by Chris Collie, NY Senior Editorial Director
When modeling agencies are searching for the next “it” girl or guy, they sometimes refer to the process as “searching for raw talent.” Well a 20-year veteran in the modeling, fashion and beauty industry has taken the phrase “raw talent” a step further.
Roberta Whitney, after an extremely successful career as model — in which she has graced the pages of such publication heavyweights as ELLE and Cosmopolitan — founded RAW Talent, a premium beauty, fashion and etiquette coaching boutique. With its location in Central London within the private membership club The Library, the boutique offers a bespoke program to suit a woman or man’s needs in regard to, as they refer to it, “The Art of Social Grace.”
This unique coaching curriculum involves three primary focuses: beauty; personal fashion/character; and social decorum. Each specific area of the coaching within the boutique has a significant purpose behind it.
The Beauty Regime
Proven methods used by professional beauticians from global publications, franchise beauty photographers and celebrity make-up artists, who along with Roberta have developed an in-depth knowledge of using different shades and hues to best suit different skin tones and personalities.
Personal Fashion/Character Development
Each participant within the boutique goes through a personal character assessment matched with fashion trend extrapolation methods to ensure each candidate, no matter what their personal style, will attain a chic look to complement their fashion taste and body type. Roberta — having worn countless designer clothes in her work as a model — has developed a trademarked methodology for success in this area for her participants.
Revolutionary methods focus on the development of the participant’s character and social skills. Not your average everyday “etiquette” classes, methods have been updated to work in the social media-driven we live in. Roberta is also careful to ensure the participants’ character growth outside of technology and social media, for the purposes of face-to-face conversation, networking and securing career positions for those who want a polished individual for their brand.
I was lucky enough to speak with Roberta Whitney, owner of RAW Talent.
Q: What inspired you to create RAW Talent?
I was inspired to create RAW after being asked over and over to help or advise people — or their children — on the modeling industry. RAW talent was born from the belief that everybody has raw talent, and helping unlock that talent and assisting people in the positive projection of self, whether in social or business environments, is my passion.
RAW talent was born from the belief that everybody has raw talent.
Q: Do you see beauty, fashion, and etiquette coaching as a necessity for today’s growing tweens, teenagers and young adults, as a way to instill confidence in them?
Yes I do. I’m inspired to create a place where positive values can be reintroduced, and confidence inspired. My aim is to enhance people’s ability to be positive and effective in their lives. Self-belief is crucial to instill in young people.
My aim is to enhance people’s ability to be positive and effective in their lives.
Q: With the increased use of technology in our society, is this boutique a way to bring back the art of social ease and face-to-face interpersonal skills, as well as conversation?
Technology is evolving at an alarming rate, and we can’t slow that process down. RAW Talent will create a platform where individuals can connect, meet industry professionals, and network in a safe space. In 2016 we plan to host networking events regularly, as we believe personal interaction is key, so that people can use some of the skills they’ve acquired through RAW Talent.
RAW Talent will create a platform where individuals can network in a safe space.
Q: With your background in modeling, are you going to teach your students the pitfalls and traps of not being balanced?
Yes, absolutely. My experience as a model has led me to create this agency. I can give people the inside scoop in the industry. Advising and supporting students on their journey — and how they can lead a positive professional life, as well as a balanced personal life — is key.
Q: What’s the selection process for the students of the boutique?
I believe we are all beautiful in our own unique way. RAW Talent is not focused on physical beauty alone, so anyone is welcome to train with me. Students who may not have conventional model potential will be advised on other modeling options, e.g.: commercial, hair, hand, or foot modeling, etc. We’re also committed to offering a limited number of scholarship,s to ensure that a range of people with varying economic circumstances get the opportunity to work with us.
Q: What do you feel the “art of social grace” is, in your opinion?
In my opinion there is an art to social grace. This translates across how you carry yourself, your energy, body language, and eye contact.
Q: How did you develop the curriculum for the boutique?
The curriculum has been developed by months of research and years of experience in the industry, and our commitment to helping people lead healthier and happier lives by living out their dreams is what we do well — and what we love.
Q: What is the ultimate goal of the RAW Talent boutique?
The ultimate goal of RAW Talent is to become synonymous with quality fashion and beauty training, and success. Giorgio Armani said, “The difference between style and fashion is quality.” I really believe it’s important to make a positive first impression … but it’s even more important to make a positive, lasting impression. And that’s RAW Talent’s goal.
It’s even more important to make a positive, lasting impression.
I want to thank Roberta Whitney for taking the time to speak with me while in London. For more information regarding the RAW Talent Boutique, email: [email protected].