By Ian Taylor
Though I’ve only attended one high fashion event so far, I feel confident in saying this: The movies got it wrong. Most films and TV shows portray the attendees of fashion shows and upscale parties as detached aliens who’d sue you out of existence for having the audacity to even glance at them, a trope largely influenced by the fantastic film “The Devil Wears Prada.”
However, upon entering the doors of the mansion where Christine Adar was hosting an exclusive preview of her latest collection, I found the opposite was true. Here was a group of lively, inviting, impeccably stylish, and most importantly, unwaveringly passionate people who were just as quick to shake my hand and introduce themselves as they were to ask what had brought me to the event. I had such a wonderful evening that I found myself forgetting I was technically working.
Despite my forgetfulness, I was thankful that I was working, because it motivated me to step outside of my comfort zone and confidently approach strangers with whom I’d typically be too intimidated to even make eye contact. That confidence allowed me to meet some of the most interesting people I’ve ever spoken to in my life.
One of those people I had the pleasure of meeting was Shannon Love, model director for Tempe Fashion Week.
Love: What I help with at Tempe Fashion Week is training the models, so I get them together, I get them the perfect way that we want for the image to be great for the designers. I take care of rehearsals, I take care of model communication, and [everything like that].
(Me) Ian Taylor: What does your background look like? How did you get to that job?
Love: I started off as a model, I’ve modeled in LA Fashion Week, Phoenix Fashion Week and Chicago Fashion Week. I’ve actually directed a lot of shows, so this isn’t my first rodeo.
Taylor: So you’ve got some experience under your belt?
Love: Exactly. I’ve done three or four other big shows and then I’m personally booked by people. So yeah, I’ve been doing model development, model coaching and directing for about three years now.
Taylor: Nice. Good for you. Are you looking to continue in this specific career, or do you have any prospects in the future?
Love: Yeah! So it’s so weird, I didn’t even envision myself in this world, and then it just fell in my lap. I also model-direct for Corella & Co which is a model academy out here. We basically train inspiring models and teach them the business of modeling. So I guess I do see myself in this role, I kinda see it worldwide, like if I can do it here, I can do it anywhere, basically. So yeah, I do, and then hosting is kind of sprinkled into this because of Tempe Fashion Week, so I’ve been hosting a lot of events, and yeah, I feel like it all segues together.
Taylor: So you’re staying busy?
Love: [laughs] Staying busy for sure.
Taylor: That academy you mentioned, does it have foreign origins? That doesn’t sound like an American name.
Love: Corella & Co is actually from our owner, and she is Latina, and that is her family’s name. What a good question! Yeah, so it’s beautiful to see and represent that and just keep her vision going. Her name is Jocelynn Soto Corella.
Taylor: Definitely need more diversity, (not just) in the fashion industry, but any industry alone.
Love: Exactly, and when you go to Tempe Fashion Week, I hope you see that on the runway. That was one of our biggest things, to get those diverse models, tattooed models, plus-size models, brown skin, white skin, whatever complexion you are, we want you, you know? It just matters that you are able to walk and exude that confidence.
Speaking with Love provided a detailed glimpse into the hectic yet exciting life that so many folks in the fashion industry live. Despite the stress that one might be susceptible to in such an environment, Love’s enthusiasm and beaming smile throughout the interview made it clear that she’s managed to do what so many can only dream of: Turn her job and her passion into the same thing.
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Photos by David Ulloa Jr.