This October, Jamestown native Bianca Mead, 16, will compete for the title of the 2013 No. 7 Cosmetics Phoenix Fashion Week Model of the Year.
According to Mead, who moved to Arizona, the Phoenix Fashion Week is similar in nature to "America's Next Top Model," but mixed with a runway fashion show style event.
"Every year they do a model search that is usually held the last week of June," said Mead, who spent the past two weeks visiting family in Jamestown. "After the model search is over, the Phoenix Fashion Week staff gets together and talks about who they think will best promote the event and the designers participating. Out of all of the applicants, they pick 40 people, 30 females and 10 males, to be a part of the team for that year. They let you know the night of, and I got the call on June 22 to let me know I was chosen for the top 40."
Bianca Mead, 16, will compete for the title of the 2013 No. 7 Cosmetics Phoenix Fashion Week Model of the Year. Mead began her performing career in Jamestown.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
After being selected Mead was given the opportunity to participate in a model makeover, which was a big deal for her this year because she cut her hair.
"My hair was long, but after the makeover it was short," said Mead. "I liked the makeover, because I had wanted something different and my hair had always been long. When they said they wanted to go short it startled me, though, because I've never had short hair. It's shoulder-length now."
Also held during the makeover event was the first of four challenges which Mead has to overcome. The first was a headshot challenge, which was working with photographers to decide upon her best headshot to be used throughout the competition.
The second challenge includes a walk down the runway during a fashion show, which featured a sneak peak at the collections of the 12 emerging designers. The third challenge is a print campaign in which the models will participate in the creation of a print ad for No. 7 Cosmetics. The fourth challenge is a social media vote, which features the headshots of each model in an album at facebook.com/phxfashionweek. Facebook members are able to visit the album and like photos to give votes. The social media challenge will be held Oct. 1-5, which is during the week of the Phoenix Fashion Week show.
During Phoenix Fashion Week, which will be held at The Talking Stick resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., the top 40 models will compete for the title of No. 7 Model of the Year. Two winners will be chosen, a male and a female, and they will receive a signed modeling contract with The Agency Arizona.
Mead also participated in last year's competition, which only had one winner overall, but, she believes she has a better chance at winning this year since she'll only be competing against 29 other females. And, even if she doesn't win, there is still a chance that The Agency Arizona could sign her, because they don't only sign the winners, she said.
"Last year, The Agency Arizona did show interest in me toward the end," said Mead. "But, I was signed with a different agency at the time. Right now I'm signed with Wilhelmina Models in California and with FORD/Robert Black in Arizona."
BORN AND RAISED
Mead currently lives in Phoenix, Ariz., with her mother, Melissa Carter-Mead. Mead's father, John Mead, also currently lives in Phoenix.
"My mom and I decided to move out there because I had wanted to start modeling to try something different than theater," said Mead. "It was something that worked for my family at the time, and looking ahead it was more practical for me to get bigger in dancing or in my career so-to-speak. Dance, theater, acting and production has always been a part of my family, and has always been something that I love - to this day I could see myself doing it long-term. I've had the greatest support system that anybody could really ask for."
Mead, who was born and raised in Jamestown, had her entertainment industry debut with the Guilders and Junior Guilders program when she was 6 years old. One of her earliest roles was as a dish during the "Be Our Guest" song in the production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" at the Lucille Ball Little Theater. But, her first ever role was in "The King And I" when she was about 4.
"I learned a lot under the direction of Helen (Merrill), which is what got me onto the acting path," said Mead. "'Beauty and the Beast' had to be my favorite because I had the most fun with it, and it was cool to be involved with a show I had already heard about."
Before entering Guilders, Mead danced at Linda's Studio of Dance, under the direction of Linda Nelson. She continued dancing at the studio until she left the area when she was about 9. She was attending Lincoln Elementary School as a fourth grader before she left for Phoenix.
"I did tap and jazz," said Mead. "At the end of the year we'd get our costumes to have our recital, and it was always really fun. I love dancing, and I still do it to this day. I'm currently dancing with my school because they have a really nice dance program at Barry Goldwater High in Phoenix, which I'll graduate from in 2015."
Mead is the granddaughter of Connie and Philip E. Mead Jr., as well as Hayes and Diane Carter.
"My grandmother, Connie Mead, visited Arizona and saw me on the runway for the first time," said Mead. "It was so great to see her reaction because coming from a small town there isn't a lot of stuff like that. Her reaction to me being able to do what I love to do was so cool because she seemed so happy for me - that gave me a big push. It made me realize that everybody is always going to be there for me."
Gioconda Calamunci, Mead's aunt who lives in Jamestown and works at Johnny's Lunch, said she hopes that if Mead continues doing what she's doing she'll catch the break she needs to pursue her dreams.
"It's been amazing to watch her develop from the little girl born here in Jamestown to now," said Calamunci. "She's just a sweet, beautiful, very intelligent young lady."
PHOENIX FASHION WEEK
Phoenix Fashion Week's mission is to bridge talented, established and emerging fashion designers to buyers from around the globe.
The organization utilizes educational fashion seminars, year-round fashion events and charitable partnerships to garner global exposure for Arizona's fashion industry.
For the past eight years, the organization has held the four-day Phoenix Fashion Week industry event in Arizona. This year's event will feature holiday 2013 and spring 2014 collections with 28 designer runway shows, trunk sales, statewide retail events, workshops and after parties. The show will also include 15 established designers, 12 emerging and more than 10 accessory designers, who will present pret-a-porter, evening, resort collections, luxury sportswear, celebrity designer, high-fashion swimwear and accessories.
According to its official website, phoenixfashionweek.com, the organization anticipates more than 6,000 attendees.
"Through Phoenix Fashion Week alone the exposure you get is uncanny at times," said Mead. "It's gotten me so much further in my career, and to be able to do it again this year is an amazing opportunity."