model talk with Olga Tavarez of “Remodeled”

** U P D A T E **

Got to meet Olga last night at the wrap party for REMODELED and she is just as gorgeous in person! See photo below. Tagged along with my sister Melanie who was invited because she’s a contributing fashion writer for The Network Community site. Also had the opportunity to meet THE man himself, Paul Fisher, and his assistant Joseph. Passionate people who are changing the modeling industry one small agency at a time. After the episode ended, Paul’s speech was nothing short of inspiring.


Ever since I jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon a little over a year ago, I quickly got up to speed with who’s who in the modeling industry and now mostly follow model-centric Tumblrs. Some of my favorite models include Daria Pleggenkuhle, Anya Summers, Bregje, Bambi, Shu Pei, Karmen Pedaru and Arizona Muse.

SO you can imagine my excitement when the reality show, REMODELED, first premiered on The CW, and my ensuing, inevitable disappoint about tonight being the season finale. REMODELED follows industry vet Paul Fisher and his team as they visit and make over small agencies to meet the standards of his new venture, The Network. Highly entertaining with Paul’s no holds barred honesty and extremely insightful from a man who has worked with the highest-profile models — Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour and Carol Alt — I’m looking forward to the return of REMODELED in the summer.

Excited to share my interview below with Olga Tavarez, Vice President of The Network, who first started her career as an agent at IMG. Thinking about venturing into the modeling industry as an agent or scout? Then make sure to read all the way through!

olga tavarez of remodeled

SwB:  Who were some models you managed during your time at IMG?

OT: I worked mostly with Men while at IMG — there were a lot of big names on the men’s side in 10 years. Chris Mcmillen was my discovery and the Prada Model for a few seasons. Tyson Ballou was probably the biggest male model in the industry and I represented him, as well as Ryan Kennedy who I personally developed and launched.

Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy (via Fashionising)

 SwB:  How do you think the modeling industry has changed over the last few years?

OT: It’s changed because of the economy mostly, not enough jobs and too many models. The turn around is also faster and faster because the industry constantly demands new faces. It’s gotten tougher and much more competitive.

SwB:  With NYFW just wrapping up, what were your favorite trends on the runway? Fashion-wise and/or beauty-wise.

OT: I loved the metallic and gold fabrics that were used everywhere, and all the deep burgundy colors mixed in –  the low waist on skirts and dresses is one of my personal favorite ways of dressing so I was happy to see it was a big trend for Fall 2012. The bold eyes were another trend and I really enjoyed the playfulness, and bright colors on some, like Prabal Gurung‘s line – reminds me of Ziggy Stardust.

SwB:  Who are your favorite designers?

OT: Philip Lim, Rag and Bone, Diesel Gold, Ellie Sab, Calvin Klein, & Alexander Wang

SwB:  Do you follow any modeling blogs, or even fashion/beauty ones? And if so, which ones are your favorites?

OT: Not really blogs – but my bible is I like the ones to watch too — and the which is a street style blog – are my go-to sites for fashion, models and what’s current.

SwB:  Can you give an update about Meghan Wiggins? Where can we expect to see her next? Any upcoming campaigns?

OT: She’s doing amazing – she’s shot for a few different magazines in Europe and some are possible covers. She also did a high end watch campaign as well. It’s for Ritmo Mundo. If you’re in LA you’ll see them on Rodeo Drive soon, and she’s ready to go back to NY now too. She’s going to be a big star — I have no doubt at all.

Meghan Wiggins featured on "Remodeled" (via Albuquerque Journal)

SwB:  Based on the cities you visited and the agencies that were remodeled on the show, is there one city in particular, that has the most potential to find the best talent?

OT: The Sigal Family in Ohio — they are so hard working and just a pleasure. They are finding amazing new faces every day and we think they are about to be on the map in a big way.

SwB:  Is there a strange place that you discovered a model? Or is there a funny story behind finding a model that you can share?

OT: Um, it’s always at the mall if I’m scouting. Once I saw this boy I found, and I told him he should seriously consider it – because he was perfect for Versace, and he looked at me really confused and innocently asked – what’s Versace? I loved it. The funny thing is he ended up working for Versace – the show, and the campaign!  I think he knows who Versace is now.

SwB:  Who are your favorite models, outside of The Network (of course!)?

OT: Freja is my favorite at the moment and has been for awhile. I think Barbara Palvin is beautiful too.


my favorite photo of Freja (via Style with Benefits Tumblr)

SwBWho are your favorite photographers to work with?

OT: My favorite is Mert and Marcus because I love their work and admire it. They can take a model that’s been shot a million times, like Kate Moss, and make her look NEW again. I also love Steven Meisel – he’s the ultimate,  and has been Vogue’s main photographer for many years, which is the most prestigious magazine still. And another amazing  photographer is Craig Mcdean who is probably the best right now. He’s shooting almost everything for Interview Magazine and W, which are the most cutting edge high fashion magazines out there.

SwB:  What’s your advice to someone who may want to become a model agent or scout? Without any experience, what are some qualities they should possess?

OT: A love of models, fashion, & art – people never think about it but photography as an art and as the visual medium is a huge part of what we do. We have to understand it and admire it truly in order to compete and really know how to – all those things are so important. You also need to be selfless – it’s all about making other people’s dreams come true, which is a really great thing to do for a living.


So insightful, right? Thanks so much, Olga! Catch the season finale of REMODELED tonight at 9/8c on The CW!

Not sure if I ever mentioned this but Mel and I did some modeling when we were youngins and worked with an agent. We mostly did print jobs — our faces are in a number of elementary textbooks. It was fun when we were kids — mostly because of our excitement for getting to wear a little blush on our cheeks when we went into NYC for auditions. We even auditioned for a Doublemint commercial since we’re twins (fraternal though), but failed terribly to synchronize our jump roping. Needless to say we didn’t get the commercial!

Looking back, our young modeling experience was my first taste of rejection and likely has taught me to not let temporary setbacks or challenges deter me from achieving my goals. Not to get all psycho-analytical about my little modeling experience but it definitely made me grow a tougher skin and learn the over-arching life lesson that if at first you don’t succeed (brush your shoulders off), try again. And again. And again!


Featured on: StyledOn & Nylon

This week, I did a fun interview with StyledOn. Check out a snippet below. styled on If there’s one thing Rebecca of Style With Benefits is not afraid of, it’s color. Her vibrant, dynamic wardrobe is the perfect compliment to her sunny LA surroundings, from her glittery platformed Litas to her neon fringed shorts. See her blog here, and read on to hear her secret strength, and how she’ll style up her sundresses this summer. StyledOn: Tell us a little about yourself – how did you get into blogging? Rebecca Lee: I grew up in New Jersey and have lived out in LA for the past few years now. My fraternal twin sister, Melanie of Wrecked Stellar, and I were actually going to start a blog together. Since I was lagging in motivation to help her with the joint blog, she went ahead and started her own; I launched mine shortly afterwards. I wanted to keep a personal style diary to chronicle how my style has evolved, and that’s how SwB was born. SO: How is the style scene in LA different from the scene in New Jersey? RL: Since we really don’t have true seasons in LA, I think people here have the “anything goes” mentality, which is great. With that mentality, I feel like there’s less judgment about what you wear. I love the diverse style scene here. SO: Do you ever miss getting to wear true winter clothes? RL: No way! I recently bought my first long wool coat in over six years, specifically because I was going to New York and knew it was going to be cold and rainy. SO: Do you and your sister Melanie have similar taste? How is it different? RL: Yes and no. It’s funny because we’ll both get ready to go out (we live together) and then see what each other is wearing for the first time in the elevator. Often times, we’ll give the raised eyebrow looks to each other. It’s pretty funny. My vibe is more bohemian/hippy/downtown and Melanie’s look is more preppy/sophisticated/uptown.



nylon streetstyle

After meeting Rhamier of The Men’s Club at Opening Ceremony during my NYC trip, I was photographed right outside of the store.  Why do I look extremely awkward?  Because I thought the photographer was only shooting my pants! Thanks Nylon!



My Favorite Things


I know a number of you have been featured on Chicisimo, but I wanted to thank the lovely Maria for recently choosing and posting some of my looks on her site.  Maria also just launched Chicisimo Brides, providing fab inspiration pics for wedding dresses.  I’ve discovered some amazing new blogs from Chicisimo, so check her sites out!

Another thank you goes to the always complimentary Antoine of florilège d’esthète for passing along the One Lovely Blog Award.  He has an incredible way with words, making his writing and descriptions unparallel to anyone else.  Antoine, thanks for making me blush with your kind words…

Becs, Epitomesque “BOMBnextDoor” who Really knows How to make blow a dazzling/electrifying “Wind of Sexy Freshness” from L Aaaaaaaaaaaaa !!!!

And finally, the always hip and incredibly sweet Eden from Chic in the Tropics tagged me for a list of my 20 favorite things…

1.  COLOR – Red and black are my college colors, so I’ll always be a fan of those.  I’m also partial to blue.

2.  DESSERT – I’m actually not a big dessert or cake person, even though I have a sweet tooth for candy.  I don’t think I’ve ever had actual cake on my birthday… always ice cream cakes.  In fact, here’s my little Carvel ice cream cake I just had last week.

Birthday ice cream cake

3.  SMELL – I dig fruity scents like coconut and strawberry.  I also like vanilla.  My perfume at the moment is Versace Bright Crystal.

4.  FLOWER - Orchids and sunflowers

5.  ANIMAL – I love monkeys!  Whenever I go to the zoo, I love to watch them swing around.

MonkeysSan Diego Zoo

6.  MONTH - June because it’s my birthday and the start of summer

7.  BEVERAGE – My daily beverages include lots of water and Nestea.

8.  SHOES – Favorite shoes that I own are my Jeffrey Campbell Biz Belted Booties.  Shoe crushes are the Alexander Wang “Hanne” Triple Buckle Boots and Balmain Multi-zip Suede Boots.

Jeffrey Campbell Biz Belted BootiesJeffrey Campbell Biz Belted Booties now availabe in black and taupe at Urban Outfitters

Alexander Wang Hanne Triple Buckle Boots

Alexander Wang “Hanne” Triple Buckle Boots

Balmain Multi-Zip Suede BootsBalmain Multi-zip Suede Boots

9.  SNACK – If I want something sweet, I’ll eat Skittles or Sour Patch Kids.  If I’m craving something salty, which is usually the case, I’ll opt for popcorn or Kettle potato chips.

10.  SONG/S - Yea, I have too many favs, but I’ll always love “Sway” by The Perishers, “With or Without You” by U2 and “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure.  And no matter how many times they’ve been overplayed on the radio, I still dig “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga and “Live Your Life” by T.I. and Rhianna.

11.  BOOKWhere the Wild Things Are (can’t wait for the movie!)

12.  FRUIT - Pineapple and mandarin oranges

13.  HAIRSTYLE – Honestly on a daily basis I don’t do anything with my hair.  I let it air dry after washing it and I’ll fess up that I don’t even brush my hair… until it gets too knotty to stand, and then I’ll whip out my brush.  The most I do with my hair is twist it into a tight bun if I want to add some waves.  On occasion, I do like to throw on a headband every now and then.

UO headband

14.  PIECE/S OF CLOTHING – Skinny jeans, leather jackets, oversized blazers, corset tops and men’s plaid shirts (like the Stapleford Buffalo Work shirt via Urban Outfitters below) .

Stapleford Buffalo Work shirt

15.  STORES TO SHOP - Since my mall trips have steadily declined, my fav online shops are Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal Vintage, Shopbop, Oaknyc and RevolveClothing.

16.  SEASON – Summer lovin’

17.  HOBBY - Dancing, following college basketball, dreaming up ideas for my future screenplay, watching bad reality TV, discovering new music bands or artists and of course shopping and flea marketing.

18.  THINGS TO COLLECT - Quotes.  I have an ever growing collection full of movie/TV, song, life, friendship and love quotes.

19.  MOVIE - Oh I could never just pick one, so off the top of my head, my favs are Goonies, Sixteen Candles, Dirty Dancing, The Rock, The Notebook, The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, The Hangover and I Love you, Man.

20.  RESTAURANT – Any Italian restaurant.  I could eat pasta everyday!

To keep this circulating, I’m tagging:

Shin from Fashion Cappuccino

Libby from FASHIONconfectionairy

Joelyne from the sydney girl

Ash Fox from Tit Tees

Carolina from The Clothist

Sylvia from Chaotic Cookie

Hope you all had an amazing weekend!  The June Gloom has passed and we are now enjoying the sunny LA weather again.  Yesterday, I saw “My Sister’s Keeper” and cried my eyes out.  OK, maybe I didn’t ball, but the tears were flowing every 5 min. or so.  If you like beautiful slow songs, then check out a sampling of the soundtrack.

My Affair with Love Brigade

Love Brigade Fall '09 Collection1

Love Brigade Fall 09 Collection2

Love Brigade Fall 09 Collection3

Love Brigade Fall 09 Collection4Photos via

A few weeks ago, I posted pics of the amazing side-swipe jeans I bought from NYC-based company Love Brigade.  Their clothes are a mix of rock-and-roll meets street style with an edgy vibe.  Above are select images of Love Brigade’s Fall ’09 collection, “Going Home,” from Saint Louis Fashion Week in March.  After having the pleasure of being interviewed for their Love Blograde, I then decided to put my past journalism experience to use and interview Christopher ‘Tinypants’ Dang, Sales & Marketing Director / Co-Owner of Love Brigade.

Love BrigadeLeft to right:  Jamie Rockaway, VP/Founder. Alyssa Key, CEO/Founder. Tinypants, Sales & Marketing Director/Co-Owner

Going with the whole randomness trend from my last post, my questions were no exception on the random-esque scale…

1.  In five words, describe the Love Brigade customer.
Our girl is seductive, adventurous, confident, edgy and sometimes tomboy-ish.  Our boy is rugged, utilitarian, confident, aware, and a lover.

2.  Finish this sentence:  Personal style means…
being honest with yourself.

3.  If you could choose one song to describe your life right now, what would it be?
Le Fin Du Monde by Rob Roy

4.  If your house was burning and you could only grab only one piece of clothing to take with you, what would that be and why?
My Black Sateen Love Brigade Dangerpants.  Guys are creatures of comfort.  I wouldn’t be Tinypants without these guys.

5.  If you could smash a pie into someone’s face, whose would it be?
Obama!  I just want to see if he can stay cool while taking a pie in the face.

6.  How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?

Lick 1: The introduction
Lick 2: The exploration
Lick 3: The intent
And then you bite it b/c you just don’t have the time to wait.

7.  Favorite quote or motto to live by:
“Obstacles Offer Opportunity”

Love Brigade2

Thanks Tinypants for entertaining my slightly off the wall questions!  And I also learned that Love Brigade will be creating online exclusives and re-issues of classic items, including the fabulous side-swipes in lightweight spring/summer fabrics.  I’m definitely a fan of these jeans because of the uniqueness factor, and will keep you posted about when they’re available on Love Brigade’s site.

Love Brigade sideswipes1

Love Brigade sideswipes2

This is a bit overdue, but thank you to the fabulous D of Dream Sequins, Sofie of Modediktat and my other half Melly of Wrecked Stellar for the Lovely Blog Awards!  You are all amazing!

Meet Esquire’s Best Dressed Man in America

Photos shot by celebrity photographer Annette Navarro. To view other great photos from the shoot, check out Tweed & Velvet.

I owe a huge thank you to my friend Aaron for connecting me with Esquire’s Best Dressed Real Man in America, Kenyatte Nelson.  As you can see from the photos above, it’s evident why Kenyatte won Esquire’s contest last year, beating out thousands of other men to claim this prestigious title.  He owns his personal style in a way that’s unparallel to anyone I know.  From looking at his different outfits, you can tell that his style spans the spectrum of being sophisticated and sharp to playful and fun.  I bet, no I know, Kenyatte would be an amazing shopping buddy, but too bad I live in Los Angeles and he lives in Cincinnati.  So the next best thing was to pick Kenyatte’s brain about his personal style and what us ladies need to know when it comes to our own style choices, according to a man who knows how to dress to impress.

The Introduction:

Name: Kenyatte Nelson (named after freedom fighter Jomo Kenyatta – my mom changed the “a” to an “e” because she thought it looked like a girls name (ha!) )
Age: 11,315 days old, or 31 if you don’t like math
City: Resident of Cincinnati, Citizen of the World

Describe your personal style in five words or less. Inspired, unpretentious and appropriately aspirational

Have you always been into fashion?  When did you start to take an interest in cultivating your personal style? I believe style is synonymous with personality.  It’s something that everyone has and like personality, it simply develops differently for different people.  I think I’m probably just a little more “aware” of my personal style vs. most men.  As far as fashion goes – Fashion is social agreement, consensus….I’ve never been into fashion.

What has been your biggest splurge to date? I have two.  The first is a pair of Victorian style boots from Dior (see photo).  The second is a suit from Givenchy (see photo with gray suit/black shirt).  True story, I walked into a Hugo Boss store in Geneva Switzerland and I had that suit on with those shoes and the sales person stopped me and said, “That suit looks amazing, and the way you wear it makes me wish I was the one who sold it to you.”

Kenyatte_Dior boots

Kenyatte_Givenchy suit

If you only had to wear one designer for the rest of your life, who would you choose? I would have to go with Ralph Lauren.  From 1967, when the brand was founded, until now there has not been a designer who has so completely addressed men’s wear.  From sweatpants to rugby’s, waist coats to overcoats, brogues to trainers he pairs amazing shirt tailoring with American sensibilities in a way that is simply outstanding!

Your house is burning and you only have time to grab one item from your closet. What would you take and why? The tan leather cowboy boots (with the Cuban heel) that I took from my fathers closet when I was in Junior High School.  Those boots are almost 30 years old and they are still my favorite pair of shoes.  I wore them when I was on the Today Show and named Esquire’s Best Dressed Man in America.  My father walked in those boots and he’s an amazing man.  When I put them on I feel more substantive.

Describe the fashion scene in Cincinnati and the current trends men and women are wearing there. The fashion scene here is burgeoning.  Like most mid sized cities Cincinnati ebbs and flows with the tides created by the current (pun intended).  That said, there is still creativity here.  From skaters with limited edition kicks to women wearing the latest item from a vintage store hunt.  You see a little bit of everything.  The one thing I wish would go away is the “jeans hanging off the ass” look.

What’s a big DON’T when it comes to men’s style? See the last sentence in the answer to the previous question.  Men look better when their clothing fits….period.  The only time your pants should be that low is when a member of the opposite sex is taking them off (then it’s okay).

Over the years, have you picked up any insider shopping tips you could share? This includes tips on sales, online shopping sites, etc. ALWAYS go to the Barney’s Warehouse sale, NEVER buy anything full price unless it is a must have.  ALWAYS buy quality clothing in the correct size, NEVER buy something that doesn’t fit just because it’s on sale (you will regret it).  Ah…and gentlemen please stop buying “outfits” and start buying pieces that work with other things in your wardrobe.  Your closet should not be a collection of conjoined twins.  Visit and (amazing sites for shopping – men and women)

What’s your favorite look/style on a woman?  Elegant and sophisticated?  Super trendy and glam? Casual chic? The most amazing outfit any women can put on is a pair of hip hugging denim, killer heels and a white “boy beater”.  It’s natural, sexy and approachable.  It says, I’m a women who is comfortable with my femininity but if you give me shit I’ll kick your ass (I LOVE that).

btw – here’s a trick. Make the outfit pop with a creatively styled or colored pair of heels and sex it up with a little lace under the tank top (see photo of Leighton Meester).

Leighton Meester

You need to buy a gift for a woman.  What stores do you visit? The grocery store.  Invite her over for dinner and make sure she arrives a little before you finish.  Pour her a glass of wine and have a great conversation while you complete the finishing touches.  Prepare her food and take the plate when she is finished.  Enjoy each others company.  It will be the best foreplay she has ever had….trust me.

What women’s fashion trends would you like to see go away? I wish women would stop confusing sex with sexy.  You don’t have to exude sex to be sexy.  There is so much power in femininity.  Women have to understand that men are built to bend to that power.  If you want a “man”….dress like a “woman”.  There is nothing wrong with showing a little leg but make sure it’s balanced.  Do you remember the green Versace dress that Jennifer Lopez got all that press for wearing?  Yep, the one with a “V” cut out of the torso.  Guess what…it was long sleeved and floor length.

Two gorgeous women walk into a bar.  One is wearing a t-shirt and jeans and the other is in a body-hugging mini dress.  Did I mention both are equally gorgeous?  Who do you approach and why? I approach the woman who looks the most approachable.  The one who is smiling, laughing and joking with friends.  I approach the one with smiling eyes.  For me, it’s less about what she is wearing and more about how she is wearing it.  Is she confident and comfortable or unapproachable and cold?  I, like most men, am much more attracted to the former.  Besides, clothing is just clothing and at some point it’s all going to come off anyway.

What’s something you wish women knew about men? Women should recognize that as much as we love our independent women we want a woman who will allow us to be men.  We know you can do it yourself and we love you for that but sometimes you have to let us do it for you.  This is part of what being a man is about.  Men enjoy feeling needed.  We want the womenwe love to be taken care of, to feel protected.  Don’t give a man shit when he opens the car door or refuse his attempt to carry your bag.  Let him do it.  All men are taught, from a very young age, that they should cherish the things that they work for….now ask yourself….did your man work for you???

I loved your mission statement and fashion philosophy from your profile on  Can you please share other rules you live by or your personal philosophy on life? This may sound a little corny but I would suggest every man do this:  Take a sheet of paper and split it 4 sections.  In each section make a headline – Heart, Mind, Body, Soul.  Then for each heading write 4 things that you will do to improve each part of your life over the next year.  They can be simple, the idea is to set goals.  Here are examples from mine.

- Give one compliment a day

- Read one book every two months

- Go to the gym at least 3 days a week

- Stop to recognize the beauty in my world everyday (share it with another person)

I did this over a year ago and, as a result, I am a sharper, more empathetic, and in better shape than I have ever been.

Kenyatte Nelson

I know, amazing answers, right?  Thanks Kenyatte for being so open and insightful! To keep up with Kenyatte’s style picks and shopping tips, head on over to his blog Tweed & Velvet.

And voting just ended yesterday for Esquire’s ’09 Best Dressed Real Man.  The semi-finalists can be found here, with the winner being announced shortly.