Posts Tagged ‘ phoenix fashion week model of the year ’

Top 40 Model Maureen Montagne Named Miss Arizona USA 2015

Maureen Riz (2)

Phoenix Fashion Week’s annual Model of the Year competition has quickly become a spring board for top valley models to further their careers and receive the opportunity to sign with a top modeling agency in town, The Agency Arizona.

2012 and 2013 Top 40 Model Maureen Montagne was crowned Miss Arizona USA 2015 and recently teamed up with 2013 Designer of the Year winner Dolcessa Swimwear for an insanely hot swim suit shoot.



Photography by Justin Grant Photography – Hair by Andy Biggs – Makeup By Heather Wilson

Be sure to follow Maureen’s journey as Miss Arizona USA 2015 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

Model of the Year Alexis Hamilton Struts into the Business….of Runway


Whether with the Emerging Designer Bootcamp or Model of the Year competition, Phoenix Fashion Week strives to show local professionals how to take their brands and business to the next level. 2011 Model of the Year Alexis Hamilton is doing just this, taking the leap from the runway to running her own business as Arizona’s Premier Runway Coach for Strut Runway. “It’s exciting that just a few years ago, she was an emerging model, then named PHXFW Model of the Year. We support local talent and we push the importance of business so much that Alexis was inspired to launch her own business in what she does best, modeling,” said PHXFW Executive Direcrtor

We had the chance to catch up with Alexis after her impressive official launch party at the W Scottsdale: 

How have things changed for you and your life since winning Model of the Year in 2011? “Things have been great since winning PHXFW. I’ve done a catalog spread for a jewelry company, and I am featured on the happy hour menu for national restaurant, Bar Louie. They also used my ad in a BILLBOARD in my hometown of Washington, DC! I’ve also done countless local fashion shows.”

How have you taken the runway training from PHXFW’s Model of the Year competition to implement into your career now as a signed Agency AZ Model and for Strut Runway? “I’ve used a lot that I’ve learned from PHXFW for my current runway style as well as Strut Runway. I remember always looking forward to going to practice for PHXFW; they were always so fun. I want my coaching with Strut Runway to exude that same energy. I want people to LOVE coming to coaching sessions. I feel when you are doing something you LOVE, other people can’t help but be excited about it as well.”

What inspired/motivated you to start your own business as “Arizona’s Premier Runway Coach’ for Strut Runway? “People have ALWAYS told me I had a ‘killer walk’. Even when I was getting coached myself when I was in high school, I remember all the coaches gathering around to see my walk and getting excited. As of late, when I was voted ‘Best Model 2014’ for the Phoenix New Times, they compared my walk to Naomi Campbell! I felt honored! I knew at that point I needed to share my gift.”

What emotions have you experienced since starting this new business? “Starting this new business has been an emotional roller coaster. Some days it seems like all things are moving forward, and other days it seems I’ve taken two steps backward. However, I’ve learned that everything happens when they are supposed to happen. With patience and perseverance, you’ll always end up getting what’s right for the betterment of the company.”


What advice can you give to models who are looking to follow in your footsteps and make an impact on the industry as a model? “My advice to other models would be to never let anyone tell you no. Although you may hear the word often, don’t let that deter you from persuing your goals. It’s redundant but VERY true… And also… Don’t forget to STRUT!”

How would you describe your overall style of runway walk? “My overall style of runway walk is controlled, but FIERCE!”

What’s next on your plate, you seem to always be keeping yourself busy? “I try to master one thing at a time. I’m not the type to juggle a lot of things and hope that one of them produces positive results. I focus my energy on being the best I can be at what I’m doing and mastering that goal, then I move on to the next project. Right now, my focus is on Strut Runway as Arizona’s Premier Runway Coach. I would like my company to expand to different cities, states, and hopefully countries!”

Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”

Meet Phoenix Fashion Week ‘Model of the Year’, Alexis Hamilton

Whether you attended one or all of the runway shows during fashion week this year, you would have seen a variety of talented local and global designers. However, the models wearing these designer garments on the runway are just important as the clothes themselves , as this is the best selling point to the consumer. A model who not only wears a garment, but can sell it to an audience and help them see themselves in it, will stand out from other crowd beauties any day. This year’s ‘Model of the Year’, Alexis Hamilton, no doubt fits this description. Since winning the title of Phoenix Fashion Week’s ‘Model of the Year’ and receiving a prize package, including a signed contract with The Agency Arizona, Hamilton has walked for many local luxury brand fashion shows, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

I had the opportunity to catch up with this runway queen via phone to talk about how life has changed since fashion week and her personal tips for selling it on the runway!

Q: What is your background in modeling?

A: “I started modeling in high school for local shows and then in college. I ended up taking a year off to pursue modeling and ended up in Ebony and JET Magazine. I went to 180 cities in 9 months with a traveling fashion show. I thought, ‘Hey, let’s go to New York!’.  I got signed to an agency there, but it was too fast paced. I moved to Atlanta and then to Phoenix, where I got a job as an underwriter at a mortgage company. I started modeling again to meet new people and found out about the Phoenix Fashion Week Model Search through a friend.”

Q: What was your journey like leading up to fashion week?

A: “At first, honestly, it was hectic because we had a lot of photo shoots and video shoots for emerging designers and model practices. I was really committed though and only missed one out of all of them.  I had decided in my head to get signed and wanted extra cash, so I was hoping there would be an agency at the shows.  This was my ultimate goal, so I tried to make myself available as much as I could.”

Q: Congrats on winning the runway challenge….which was your favorite challenge and why?

A: “Runway has always been my passion, and I also liked the headshot challenge. Ebony was mostly runway work, so I never thought about my angles for photos, which sounds weird, but I was more focused on runway. I used to be self conscious in front of the camera, but this challenge taught me to not only be comfortable with shooting with many photographers, but with headshots and print time.”

Q: What was it like winning the title of ‘Model of the Year’ and being signed to an agency?

A: “I was actually signed on Thursday night. The people assisting backstage were from The Agency Arizona, which I had no idea about, but I just did what I would normally do for the first and second shows. Right after the established designer show, it was like a secret announcement, and they gave me a card and then Margaret came and she said ‘We want you.’ It was such an incredible moment and I told her, ‘I want you to want me.’ I couldn’t cry because I had another show to do and didn’t want to ruin my makeup.”

Q: How has your life changed after fashion week?

A: “I am busy every weekend…I’ve only had one weekend since PHXFW that I haven’t had a booking. My agency wanted to figure out how to market and present me, so they shot me with long wavy hair for my headshots. I loved the pictures, and it was a great experience. I shot with Matt Priestley, an established photographer that has also shot Kelly Mittendorf, and the test shots should be on the website soon. I have booked shows at Nordstrom, Macys, Neiman Marcus, and I have a Saks Fifth Avenue show coming up this week.”

Q: How do you think other emerging models can benefit from PHXFW?

A: “I know I personally benefited from this experience. Phoenix Fashion Week’s Style Team is amazing and so were the models this year! I saw how much hard work they put into it, and I developed some great friendships. It also was a great networking opportunity, to meet photographers and build a portfolio, working with the emerging designers, etc.”

Q: Can you offer any advice to aspiring models hoping to make it in the industry too?

A: “First things first, always get your walk down. There are many pretty and skinny people in this world, but there’s more to modeling than being pretty. You have to be able to sell the garment and make people say, ‘Oh I want to buy that.’ You need to be comfortable in front of camera …people see it and gravitate towards your confidence, so you want it to look natural. Don’t take pictures to look pretty and get your hair and makeup done. Your ultimate goal with pictures should be to sell the item.”

Q: Any additional comments?

A: “Always stay humble…like they say, one minute you’re in, the next minute you’re out. Anything can be taken way, so always live for the moment.”

Thanks Alexis!

*We love feedback!  Post a comment or question on this blog post for a chance to win a PHXFW T-shirt! 

Article by Lauren Pfingstag for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”