An empowering modeling experience with personal development to become a better version of yourself.
Deviating from industry conventions and stereotypes, HK Model Camp (HKMC), a platform for modeling training and services, promotes self-acceptance and believes that everyone should be acknowledged.
Founded by French model Lucie Petit, HKMC hopes to provide everyone with an empowering opportunity to express themselves creatively and boost their self-esteem and confidence, regardless of who they are and what their body size is. In a tête-à-tête with Petit, we learned about Petit’s entrepreneurial journey, the hurdles she encountered and what the future holds for the HKMC.
Taking the plunge to become an entrepreneur
At the age of 15, Petit began modeling as a hobby. Upon graduating with a Bachelor degree in arts, languages and international business, she became a full-time model. When she was 20, she flew to Hong Kong for her first international contract. Having modeled for over 10 years with 30 global designer labels, including Armani, Kate Spade and Hugo Boss, Petit has gained extensive modeling skills and experience that she wants to share with aspiring models. Petit also closely worked with Kevin Carrigan during his tenure as Calvin Klein’s Global Creative Director and presented the Victoria’s Secret Fall 2020 collection.
In 2019, Petit decided to start a YouTube channel to pass on these skills and stories to the next generations who are interested in the industry. “Avid to engage with the community, I was answering all their [her viewers] questions and sometimes organizing live video conferences for a more personalized experience. Across the different questions and conversations, I’ve realized the need to build confidence and self-esteem among them to believe in themselves before asking someone else to,” she recalled.
In a world where social media and society regularly promote erroneous and unattainable beauty standards, Lucie feels that today’s youth is under pressure to conform, to be pretty and “perfect”. “These [modeling skills she teaches] are fundamental skills not only for aspiring models but for anyone growing up and eventually encountering self-doubts along their journey,” said Petit. “That’s what made me want to start HK Model Camp a year later, an empowering modeling experience with personal development to become a better version of yourself.”
To set HKMC apart from other businesses in the industry, Petit made observations of potential competitors in the market. For example, there are talent schools that train young models, but they may have no experience in the creative business; as for photo studios, they mostly only offer photoshoots but not proper modeling training.
“We set ourselves apart by offering a higher level of education with personal development through fun, unique and valuable experiences, accessible to everyone,” Lucie stated.
Overcoming the hurdles
It hasn’t been an easy journey to promote HKMC and its services in the midst of Covid-19. One of the greatest technical challenges was switching to online platforms and developing impersonal programs locally.
Another challenge facing Petit’s work is the myth around modeling that one has to have a flawless body and beautiful face to become a model. “While acting and dance classes are popular, modeling classes seem to appear too ambitious to some, although it doesn’t mean they would have to turn it into a career,” said Petit. “We want to democratize this mystic profession to make it more accessible,” she expounded. “Getting them to understand this new concept (of modeling), as well as fighting the bad image and clichés some might have about the modeling industry have been some of the biggest challenges.”
Lucie also continues to work as a professional model, which adds to the challenges facing her entrepreneurial journey.
The team behind HKMC
HKMC currently solely works with independent contractors when they look for photographers, videographers, makeup and hair stylists, wardrobe stylists, retouchers and assistants. “Although different projects require different people, we like to work with the same team as much as possible to develop better relationships,” Lucie explained.
“I believe the core of having an enthusiastic team is to listen, understand and respect one another while working in a fun atmosphere,” she stated when asked how she keeps her team moving with enthusiasm. “Empathy and kindness are underestimated values necessary to keep a team passionate.”
What the future holds for HKMC
When asked about HKMC’s future plans, Petit explained, “We will be looking into embracing imperfections that make us human and seeking live experiences over the digital world.”
HKMC is seeking partnership opportunities with membership clubs and school partners as well as planning on creating new channels to reach out to anyone who is passionate about the industry.
Petit is also aware of the challenges accompanying technological developments in the fashion industry. Some may think the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer-generated imagery (CGI) models, such as Shudu Gram or Miquela Sousa, is the end of fitting and e-commerce modeling. However, Petit believes the modeling industry will revert to seeking authenticity in the long run.
Over time, the modeling industry and beauty standards have evolved and continue to change. “Fashion is all about following trends, and customers are the ones dictating the trends. The Black Lives Matter movement, for example, had a huge impact on how people view racism.” Petit thinks that beauty standards will develop from what we know now to include not just a larger range of origins, but also shapes, sizes, ages and impairments, leading to a much more diverse and inclusive market globally.
Petit’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
“It [business] may not always be the way we want it to be, but we have to learn to constantly adapt, pivot and find new ways to make it work,” she remarked. “Also, learning to be more patient is very important.”
As for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to build their teams, Petit has a piece of advice. “Find individuals that share your values, align with your beliefs, yet complement your strengths with their own.”
Header image courtesy of HK Model Camp