The Future of MW – It’s Up to YOU

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This February will mark the completion of three years of Model’s Workshop.  During that time, it has served as a valuable resource to SL models.  I’ve been told many times by various people how MW has provided them with opportunities to learn and gain experience they otherwise would not have had.  This is one of the reasons I keep going with this project.

MW has always been a voluntary endeavor.  No one has ever gotten paid for anything they have contributed to MW.  The buildings we have used have always been graciously donated by supporters.  In the three years, an enormous number of people has made contributions in one form or another.  I can’t list them all here since I would have to go on for pages.  Let me just focus on the major activities of the last year.

2011 was a very active year for MW.  Most weeks there were three events held: the Monday night Chat hosted by Sequoia Nightfire, the Styling Challenge organized by me and shared with a team, and the Thursday workshops mostly organized by Lulu Breuer.  Leena Bianco and Annie Zorric each directed a team of people to put on two fashion shows designed to help people gain experience in their roles.  Sequoia Nightfire managed the MW blog.

By the end of the year, things had slowed down.  Interest in the Monday chats and the Wednesday Styling Challenges seem to have waned.  The Thursday Workshops struggled along with the absence of Lulu due to RL reasons.  This was compounded by the announcement that the sim (NYC Manhattan)  that had hosted us for almost a year and a half was closed in early December.  The final events of 2011 were held on the temporary and sparsely equipped building on my property.

If MW is to continue into 2012, we will have to find a new home.  I have a strong offer to host us that I am very tempted to accept.  Accepting that offer will require me to rebuild the interior of a building yet again, a task that takes a considerable amount of time and effort.  To accept that offer, I would have to feel that it is worthwhile to do so.  I would not want to allow someone to host us only to have a largely unused building.  That would not be fair to our host.  Let me explain more.

Although I remain committed to the concept of MW and am willing to remain its CEO and provide significant leadership, I don’t want to be the one responsible for organizing and running events.   I’ve been there and done that.

Frankly, there are too many other things I want to do in both RL and SL to have MW consume a significant portion of my time.  Just doing the CEO work and supporting what others may want to do takes up plenty of time.

As I’m sure you understand, being responsible for hosting a weekly event is a big responsibility.  Most of the work of organizing weekly events in the last year fell on three people: Lulu, Sequioa, and me.  We were all pretty tired by the end of the year.

The weekly Thursday workshops were especially challenging.  Coming up with speakers for, or personally organizing,  a workshop every week is difficult and takes commitment.  Lulu and I both asked for volunteers to help with that on several occasions.  Help never seemed to materialize or work out.

Perhaps MW’s activities need to be re-evaluated.  Just as important, I think we need to look at how MW can get more people involved in actually DOING something.  I’ve said repeatedly that learning is an active process best accomplished by struggling to DO something that pushes your limits.

Future MW events will continue to be organized as they have been for the last year and a half.  Briefly, major projects are organized into committees of people working on those project.  The committees are headed by a Committee Chair who leads a staff who together work on the project.  The project could be ongoing or time limited.  The committee could consist of one or many people.  This structure, originally proposed by Viola Rookswood, has served us well and can accommodate a variety of activities.

Here are some possible projects:

1) Regular (perhaps weekly) workshops.
This has been the staple of MW since it’s first year. Most often, guest speakers have been recruited.  Less often, MW staff have led the workshops. In my mind this requires a committee of people who together are responsible for conducting this event on a regular basis.  Well connected staff can help recruit speakers.  Staff with different areas of expertise can share the burden of leading workshops.  But, having this fall on one or just a few people will burn them out.  The committee itself would have to be constantly replenished as its members come and go.  Although most people express their appreciation for these workshops and say they want them to continue and may even suggest topics, only a handful of people have ever stepped forward to actually make them work on a regular basis.

2) Less formal gatherings of members who just want to share information and knowledge.
Some of my earliest workshops were organized around the theme of “Let’s all get together and share what we know about topic X”.  Topic X may have been hair one week, skins another, shapes yet a third, etc.  This kind of workshop just takes someone to announce “let’s get together at this specific time and place to talk about X”. It can be a one time event.  It just takes someone who can lead a discussion and get people to contribute.  I can’t tell you how many such workshops I’ve led where many people in the group knew far more than me about the topic being discussed.

3) Shows.
MW has put on 4 fashion shows in its three years.  Each drew an enthusiastic staff committed to that one time project.  Each was designed to give new models experience as models and to give more experienced models a chance to explore other roles.  Each one of these was phenomenally successful.  Each, by nature, was very focused and time limited.  All this takes is someone willing to take on the role of show director / producer and assemble a staff to work on the project.

4) Similar time-limited projects.
This could be almost anything.  One example is when top model Melanie Sautereau conducted a series of basic modeling skills workshops toward the end of 2010.  This project went on for a couple months.  Another example was the photography workshops led by Shae Sixpence for the better part of 2010.

5) Helping models find jobs.
For a while a couple years ago, another group (not MW) tried to get designers looking for models together with models.  They held castings for the designers.  Models found jobs.  We certainly could do a similar thing.  Think of the experience you could gain and connections you could make if you led such a project.

6) Developing a resource library.
Wouldn’t it be nice for new models to be able to access a library of resources on where to find hair, shoes, poses, jewelry, etc.

7) An expanded blog or flick group.
Sequoia has done an excellent job managing our blog.  We also have a Flickr group with a few members.  These could be expanded in lots of ways.

8) Contests
MW has sponsored various types of contests mostly around styling, some with real prizes donated by sponsors, others for just bragging rights.  Competitive events seem to have a special appeal.  The theme could be almost anything related to fashion or modeling.

9) Expanded workshop times.
Most of MW’s activities have been held at times more conducive to Americans.  From time to time, we have attempted to host activities at times that are more favorable to our European members.  This worked for limited times with small groups of people taking the lead.

These are just a few of the ideas I’ve had and some of the things we have done.  The possibilities are limitless and just require someone who will work to make them happen.  If you have other ideas of things to do, I’d love to hear them.

On Thursday, 1/5/12 at 5 PM I will host an open forum to discuss MW’s future.  I will repeat that forum on Friday, 1/6/12 at noon.  If you would like to contribute to the future of MW, please come to one of those two forums.  If you would like to contribute but can’t make one of those forums, please IM me or send me a note card if I am offline.

I am most interested in ideas for projects that YOU would like to contribute to or, better still, lead.  I am not particularly interested in ideas of things for other people to do unless you can rally others to do them or want to actively participate in doing them yourself.

You may not feel particularly competent at anything or feel you have nothing to offer, but I would challenge that.  You may not feel that you have leadership skills or may be shy in public, but ask yourself what you would like to DO that would foster your growth and that of others.  This could also be things you’ve already done for yourself and would be willing to graciously share with others, perhaps in writing if not in a public group.

The possibilities are limitless.  The future of MW is up to YOU.

Monica Balut


Manhattan Fashion Show at MW

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MW Show Poster v7

Models Workshop presents ” Manhattan Fashion Show”, inspired in the latest casual collections from the great designers of:

Shade Designs
Drakke Designs
Morgane Batista Poses

Date: Saturday, November 19th, 2011
Time: Noon SLT.
Model’s Workshop Runway

Under the splendor of Manhattan, you will see the best street wear in Second Life.

Read a review of the show at Blossoms Sweetwater blog

“Manhattan Fashion Show is a Models Workshop concept”.

Models Workshop is an organization that engenders a loving spirit towards new members of the SecondLife fashion industry — free of charge. Models Workshop holds weekly live meetings with expert guest speakers in all avenues of the fashion industry both SL and RL.

The aim of shows produced by Model’s Workshop is to give members the opportunity to gain experience they would otherwise find difficult to get. The Manhattan Fashion Show is staffed both on and off the runway from people relatively new to their roles in this show.. The only payment people get is the opportunity to gain experience.

We hope you will come and see how empowering new talent will bring out the very best in them for the first time.


Annie Zorric
Monica Balut
MW Chair Comittee Member
MW Founder & Owner
MW Fashion Show Producer

More on the show with pictures from Debbie Jasper

RL Chief Editor of Stuff Magazine comes to MW

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Models Workshop welcomed Mr Kaan Kuhn, RL Chief Editor of the famous RL – magazine STUFF Magazine and it´s Turkish division. Mr Kuhn has a long experience from RL photography and recently he started up a photo business in SL There will also be a discussion about business deals carried out between RL and SL. The seminar was held Tuesday, the 24th of May at noon SLT! For a full transcript of the talk click here Kaan Kuhn “RL & SL Photography and Business”

Advanced Posing with Louise McWinnie Roundel

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May 19, 2011 at 5pm, we were privileged to have a hands on workshop focusing on advanced runway walking/posing/lag fighting lead by one of SL top models: Louise Roundel. Please click on the link to go to the transcript…. Louise Roundel “Advanced Runway Techniques”

1st Scandinavian Meeting April 18th, 2011

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Madeleine Dollinger hosted the first Scandinavian Meeting at Models Workshop on April 18, 2011 12pm slt. In attendance were Fashion designer and photographer, Aleida Rhode, and several models including Wipster Baxter, Laura18 Streeter, Brigid Meriman, Bety Dudek and Enshe. For a full transcript go to
Scandinavian Meet April 18, 2001

MW Offering Opportunities

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I am still looking for models who want to add to their resumes by taking on roles outside of their current comfort zone.

Last night at the Model’s Workshop presentation BlackBarbie Braven presented several options for making additional money outside of modeling. Taking on a role to support the production of our April 30th show could allow you to test the waters and try one of the options presented.

Due to the huge success of our March 5th fashion show, MW would like to offer our next opportunity for you to participate in another fashion show production.

On April 30, 2011 we will have another MW Fashion Show. Leena Bianco has volunteered to take on the role of Director/Producer. We need to now establish a team to support this production.

✓ We have our clothing sponsor
✓ We have our hair sponsor
✓ We have our theme
✓ We have our place for the show

THANKS to all who have volunteered so far. I still have need needs for other volunteers and would love to have your assistance in ANY of the following areas:

1. assistant coach
2. wardrobe coordinator
3. script writer

Remember I am looking for both men and women. This is a hands-on learning experience so each of us will be taking on a new challenge.

Please Please fill out the information below and return the notecard to Leena Bianco.

MW Fashion Show – April 30th 2010 (noon)

Position of Interest:

Please remember this requires a commitment. Thanks so much…..LeenaB

First Styling Challenge

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Wed. 2/1/11 @ 5 PM, Model’s Workshop held it’s first styling challenge which we plan to continue weekly at the same time.

This is a small in-house contest where members take up the challenge to style an outfit according to a pre-announced theme.  Those present critique each other and give helpful suggestion.  At the end, those present, contestants and audience, vote for whom they thought was the best stylist that week.  It’s a great way to practice and improve upon your styling skills and to learn more about fashion styles in general in a supportive environment.

This week, the theme was winter fashion.  Six people came to display their attempt to style something wintry.  We were all impressed at the variety of interpretations that were generated by such a simple theme.

First MW Styling Challenge Contestants

The winner of this week’s challenge was Sabine Mortenwold who is second from right in the above photo.  The prize was bragging rights LOL

Join us next week for our second Challenge which is “Formal with a Twist”.  Put together a formal outfit whose styling makes you different than the usual formal.  Hope you can join us (Wed at 5 PM).