What it takes: Kent models concerned with more than walking the runway

Megan Moore

Models are most recognizable when walking the runway or striking a pose, but those at Kent State have a way of putting those talents to use for the good of the community.

The members of Exquisite Inc. Modeling Troupe strut their stuff to benefit multiple sclerosis in addition to volunteering for and donating to local causes.

According to the student organization’s Facebook page, Exquisite is “designed to promote positive self-esteem and self-awareness throughout our community by being role models to those around us.”

Jena Paisley, founder and vice president of the modeling crew, said she started the group last fall.

“I wanted a name that was going to be classy because I wanted the organization to be a classy organization,” Paisley said.

She said all of its benefit shows are named after different definitions of Exquisite. Last year’s benefit show was titled “Flawless” and the spring benefit show will be titled “The Epitome of Perfection.”

Paisley said she started the organization when she transferred back to Kent State from Grambling State University in Louisiana. She said she was in a modeling organization called Black Dynasty and it was so fun that she decided to start a group at Kent State.

“I thought it would be a good asset to the university,” Paisley said.

Some of the community service projects the troupe has done include: tutoring boys at Collinwood High School in Cleveland, a modeling show in which the proceeds went to the Kym Sellers Foundation for multiple sclerosis, donating food to a local food pantry and walking one mile in heels in a march for multiple sclerosis.

Paisley said the group had more than one thousand hours of volunteer work last year.

“It’s not really about how you look, it’s just about how you feel about yourself,” president Cristina Mazzone said. “We’re not just models, we’re role models.”

There are about 30 members in the group, both male and female.

Junior flight technology major Sam Orr said this is the first year he has been involved with the group.

“They recruited me,” Orr said. “Actually it was on Sweetest Day, I was buying some flowers for my mom and they asked me if I wanted to be involved.”

Orr said he enjoys going to the meetings because they have fun when they are there together.

Mazzone said they have mandatory meetings every Monday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. She said they ask all girls to bring heels so they can practice walking.

“It’s a lot of fun to learn the new things,” Mazzone said. “A lot of people think you just walk down (the runway) and that’s it, but there’s actually technique to it.”

The group does intakes for people interested in joining at the beginning of each semester, and no one is required to be a model. Mazzone said the group will post fliers for informational meetings next semester and all are welcome to attend.

“You sign up, you express an interest, you express dedication and then you can be in it,” Mazzone said.

Paisley said there is a membership fee of $18 per semester, which includes a T-shirt. Those interested can also contact them on their Facebook page via Exquisite Inc.

“People don’t have to just be models, they can do other parts of it to,” Paisley said.

Some of the other ways members get involved are by doing hair and makeup as well as other design aspects.

“We’re role models, we do fundraisers and we give back to the community,” Orr said. “We have more than one concern.”

Contact features correspondent Megan Moore at [email protected]