TALENT competitions are nothing new – Idols, The Voice, South Africa’s Got Talent are just a few local ones to name a few. But Elsubie Verlinden, founder of Just You Model and Artist Management, believes the competition she promotes, The International ARTS Talent Showcase (IATS), is something more.
“Most of the time these competitions are based on momentary thrills, with no long-term strategy in place to ensure continued success in the marketplace,” she explains.
“This is what sets the IATS apart from other contests. It’s not a competition but rather a platform allowing local artists international opportunities – its primary focus is on arts education.”
IATS is the South African leg of the Applause Rising Talent Showcase (ARTS), held annually in Orlando, Florida. It is part of Verlinden’s crusade to open doors for young South Africans to achieve more, learn more and experience more.
To do so she has teamed up with Kim Meyers to bring the showcase to the African continent.
“Ultimately it goes back to 1999 when I got selected to go to America to model but I was unable to go,” she says. But that setback proved only temporary and at the tender age of 16 she headed to Johannesburg to pursue a career in modelling.
“Later on I decided that I wanted to create opportunities, the kind of opportunities I had missed on, for other people.”
While on a visit to the United States in 2010, Verlinden was told to get in touch with Meyers because she offered the kind of platform the South African was looking for – the ARTS Convention in Florida, which is attended by managers, producers, casting agents from Asia, Europe and America.
A year later she convinced Meyers to come to South Africa to check out the abundant local talent. To-date Verlinden has managed to secure modelling contracts, 42 scholarships from The New York Academy with scholarships to the value of $570 000, auditions for Disney and Nickelodeon in Los Angeles.
Her models have also been booked for New York Fashion week and LA Fashion Week, collaborated with Jessie J in her latest music video and a featured performance with Taylor Swift in her video Bad Blood.
“More importantly, if they get to go to the convention they get to network internationally and attend workshops and seminars which will help them to succeed in this industry,” Verlinden said.
Around a dozen of those chosen to represent SA in America have returned to the country to share their experience with others, but another 42 are pursuing careers overseas in film, theatre and dance.
Among the many success stories is that of Durban youngster, Diolan Govender, whose career and love for the performing arts started at Northlands Primary School.
Diolan was invited to perform at The International ARTS Talent Showcase and where he met talent scout Kim Myers. He received a call-back in October 2013 and went on to attend the ARTS showcase in Orlando, Florida.
He received 12 call-backs from the likes of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon being the highest number of call-backs of the entire South African team.
The talented performer got the opportunity to perform with mega-stars Abbie Cobb and Matthew Scott Montgomery from Disney Channel’s So Random, Starstruck, 90210, Jonas LA, Good Luck Charlie, CSI and the blockbuster Mom’s Night Out.
Diolan also received a scholarship to The New York Film Academy and got four international awards ranging from Top 10 Dancing, Top 10 Improvisation, The ARTS Medal and The First for Television Commercial.
Asked what made Diolan so special, Verlinden said: “He is just 13 years old, but his independence is simply mindblowing. He will fly himself to Jo’burg to do castings and then back to Durban and school.
“He also does impeccable research and equips himself with so much knowledge. He has even written his own sitcom and is presenting it to the SABC. He just knows how to put himself out there.”
Those wanting to emulate Diolan can do so this weekend when Verlinden, in her capacity as regional director for ARTS in Africa, hosts auditions in Durban as part of a national tour to scout the best talent the country has to offer.
The lucky ones will get to attend the International ARTS Talent Showcase, where South African models, actors, singers and dancers get to audition in front of Meyers for the chance to attend the ARTS Convention in Florida.
NEED TO KNOW
The Durban auditions will take place on February 6 at the Playhouse in Durban. Registrationis at 8am.
Models wanting to audition need to bring their own clothes and comfy shoes and do a runway walk to show off their skills on the catwalk.
Actors need to prepare a 60 second monologue; while dancers can showcase any style in their 60 second slot – bring your own backing track. Singers should also prepare a 60 second piece with a backing tracking or instrument.
“This talent show is open to everyone whether they are four or 74. The industry is so diverse that you never know if someone will need a little red headed boy with freckles or a model with a gap in her teeth,” says Verlinden.
To enter contact director of admissions Elouise Janse van Rensburg on 011 039 2481 or email email@example.com.