The Reporter: Kj Lyn, Model Coach Extraordinaire
The weekend of November 20 was the 12th Annual Madison Women’s Expo, presented by BRAVA Magazine. It was a fun-filled weekend that featured hundreds of exhibitors, celebrity guests, such as Molly Ringwald, great entertainment and trendy fashions.
One of the event’s highlights was the Ultimate Spa Salon Beauty and Style Stage where stylists offered beauty advice and gave full makeovers to adventurous attendees. For both days of the Expo, the stage also featured a fashion show. The show not only showcased fabulous fashions by many of Madison’s trendiest retailers, it also featured local women as the beautiful models who strutted their stuff down the runway and brought the fashion to life. And as the models worked on perfecting their runway walk beforehand, the show’s organizer, Rosalee Eichstedt, turned to model extraordinaire Kj Lyn to be their coach.
For this week’s interview, I had a chance to talk with Kj about how she helped teach the models the runway basics and what beauty must-have she never leaves home without.
How did you start modeling? I was going to school at UW-La Crosse and attended an open casting call. At 5’10”, I joked I was too uncoordinated to play basketball but always had an interest in acting and playing dress-up since I was a kid. The company provided me with a variety of promotional modeling opportunities in the area and continued to once I moved to Madison. From there, I decided to pursue modeling a little further – working with local photographers to build a portfolio, finding local role models and networking opportunities, and just browsing the classifieds and asking questions. Little did I know that years later, I’d work as a local talent scout for that very company!
What inspires you? As a woman and a model? I’m inspired by people who can establish their creative empire, if you will, by their own ambition, integrity and courage. Be it photography, performance, architecture, whatever constructive, self-driven, self-enhancing endeavor one actively pursues. I find productivity and intrinsic motivation attractive and appealing in others, and it is integral to myself for my own peace of mind. It’s the internalized “Mommy, look what I did!” as a proactive grown-up.
What has been your favorite photo shoot to work on? Your favorite fashion show? I’m not sure what my favorite shoot as been to-date, but I enjoy most the collaborative efforts of my local designer/artist friends. I enjoy modeling novel concepts and opportunities the most. Give me something challenging, intriguing and thought-provoking.
What was your role at the BRAVA Women’s Expo? I taught runway basics to the 27 male and female models before both shows on the weekend. We worked in groups as well as individually. Some of the women had modeled when they were younger; others had never been on stage in their life! My interactive coaching approach is non-threatening, fun, and was a very positive and encouraging experience for these men and women. They did a great job! (pictured top left, Kj giving the models a pep talk. Left bottom, Kj showing off the proper way to walk the runway)
How did you get involved in the Expo? I read about the fashion show in the most recent edition of BRAVA. So I called [Rosalee Eichstedt] up, asked if she needed help, and lo and behold, she did! (pictured right, Kj, far right, showing a model how to walk the walk)
What was your favorite part about working at the Expo? Besides all the great vendors and free food? I truly enjoyed the runway coaching in a different environment with a different demographic of models than I was used to. It was yet another great networking opportunity in a positive, supportive atmosphere!
What do you hope to do in the future with your modeling career? Already, I have branched out in to other performance types including acting (film, minor TV appearances) and more recently joining a dance/live comedy troupe here in town. Modeling has given me the confidence and skill to put myself out there. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but what I do know is that I want to continue doing performance-type work in the public eye and teach others for as long as I can.
What is your biggest beauty must have? I don’t leave the house without mascara, eyebrow pencil, a healthy breakfast and a positive attitude.
Interested in more from Kj? Kj offers affordable runway and model coaching to aspiring models in the area! For more information about Kj, her work, and her “Kj’s Runway” classes, visit KjLyn.com.