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MODEL SPOTLIGHT

EMILY & SURYA

Emily Wu is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Design. Surya Singla is a senior in Information Systems with minors in Computer Science and Decision Science. They are the second pair chosen by the Model Coordinators to be showcased. They look back on their months of rehearsing for Lunar Gala and discuss the upcoming show.

E: This is my first time in LG, and before coming in my general impression of LG was of all these people who want attention, who want to show the world that they’re beautiful-- it’s so superficial. I don’t know if that was created by myself or propagated by the people around me, but somehow that was in my mind. I realized, wait, modeling is sick, it’s not really that the model themselves is the center of attention, but more the clothes and the way that they are carrying themselves. That’s what really attracted me, that confidence in just walking down a runway. And so, that has been my impression of LG now, that we’re all just people that strive to look and feel confident in whatever it is that we wear.

S: I heard about LG freshman year, and it always seemed like something other people do, a different kind of person. I never really considered it to be something I could do until a friend directly suggested it. I thought it would be a fun senior year thing to try it out. If I get in, cool, if I don’t, oh well. The realization that I or anyone who wishes to put themselves out there can be a model and present these clothes, walk in these lines, interact on that kind of level… it’s really interesting. I am a part of a community I never thought that I would be a part of. Like Emily said, it’s a lot of walking, a lot of confidence building. When you’re modelling, you’re very self-conscious of the individual components and how they come together. It’s increased self-awareness and control over body and presentation.

E: I am very involved in the dance community here, so I started to know the faces in that community, but outside of that was a big unknown. At LG, I’m meeting different people that are not in the dance community, from all different backgrounds, all different types of interests that I’ve never come across before, and that’s been so fun. It’s nice to have friendly and confident faces to talk to. Also, speaking of dance and LG, I think that modeling itself is a bit of a dance in the sense that in dance you’re posing, but it’s a bunch of poses in motion. I think that my dance background has helped me with modelling because you do have to put up a front or image to exude a certain energy. I think it’s fun to think of it that way.

S: The social aspect is so interesting with Lunar Gala, unlike any other organization I’ve experienced before, because when you’re practicing, you’re in a room for two hours and wait for your turn to walk. And between those turns you’re in a room with 50 other people who are also waiting. At the beginning, there were a lot of people who would bring books or homework, but as we have kept going I’ve seen a lot more interactions between people-- friendships forming. I never thought I would be a part of the LG community because I always felt like something separate. I think a lot of people in LG are like that, and what happens then is that LG becomes this melting pot of different groups on campus. Also, by the nature of modelling, you’re breaking down your daily performance to its most authentic base so you can layer your other performances on top of it.

S: In this authenticity, you can connect a lot stronger with the people around you. We are all trying, experimenting, being silly, having fun; we all have our highs and lows, and it comes out when you’re trying to perfect these other layers of performance.

E: I think modelling really breaks down barriers. -laughs- I was just thinking back to our photoshoot and there was something so vulnerable about it; you’re in front of a camera just putting yourself out there. You know these images are going to be public. Because you’re in that vulnerable state with other people, it naturally becomes a state of acceptance. I think that’s the beauty of LG as well.

S: I really like that mutual acceptance. You’re opening yourself up to a critique of your most basic movements.

E: I would really love to see the designers in motion – them doing their work and making the clothes we’re going to wear. It is really cool to know that the designers are just like us, they’re students, they’re grinding away because they actually have to make stuff. It’s cool to know that I can also do that, if I really wanted to learn, since there is this resource of LG and other students who have done it in the past. I guess there’s that parallel between the designers who have never done this before and the models who have never done this before. It’s really cool that we have this sort of amateur group that pulls it together and makes it look not so amateur.

S: I think you put it best. I haven’t seen my designers all that much, and I think it would be nice to have more connection with the designers. But I’m excited because we have dress rehearsal coming up next week which I am so psyched for.

E: It’s really amazing to think about the designers, because there’s so many body types you have to take into consideration, it’s not just ok copy and paste and change up how it looks, it’s actually tailored to a different body.

Davine: Is there anything you’re anticipating in terms of the show? Have you ever been to a show before?

S: I have not.

E: I have!

S: I’ve seen it briefly through a window and said, “Wow, that’s cool, moving on.” Like I said, I never thought I’d be here. What did you think?

E: I do like fashion, and I like to see what a lot of my peers are working on, so to me it’s fascinating. It’s cool to see that the people who come out are so interested in fashion and supporting their friends and they want to be a part of this community. It’s cool that there’s also dance as a part of it; it’s nice to see that it’s celebrating other communities on campus as well.

S: It started as a celebration of the Lunar New Year.

E: Yeah, and I was told that the names of the shows actually reflect the traits of the animal of that Lunar year. Like Yesterday, if you look up the meaning of the Year of the Rat, it has to do with time and looking back and nostalgia.

S: I’m glad that we hold onto that idea and tradition. Do you think we should do more or less to keep connecting with that theme? Do you think we’re not doing enough?

E: The first thing that comes to mind is that we have a huge Chinese and international population on campus. Maybe that would appeal to them, maybe that’s the way to go. I think it depends on what we’re doing LG for.


Join us on February 29th to see Emily, Surya, and the rest of our models walk the runway for Lunar Gala 2020: Yesterday. Purchase tickets here.