Category Archives: Experts

New spring beauty editorial for Ellements Magazine

Photography by Allana Wesley White

Hair and makeup by Marjo-riitta

Ellements Magazine

My new website for 2016 is LIVE!

I have been working on a new layout and added lots of new productions to start the new year off in a fresh direction.  Come check it out!  xo Allana

My new cover for Circus Magazine

‘Tis the season!  Beautiful Hannah is a tween model on the rise, working for Geox, Esprit, Next Directory, just to name a few.  Love those freckles on this natural beauty!

Photography by Allana Wesley White

Hair and makeup by Colleen Stone of Blush and Beyond

Styling by Laura Taylor

Model is Hannah from Soleil Kids

Let’s Celebrate!

I want to wish you all very happy holidays and a wonderful new year!  Let’s celebrate families, however they come to be “family”, and what that means to each of us.  

All my best wishes to you and yours; xo  Allana

Photography by Allana Wesley White

Hair and makeup by Colleen Stone of Blush and Beyond

Styling by Laura Taylor

Gowns and skirt by Swedroe by Ariel

Models are twins Price and Wesley with Elite Models Miami,  Alecsa and Dylan with MP Mega Model Management Miami, and twins Kylie and Hannah with Soleil Kids.  And sweet Fina, the giant schnauzer.

Fashion’s top summer must-reads:

If you are like me, you have found most of your spare time occupied with Pinterest or your       Instagram feed, neglecting the wonderful thrill of opening an actual book – yes – an actual book – and reading it. This past month I have taken advantage of the early morning light, getting up at six am to read on my balcony with a cup of tea.  I end up starting my work day relaxed and focused rather than distracted. Win!

On my list of summer must-reads are three biographies and one novel centered around the world of fashion, filled with glamour, personalities, and backstories, not to mention politics. I can’t put them down!

Grace: A Memoir, by the legendary Creative Director of Vogue Magazine, Grace Coddington. Talk about a fashion industry history lesson from a front row seat!

My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine, by former Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar Editor and stylist, Kate Betts.  Paris, fashion, NYC, true-life tales. Who could ask for more in a summer read?

The Knockoff:  A Novel, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza,  is the story of a fictional editor of a fashion magazine frantically tackling the game-changing world of social media and business technology while trying to protect her job and position from younger, more tech-savvy recent graduates population the office.

Leave Your Mark: Land Your dream Job. Kill It In Your Career.  Rock Social Media, by Aliza Licht, Global Fashion Communications Executive and twitter star of DKNY PR Girl (@DKNY). Aliza is the mentor you have always needed, not just for PR career advice but for maximizing your potential in the world of social media to grow your own personal brand – you!

Do you have any other summer-reading suggestions along these lines?  Please share!


All books available at


Claudia Albons gets sporty in Triangl Swimwear


Recently I shot with gorgeous, multi-talented Claudia Albons, European blogger/DJ/model/brand ambassador/fashion and beauty editor.  I don’t know how she finds the time to stay in such great shape!

If you haven’t already checked out her blog, you don’t want to miss it:  It is filled with style, travel, music, beauty reviews, and festivals. She is definitely one to watch!

Bikini Poppy – Blue Crush by Triangl Swimwear 




Industry Insights with Kids Model and Actor Management “Taylor Made Talent”

So many parents dream of breaking into the modeling and acting industry with their little ones and teenagers, believing that their kid is the cutest, funniest, hammiest, most talented child around.  Being informed about the business and understanding the various markets for child acting and modeling is vital.   You have to know what your goals are and be ready to deal with the realities of the business.  Aligning yourself with good representation and industry experts can make all the difference.

Taylor Made Talent headed by Meredith Blackwell, sat down with us to share her expertise of the business, particularly the South Florida market, for child models and actors.

How did Taylor Made Talent come about?

Taylor Made Talent came to be after managing my own children in the modeling/tv/film biz for more than a decade.   My daughter, Taylor, who is now 15 and who the company was named for, started modeling as a baby and over the years, I learned the business from the ground up, making lots of silly mistakes along the way but always learning and evolving.

I decided to start my own management company because I wanted to help others get into the biz and teach them what I learned from my years of experience with my four children doing it.   I also think it’s important to have someone on your side who truly believes in you and will fight for you and help you get your foot in the door.   Looking back, I wish I had someone like me to help me navigate and figure things out because you WILL make mistakes and you WILL go through dry spells and it’s nice to have someone to encourage you and tell you to stick with it! 

The South Florida modeling industry uses kids from infancy to teens.   What age range do you represent?

I represent babies (typically 6 months and sitting on their own) all the way to teens.   Sometimes I will need a newborn but usually it’s better if the baby can sit independently.   Of course there are certain ages and sizes that work more than others so there will always be periods where you are super busy and then others where there’s not much work for you.  I always tell parents to enjoy and take advantage of the busy times because it could all come to a crashing halt         tomorrow.   When it’s slow, that’s the time to update your photos, or take some acting workshops and classes.   This business is always about growing as a model and an actor.   Whatever parents can do to help their kids is invaluable!  

There are so many model and actor kids in this market.   What type of kids do you look for to represent, who you think will stand out and find work?

I look for something special or unique, whether it be big blue eyes, or red hair and freckles, or a bi-racial child with light eyes and an amazing fro.   Just something special that stands out to me! Sometimes it’s their personality, sometimes it’s their look and often they have both!!   I think it’s important that the child has something that speaks to me, whether it is emotional or physical!    I usually know right away if I am interested in representing someone.   Obviously they have to have a nice smile and like taking pictures and have the personality for it.   You can have the cutest kid in the world but if they hate taking pictures or cry and get clingy every time they go to a casting, it’s not going to work and they probably aren’t suited for this business.   I also look at the parents because if they are not professional or don’t treat this like a business, I don’t want to work with them.   I will not work with stage parents, no matter how adorable the kid is!! 

Can you provide prospective models and actors a breakdown the South Florida modeling and acting industry?

The Miami market is very diverse.   We have clients coming from all over the world to shoot here.   Everything from European and American catalogs to editorial shoots for magazines and internet.  Because of our close proximity to the Orlando area, there are also jobs for theme parks, resorts and hotel chains, and even some tourism jobs that require travel to Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Mexico, etc. 

What kinds of bookings and castings can parents expect here?

I have been told by several photographers over the years that Miami has the most professional kids in the country and I think that’s because they work year round.   We have such beautiful beaches and parks and scenery that clients come from all over the world to shoot here.   Kids in the Miami market do a lot of print work for catalogs, web, in store posters, and also editorial work for magazines such as Vogue Bambini, Parenting, etc.   There are many European clients who come here to shoot their catalogs so it’s very common for kids to work for Italian clients, German clients, English, French, and others.   There are also a number of US companies like Walmart, Toys R Us, Carters, Target, etc., that repeatedly shoot here so it’s a nice balance.   There is also a lot of commercial work in Miami.   My models and actors have worked on SAG national commercials such as Royal Caribbean, Nintendo, Volkswagon, etc., and have also worked on smaller non-union projects.   There are also TV and film jobs.   Until recently, we had several television shows filming right here in Miami such as Burn Notice, The Glades, Charlie’s Angels and Magic City.   We are lucky that we still have Graceland and a new Netflix series shooting here, so hopefully those will bring more opportunities for my child actors.   In the fall, we had several local kids work for the feature film Dolphin Tale 2 which comes out in Sept.   That was a lot of fun!   Hopefully the state of Florida will give more film incentives that will draw more big feature films like that to our area.

Typically, how long does it take for a “new face” to get going as a model or actor?

That depends: some kids are lucky and book the very first casting they go on, but for others it takes time.   It is not unusual for a child to go on ten auditions before they book something.         I always tell people to be patient and just enjoy the ride, and it will happen for them if they are determined, dedicated and devoted to their craft.   You really get what you put into it.   If you don’t get professional pictures done, and you don’t go to any castings and you just sit around and wait for the jobs to come to you, you won’t be successful in this business.   You need to take the initiative and make things happen.   The “new faces” that understand that and realize that investing in nice photos or spending that gas money to audition will only benefit you in the long run, are the ones who are successful. 

What advice can you give to parents in pursuing both print, and tv/film work?

Again, that depends on the kid.   I have some kids who are strictly print and others who are strictly TV, and some are lucky that they can do both.   It really depends on their personality and their goals.   Some kids are shy but take beautiful photos so they might not have that larger than life personality to be able to book TV commercials and film.   And some of my TV kids are character actors who love to act and have no interest in modeling.   Each kid is different so I try to cater to their needs and wants and see where they might fit into the biz. 

Where can we see Taylor Made Talent kids appearing?

Everywhere from the movie Dolphin Tale 2 which will be in theaters in September, to all sorts of national commercials for companies like Royal Caribbean, Nike, EpiPen, Volkswagon, catalogs such as Chasing Fireflies, Carters, Next Directory, Walmart, Toys R Us, and JCPenney newspaper inserts and mailers.  Also magazines like Vogue Bambini and Grazia, to several web series that will be debuting on you tube this summer, to student and independent films.   As you can see, there are so many opportunities in South Florida and really something for everyone! 

For all the Taylor Made Talent booking news, please follow my Facebook page called Taylor Made Talent.   I am so proud of all my kids and am always posting their exciting bookings for everyone to see!   Regardless of whether or not they book, I am super proud of each kid that I manage for their professionalism and dedication to this very competitive business.   The most important thing to me is that the kids have fun and put away a little money for college, and if I can make that happen, then I feel I have done a good job!! 


Meredith Blackwell and her family, living the South Florida lifestyle.

For instructions on submitting your child for consideration see the website:  Taylor Made Talent 

Follow Taylor Made Talent on Facebook to see recent campaigns and work from their models and actors.

Celebrity Makeup Artist Edward Cruz: the man behind the makeup



Let’s face it: it is fun to have your makeup done by someone else.  Even more fun if he is as sweet and adorable and talented as Edward Cruz, celebrity makeup artist and former male     supermodel.  I first met Edward when we were neighbors and since then I have watched him sky-rocket from top male model to one of the most talented and in-demand makeup artists       today.  Edward has a sensitive eye for beauty and is able to create looks that are both exciting but wearable at the same time.  One day he will be creating a completely original look for a fashion editorial, and the next he will be doing the personal makeup of Anna Wintour, or Tyson Beckford for the Oscars.  Whether he is on set for an editorial or advertising, collaborating with such mega-brands as Shiseido, or working with the stars of Hollywood, music, or fashion,       Edward’s special knack for creating flawless skin and dreamy looks is unmistakeable.  Apart from all his talent and skill, he is just simply a nice guy with a great sense of humor, an equally developed sense of himself and his work, and – ahem – very easy on the eyes.  What’s not to love?


1) How did you transition into makeup artistry?

Not many people know this, but when I was 17 in San Francisco, I landed my first makeup dream job, at M•A•C Cosmetics (which stood for Makeup Art Cosmetics) (not many people know that either).  I was the only kid in the world working for the company; it was against the law,   because I left high school to work full time for the company without a work permit. Actually,   authorities found out and blocked me from working until I produced a work permit or I turned 18…     Luckily, management liked me and held my job until I actually was 18.
Later on that year, I moved to NYC, where I worked at the legendary Christopher Street M•A•C shop.   It was amazing.   Makeup royals like Kevin Aucoin, Billy B, Pat McGrath, and celebrity       locals like Debbie Harry and Linda Evangelista would come in and shop.   I was 18, living in NYC, always exploring, and no matter what part of town I was in, someone would offer me a           business card or inquire if I was a model and/or who represented me.   I would just smile and blush; I didn’t take anybody who approached me like that seriously until one day when I was on working on set and the hired Ford male models were sent home and I was dressed and shot in their place.   My modeling career was born – I teamed up with a modeling agency and began a career that kept me busy globally for ten solid years. 

Now, to get back to the transition question; I was approaching my 30th birthday and decided that I wanted to take hold on the reins of my life and time.   As a model, I was at the mercy of my agents, who were working hard for me year round, and all over the world.   It was truly a wonderful career, but I wanted to have something that I could personally navigate and have more say on.   So I dusted off my makeup books from the late 90’s and searched for an agent that would represent me as an artist rather than a model.   I reached out to every art director, photographer and artist that I was friendly with, so I could get out the word that I was changing my career.  In the beginning it wasn’t very easy, as most of these people didn’t believe that I would be going behind the scenes after ten years of modeling, but within a few months of     consciously deciding that this is what I was going to do, and not doing anything else, the people that didn’t believe it, began to understand that I as serious.   I teamed up with a makeup agent and the ball began to roll.

2) Who or what inspires you, from the past or present?

I especially love my parents for the dedication they put into their children’s well being, because that taught me to stay resilient and work hard.
I have great appreciation for the Christian & Jewish education I received growing up, for that taught me to be courteous, kind, and a humanitarian.
Creatively though, I am inspired by nature and what I see when I travel.  Most of all, I pay         attention to my intuition and I don’t ignore my feelings.

3) What is “beauty” to you?

I like good manners and people that genuinely love what they do – I believe that goodness comes from authenticity and to me there is nothing more beautiful than that. 

4) Favorite shoot – location, photographer, model:

My favorite shoot is in a studio that has a view, with a photographer that encourages me to do my work, and a model that is a good story teller. 

5) Studio or location? Which do you prefer?

Studio in New York City, but in other parts of the world, I would prefer one day in the studio   because they’re all managed differently, and a day outside on the town or in the wilderness.

6) Favorite makeup trend for spring 2014:

Lip Stains and Face & Eye Brighteners. 

7) Best skin-prep product:

Good moisturizer – I prefer a rich cream.  Go for the well formulated ones like Shiseido, La Prairie or Cle De Peau. 

8) Product you can’t do without for photos:

Alcohol in a spray bottle. I disinfect everything I use on a celeb or model. 

9) Tip or trick we can all use to look better in photos:

Eye Brighteners – they are amazing!  YSL, Shiseido and Dior have the best!

Follow Edward online to see his updates, news and amazing images:

Twitter  @EdwardCruz212 

Instagram @EdwardCruz212

Facebook   Edward Cruz Beauty


#shhhhh Revealing Superstar Photographer Ben Watts


You have seen his work everywhere and you know it immediately.  It’s colorful, vibrant,               energetic, and alive.  Everyone is having a great time and being themselves.  They are natural and moving, and no one is posed.  Models, athletes, celebrities, models and musicians alike are moving, laughing, dancing, and smiling – all for superstar photographer Ben Watts.  Who else could get these stars of fashion, music and Hollywood, to be so relaxed and spontaneous?  It is a cool and colorful world, and everyone wants to be a part of it.

But how do you go from being a graphics design student in Australia to one of the most           in-demand photographers in the world?  Ben did not grow up with a camera in his hand, and it never occurred to him to actually take pictures until he took photography as an elective in school.  Initially attracted to music, he worked with many different artists until his work got the attention of the fashion world.  Along the way, personal projects became published books, like “Lickshot” and “Big Up”, and gallery exhibitions.  It all sprang from his passion for shooting things he loved, such as American hip hop and youth culture.  An original style and vision has made Ben’s work transcend photography trends and rather than trying to fit a genre of           photography, he created his own style, equally fitting to the music world as to Hollywood and fashion.

In Ben’s universe everyone is young and fit and hot and sexy, and enjoying every second of life.  Jamie Foxx, Hugh Jackman, Sofia Vargara, Robin Thicke, Katy Perry, Usher, Selena Gomez, Robin Pattinson, Bradley Cooper, Christina Hendricks, ASAP Rocky, for GQ, Billboard, Vanity Fair, In Style, Vibe, and Glamour Magazines, not to mention a constellation of angels for Victoria’s           Secret, and supermodels for Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition.

Flying from one side of the country to the other almost weekly, going from studio to beach in the blink of an eye, shooting a catalogue one day and an athlete the next, requires focus,         versatility, and a true passion for the work.  Ben’s photography is full on hot and relevant and now.  Everyone is beautiful, sexy, living the life and having a good time doing it.

Your images are known for their exuberance and spirit.  How do you keep everyone’s energy up  while shooting?

Music works, and humor.  I choose a soundtrack that fits the spirit of the shoot, and that sets the mood.  Humor gets everyone laughing and having fun.  I am an energetic person.  I hate stopping and starting – it breaks the flow of things.  I like to have a snowball effect, to keep things moving and energized.  There will be more authenticity of the subjects in the photos if you don’t break the flow.  Just keep things rolling.

What are the some of the greatest influences on your photography?

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Larry Clark, even Stanley Kubrick movies.   You might not see these influences in my actual work but they inform my photography on a sub-concious level.  Travel and life experiences are irreplaceable too.

Location or studio:

Both, but for different reasons.  I love to travel but it is good to come home.  NYC is home and it is always good to be back with family and friends again.

Do you have an favorite after-shoot ritual?

It is important to thank everyone and to be courteous at the end of a shoot and if it has been a long production.  It’s good to enjoy the location and to celebrate everyone’s hard work. I like to exercise after working too – it rebalances me and helps keep my energy levels up, and clears my mind so I am ready for the next project.

#1 item you take when you travel for work:

Pack your personality!  Be interested – and interesting!

One thing most people don’t know about you:

I have my own rosé wine – I love a good rosé wine.

Follow Ben on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, to have a glimpse into his world:

Instagram   wattsupphoto

Twitter   @WattsUpPhoto

Facebook  Ben Watts Photo Inc

Creator of “Good Morning Gorgeous” Dale Smith Thomas

International motivational speaker, author, television personality, and creator of “Good Morning

Gorgeous” Dale Smith Thomas sat down with us to share her empowerment tips on making each day your best.

Dale pulls from her strong Mississippi roots to share a message of hope and empowerment. She is affectionately referred to as “The Hope Doctor” and her definition of hope is Helping Other People Excel.

Her life’s work has taken her all over the world but you may recognize her from one of her national television appearances. Because of her message and her work she has been a featured guest on The Dr. Phil Show, The Big Idea on CNBC, A documentary on the Travel Channel and she even hosted 2 of Hollywood’s most famous in her home for a Fox reality show, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

Dale is a former beauty queen and also operates a series of boot camps, including Boot Camp for Beauty Queens, Boot Camp for Business Women, and Boot Camp for Success, author of “Solo In the Spotlight” and soon to be released, “Good Morning Gorgeous.” Each week she shares ideas and thoughts of inspiration in her Motivational Monday. Everyone needs to regroup and recharge, and Dale is just the expert to help us focus and feel good about ourselves while we navigate through our personal and professional lives.

As a Motivational Speaker you teach “Life Principles”, around the world. If you could only share one piece of advice that you think is transformational what would it be?

The greatest “Life Principle” that I live by and teach is this…”It is my decisions not my conditions that determine my destiny.” There are so many times in our lives that we do not have “control” over our circumstances but we need to remind ourselves that we ALWAYS have control over how we react to those circumstances.  You always have control over your attitude.                         A positive attitude is a CHOICE not an emotion!

Tell me About Good Morning Gorgeous and your goal for both the campaign and the book?  

I started encouraging my audience members years ago to change how they start thier days. The most important conversations you have are the conversations you have with yourself. I think most people get out of bed and start complaining either about how they look or what they have to do that day. I challenge people to get up and look in the mirror (when you feel you look your worst) and say “Good Morning Gorgeous”. Regardless of what you see I think it will make you smile. I want people to remember that being “Gorgeous” starts from the inside out. If you have “gorgeous”, “joyful” spirit, it will radiate to your face. I then challenge people to say it to at least five people that day: “Good morning Gorgeous” or “Good morning Champ”. Pay it forward and make a difference in someone else’s day. The book “Good Morning Gorgeous” is just a guide to finding your “Gorgeousness” from the inside out. I also have a “Good Morning Gorgeous” Blog that you can check out through my site:

What is your advice to girls and women who struggle with their self esteem? 

  First of all I would say I KNOW how you feel. I was that shy, insecure, and very unconfident girl. I did not feel good about how I looked and I had no idea “who” I was as a teenager or young adult. I have learned the hard way that the first step to developing a positive, healthy self esteem is to stop comparing yourself to others.

We get in trouble when we compare ourselves to unrealistic comparisons. The greatest thing you can do to build your self-esteem is to get to know yourself, your strengths, your gifts, your talents. You are special and unique and you must learn to embrace that. Be AWESOME at being yourself! If you struggle with knowing and understanding what your gifts are, like I did, then I encourage you to start the journey to discover that. I have some ideas that worked for me and I am happy to share them. Log on to my website and email me and I will send them to you.

What are your personal tips for looking great and feeling great at any age? 

I laughingly tell everyone that I am the same age as Barbie and if you don’t know when Barbie was born you will have to look it up! The 1st key to looking great and feeling great starts between your ears and with your attitude. Your personal view of your age determines how you feel about it and how you react to it. I celebrated when I turned 50 instead of hiding from it.

I focused on all the blessings in my life. Remember that what you focus on gets bigger. I have a great attitude, I work out and try to eat right, and I have discovered ONE anti-aging secret that has changed my life. It is one product that I would NEVER live without again. I am happy to share it with you if you want to email through my website,

Do you have a personal “success” philosophy?

I do and it’s straight from Dr. Seuss: “Congratulations. Today is Your Day! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your won. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…. So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea. You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” * Dr. Seuss

Do you have any particular advice for those in the media and entertainment industry, to help them to maintain their self esteem and sense of self, despite the pressures placed on them to conform to a specific ideal? 

Never lose site of who “you” are. I think it is so easy when we are in the public eye to let someone else’s opinion of us become our reality. You have to get quiet and trust your inner voice. Being in the entertainment and media industry is not easy because everyone has an opinion.

Your inner voice must be the voice you trust the most, and if you don’t know who you are, what you stand for, and what your goals are then you can’t stand up for yourself. I encourage anyone that is taking that step out into the “public eye” to be so grounded in your values, your goals, and vision. If you have that foundation, no one can change you regardless of what they say.  

Connect with Dale:    Winners By Choice   Facebook  Twitter  Instagram