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Friday Feature: Cameron Meredith and the New Fashion Industry Model(s)

By Nikki Kroushl on March 16, 2018

Cameron & MMG models and staff in New York City.
Meredith (back row, second from left) with the MMG team that attended 2018's New York Fashion Week. Photo via Lindy Schoenborn.

Last time the CIE featured Cameron Meredith was in October 2016, just a handful of months after he launched ReMarkable, a marker recycling startup, and Meredith Media Group, a collection of models, photographers, hair and makeup stylists, and designers unique for its all-in-one approach.

Now, Meredith is set to graduate from UNCW’s conflict management and resolution masters program in May. He’s temporarily halted work with ReMarkable to focus on Meredith Media Group, which has in 1.5 years attended 3 New York Fashion Weeks, published 3 spreads in fashion magazines, and grown to a cast of 40 models—plus other entertainment professionals.

The first chance to go to New York Fashion Week was hectic. “Headaches and chaos,” he says. “It was busy, but worth it. We got to meet a lot of cool people in the industry.”

During the most recent spring Fashion Week, Meredith had the chance to visit NYFW headquarters and branch into the role of stylist. Meredith will direct a show in New York in September for one of the designers MMG worked with.

Models wait in hair & makeup.
MMG models waiting during the most recent Fashion Week escapade. Via Cameron Meredith. 

New York Fashion Week has also helped a lot with exposure. MMG now has clients up the east coast, ranging from South Carolina to New York. The company recently wrapped a photoshoot with Helzberg Diamonds, the second-largest diamond company in the world.

But not every deal pans out. Meredith describes how he went back and forth for months with representatives from a large jewelry company for a  commercial shoot, only for the corporate office to decide MMG’s models weren’t their ideal fit.

“Four girls missed out on a big opportunity and pay,” Meredith says. “But that’s part of the industry. I’m still friends with the commercial director. It’s no hard feelings, because it wasn’t his call.”

This is one of the biggest lessons the entertainment industry has taught him: “Don’t take anything personal,” he says. “I never did before, but now even more. Everything happens for a reason. One setback doesn’t tank the entire growth.”

That dogged determination has led Meredith through his long path in the industry. He began as a model himself—the vice president of his high school’s modeling group. After his military service, he picked it back up at UNCW and was even invited to direct models for the former Wilmington Fashion Week from 2013-2015.

Meredith’s experience on the model side of the industry makes Meredith Media Group uniquely focused on the models themselves. First of all, MMG doesn’t seek out “pretty” models—they seek people who are “unique.”

“You have to be different and you have to have a great personality,” Meredith says, “because designers don’t want to work with people who have bad personalities.”

Meredith snaps a photo of a model in hair & makeup.
Meredith snaps a photo of one model in hair & makeup. Via Cameron Meredith. 

Their payment structure differs, too. While most agencies charge models for hair, makeup, and travel, MMG bills clients directly. “I want our relationship with our models to be personal, more involved,” Meredith explains. “I don’t want them to be just a number.”

After his May graduation, Meredith plans to move to New York City to better position Meredith Media Group for growth. He’ll also be leaving his graduate assistant position with the CIE—which will miss him dearly.

“The CIE has helped promote the growth of the company by connecting me with [press],” Meredith adds. “They provided the space—so I can hold meetings and use conference rooms. And they definitely helped me hone in on how to network and talk to people.”

The people are at the center of it all.

“I’m very personal,” Meredith says. “I like meeting people and talking to them. I’ve met all the designers we work with. It’s been genuine—there’s no secrets. I like seeing people grow.”

Especially the models. “As they grow, we’ll grow,” he explains. “We want them to succeed.”

"Working with MMG has been great for helping me learn and grow as a fashion and portrait photographer," adds Lindy Schoenborn, a team photographer who has begun to dip her toes into modeling, too. "Collaborating with the people in the company builds everyone's portfolio and gives us modeling and photography experience before working with clients. Going to New York Fashion Week was inspiring to me because I want to work in the fashion world and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to experience it firsthand," she adds.

Several of MMG’s models have little experience when they join. Many headed to New York Fashion Week as relative novices.

“For them, it’s kind of like they’re living a dream. It’s surreal,” Meredith says. “They’ll talk about seeing all the models and how beautiful, tall, gorgeous they are… and it hits them that they’re one of those models. I like that aspect. And it’s a journey. A lot of them are discovering themselves.”

You can follow Meredith Media Group on Instagram at @meredith.mediagroup.

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