Making a Model

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Last Saturday was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a college freshman and I wanted to share it with all of you. In this post, I’ll be discussing my most recent fashion show as well as highlighting the events that happened backstage. Bare with me, this will be one of my longer posts!

Every year, the Vietnamese Student Association of Minnesota (VSAM) has a big event called Tet Show (Tet is Vietnamese for Lunar New Year), which consists of a skit, musical and dance performances, and a fashion show. This year, I volunteered for the fashion show and was selected by June Yang to model for her collection. I was really excited to work with June because she had been one of the designers that I kept a close eye on over the years. Her amazing designs have been featured in previous Tet Shows as well as in the Fresh Traditions Fashion Show. You can imagine how happy I was to be one of her four models! Along with myself, June’s line also consisted of Hannah, Diana, and Steven. At first, our meetings were a bit awkward. They were all strangers to me and I wasn’t sure how to act around them. But as we continued to meet and the long days of rehearsals went on, the three of them, along with June and the other models, became the support system that I needed to continue with the show. I don’t think they realized it, but without them, I might’ve dropped the show due to the stress I was going through trying to balance work, school, student activities, and of course, The Clothing Statement. I’m incredibly glad that I decided to stick it out until the very end.


If you’ve read my previous post, you would be familiar with Sophia Korm. This year, Sophia was one of the fashion show coordinators along with Darly Vu. I’ve known both Sophia and Darly for quite a while now, and was really excited to see how they would change the dynamics of the show. With those two as head coordinators, their main goal was to establish a strong bond between everyone in the fashion show. Since this was my second year modeling for Tet Show, I understand why that was one of their main objectives. In previous years, fashion show members wouldn’t become close with one another until the day of the show since there were only a total of three meetings. Even though the fashion show committee is always the largest, other committees in Tet Show such as marketing, hospitality, and logistics always had an easier time getting to know each other. This year was really different as Sophia and Darly created many opportunities for us to bond. They hosted a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show viewing party, planned a promotional video shoot, and  ordered silk robes for everyone to wear backstage to establish unity. Thanks to them, I had such a good time meeting my fellow models and a lot of the relationships that I’ve created over the course of the past few months will continue even though the show is over. Sophia and Darly were the perfect fit for the job!


On the day of the show, I arrived on location at 10 am. Upon arrival, June ushered me into our dressing room to meet our makeup artist, Kham, and hair stylist, Ande. I was scheduled as the first model to get my makeup done, so Kham immediately went to work. Kham told me that she had been doing makeup for about a year and a half and worked as a freelance makeup artist. If you would like to check her out, I’ll leave her Facebook link here! As her blank canvas, I was excited to see how she would bring June’s vision to life. While talking with Kham, she gave me a lot of helpful tips and tricks of the trade:

  1. Start with a good primer. Kham likes Benefit’s POREfessional and Maybelline’s Baby Skin Pore Eraser.
  2. Do your eye makeup first! Start with the brows, then the eyes-shadow, then the eyeliner. It’s better to start with the eyes because if you mess up or if there’s excess fallout, it’s easy to wipe away with a makeup wipe or cover up with foundation later.
  3. After applying foundation, powder, blush, and bronzer, use a setting spray to eliminate the “caked on makeup” look.
  4. While the setting spray sets, apply your highlighter. The spray will really make your highlight pop!
  5. After finishing your entire face, use the setting spray again. It will really make your makeup last (true, I got my makeup done at 10 am and it lasted until midnight!).

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After Kham finished my makeup, I hopped into Ande’s chair so he could start working his magic on my hair. While we talked, he explained how he had a change in occupation after going to his barbershop and complaining about his office job. One and a half years later, Ande is a hair stylist and salon director at Meraki Salon in St. Paul. For my hair, June had envisioned space buns that resembled Sailor Moon. With my hair just barely reaching my shoulders, I thought it was impossible. Little did I know, Ande was able to pull it off after tying my hair into little pig tails, a little bit of teasing, and a lot of bobby pins. With the hair that couldn’t reach the top of my head, Ande tightly curled it and told me to brush it out before the show started. I was super impressed that he was able to pull off the space buns and I loved the way my pink tips looked in the chignons! If you would like to check Ande out, I’ll leave his Facebook link here.



Finally, when it was time for fashion show to begin, all of the models lined up backstage. June’s line was the first to walk, with Hannah opening up the show and me walking right behind her. The lights dimmed, the music started, and Hannah began to walk. My heart was beating out of my chest. I got the usual butterflies that I get every time I walk a show. I’ll have to admit, regardless of practicing my walk numerous times, I still wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to pose. Before walking on stage, some of my fellow models suggested that I pose like the iconic Marilyn Monroe photo of her in a bellowing white dress. Considering the fact that Tet Show is supposed to be family friendly, I decided to do the pose in a more subtle way. Just like you’ve practiced backstage, Hamy. I took a breath, stopped, pivoted, and this was the end result:


The crowd went wild. I could hear my friends screaming my name at the top of their lungs. My heart continued to race. Every step felt like it was set in slow motion, but in reality my walk took a total of 15 seconds max. And that was it. My second time walking in Tet Show’s fashion show. I’m so glad that I stuck with it and didn’t give up. Because of Tet Show, I’ve made new friends, gained new knowledge, and most importantly, discovered more about myself. I get really nostalgic thinking about Tet Show and how it’s over now, but at least the photos will last a lifetime.


My friend, Zandra, made a really cool video of the entire experience, you can check it out here! Thank you for reading this extremely long post!



PHOTO CREDITS: A big thanks to my friend, Phuong Tran, for capturing such great photos of me backstage and on the runway!


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