From runways to routines, there is a lot that goes into being a model at N.C. Central University. Modeling troupes are performance-based organizations that take talent, determination, tact, and especially leadership.
The bar is set high and “only the fittest survive” is a mantra that embodies the “fashion and modeling culture” at NCCU.
This is especially true for modeling and fashion troupe, de Haute Allure F&M.
de Haute Allure F&M, commonly referred to as dHA, was started by models and NCCU alumni Christopher Melvin, Nia Sutton, Shambre Tillman, and Ashlee Hayes on April 12, 2012 under the name “Paradise.” It was later renamed dHA.
The fashion and modeling troupe not only serves as a source of entertainment for fellow students; but also serves as an opportunity for members to be molded into strong leaders.
There are a multitude of leadership roles within the organization. Each year the troupe recruits a president, vice president, head coordinator, assistant coordinator, head stylist, and business manager to fill executive board positions.
They also recruit general body members to act as the community service chair, and the bonding chair, who is in charge of planning and hosting group events).
It is because of the hard-working students who continuously take on the responsibility of leadership that de Haute Allure has been able to withstand the test of times; as they have been on the yard for almost a decade.
“I was inspired (to run for president) by past presidents who saw something in me. I was also motivated to keep the tradition (and) legacy alive, that way incoming freshman can have the experience I did,” said dHA president Columbus Hinson. “I felt like it was the right position for me. I love this organization and my team members so much and it thrills me to see them enjoy the troupe so far.”
Taking charge and demanding respect from fellow cohorts is not something that comes without trials and tribulations.
“You also have to learn communication and how to see both sides of situations. Being a leader is also being willing to be a teacher and to be taught,” Hinson explained, “It takes patience.” de Haute Allure is a well known performance-based student organization on campus. Their presence on campus brings in an average of 25-30 applicants a semester with about 15-20 becoming general body members after intake and boot camp.
“Another challenge is dealing with 30 plus people. It can be very hard teaching and stretching myself thin for such a big troupe like how we have” dHA Head Coordinator Brytanni Bowden admitted. “I learned that everybody has a different learning curve and that not everybody catches on to everything as fast as I can. It definitely taught me patience.”
However, despite the challenges nothing has stopped Hinson nor Bowden from keeping the dHA legacy alive. “Whether we have 12 people or 236 people, dHA will ALWAYS remain on top…only the fittest survive” Hinson said.
For those students who choose to stay in the organization throughout their college career de Haute Allure is an experience that they will not soon forget.
“From the practices, meetings, retreats, arguments, late nights and laughs. Of course some of these things are annoying at first, but looking back on them makes the journey even better,” Male Coordinator Nijel Hawley-Newkirk said about his time in de Haute Allure.