On Thursday, August 13th, Kathleen Gonzalez (Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week’s Director of Modeling and a new Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum Board member), will be moderating a conversation with:

-Renée Mittelstaedt (Founder of The Pivot NY)

-Elizabeth Peyton-Jones (Founder of Responsible Trust For Models)

-Dr. Sundran Rajendra (Director of Research for the Responsible Trust for Models).

The panel will discuss ways in which models can develop their craft and reach their career goals during COVID-19. The panel will also address important COVID-19 guidelines for models and discuss ways that they can ensure their own safety and health during this pandemic.

A Q&A session will be held at the end of the discussion for current and aspiring models! Feel free to email any questions that you would like to ask to modelnwafw@gmail.com or send us a DM via our Facebook page or our Instagram account: @arkansasartsfashionforum.

Kathleen Gonzalez is a native Californian who was raised in Mexico and returned to the United State to attend school at the University of Arkansas in 2007. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with her BA in Architecture Studies in 2011. In 2018 she received her Master’s In Business Administration from John Brown University in Siloam Springs. She has been a part of the NWAFW family since 2013 where she began as a model.

Kathleen is currently participating in her current role as Director of Modeling for NWAFW where she trains and coaches models on the runway and editorials. She lives in Bentonville with her son, Christopher, and works for The Coca-Cola Company and Data Analyst. She is also currently serving on The University of Arkansas Alumni Board of Directors.

Elizabeth Peyton-Jones is passionate about changing people’s perceptions of healthy eating. After two decades of working one-to-one with clients, she’s seen first-hand how changing the food people eat can revitalize health, energy levels, and wellbeing. Starting small from her London clinic, Elizabeth went global with her company EPJHealth and now works to find life-changing solutions for people’s health-related problems through lecturing, writing, consulting, and broadcasting on food, health, cooking, and lifestyle. Her two books, Cook Yourself Young and Eat Yourself Young, were translated into 7 languages and are still relevant today.

During her time as a consultant and food/health author, Elizabeth was approached by the British Fashion Council to create a diet for models. Being mindful that the question of size zero, skinny models, and death on the catwalk had all been raised in the media a few years before, Elizabeth endeavored to explore the reasons why, before attempting to create the perfect ‘model’ diet. Elizabeth’s findings were startling and led to her current role as CEO and Founder of the Responsible Trust for Models (RTM). This entity is responsible for ensuring best practices in the industry, introducing a code of conduct and behavior with model agencies, and ensuring more responsibility is taken by the Brands who employ the models. RTM is also curating a curriculum with a number of fashion schools globally which will empower aspiring young models, encourage their self-esteem, and educate and prepare them for the career that lies ahead.

Dr. Sundran Rajendra is the Director of Research for the Responsible Trust for Models. For the last six months, he has been heading RTM’s Brighter Future industry consultation on how to make modeling safer and more sustainable.

Before joining RTM at the start of this year, Sundran spent twenty years working in human resources, business development, and consulting for the global management consultancy, McKinsey and Company in Australia, Asia, and Europe. Over that time, he trained and coached hundreds of colleagues and clients at all stages of their careers as well as analyzed dozens of different companies and industries.

Sundran started work as a research scientist in Australia, after completing a BSc in Physiology and a Doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of New South Wales. His not-for-profit contributions include modernizing Age UK as head of its organization’s development and helping reform the UK’s domestic abuse sector through national standards and training as a trustee for Safelives.

Sundran, his wife, Jill, and their Golden Retriever, Charlie, live in Hastings on the southeast English coast.

Renée Mittelstaedt is a Canadian model based in New York City. Over the course of her decade-long modeling career, she’s worked with major brands like Nike, Aerie, GStar, Target, and many more. Between catching flights and shooting campaigns, Renée also studied at McGill University and graduated with a BA in sociology and communications in 2016.

After graduating, she moved to New York City to model full-time and continued to find ways to pursue her passions beyond modeling. She quickly learned that finding flexible work opportunities was difficult and there were next to no resources to guide models along their career journey and prepare them for their pivot. In 2019, she launched The Pivot with the hope of encouraging models to step out of their comfort zone, start getting real about their future, and pursue their interests beyond modeling. Born out of necessity, The Pivot is her way of ensuring career security for all models and multi-hyphenates.