Ever wanted to model but didn't think you had it in you? That's what Raquel Barillo thought, up until she was standing with two other finalists at the David Jones #walkwithdjs competition, as part of The Fashion Project which provides young people with the opportunity to break into the fashion industry. Scroll down to watch a video of the winners make their catwalk debut for David Jones.
The #walkwithdjs competition sent the call out to anyone who ever dreamed of becoming a model, inviting them to upload a photo or video of their walk over Instagram. Other programs in The Fashion Project include a chance to work as a fashion blogger for David Jones' DJSTYLE, and an opportunity to attend a masterclass and learn from different speakers from the fashion industry.
There were 600+ applicants who entered #walkwithdjs and the top 100 girls, and boys, were selected to attend the model casting held at Bourke St Mall. Eager applicants for #walkwithdjs began arriving an hour earlier than the 11.45am call time, keen to be the next Isabelle Szyman who won the inaugural competition held last year and is now signed with Scene Model Management. "It's my absolute dream to model for David Jones!" said one local Melbourne girl. "I've never had the courage to go to an agency and I just took a chance and entered a photo for this competition on Instagram."
The models walked in groups of three and judging the aspiring models were fashion industry veterans, David Jones Group Executive Donna Player, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) CEO Graeme Lewsey, the Herald Sun's Fashion Columnist Anna Byrne and Director of IMG Models Danielle Ragenard.
Years of experience working with fashion models meant the judges knew exactly what they were looking for. There were many strong applicants and in an unexpected turn of events, the judges ended up choosing two winners; Raquel Barillo, a 19-year old university student from Shepparton, and Chris Nayna, a 24-year old registered nurse from Vermont South.
Both winners had no previous experience with modelling but clearly had what it took to be a David Jones model. "Raquel is an absolute find," judge Graeme Lewsey from VAMFF said. "And Chris just has that strong and healthy look we were looking for," Donna adds.
Watch Raquel and Chris's journey from hopeful models to catwalk stars, walking for David Jones at VAMFF alongside ambassadors Jessica Gomes and Montana Cox.
Find out more about The Fashion Project.