Got a passion for fashion? Today we're walking, or strutting, down the runway in the ultra-fabulous Valentino stilettos of Renee Esebag, CEO of Elite Fashion Academy Los Angeles as she chats with me about the academy, its model intensive courses (with the next model intensive class scheduled for June 15th to sign up for!), and the three things she's most passionate about, both in the modeling industry and outside of it.
Hillary Gadsby: How did you start your entrepreneurial career? What is your business?
Renee Esebag: As a former model and coming from a background in brand licensing, I first started EFALA, in conjunction with Elite World Licensing SA to license and brand Elite Fashion Academies worldwide. Having started the first Elite Fashion Academy in Los Angeles, my vision was to have a one-stop shop for aspiring artist in the fashion industry. Now independent and a non-affiliate of Elite World Licensing SA, I continue to run Elite Fashion Academy by Renee Esebag.
My academy provides a class environment that’s fun and hands-on which allows students to jump-start their careers without having to study for years to break into our "so-called glamorous industry." I’ve put together an amazing team of celebrity artists who teach our workshops for our Photography, Make-Up, Fashion Styling, Hair and Modeling courses. This allows my students to build their portfolios, learn in a semi-private class setting, and build a network connection with a celebrity artist, all in a successful and cost effective way.
Upon completion we provide internships, a certificate of completion and have placed many models with agencies. It is fulfilling to know you have made an impact in one's life. “Knowledge is Power” - I am definitely a firm believer in this quote.
HG: How are you empowering women with your modeling workshops?
RE: I feel we empower women with our model intensive in many ways. First and foremost, this class is not just for aspiring models. It’s for women and girls who want to have a better sense for fashion and etiquette. Our course is 8 hours long and filled with activities, teaching you HD make-up application, styling your body shape, building your confidence on or off the runway. This course ends with a head shot photographed by one of the biggest names in the fashion industry, whose editorials have been on the pages of Vogue and Elle Magazine. You will receive one retouched photo of yourself and a certificate of completion from our model boot camp. It’s really a priceless experience for anyone who joins. It is taught by an agent from LA model’s alongside all our EFALA fashion experts.
HG: What is the worst thing that ever happened to you as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
RE: I feel the worst thing that ever happened to me in business was having to deal with business partners who were unethical. The best advice is to sever your ties to anyone like this and move forward to bigger and better adventures in life.
RE: Valentino stilettos - classy and sexy but with an edge. This pretty much describes me!
HG: Name one person you look up to that inspires you.
RE: My Grandmother is my inspiration in my life. She taught me to follow my dreams and to be fearless of anything in life. Life is a journey in having fun, learning and growing.
HG: What 3 things are you most passionate about and why?
RE: I’m passionate about being the best role model and mom to my son, as he is my love of my life and inspiration. I know it’s just a few more years to come and he’ll be a young successful man himself. What you create and surround your loved ones with is who you build as an individual.
My second passion is my work. I’m a perfectionist and always strive to do my best or learn from whoever is better than me. I’m open to listen and be criticized as long as I’m learning. I am a single mom because I like to have freedom and independence from others, so no one can tell me what to do and when to do it. I’m a bit stubborn!
My third passion is keeping myself happy! Mind and spirit. Learning to live and have fun with everything and not worry about what other people think of you. I love food and travel. I’m a soccer mom at day and the same stilettogal at night, hitting that red carpet.
Find out more about Renee and Elite Fashion Academy Los Angeles by visiting her website!