half to get to our next stop, but was well worth it. We went to Beso, Eva Longoria's restaurant in Hollywood. We were there for hours eating, laughing and talking with some of Torrid's best models as well as Torrid executives that made all of this happen. I made sure to talk with Nikki and Germaine to get any modeling advice they had. Ashley Holliday, actress from ABC's Huge was also there to join us!

 Gantry, me and Becky....lovely ladies from Torrid's marketing department!

 Model Nikki, me and actress Ashley Holliday

2010 winners with 2008 model winner Germaine

 When we got back to our hotels, I wanted to explore the city and even the hotel but I was so tired. I had been working on just about 4 hours of sleep the whole day so I crashed. We had to wake up bright and early and be out of the door at 7am the next day for our photo shoot at Torrid/Hot Topic Headquarters. When we reached our destination, we started right away with hair & make-up by some of Torrid's top celebrity make-up artists.

the set!

Later, we met with celebrity stylist Art Conn--For any American Idol lovers, he's the one who styles all of the singers! He interviewed us on a behind-the-scenes video that is now posted on Torrid's YouTube Channel!

Then came the shooting!

They called us Torrid twins! What do you think?

Jennifer and Mia were the other set of Torrid twins! 

I was so in love with Jakoy's outfits! Perfect for the holidays:

After the shoot, we were hit with a surprise that made us all smile. We were told by the creative directors that we could take all of the shoes home with us! So, I walked away with about 3 new pairs of shoes. The airport almost made me throw them away because my bag was 12 pounds over limit! Somehow, I managed to work it out and took my new shoes, new clothes from the Torrid gift bag and my experiences on with me to New York where I attended the Teen Vogue Fashion University Conference (post coming soon).

Overall, I had such a great time! ALL of the models were so sweet and energetic and I love Torrid for being so supportive in helping jump-start our modeling careers. I see this as only the beginning! Once again, thank you to you all who voted for me in this competition. I had an amazing time!