model summer camp, where fashion's future stars learn to walk

During trips to the beach and late-night ice cream sessions, 16 of fashion's freshest recruits get an early education in giving good face.

Alice Newell-Hanson

Alice Newell-Hanson

photography katie mccurdy

Two weekends ago, in rural Connecticut, 16 girls spent a weekend at summer camp. They went on trips, made friends, learned new things and ate ice cream. It was just like any other summer camp. Except that the campers were all 5'7" and over. And instead of learning how to sail or do macrame or talk to boys, they learned how to present themselves at castings and work with photographers and stylists during shoots.

"It's really about confidence," says Rhiyen Sharpe, the head of the new faces division at New York Model Management, who runs the agency's Model Camp. The event, now in its second year, takes place at the family home of scouting director Erin Scimeca. And it's completely free for the campers. The girls are the agency's newest recruits, found by Scimeca around the country, in malls, on streets and through local agencies. Because some of the girls are too young to work professionally, Model Camp was envisaged as a way for the agency to get to know them and their families in a safe environment. The girls' parents could follow the weekend on Instagram, #nymmodelcamp.

Sharpe says Model Camp is also about getting the girls prepared for the industry: "We teach them everything. There's a runway class, we talk to them about healthy eating, there are seminars on the reality of modeling, and it's a time for them to ask questions." Model Sarah Stewart even dropped by to talk to the girls about her own experiences on the catwalk.

Two weeks on, the campers are already posting #tbt group selfies on social media - like any teen girl would. Though they seem to be negotiating their summer vacation with fewer orthodontics and awkward haircuts than most.


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Katie McCurdy