We had the honor of interviewing Dea Mills, who is catalyst for her advancement in all genres of fashion within Second Life. Her most recent advancement includes the birth of Sashay: The Art of Fashion which proudly demonstrates her incredible ability as an artist. Dea’s showcase of art is inspired by real life fashion shoots and photos for which she owns rights to.
Dea Mills is a former model and founder and former CEO of top elite modeling group, Modavia of which Dea has agreed to be interviewed in such a capacity.
We sincerely thank Dea Mills for her time, generosity, sincerity and kindness in allowing us to interview her. Dea was so thoughtful she passed each of us 3 Sashay gift vouchers each, although we feel we are the honored parties by learning more about this remarkable person.
Here is what she had to say!
FROM DEA: While I am the founder and former CEO of Modavia, I am no longer associated with Modavia in a business sense, but I do still cherish my friends at Modavia and Modavia’s CEO, Ms. Poptart Lilliehook. I am now the founder and owner of Sashay, a gallery specializing in original fashion artwork.
Q: There are contests within the SL modelling industry which are gender specific, namely Miss Virtual World, Mr Virtual World, House of Beningborough amongst others.
What are your perceptions on gender specific contests within the modelling industry?
I think that female-only pageants and contests are fine.
I also think that male-only pageants and contests are fine.
In regard to male-only pageants and contests, and aside from men competing on physical looks and appeal alone, I have two reasons why I support male-only competitions.
First, because fashion and fashion modeling are industries dominated by females, males seldom have the same level of input, status or exposure in fashion. For that reason, I think it’s wonderful for men to have a pageant or contest of their own.
Second, I know I risk being disliked by making the following statement, but I don’t like the majority of men’s fashion. In fact, I find it boring. Men are a far less complicated shape than women Thus, the simple v or square shape and more severe angles of a man tend to render less dramatic garments. Of course, few men would actually wear dramatic clothing. That said, I think that the designers of men’s clothing who create a balance between interesting, compelling design and functional clothing men will actually wear, are rare designers. If a men’s pageant, contest or fashion show champions those designers, presented by talented models, than I think it is even more important that men have a separate, thus more focused, means of exposure to the industry and public; simply said, the world needs to see gorgeous men in truly stunning attire!
Is it important that a model carry the same gender in SL as they do in RL?
Does this affect the industry in general?
A: I think to answer those questions, we have to differentiate between two things: 1) the personal belief or prejudice of individuals, and 2) the actual performance ability of individuals in the fashion industry, including fashion modeling.
In regard to personal belief and/or prejudice, just because somebody hates the idea that some RL girl does SL as a male model, it doesn’t really have anything to do with that RL girl’s ability on the catwalk as a male.
In regard to performance and ability, I tend to think that a person of any sex, can perform in modeling as the other sex, as long as they have the appropriate sense of style. In other words, if a boy decides he wants to model as a girl, but has zero sensibility when it comes to female fashion and style, then they should consider being a male model. Otherwise, you’ll have on the catwalk, a fabulous Fall release evening gown accessorized for Spring with hair and makeup better suited for brunch with the ladies social!
I think the same is true for fashion design. In RL, many top female brands are designed by males. If it were not possible for a male to understand female fashion, than how would you explain the success and prestige of somebody like Karl Lagerfeld who has been an icon and at the forefront of fashion for decades, as not only a highly revered designer and photographer in general, but the Creative Director for Chanel and Fendi, as well as lead designer for his own label?
I know designers and models in SL that are the opposite sex in RL. If I were having a romantic relationship in SL with one of those guys and it came time to meet in RL and I then learned they were actually a girl, I’m sure I’d have some issues with that. If I need great fashion or somebody to model it in SL, I don’t care if they’re a actually a gorilla, as long as they can do the job!
Q: What attributes must a model possess in order to gain admission into your agency?
Is a potential candidate for your agency required to undertake training specifically with your model academy?
There is a general perception amongst models that some agencies only hire those who have established a reputable name for themselves, whether it be with a top-tier agency or otherwise. Is this important to you? Model training aside, are you willing to take a chance on a model who is new to the industry?
A: As I said previously, I no longer head Modavia. I’ll answer the question now as I would have before if you had asked it when I was Modavia’s CEO. I originally built Modavia’s model system on three levels. Level one was the Modavia Prospective Model’s; anybody could join that group and submit a portfolio. The next group was the Modavia Model’s group. Only models from the prospective models group could advance to the model’s group, and they were advanced by a panel of judges who reviewed the model’s appearance, ability, and personality. Finally, the last level was the Modavia Supermodels. This was never meant to be a large group. These models were typically advanced from the model’s group only after providing even greater appearance, ability, personality, and experience. It was possible for a model to move straight to the supermodel rank, but that model would have to be clearly deserving, and that was rare. The recommendation to move a model to Modavia Supermodel rank would come from a panel of judges. I would make the final decision.
I never did and still don’t care how a model knows what they know, whether through an academy of training or some other way; I care about the final result. Do they have the look, the ability, the personality, the work ethic, and the confidence. I never imposed any official Modavia training on any model.
While I do understand that as an agency, you have to make money, and you can’t do that with unreliable models who are inexperienced, I also think it is important to have a development system something like I did with Modavia.
In RL, top agencies have some kind of new model grooming system typically called, “development.” This is good for the new models, because it gives them a chance. It’s good for the agency, because it gives them fresh talent they can groom their way and with whom they can earn more and hopefully for a longer period, before the model decides to jump to another agent. It’s also good, because it keeps senior models on their toes.
Legitimate RL agencies view their models as assets, thus they take care of and develop them. In SL, not too many agency heads take that position. I think it’s because it’s so easy to put up a so-called agency, and have access to a zillion hungry, would-be models, and then simply logoff when things get tough. They want easy success. I don’t believe in that concept.
I think I proved ( and took a great deal of criticism for it ) that I was willing to take a chance on models who were new to the industry. If they had a great sense of style (which really can’t be taught and caught to the level it is necessary) had the personality and demonstrated work ethic, I was willing to give them the chance to learn abilities and gain confidence. In fact, there is nothing in fashion modeling I love more than to discover new talent and help them become the next “it” girl or guy…all the way to international supermodel!