Catwalk Modelling: Eleen Yong’s Incredible Journey

The glamour and the fame of modelling come with equally as much determination and effort. Catwalk modelling or runway modelling has been, and still is, what most people assume the face of the modelling industry as a whole is. Although models across the board project confidence, a major part of the process includes expecting rejection as well. Models should understand that rejection is part and parcel of their career and shouldn’t take it personally. Usually it’s up to the preferences of the designers. Most people would assume modelling to be all looks and no personality. But in contrast, catwalk modelling isn’t just all about fashion or the brand, it has more to do with the models’ body language and charisma! In this feature, we’ll be uncovering what it takes for models to own the catwalk.

Catwalk models have very precise measurements to ensure they fit the standard measurements of the designer's clothes.
The catwalk has always epitomised the life of fashion and glamour. As much as it seems appealing, most people misjudge that models only need to tick off the vital statistics’ boxes in order to qualify for this profession.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The Catwalk As A Stage

In the previous article, we debunked several myths about the modelling industry. High among those myths is the unspoken rule that models have to be tall. While this may still be true with other types of modelling, it certainly isn’t in catwalk modelling. As much as it sounds discouraging, and almost discriminatory, the reasons behind it may hopefully, be of assurance. It is not to be mistaken that catwalk modelling is all about displaying high fashion apparel, it is much more than what’s on the surface.

Designers would use fitting models whom by the industry’s standard, have ‘perfect’ proportions (i.e. tall and slim). Hence why catwalk models in specific, need to have such precise proportions. Although it is as such, these dimensions may vary across designers and who they’re looking for to represent their brands. What this essentially means, if the designer is looking for someone to represent long evening gowns, they would look out for models that have the height.

The catwalk or runway, is essentially a stage. Walking down the catwalk during a fashion show is a performance in itself. As much as it seems like it’s just about sashaying down the catwalk, body language plays just an important role. Catwalk models should be capable of knowing how to own the stage with their body language and charisma while presenting the clothes. The duration of a fashion show usually lasts between five to twenty minutes. The choreographer would then have to ensure that models appear on stage in time along with the music. Hence, catwalk coaches are there to assist models in developing a positive stage presence.

Eleen Yong, who has been a catwalk model for ten years, first started going international in Milan.
Malaysian born and bred Eleen Yong walking down the catwalk at Altaroma Fashion Week in Rome, Italy.
Image by: Eleen Yong

The Catwalk Chapter Of The Glamour Industry

Malaysian born and bred, catwalk model Eleen Yong has been modelling for the past ten years. Throughout her career, she has been offered opportunities to choreograph fashion shows, and also to coach catwalk. At the start of her career, Eleen participated in numerous beauty pageants and modelling competitions. In turn, allowed her to expand her network in the industry. From there, she also scored gigs in editorial modelling and commercial modelling for showcase events. Back in the day when social media didn’t exist, reaching out to international modelling agencies had to be done in person. As such, Eleen took the initiative to advance her career by flying all the way to Milan to reach out to those agencies. Back then, Asian looks weren’t as much sought after in the Western market.

Hard Work Over Talent

Having worked with both local and international brands, Eleen has come a long way from just being a catwalk model. She is currently based in both Malaysia and Singapore. With the will to inspire and a purposeful heart, she decided to impart her knowledge of catwalk, and started up her very own company: Eleen Y Management. She highlights the main takeaway from catwalk coaching is for models to gain the ability of having a positive stage presence. Just like any other performance, anything can and will go wrong. Hence why having the ability to stay calm under unpredictable circumstances is crucial. Recently, Miss Africa Golden extended an invitation to Eleen to share her skills with 90 young Nigerian girls via WhatsApp live!

With her precise measurements as a catwalk model, Eleen was also requested to be a fitting model for fashion shows.
Gifted with the dream measurements of a catwalk model (90-60-90: hip-waist-bust) along with her height of 179cm, Eleen became well sought after in commercial modelling as well. This photoshoot was taken for Glam Magazine, featuring brands such as Mulberry, Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Image by: Eleen Yong

The Joy In Giving Back

Eleen’s personality shines through the work she does at Eleen Y Management. Here, Eleen also aims to inspire and encourage young models to achieve their dreams. She strongly believes in motivating and inspiring other models to also go on inspiring others. As a highly experienced model, Eleen probes aspiring models to ask what their purpose is in choosing a modelling career. When one becomes a model, they also become their own business entity which means financial planning is very much needed. Eleen goes on to remind aspiring models not to be choosy with gigs in the beginning of their career as every experience contributes to a bigger picture. She also reminds everyone that a modelling career requires a lot of investment. Not just your time and energy, but a lot of capital goes into making your career a success.

This photoshoot was only used as her profile usage.
Although Eleen’s forte is doing fashion shows, this is one of the numerous collection of profile photos she has.
Image by: Eleen Yong

“Big things are often just small things that are noticed.”

Markus Zusak, I am the messenger
Eleen ventured into catwalk coaching as she felt a strong sense of satisfaction in being able to help young aspiring models achieve their dreams and winning beauty pageants.
Eleen has been approached by many to conduct catwalk classes. Among those are Amber Chia Academy and Singapore’s modelling agency Basic.
Image by: Eleen Yong

As mentioned, catwalk is all about the body language and charisma. What that essentially means is catwalk is very much like acting. Models should master the ability to convey a specific message or mood according to the theme of the fashion show. It’s all about how well you are able to present yourself to a high profile crowd. As much as we think that catwalk classes are only meant for models, you’ll be surprised that it isn’t. Not only does Eleen coach youths or adults, she also coaches kids on how to carry themselves confidently.

Go Big Or Go Home

Eleen shares that winning beauty pageants and modelling competitions aren’t what defines how good you are. It’s your personality, charisma and how you choose to present yourself, that keeps you as the crème de la crème. Eleen started coaching to support and watch aspiring models step up to make their dreams come true.

Eleen’s Facebook, Instagram or even her personal blog can provide you additional information about her. Alternatively Eleen Y Management also provides other services such as matching your portfolio to talent agencies. If you’re looking for someone with the expertise in choreographing fashion shows and its production, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

In the next chapter, we shall dive into the often seen but seldom heard mysterious world of glamour modelling. Stay tuned to discover how glamour modelling is the polar opposite of catwalk modelling!

About Kimberly WONG

Communications major, with a passion for reading, Kimberly (Kim for short) has a knack for learning new languages. Having worked in various industries helped her to further polish her linguistics skills too. Loves a healthy discussion about anything under the sun.

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