Amanda Betts has done it tough, but hard times paid off for her and now she's giving young people the confidence to be themselves in front of the camera in a modelling course. We sent mini-maverick IMOGEN MCQUEEN along to the one-day confidence-building bootcamp to see what it’s all about.
Amanda Betts is someone I’d like to call a Kiwi hero. She’s a successful entrepreneur, mother, model and mentor. She grew up being abused, told she was worthless. She left home at 15 and worked from there to create a life for herself. Not the best start for a child. Now, she’s out there making sure others are told they are valued and beautiful - and offering them experiences that are life-changing.
For her 17th birthday, Amanda was gifted attendance to a modelling and confidence course, which was the start of something huge for her. She scored her first modelling job after that and went on to co-found Red11 Models.
Now, with 30 years experience in the fashion industry, Amanda’s launched 'Bridge the Gap: From Surviving to Thriving'.
She’s on a mission to make sure young people feel self-belief. She works with a number of organisations, including CYF and Fostering Kids NZ to offer incredible, confidence boosting experiences to disadvantaged teens. And she’s just launched a shop, selling outfits for as little as $39, the sales of which help dress teens in need. Be sure to head on over to her website to check out what’s on offer.
After Imogen finished the bootcamp, we asked her what it was all about and what she hopes to achieve going forward.
Why did you want to do the course?
I wanted to do the course to find out what you have to do to be a model, what being a model means and how to work your way up in modelling agencies.
Leading up to it, how did you feel, and what did you expect?
Leading up to the course I didn’t really know what to expect. At first I thought the people involved would be tall, skinny, rich and self-centered, which I think is a generalisation about people involved with modelling, but it was nothing like that. I rocked up in my ‘fun date’ outfit, which was different to what the others dressed in, but that is what Amanda Betts wanted: to be who we are and not what we are expected to be. Throughout the day she kept stating that “today is all about you getting to know aspects of modelling and to build your confidence,” which I thought is one incredible thing to be told.
What did the day involve?
Well, I arrived a tad early, so I got into helping set up. Once everyone arrived, we started with general introductions which led into the the ‘BANG’ game, which we played for about 10 minutes, continuing to learn other people’s names. And because you make a gun shape with your hands, Amanda led into teaching us how to shake a hand, and generally indicated what you need to venture into modelling.
After we learned each other's names, we put on our heeled shoes (well, for those who didn’t bring heels, Amanda had a whole range we could try on), and then we walked down a wooden hallway to practice our cat-walk.
At first I struggled to walk, because I pretty much live in canvas shoes when I'm not at school, [but] it was a great experience being in an environment where if you failed people would laugh with you, not at you, for attempting to walk in heels.
Then, as some people had lunch, others had their makeup and hair done. At the same time, Amanda was floating around giving advice on what to wear for the shoots to come. We spent about two hours with a photographer to get through 15-odd boys and girls between the age of 13 and 19. Then we were taught lots of makeup tips in a shortened two-hour session.
What was your favourite part?
I think dressing up in clothing I never thought I’d wear, the confidence-building and incredible friendships I made were my favourite parts.
What was one thing you learned?
One thing I am very grateful that I learned from the modelling day is the fact that my perception of people involved in modelling was changed. Because, truly everyone at the course I met that day was incredible, and all the friendships I made throughout the day were too.
Would you recommend the course?
I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to get into modelling. It is a great experience, even if you don’t carry on from it, it is an incredible day.
How has it changed how you think about modelling?
It has changed my view quite a lot. You don't just rock up and tell the photographer what you want. When you go into a photo shoot, you do what you are told to do, but the people will probably be genuine about what they want from you, and you will do it. But I almost guarantee that you will have fun.
What's next for you?
I think I will talk to a few people I have met doing the course and see which modelling agency I can sign to. Then I'll see if I get any jobs or photo shoots from it. Also, I would like to get a portfolio done of some of the photos taken during the modelling course.