By  on February 2, 1994

NEW YORK -- Some 250 students from eight junior high schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx attended a day-long program at the Fashion Institute of Technology to learn about job opportunities in fashion-related fields.

The main message of the "Focus on Fashion" program from speakers in such fields as design, promotion, visual display and styling was that with desire and tenacity, anything was possible.

The program, held last month, also featured video presentations and a fashion show with clothing from Benetton, The Gap, Levi Strauss and Phat Farm, among others.

Cynthia Carter, a fashion entertainment producer and FIT alumna, put together the program to show junior high school students the opportunities in the fashion industry.

Those who told how they got into various facets of the business included Susan Portnoy, director of public relations at Nicole Miller; Jade Hobson Charnin, executive creative director at Mirabella magazine; Harriet Cole, fashion editor at Essence magazine, and Harry Medina, window director at Bloomingdale's.

Audrey Smaltz, owner of The Ground Crew, which produces fashion shows, recalled how she grew up in Harlem, became a model, a dresser and, finally, opened her own company.

While some of the students asked how to get internships, many more seemed fascinated by the modeling business. Speakers were barraged with such questions as, "How tall does a model have to be?", "How much does a model have to weigh?" and "How much do models get paid?"

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