In 2008 I sat on the couch well actually laid, and watched the replay of fashion shows happening during LG Toronto Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009 collections and the collection that was coming down the runway was for Bustle. Having never seen a collection from the team before, I didn’t know what to expect but as the first model came down the runway it was apparent that this was a menswear collection a nice change. From the moment that I discovered that the shows were being replayed for two to three hours daily that week I was glued to my tv everyday to watch. It literally became apart of my daily routine and being production oriented like I am of course I was noticing what each designer had been doing for each of their collections. As the first model came down the runway for this collection I was immediately paying closer attention. There was a more elaborate production element to this show. If your familiar with this collection you know that the models were primarily men and as I continued to watch the show noticing the well cut lines and colour palate used I didn’t think that anything unexpected would happen but then out struts this gorgeous female model dressed head to toe in men’s wear, stompin her way down the runway; and she rocked the hell out her outfit, she owned it, she show cased the clothes for the photographers in the gallery and stomped it back up the runway, that was the first time that I saw Renee Thompson in all her runway glory.
Fast Forward two years later to LG Toronto Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 and the shows are no longer a spectator sport for me. I’m covering fashion week for my blog and looking to get some interviews and some of the backstage action. So on day two I head backstage to see what my little eyes can see. Who do I run into right as I walk through the curtain Ms. Thompson herself sitting for hair and makeup for the Rachel Mara show. (This may not seem too amazing to you but I had to gather myself), why you ask; because moments earlier I was speaking to John Headley my photographer who got me all my end of runway shots; and he had asked me if I had an opportunity to speak to her yet, I said “no, but I’m heading backstage to see if she is getting ready for another show”…I walk in and there she is sitting right in front of the door way, what’s even more striking is she spoke first, more background (I am 5’11 and that day I was wearing 5” OTK black leather boots, so sitting down, it looks like these leather clad legs are coming for you)…She says “I’m wondering who this is with these bad boots on”, and I say “ha just who I was looking for” the rest is as they say history…
I’ve had some time to sit and talk with Renee, and her story is an amazing one and my interview really doesn’t do it justice, but it’s great for what it is; an opportunity to learn a little bit more about an extraordinary person (as I have come to find out)…yall should get to know her too read on…Ms. Thompson in her own words!
How did you become a Model?
I was discovered by Elmer Olsen in 1999 at an Elite Model search contest in Oakville. (This would obviously be prior to Elmer opening his own agency)
Who is your style icon?
Shelia E. She made being Andro (short for Androgynous) cool; she did boy things while still looking like a girl. She played the drums, and she was the first woman to wear metallic pants like guys and the David Bowie inspired jackets.
Who is your Modeling icon?
Pat Cleveland. She had a unique walk and never walked in order. I had the opportunity to work with her during a Gattioni show in 2007 where the designer decided to present his collection and feature all Black models. The theme being divas of the past and present. So it was like, Roshumba, Yasmin, Pat Cleveland, Ange, myself, Omahyra Mota, can’t remember any more. I was the only rookie girl there so I didn’t talk to them but I was like woow these woman are supermodels it was kinda trippy
Favourite item of clothing?
My Mango leather jacket. I bought it in South Africa for a retarded amount of money but I wanted it, and I love it.
What’s in your model bag?
A dark pair and a light pair of 6” stilettos, you never know what you’re going to wear and black doesn’t go with everything. Mineral fusion concealer and face powder, I have sensitive skin and acne so I gotta cover that up. My IPod, Spite lip glass from M.A.C I’ve been wearing since I was 14 and I refuse to deviate!
Andy The-anh and Giorgio Armani, because his Ready to Wear 2007 collection was the most gorgeous collection I’ve ever seen. There were 50 girls 102 outfits, it was Berets and tiered dresses and I swear the runway was like 200 ft it was exhausting. The spare shoes! Over 200 hundred pairs of extra shoes. He also had spider woven wide brim hats and they had the make-up artists do a shadow on our faces so it appeared on the runway as if the hat was causing the shadow. Of course there was no way the hat could cause the shadow because they were see -through.
Fall/winter or Spring/Summer?
Fall/Winter because I don’t break out in the winter.
How would you describe your personal style?
By day as comfortable as possible and at night anything less and I would be a stripper I mean….that’s what they do in New York…LOL
Favourite trend for this season?
Rain boots and big long wool coats, we are going back to warmth over style, you can wear them open if it’s not that cold but bundle them up when it is.
Favourite experience favourite person you’ve met?
Ellen DeGeneres, I went to the Richie Rich show(one half of design duo Heatherette) to see my girl walk, so I get back stage and I see Richie sitting for hair and make-up so I walk over and I was like I have a bone to pick with you. He was like what tell me, so I say I have been casting for your show for years and your bogus production team has never picked me. He immediately starts calling for wardrobe and makeup and hair to put me in the show. I’m like ummm okay, so off I go whisked away to walk in this show. So Richie always has celebrities in his shows. His show is more of a production than anything else it’s a show more than a fashion show. So I’m dressed and in the line-up and I see Ellen and as I’m getting closer and closer I’m freaking out a lil more cause she’s right there in front of me. So I finally work up the nerve when I’m right there and say you’re @#$%^ awesome and she says no you’re @#$% awesome and I was like OMG you just said the F word! (She’s ballsy no?)
Renee on The Runway…
That conludes my interview with Renee, I hope you enjoyed it and got to learn a lil something about this ambitious young lady.
To contact Renee through her agency email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On facebook: Renee Thompson