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Sunday, April 5, 2020


Freshman wins Model of the Year at international competition

“This opportunity to really be like a piece of art was so cool to me — and I just totally took advantage of it,” said Emma Jones. | Courtesy of Emma Jones

The International Modeling and Talent Association is one of the most renowned training centers to find upcoming talent for the fashion and entertainment industry.

The Cougar sat down with television, film and radio freshman Emma Jones, who competed in the IMTA competition in Los Angeles and won the Most Sought out Model of the Year and Female Model of the Year.

The Cougar: How did you get involved with the Neal Hamil agency and begin modeling?  

Emma Jones: I actually never thought about modeling. I was always an actor, so I did theatre and commercials. My brother’s girlfriend was signed with Neal Hamil, and I went into Neal Hamil one day with her to pick up a check. The agents there were like, “Hey have you ever thought about modeling?” So I tried it, and it turned out to be my favorite thing ever.

TC: What inspired you to take this opportunity to become a model?

EJ: It sounds kind of lame, but I was not a pretty girl growing up, and all the really cute girls in high school and middle school would always tease me. And then this opportunity to really be like a piece of art was so cool to me — and I just totally took advantage of it — and I love it.

TC: How did it feel to be chosen to compete in one of the most prosperous training centers for those wanting to work in the fashion and entertainment industry?

EJ: It was awesome; I don’t even know how else to describe it. Because when I went into my audition, there were so many people there and it was all the beautiful girls that are with Neal Hamil. And I was like, OK, I don’t think I’m going to get it. But when I got it and we actually went to LA, it was breathtaking.

TC: What exactly is the Most Sought out Model of the Year award? How is it different from winning Female Model of the Year?

EJ: Most Sought out Model of the Year is just (where) throughout the competition there were agents—I would say there were 200 agents there—and most sought out means I got called back to sign with the most agents. (For Female Model of the Year, agents can) rate you high, so you win, but they can think, “you’re cute but I don’t need you in my agency,” so they won’t call you back.

The difference is that the modeling agencies called me back for one and then others just said “oh you’re pretty” for the other one. (For Most Sought out Model of the Year) you feel more wanted, it’s not just for your performance it’s that people actually want to sign you and put you in their agency to start modeling.

TC: How was the experience of going to Los Angeles and competing with other models from around the world?

EJ: There were people from places like Australia and Spain and Milan. I didn’t know that, so when they announced all the different groups that came, and they said “Australia” I was like wow, they came so far and I’m from Texas. But the experience as a whole was totally different than I expected.

I went and I competed in different events. I competed in the modeling events, which were TV beauty, make up, runway, fashion and swimwear. And I actually won first in all of those, except for TV beauty, which I got second. It was really cool because there were so many different people, but everyone is there for the same reasons so they’re all friendly and they’re all super supportive.

We did runway shows, and I wouldn’t know the person behind me or in front of me, but before you go they were like, “Good luck, you’re going to do awesome.” It was such an uplifting environment.

TC: What was the process the contestants went through backstage before participating in the events?

EJ: It was really intimidating. The IMTA modeling was divided into M1, M2 and M5. I was in M5 because of my age and my height. I’m only 5’8, so I wasn’t in the high fashion group, you have to of course be 5’9. M5 was the largest modeling group there, and so I was backstage with over 300 other girls.

TC: How did you feel when you won Female Model of the Year and Most Sought out Model of the Year?

EJ: I wasn’t expecting it, honestly. There were a lot of girls with me-and they were really tall like the fashion models-and I thought Model of the Year is going to be one of those models. After I won first place in all the other events everyone was like “I think you’re going to get it” and I was like, “Don’t jinx me!”

And then when they were calling it out, they called four girls on stage, and of course they would make it long and be like “third runner up, second runner up, first runner up.” After the girl who was first runner up got it and I was the only one left on stage it was insane. I wasn’t expecting it at all and I am so honored.

TC: Is there anyone you look up to as a model?

EJ: I have so many, but one everyone would probably know is Taylor Hill. She recently did the Victoria Secret fashion show, she works for Gucci and all this other stuff, and I love that. I totally want to model in Europe and do huge name brands like that. Plus, she’s gorgeous.

TC: What did you gain from this experience? Where do you hope your modeling career takes you in the future?

EJ: While I was there I met with a lot of agents. Right now I’m looking through contracts and I am trying to decide which one I want to sign with, but I most likely will be moving at the end of the semester. I will either be going to Los Angeles or Japan, and I’m actually really hoping for Japan. I would really like to make my modeling a career and do it for as long as I can.

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