In May of 2019, I was scrolling Instagram and came across Coco Rocha’s post of a video of her posing during a photoshoot. I left a comment among the hundreds of others about how she made it look so easy and kept on scrolling. A few hours later I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw a notification come through my phone that Coco Rocha had sent me a message.
She had reached out to me and told me about how she teaches her posing methods at her camp, The Coco Rocha Model Camp, and that I should come (I already knew about her camp due to following her, but it was cool she reached out to me directly about it!). We chatted a little back & forth about the camp and our babies, and I was still in shock that she had even responded to my comment.
Although my desire to attend the camp was unquestionable, I went back & forth about it for a few months. I was at a point in my career where I felt I was in a rut and knew I would benefit from the camp immensely, but I was wondering if I was “too old” to do something like that (shouldn't I be ‘retiring’ soon?) and I was also feeling major mom/wife guilt for taking that much time and money to do something solely for myself. Thankfully, my husband gave me the push to just do it, and in November I signed my CRMC contract and booked my camp dates!
I was due to attend Camp in April 2020, but like most things during that time of the year, Camp was postponed due to COVID-19. I was incredibly bummed, but they quickly got me rescheduled for a September Camp. In June, I was lucky enough to also attend the digital version of the camp, which was an amazing preview of what the full camp would be like.
As my Camp date approached, I started to get nervous! Why did I sign up for this?! I didn’t feel qualified and I was sure I’d be like an old lady in a group of teenagers. I was also excited because I’d never been to New York before and I wanted to learn as much as I could from Coco and her team.
I decided to arrive in New York the night prior to the official Camp start date so I could make sure I had plenty of time to find my way to the hotel the Camp was being held at incase there were any travel delays. Once I landed in NY, I took an Uber from LGA to Grand Central Station where I then took a train to the hotel. It was so fun getting to see a little bit of the city. I even got myself a street hotdog for dinner just for the experience!
Day 1: Arrival, Camp Check-in, & Orientation
The official start day of Camp had arrived! Day one consisted of arrivals, check-ins, and a little one-on-one time with Coco herself! I was glad I had arrived the night before as it made my first day of Camp so much less stressful. I grabbed an early lunch with a couple of other models that had already arrived, and got checked into camp by James, Coco’s husband and manager.
After getting checked in, I grabbed my portfolio and got to sit down with Coco to go through it and talk about my goals for camp and want I wanted to accomplish. Sitting down with her was so surreal, and I am still blown away by how normal and welcoming she is.
The rest of the models attending camp arrived throughout the afternoon, and that evening we had our first class session followed by dinner. The first class was and overview about what to expect at camp, some general rules, and also the expectations vs. reality of what to expect in the modeling industry as a whole. I thought it was really great they did that on the very first night, as many new models have such lofty expectations of what’s going to happen when they decide to get into the industry and they’re often in for quite the rude awakening.
The food was amazing, and I was floored that Coco and her team served us our food themselves! We followed up dinner with a fun game night out on the hotel’s terrace to get to know everyone a little better.
Day 2: Pose Class, Runway Class, & Industry Insights
Day two started bright and early at 8am sharp (don’t be late!) with Coco & her team again serving us our breakfast. We then went straight into pose class where Coco explained the importance of music and genuinely connecting to emotions to bring through to the photographs. She then taught us how to move and flow, using little tricks to get our bodies to create new and interesting angles. Every model then had to get in front of the whole class for a short pose session, and while it was nerve wracking, I feel it was a really helpful little push to get over feeling stupid and just let yourself go and create interesting poses. The support from all the other models was also so amazing. Talk about a hype crew!
After pose class, we took a break for lunch and then started runway right after. Runway class was very intensive, and Coco was NOT playing. She approached it very much like a drill sergeant, which I actually really liked because it brought in the focus and intensity needed for a strong runway walk. Our camp was very lucky because not only did we get Coco as an instructor, she brought in her good friend (and Victoria’s Secret model) Alexina Graham. Getting to watch and learn from the both of them was such an amazing experience!
Runway class was about 2 hours long, and after runway we sat down and had a discussion about the modeling industry as a whole with Coco, James, and Alexina. When we checked into Camp on the first day, we wrote out a list of questions we had (literally anything you wanted to know) and gave them to James. For this discussion, he pulled them out and the three of them answered with complete candor. No question was off-limits or stupid, and they all gave their answers based off of actual industry experiences that they have had. It was very informative, and even though I’ve been in the industry for a long time, I still learned a lot from them and had a lot of clarity to things that I’ve been feeling and experiencing in my own career.
After the discussion, we had dinner. Coco & Alexina hung out with us and it was so refreshing to see how humble and down to earth the both of them are despite their massive successes. It had been a very long day and we had talked about some tough topics, so it was great to get to relax and get to know everyone even better. The support and knowledge from Coco, James & Alexina was one thing, but the support from all the other models was something I’d never expected or experienced before! Coco took some time with each of us to go over our shoot looks and concepts for the next day, then it was early to bed to be ready for shoot day.
Day 3: Photoshoot & Social Media/Branding and Agency Discussion
This was the big day! The day we got to put all of our practice to work and have a photoshoot utilizing our new skills. After breakfast we were split into two groups. Group A did the shoot while Group B sat with James and discussed branding and agencies, then after lunch we switched.
I was in Group A so we got to do the shoot first, which I was so grateful for! I haven’t been nervous for a shoot in a long time, but I definitely had butterflies for this one so I was glad I got to do it first thing and didn’t have to think about it all morning.
Pre-Covid, for the shoot day Coco’s team would provide all the clothing for the photoshoot. Due to the safety measures they had to put in place, the models attending Camp were now responsible for providing their own wardrobe. I am not a stylist, so I was low-key freaking out about this when I found out a few weeks before camp. I messaged Coco prior to leaving for camp and expressed my concerns, and she was amazing enough to send me ideas and look at images of looks I put together to help me come up with solid options for me to bring.
The photographer, Nick Suarez, as well as the H/MU team arrived as we finished breakfast and the classroom was morphed into a studio. Our first look was for the body shot, and Coco was there with you coaching as you shot. It was so fun putting what we had spent the previous day learning into action, and having Coco there to help you and remind you if you started to fall back into old posing habits was the icing on the cake.
The second look was for your headshot, and that one Coco isn’t present for, so it is like it would be on a regular shoot and you have to remember all the new tips and tricks you learned. Nick is an amazing photographer and made me feel so comfortable when shooting with him.
After everyone in Group A finished our shoot, we had lunch and then sat down with James to discuss social media/branding and agencies. This discussion was amazing because James helps run Nomad Management and he’s also been Coco’s manager for years, so he knows what he’s talking about. He answered every question we could think of, and had a lot of great advice on branding yourself and how to manage your agency(ies).
This day was such a rush and ended too quickly. Before we knew it, it was time for the last dinner of camp! We were all mentally and physically exhausted but in the best way.
Photos by Nick Suarez // Makeup by Jenny Alves // Hair by Carolyn Cina
Day 4: Breakfast & Goodbye
We were all up bright & early for our final breakfast together, and we were all so bummed! Camp had gone by so quickly, and we were all still trying to digest everything we’d learned. Many of us had early flights, so as soon as we finished breakfast we had to head out and start our journeys back home.
While I waited at the airport, I mentally recapped the whirlwind that was Coco Rocha Model Camp. It was such an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it. I learned so much more than I was expecting about things that weren’t even on my radar, and I came away with the skills and inspiration I needed to pull myself out of the rut I felt I was in prior to camp. My confidence was boosted and I was pushed out of my comfort zone in all the best ways possible.
Coco and her team have created a safe, encouraging, and supportive space to really dig deep and find yourself as a model. No matter where you’re at in your career, you will learn so much from your experience with them. I will be forever grateful to the entire team at Coco Rocha Model Camp!
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Check out my post with some frequently asked quesitons I've gotten since attending camp!