A local modeling workshop is hoping to inspire current and aspiring models in the Michiana area

SAINT JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. --South Bend native Ashley Varner-Warren approached her fellow South Bend native friend, Alexaundria Groves about creating a workshop to help create a safe place where women and men can explore the fashion industry. And in 2022, Michiana Modeling Workshop was born.

Now, Varner-Warren and Groves are sharing their industry knowledge by starting Michiana Modeling Workshop. The workshop is a six-month model development program. Held monthly, the duo covers everything a model needs to start their career including the art of posing, runway basics and confidence building.

“It’s really surreal because when we started, we did expect it to turn out like how it’s become. We were really like we’re just going to hold a couple classes here and there. The response from it was really overwhelming, a lot of positive feedback and we were like we need to make this a business. It's been really cool to bring this back to my hometown especially because we didn’t have anything like this starting out, so what I think really strives us as coaches is that if we had this,” Varner-Warren said.

On Saturday, Varner-Warren taught her students the fundamentals of headshots and how to start a portfolio.

Two students that were in attendance in Saturday's class was Shayla McGee and Karissa Jaeckel who both agreed how great it was having a workshop in their own backyard.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity without us having to go travel to one gigantic city. This is nice especially because this is my hometown. I was born and raised here. It's nice to see those outlets coming closer,” McGee said.

“It felt very good. It felt very familiar getting my headshots done. It's things I’ve done before. And it definitely felt like this spark of ‘Okay, let’s take the next steps, get my portfolio going, let’s start my career’,” Jaeckel said.

The workshop, according to Varner-Warren, creates a safe space for both men and women of all age range.

“You should attend Michiana Modeling Workshop, one because our model's coaches, myself and my partner Alexaundria Groves, we have been there and done it. I think that’s the best tool we can sell as far as people attending our workshops because we’re not going to tell you something we haven’t done ourselves or that we haven’t learned. And we’re really passionate it about it. Even if you’re not sure if you want to model, I think it’s a good way to try it and see if it’s something you’d be interested in. But I feel you can’t go wrong with being in our workshop,” Varner-Warren said.

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