Last Wednesday, on the eve of the official start to this year's New York Fashion Week (NYFW), guests gathered together to celebrate the launch of STATE, an "agency of personalities," that aims to change the way we see and think about models.
"There is no question that humanness and personality are more important to a model's success than ever," said Rene Gonzalez, the fashion vet who launched the agency, in a press release from STATE.
“Our goal is to launch an agency that supports more than just our models’ appearances, but their entire personas.”
Gonzalez, "a seasoned model agent who spent years working between Wilhelmina and IMG," according to WWD, told the publication that STATE wants to "let kids know that yes, you can be a model, and yes, it can be glamorous, but there are other things behind it."
Among the models signed to the agency is Alli Gooch, a modeling newcomer who tells A Plus in an email that aside from modeling, her passions include filmmaking, video games, coding, and Star Wars. She even started a film production company with her friends, and has since won a national contest for their documentary. She also hopes to code her own video games one day.
Gooch, who signed with STATE last month, tells us that she has "been through a number of castings with other agencies, but my casting with Gonzalez was different. Instead of simply asking about my modeling experience, he was interested in learning about my other interests and activities..."
"...I felt like he was looking at me as a whole person, not just as a model."
On staying positive in today's modeling industry, Gooch tells A Plus that "Other people's opinions are just that, opinions. I'm comfortable in my own skin. And I like who I am. Even in difficult situations, I strive to treat others how I want to be treated. In doing so, I create my own reality."
Another STATE model, Seth Atwell, "is rapidly gaining success due to his versatile style and androgyny." His features "are at the forefront of change in the fashion industry," the agency explains.
In regards to signing with the agency, Atwell tells A Plus in an email that he loves how STATE encourages models to be role models for future generations.
"Each and every one of us have unique stories to tell to relate to other people," he says.
Moreover, Atwell explains that today, it's difficult to stay positive in an industry that is so critical. But to stay motivated, he envisions all that his career can become.
"As long as you value yourself, nothing can bring you down," he says.
"I am a kindhearted, animal lover, best friend, sibling, son, shopaholic, model, and an overall uplifting spirit who tries to enjoy every moment of my life as much as I can. I am just Seth."
Stephanie Hoffman, a STATE model who stands almost six feet tall, also has advice for those facing a world of criticism...
"The key to staying positive is surrounding yourself with positive, grounded people. My family, friends, and agency remind me that one casting director's perception of me does not define who I am as a person. The fashion industry is obviously focused on physical appearance, but it is so important that a model has inner beauty as well," Hoffman tells A Plus in an email.
Hoffman says that her individuality has been instilled within her since she was young.
"The stronger your base, the more support you have to not only achieve your goals but to catch you if you happen to fall," she says.
"What makes me who I am is the fact that I don't belong in just one category," Kye tells A Plus in an email. "I am an individual with a diverse set of interests and an upbringing in two very different cultures...I am original."
Moreover, STATE welcomes and understands that Kye is a full-time biology student, she says.
"Although I'm excited about a career in modeling, my education is also very important to me. I am grateful to them, because they continue to support my decision while I manage both worlds," she adds.
This fashion week, Kye has landed Sachin & Babi, Nicholas K, and BabyGhost shows, all of which she says she is thankful for.
Moretti, standing tall in an elegant bronze maxi dress, showed off her skills against a New York City backdrop with a clear view of the Empire State Building.
The "It Girl" D.J. is particularly well-known on the NYC night life scene, and she has spun some of the cities chicest NYFW parties. She also "cracked Billboard's Top 10 dance chart," according to The New York Times, and was named Best D.J. by Paper Magazine in 2010.
The celebration also included appearances from some STATE models, refreshments, and plenty of conversation.