One of my most amazing experiences so far as a model has been working with Tatanka Kaliwaga in Runway Cafe's One in a Million Designer Challenge. This was a huge contest, with the winning designer receiving One Million Lindens in cash and advertising (!!!). Being in a show like this must always be a buzz, but for me, knowing I was presenting the work of a favorite to win, gave the whole thing an added edge.
The gown Tatanka chose for the final was Shanghai Noon, a beautiful Asian inspired gown with fan adornments and a mermaid skirt in cream silk embellished with black and gold intricate decoration across the bodice and sleeves continuing down the fitted skirt. It's a stunning gown, incredibly detailed, and comes with shoes, hair and jewellery. It felt like a real responsibility, to ensure I presented Tatanka's incredible gown well, so I invested a lot of time with him in finding the right walks and poses that not only worked technically with the gown but showed it at it's breathtaking best.
There was quite a build up to the final, with a lot of rehearsals. The models started the show posing in windows cut into a wall that backed the runway. We waited there for a long 15 minutes before the curtain raised, with pumping music streaming into the sim, and the long, vaulted ceilinged runway stretched out before us. The excitement was palpable. Model's chatted nervously, praying not to crash, and joked about the adrenalin that was staring to pump with the music. And then, the DJ/MC for the night announced the show was starting. The models one by one jumped down from their windows and took the long walk down the runway, posing for a minute for the judges, then hopping onto podiums at the foot of fountains either side of the runway. I walked seventh. I managed to walk to the end of the runway in a straight line and started my pose sequence with a sweet geisha bow, when my worst nightmare happened - I crashed!
I was listening to the sound stream on the web so I could still hear the commentary as I desperately relogged back at home and used my emergency landmarks to teleport first backstage and then to the side, where I could access my podium - I hopped on and started posing, and the show went on. Not as much of a disaster as I'd imagined, thankfully. Once all the models had taken their places on the fountains, it was time for the judges to deliberate and we teleported backstage again to await the announcement of the winner. We'd been briefed that the model for the winner should teleport the winner backstage and walk down the runway with them for them to receive their trophy, make an acceptance speech, and enjoy all the applause. So, as we waited on the result, we chatted about the real life value of a million lindens (it's a lot of real money!). And then the winner was announced. Tatanka Kaliwaga - and I was frenziedly teleporting him backstage and walking with him down the runway and trying to keep up with all the local chat and instant messages that were pouring in and applauding and clapping myself in local chat to add to the general melee.
Tatanka said good things about me in his acceptance speech, which was lovely and made all the work so worthwhile. And now we are embarked on a string of photoshoots for features and ads in lots of Second Life fashion and lifestyle magazines. It's meant I've got to meet some new photographers, and of course it's raised my profile, hopefully in a good way. I've already been invited to join an agency, and met up with an amazing photographer who I've done a shoot with since the show, and there will be more to come I'm sure.
So, all round, an amazing experience, one I will treasure. I got to work with the One in a Million designer, who happens to be a nice guy as well! And I got to model this incredible gown and have the buzz of modeling it at a big show.
Shanghai Noon is now on sale at Mea Culpa.