It's been five years since Camille McDonald (pictured), now 31, competed on Season 2 of "America's Next Top Model." Even though she didn't win, she's been a certified success story: working on an advanced degree at Howard University, working on a possible TV project, working as a stylist and, of course, working around the world as a fashion model.
This Friday, Camille will be in Sacramento to host the IMAGINE 2009 fashion show, which is being put on by the International Academy of Design & Technology. She'll share the spotlight with keynote speaker Robert Best, best-known as the "Barbie" apparel designer from Season 3 of "Project Runway."
I spoke to Camille the other day as she was preparing to head back to Washington, D.C., from Miami. Currently, she commutes between the nation's capital (for school) and New York City, where she lives. She says she's excited about coming to Sactown and sharing her experiences with the IADT students.
"I'm hoping to leave them with a better understanding of the fashion industry, based on my experiences," she says. "The fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar business, but you really need something to ground you, especially an education."
Camille has been fortunate to work in so many different areas of the business. But one thing she'll definitely be able to speak to a young crop of designers about is starting a fashion line.
"I've been transitioning from being a full-time model to being a designer of my own brand," she says. "I've been working on it for two years. It's a contemporary outerwear women's collection that I hope to launch next year."
She admits jobs aren't always easy in the industry and that it's important to find one niche that highlights special skills and talent. "Fashion is always transitioning," she adds. "Today, you might have a chemist involved in a fashion project creating organic, green fabrics.
"It can have an impact on everyone."
IADT's show is Friday at the Sacramento Grand Ballroom, 629 J St. Tickets are $60 VIP and $40 general admission and are available at the school, 2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 250, or call (916) 285-9468. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Nine students will present full collections, and 12 emerging designers will also be featured.