fashion

Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Stasi Berezovskaya

Stasi Berezovskaya knew she wanted to study at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) from the moment she stepped inside the building after traveling to New York City from her hometown of Moscow. Now a PCMT at NYFA alum, she started her own creative production agency, SB Productions, which has afforded her the opportunity to combine her love of fashion, performance, and art. New York Film Academy spoke with Stasi about her time at NYFA, where her passion stems from, and what it takes to create your own company:

Stasi Berezovskaya

New York Film Academy (NYFA): Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what brought you to New York Film Academy?

Stasi Berezovskaya (SB): My name is Stasi Berezovskaya. I came to New York City from Moscow to improve my skills in Musical Theatre and pursue my career as a performer. I already had an education as a Musical Theatre Artist at GITIS University in Moscow, and I was choosing between a few schools at the time I traveled to NYC to study. However, I fell in love with NYFA as soon as I entered the building. It was all about the people who work there, because they make the atmosphere magical. From the Admissions office and the incredible teachers, to the President of the Academy, Michael Young, and Vice Presidents David Klein and James Miller, everybody made it feel like they were family that you could turn to starting from the first day. They all shared their amazing skills, but most importantly, they shared their hearts.

NYFA: Why did you decide to focus on fashion? 

SB: As far as fashion concerns, I guess it has always been in me, I was just previously too busy or too scared to accept it and pursue it professionally. My mom is a stylist and I grew up around all of the beautiful clothes, collections, and models. I remember a picture of myself that my great grandmother used to show me–I was three years old, standing in her heels that were probably eight sizes too big for me, and around my neck hung incredible pearls that made me feel like a princess. I suppose fashion is in my genes, because all of the women in my family used to create beautiful pieces to wear and the passion was evidently passed on from generation to generation.

Stasi Berezovskaya

NYFA: Can you tell us about your agency and what the process was like getting it off the ground? 

SB: After two years at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at NYFA, while I was auditioning in New York City, I started working as an assistant for Russian designer MONOSUIT and met an amazing family of independent designers called Flying Solo. Meeting such talented people and seeing their hard work throughout the long process, including how they use their talents and skills to make something different and absolutely stunning, I realized that we are all artists. We, as actors and performers, have the voice and the platform to say what others can’t, as do designers. Designers’ collections are inspired by the same events that happen in the world every day and the same struggles we face in musicals and performances, they just talk about it in a different way. 

Given this, I thought to bring these two special worlds together, and opened a creative company called SB Production Agency. My team and I create and produce content for designers such as look books, campaign shoots, and fashion videos. Beyond this, the most important element of what I do is combine the two worlds and show designers’ collections through dance and performance, telling a story led by unique music.

Stasi Berezovskaya

My company has only just started its journey, but it has already been a great experience. I love to combine various types of art in order to allow people to see the bigger picture and see the different angles of artists’ work. 

For example, I recently had the honor of working with the amazing painter Tigran Tsitoghdzyan. He was hosting an art show in Fremin Gallery, which allowed us to use their space and helped us bring our idea to life. Tigran’s series of paintings are very unique, as they depict women who appear to be confident and beautiful, but in reality they are struggling to show who they really are. Given this, we came up with the idea of inviting dancer Abigail Kelvas and choreographer Dolly Sfeir to process the paintings and guess what the women within them actually feel. We put together a video and finalized the film in just two days, thanks to our wonderful creative team. Women on set included NYFA alum Luciana Baldovino, who is a talented director and a filmmaker in my company, and current NYFA student Beth Ribeiro, who served as a DP. Also on set to assist was NYFA Chair of Cinematography Piero Basso. Small clips of the video we produced became a part of Tigran’s interview on Armenian TV and I believe this is only the beginning for this project and more to come. We have so many more wonderful projects ahead!

NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

SB: This has been a wonderful journey since my graduation and I am so grateful for NYFA. I met so many amazing and talented people that became co-workers, friends, and family to me. I believe that we are all here for a reason. We are from different countries and cities, speaking different languages, but the language of art is the only one that everyone can understand. I believe we all met for a greater purpose to make this world a better place. NYFA is a place to start building these kinds of relationships, believe in art’s power, and move forward together.

Stasi Berezovskaya

New York Film Academy thanks PCMT alum Stasi Berezovskaya and wishes her the best of luck on her journey with SB Production Agency!

Fashion Photography Tips Every Budding Annie Leibovitz Needs

Fashion photography has generated some of the most inspiring, iconic, and wide-reaching images, yet it’s not without its challenges. One of the most challenging — and rewarding — experiences you can have as a photographer involves an editorial shoot. Of course, arranging a shoot that goes along smoothly and without any hiccups is a difficult feat.

Despite the challenge, photographers love these opportunities because they offer their own form of fun and creativity. No matter whether you’re completely new to the world of fashion photography or you’d simply like a refresher on the basics, we’ve rounded up some tips that can help you refocus and plan your fashion photography editorials. Especially if you’re new to fashion photography and want to prepare an editorial shoot of your own, keep this advice in mind:

Before You Start, Have An Idea

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Every good fashion shoot starts with an idea well before the scene is prepared and model is chosen. Going into the shoot there should already be an emotion or atmosphere that you’re trying to create in order to better promote the clothing, hair, etc.

The good news is you don’t have to be too specific, nor do you have to stick with the idea if inspiration arrives later. Whether you’re just going for an ‘80s vibe or want a goth look, having a general concept in mind is the best way to start.

Seek Inspiration If Necessary

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Having trouble with that last tip? Or perhaps you do have an idea but you’re not sure how to best convey it via your photo shoot? With the advent of the internet and social media platforms, finding inspiration from other people’s work is easier than ever.

Don’t worry: Finding inspiration from the great fashion photographers before you isn’t “cheating,” and even the top photographers in the world sometimes gain ideas from elsewhere. We recommend studying fashion editorials and scrolling through photo sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to check out pictures that can help you hone in on your own idea.

Find The Right Model For You

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This step is arguably one of the more nerve-wrecking ones, since your model will be the face of your editorial. Fortunately, there are talented aspiring models everywhere who are looking for the opportunity you have to offer. If you’re new to the scene, you may have to pick from non-experienced models, which is a gamble. If you can, find yourself experienced models that have done this before and are serious about it.

The internet is ripe with places to find agency models that are pretty much guaranteed to show up and do a good job. It may cost you money but if you plan to submit your editorial to a respectable magazine, it’ll be worth it. They’ll also have a good selection of models for you to choose from so you find the perfect collaborator for your idea.

Assemble A Team You Can Trust

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By “a team you can trust” we mean people who have proven their talent and are responsible enough to commit to your project and follow through. While your good friend might say they’re amazing at makeup, we recommend connecting with someone who has professional-level experience. The same goes for the other two important people you’ll need to work alongside your makeup artist: a clothing wardrobe stylist and a hair stylist.

If you think you can also handle one of these tasks yourself, fantastic. In fact, this might be necessary for newcomers who don’t have enough time in the field or networking under their belt to know a lot of people in the industry.

Perhaps one of the most important qualifications when considering potential teammates is that they are excited about your project. They should be just as invested in the shoot as you are. That way, the work has a real chance to shine.

Find A Good Location

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You have your team, your idea, and your model. If you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to start considering the best locations for your shoot. No matter how fantastic your model and clothing look, a good or bad location can make all the difference.

Outdoor shoots are usually a bit easier since most places have no restrictions — though, depending on where you are, you may still need a permit to hold a photo shoot in a public place. Most indoor places such as a church or mansion require permission, and you’ll need to shoot an email or file a permit to square away your location beforehand. You might even find a great local venue that lets you shoot there for free.

Take A Deep Breath And Shoot!

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Once the date you set for your shoot has arrived don’t worry if you’re suddenly a combination of nervous, stressed, and excited. Our advice is that you take a moment to relax yourself and remember that this is your shoot, so have some fun and remember what you know about portrait photography! Remember that many shoots don’t go exactly as planned, and that’s OK. Sometimes, the hiccups and challenges on the day can lead to new ideas and great images.

Instead of panicking, just work with what you have and try to enjoy the process. Whether everything goes as planned or you run into a bump or two, remember: It’s all about the clothes. Do what you can to keep your focus on the fashion.

Decide Where to Submit

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You probably already had a particular magazine or two in mind before you even started shooting. This is the best approach, since every magazine comes with its own style — which means they tend to select work whose aesthetic fits with theirs. Use the power of the internet to search for places that might be interested in picking up your work.

Lastly, be patient. Some photographers grow anxious when their first choice of magazines don’t agree to publish their work. The biggest mistake you can make is to give up and forget about your photos— or worse, show them off on social media. Magazines especially prefer their photos to be exclusive, put off tossing your work online and just keep sending them out until you find success. Fashion photography is full of challenges and rewards, so happy planning!

What are your favorite fashion photography tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate Fashion Week the Film-Lover’s Way

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New York Fashion Week is in full swing, which means fashion lovers all over are ready for their first look at anticipated trends and lines. Suspense and enthusiasm are high this year: Jimmy Choo celebrates their 20th anniversary; spring 2017 trends will be revealed from Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Prada, and more. Glitterati, designers, celebrities, and students will pour over livestreaming photos and press releases. Professionals and students alike can check up on everything from the hottest runway photos to valuable interviews with top editors and designers in the business. With a full week and a packed schedule for each day, there’s no shortage of things to watch this year.

Of course, movie fans also have plenty to be excited about as the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival also launches in early September. Filmmakers and actors will be looking to make a name for themselves by showing off the projects they’ve been hard at work on. The festival also has plenty of star power as well, including movies featuring some of the best actors and actresses of today.

What better way to participate and celebrate the spirit of both these high-profile, taste-making events than with a list of excellent films that both champion and reveal the world of high fashion? Since we’re in the spirit of both fashion and filmmaking, we’ve created a round-up of movies that every fan of fashion and film should check out. Enjoy!

“The First Monday in May” (2016)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art curated its most-attended fashion gala ever with “China: Through the Looking Glass,” spearheaded by Anna Wintour. This documentary directed by Andrew Rossi offers intoxicating behind-the-scenes access. Viewers are transported to a rarified world, and it’s easy to see why “The First Monday in May” became an instant audience favorite. Passions clash and mingle between the elite of two separate but inextricably linked worlds: fashion and art.

“The September Issue” (2009)

This acclaimed documentary film gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and drama that come with producing a big fashion magazine. “The September Issue” focuses on editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and her crew as they scramble to produce the September 2007 issue of American Vogue magazine, the most important issue of the year.

A good number of renowned designers, models, and photographers from the fashion magazine world appear, including Coco Rocha, Patrick Demarchelier, John Charles Galliano, and more. The highlight of the film is the clashing yet symbiotic relationship between Grace Coddington, a model-turned-director, and the aggressive Anna Wintour.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)

Despite releasing more than 50 years ago, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” continues to be regarded as one of the best fashion movies ever made. This beloved film stars the iconic Audrey Hepburn as an eccentric socialite obsessed with living a life of glamor and wealth.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” won two Academy Awards, had three nominations, and is worth watching for Hepburn’s outfits alone. Many of them set fashion trends that continue to this day, including her use of a little black dress for formal events.

“Prêt-à-Porter” (1994)

If you’re in the mood for a humorous take on the Parisian fashion industry and enjoy seeing the comical side of major film stars, “Prêt-à-Porter” (Ready to Wear) is a great choice. This satirical comedy film was shot during Paris Fashion Week and features an impressive number of international stars, designers, and models.

Although this film was actually a box office bomb, it’s worth checking out just for the star-studded cast alone. Starring roles and celebrity cameo appearances include Julia Roberts, Naomi Campbell, Rupert Everett, Cher, Sophia Loren, Christy Turlington, Marcello Mastroianni, Linda Evangelista, and dozens more. Of course, “Prêt-à-Porter” is probably best known for a famous catwalk scene that features several minutes of nude female models.

“The Devil Wears Prada” (2006)

David Frankel’s comedy drama starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway is arguably one of the most popular fashion movies of the last decade. The film, which is an adaptation of a book with the same name, tells the story of a naive fashion intern (Hathaway) trying to break into the New York fashion industry scene as the co-assistant of Miranda Priestly (Streep), an influential fashion magazine editor.

“The Devil Wears Prada” is a nod to the challenges that come with working in the fashion world, including the career hurdles, demands, and difficult people you might encounter. Streep’s character, a cruel and unrelenting fashion boss, is widely believed to be inspired by Anna Wintour, an icon in the fashion world known for her demanding personality.

“Confessions of a Shopaholic” (2009)

Based on Sophie Kinsella’s “Shopaholic” novels, this romantic comedy stars Isla Fisher as a shopaholic journalist and Hugh Dancy as her boss. Dancy’s character hires the young journalist and shopping addict to write columns in his magazine Successful Savings, which she does with instant success. However, to keep up her facade as a financial guru she must hide the fact that she is herself a compulsive shopper in massive debt.

“Confessions of a Shopaholic” is not meant to be an epic love story or profound look at the fashion magazine industry. Instead, it’s simply a charming movie that features all the dreamy fashion and aspirational moments you could ask for.

Let us know your favorite fashion films or fashion week moments in the comments below!