When you’ve seen and worked with as many models as Joey Espino has in all his years as founder of the biannual Philippine Fashion Week, head of the fashion and lifestyle events company Runway Productions, and chief mentor of his Masters School for Models, this much he knows for sure: “Models are created.”
Espino, who remains ageless and easily stands out with his natty barber’s cut and black, nerdy framed glasses, adds: “Yes, maybe some are ‘born’ models, but if you ask me, no matter how beautiful you are, you still need to undergo some training.”
For Espino—who mentored the likes of Ford Supermodel of the World 2005 second runner-up Charo Ronquillo, 2009 first runner-up Chat Almarvez and 2010 grand winner Danica Magpantay—training happens the whole year round at his Masters School for Models on the corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues. Up to 15 students are accommodated in 10 progressive, eight-session courses: Personality Development (ideal for people looking to improve themselves), Basic Modeling, Secondary Course to Modeling, Proficiency Courses, Photographic Modeling, Commercial Modeling, Runway Modeling, Portfolio Making, Male Modeling and International Modeling.
Skilled mentors trained by Espino oversee the first two courses; the rest are taught by experts in different fields. There is also a Master’s Class for more advanced students who need Espino’s expert evaluation and sage advice regarding their modeling careers.
Typically, students who sign up for the Personality Development course move on to the Basic and Secondary Modeling modules. The school also attracts provincial enrollees from
Apayao, Abra, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, Oriental Mindoro, Pangasinan, Zambales, Batangas, Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga looking for reputable mentors to hone their skills and update them on the latest modeling trends.
“People who have taken our courses say we’re different from other schools in that we’re more practical in approach and very hands-on,” notes Espino.
Still, lectures and learning how to walk and strike a pose aren’t the only things taught in the four-hour-long classes. “Everybody thinks this business is all about the way you look,” observes Espino. “Little do they know that half of what we teach involves what you think and believe about yourself. You don’t only become a model to look good, but to look good and feel good.”
He’s referring to self-esteem, discipline, perseverance and other qualities that can take you much farther than a pretty face can, qualities that will see you through the dark, challenging moments of insecurity, competitiveness among peers, and every model’s greatest fear—rejection.
Espino chuckles knowingly when young, starry-eyed models come up to him to air their frustrations about the industry. “Well,” quips the mentor, “that’s the curse of what you asked for. Getting into the modeling industry is one thing,” he reminds, almost as a warning, “sustaining your career is another.”
Is it any wonder then that the secrets to being a good model are the very same principles of a well-lived life? “Wake up early. Put God first in your life. Take good care of yourself by exercising. Be more organized. Show up on time. Know the ‘pains’ of getting into this industry. Once you do well in the business, never let success get to your head. And focus on what really matters: God and family,” he says.
“Look,” he points out with a smile, “everything I said is so far from modeling.”
As such, the Masters School for Models isn’t just for aspiring models per se. “We’d like to reach out to people who want to improve themselves and help cope with modern times. That is why we are also offering a Personality Development Course,” says Espino. Indeed, parents who enroll their awkward preteen kids for the summer are stunned and grateful for the confidence their children radiate after the sessions. Meanwhile, the “oldest” student was a 38-year-old lady based in the Middle East who was open to change. These are the students who appeal to Espino. “You have a greater purpose with them,” he avers. “The one who needs help badly is the one who appreciates it the most.”
For all his hours of personalized and tireless mentoring, Espino refuses to take credit for any transformations. “When you’re improving the lives of people, you’re doing this for the One Up There,” he says, pointing skyward.
And as proof that no one is too young or too old to learn something new, Espino (who considers his older brother Audie his original mentor) periodically undergoes training himself. He has completed certificate courses in fashion events, public relations, image consulting, fashion styling and other related subjects offered in New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. “So I’m still studying, always trying to update myself,” he says. “I like evolving.”
For more information, call tel. nos. 4038607 or 4003344 to schedule an appointment. E-mail [email protected] Visit the official website http://mastersschoolformodels.com for online enlistment.