Our 10th Anniversary events this year featured 5 showcases. That is the most we have ever had. They included a Boutique Showcase, a Fashion On Film Showcase, an Emerging Next Showcase, a Spring/Summer Showcase and our finale Fall/Winter Showcase. Rachel Anastasia Santiago quickly rose through the ranks of new models that joined the production last year to participating in multiple showcases which included 4 Boutiques. Sei Bella Boutique, Rire Boutique, Neetu Fashions and Identity Boutique. Rachel was also selected by our official event photographer Igor Kondrya and the event producer Duane Ram for one of three model profile films, that was featured at the Fashion On Film event. To top the week off, Rachel also participated in the designer showcases and walked for designers Amal Iqbal, Rachel Lewis and France Wright.
Q: Tell us about your first fashion runway experience.
A: I started out focused more on film work which lead me into runway modeling slightly unexpectedly. My first runway experience was when I was seventeen. I was working on set with a film project that my uncle was directing in LA. During a social event after shooting I was approached by a local designer in LA who was putting on a showcase the following weekend. My uncle approved of it, and made sure I got to the fitting and was shown what I would need to do. That weekend I did my work on the catwalk for the first time and I have been in love with it ever since.
Q: How did you get introduced to Sac Fashion Week?
A: Over the years I have spent a great deal of time modeling all over California. Last year, a friend of mine and model told me that I should go to the open call and try out for Sacramento Fashion Week. Of course I had already heard amazing things about it before; and I had always wanted to be a part of it. So I took a shot, and I was selected. I had a blast, and was offered a chance to come back again this year. Which was incredibly exciting!
Q: This year marks Sacramento Fashion Week (SACFW) 10th Anniversary. Do you have a favorite designer from our past showcases?
A: My two favorite designers that have shown at SACFW are Michael Kouris and Vasily Vein. Both of them are absolutely phenomenal designers who push limits and come up with very elegant and edgy looks. They create dresses that draw the eyes, and inspire you as a model. Just really beautiful.
Q: What was your day like as a model during out 10th anniversary showcases?
A: The day usually starts out the same as most shows. Even though the showcase are in the evening we are there at 10AM for hair and makeup. There is this sort of underlying feeling of the calm before the storm. I show up in plain face, casual clothes, and meet my hair and makeup crew. There is a lot of downtime waiting. Photographers have little studios setup backstage were we rotate through taking some quick thinking shots. There is a lunch break at 1PM and then rehearsals start at 3PM. Once hair and makeup is complete; it’s time to get dressed. So the team helps me put on each piece for one more last minute fitting. It’s always a bit tricky because you can’t mess up that amazing hair and makeup. Then the time comes. The butterflies are in your stomach. They’ve been building all day long, and this is the part that I like. The rush right before the lights when I make that first step on the stage in front of the world; wearing a beautiful line of clothing that inspires me to do my best as a model, and that I know is inspiring the audience to feel emotions, and deliberate and imagine. During the show it’s just so much fun its almost indescribable, and then once its finished, and we have taken the final walk down the stage with designer and returned there is the incredible feeling of confidence, and gratefulness for being picked to represent that line and that designer. It’s always kind of sad when it’s over.
Q: Who’s your favorite model and why?
A: There are SO many to choose from, but I think if I had to pick from my top three I would go with Linda Evangelista. She is so incredibly beautiful. She has so many different looks and can literally pull of any style of hair or clothing. She has those eyes that just pop on camera, and a gorgeous figure for clothing and runway.
Q: What would you say is your personal style?
A: My personal style I think is vintage but edgy. I like the look and feel of tight fitting outfits and dresses. I love showing my figure and putting on something sexy and eye catching. But I also love the gorgeous, glittering and beaded looks of the 1920’s and the 1930s. When I go out to formal events I love to dress in glamor; gloves, gowns, etc. My style is very much a mix between Dita Von Teese and Sophia Loren.
Q: Who did you look up to when you were younger?
A: When I was younger I looked up to my uncle Roy Unger. He is an absolutely fantastic director, animator and cinematographer. He has worked on many very large projects in Hollywood. He is really the reason I was introduced to the fashion and film scene to begin with, and he was always very supportive of me and kept me inspired by how hard he pushed and worked. I can’t even keep up with him. His new projects that he has been working on, especially in animation, are unbelievably good.
Q: What inspires you?
A: What inspires me is the art and effect of fashion, and sometimes the dark and ominous way it presents itself. Like a living piece of art; the models become a picturesque moment in time with each photo and each step down the runway. A tangible splinter of framed beauty that will never change or wilt or grow old from that moment; and yet has the ability to inspire and bring emotion to the world beyond itself. Every time I see the world of fashion producing its art for the world. Exhibiting its power as the conductor of the trending and ever-changing world; I often times find myself both in awe, and humbled to think that so few people like us, all of us in fashion, are able to create such ripples of change daily in our world. That is what inspires me.
Q: What do you do on your free time?
A: There is so much. Literally never a dull moment because I like to stay busy if I can. I am a total nerd. I am a big fan of video games and comic book heroes. I will totally defeat anyone on Halo! I love to cook. I can make amazing dishes and I find it’s a great relief of stress to create a great meal that’s enjoyed by everyone. I go to the gym several times a week; When there is nothing else going on; I am always down to go out and get drinks, socialize and dance. Make a wild night of it! If all else fails, I just relax at home and watch TV shows or read. I love some of the Netflix originals, classic movies and musicals.
Q: What are your thoughts of the production compared to other productions you have been involved with?
A: I had an absolute blast being a part of the ten year anniversary of Sacramento Fashion Week from beginning to end. I loved it, and it was even bigger than last year; and I as so blessed to have been able to participate in not just the modeling but in several aspects of the production process this year. Even during the earlier stages of development last year. I do a lot of modeling and runway work for charity shows and such in LA. But this one meant a lot because there were so many personal friends and close acquaintances that were involved in the show this year. So I felt much more of a responsibility to make sure I was on top of my game and putting out one hundred and ten percent, not just for me, but for them as well. There were so many venues this year, new and old. The diversity was incredible in and of itself; and was literally breathtaking to be a part of on stage. The lines were gorgeous, all of them. It was really inspiring and everyone came together through this and really made the whole process very friendly; like a family really by the time it was done. I made a lot of new friends this year, and really cemented friendships with a lot of people from the year before. It was amazing.
Q: What is your advice to young girls and boys wanting to be in this industry?
A: Always keep your focus. From the moment you decide to make this passion your career, live it, never give up, and always keep a strong positive mental outlook on things. It’s difficult sometimes to do that. It’s very important to be realistic about what it takes to be in this industry, but I truly believe that if you put your efforts in the right places with smart and courageous choices; you will come out where you want to be or even further. There is an old saying in Hollywood, “Always friendly. Because the person you speak with at the bottom today might end up being the person you end up looking up to or working for tomorrow.” Always treat everyone with the same respect for their passion as you would have them do for your own, and keep your focus on your goals and dreams.