Monday, January 26, 2015

What a Show..Yes Miss Universe.......

Yesterday, I watched the Miss Universe pageant held here in Doral, Florida, not Miami. It was quite the show, but this pageant ( Miss Universe) is always surrounded by some form of controversy; which is good for the ratings but the poor delegates are caught in the middle of it. One of controversies was the Selfie with Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon, and the other the ending decision between Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica.

So let’s do a deep dive into this, starting with the selection of the judges. Some from sports, DUH really? then some from the TV world, music and some from fashion. No one there besides Nina Garcia, could really judge. The boxer-Manny Pacquiao, we could not understand him because of his heavy accent, just the same Emilio Estefan, then a football player, two baseball players, another waste of talent (non MVP’s), the reality show Housewife- c’mon people, and again the only ones qualified were Nina and Louise Roe.

I don’t understand what happened, usually the judges, at least in the past, were rich in pageant history and/or past beauty queens were included as well.    

Moving on, the delegates. Now I am an American male of Hispanic descent but if I see ONE MORE Miss Venezuela win another title, I will boycott this pageant. There are 88 amazing women representing their countries, and it’s usually the same ones. I feel if that pageant does not call Venezuela there is no pageant, or is there more that we don’t know about?

I have accounts with ALL the social media sites; all I saw especially on Instagram were the pictures of the pageant, good for Miss Universe but too many of Venezuela.  I read today's Washington Post, CNN and a few other web posts, where they spoke about Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica and the whole fiasco.

That was some good shade! Last night on Instagram Miss Jamaica followers trashed Donald Trump and the pageant calling the pageant a Latin show. 

In all fairness to the pageant, go to your search engine and type in “Politics and Miss Universe” and read all the posts that pop up. Very interesting reading. Let’s move on to the questions and their answers.

None of the delegates, answered correctly. They did not listen to the questions, and I understand, that the heavy accents from some judges were brutal and confusing but the answers the delegates gave were simple and not too direct, I guess they knew “the real zinger” was going to be the online question so not much thought were put in their responses.

I loved the online question, it was amazing. It read, what is the greatest contribution of your country to the entire world?

Wow, I was sweating bullets, an even harder question than the one, I always ask pageant delegates. The ladies touched on some aspect of it but it was a tough question for 30 seconds. That question needs to be answered in an essay, lol.

In my opinion, this is where Miss Jamaica ran into trouble, AS THEY ALL DID but to say that Jamaica’s contribution to the world was Bob Marley and Usain Bolt, sounded cocky and it seemed she was boasting because of his music and Jamaica having the fastest man on the Earth, really?

An example, couldn’t she have said we have amazing people, jerk and beautiful beaches. She had several athletes as judges, who may have felt threatened by the world’s fastest man and Reggae is sometimes associated with weed and hippies, not good references.

My point, none of the girls answered correctly, they started on the right path but failed to deliver, not all the answers need to be philosophical; they can be funny too.

Miss Colombia, had the question regarding what can women take from men, that should have been funny, it could have broken the ice for the whole audience. Going back to greatest contribution, Miss Netherlands, started saying Amsterdam was tolerant but failed to make the final statement of that tolerance and where it laid.

Miss USA, OMG, USA has made so many contributions to the world, granted, it’s hard to pick just one but her answer was vague and general; pick one, an example, the declaration of independence-this means nothing to world but our principles are based on this declaration, hence providing a different view; the United Nations, Wall Street, McDonald’s, whatever it was and elaborate for a few seconds on how it changed the world. That would have been the guiding moment for her and USA.

The end of the pageant is approaching, the five ladies are on stage, the envelope is given to the host and all eyes are on the ladies; I made an earlier prediction on Instagram, this was before the final online question, MISS JAMAICA, despite me hating that she had short hair.

There’s a moment of silence, the suspense is killing me,  and he calls Fourth (4th) runner up…..Miss Jamaica, all stopped, the roar from the audience was overwhelming, which confirmed my earlier comment; her references did her in.

I knew Miss Jamaica wasn’t going to win but she could have been 2nd runner up after USA, (who was first runner up), that would have sufficed the audience. 

Then finally, Miss Colombia and Miss USA, either could have won, they were both okay, neither out did each other, at this point it was going to be who had more of the fire and poise to be Miss Universe and Miss Universe 2015 is Miss Colombia……….

Congratulations to all the Beautiful delegates you are ALL winners. A special “TE QUEREMOS MUCHO” to Gabriela Berrios, Miss Puerto Rico for winning Miss Photogenic, Miss Ghana for Miss Congeniality and Of course Paulina Vega, Miss Universe from Colombia. 

Viktor Franovik

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Cute kid to beautiful woman

I have been so inspired by the girls I work with, they have gone from cute kids to beautiful women. That's the case with Lauren Goodman.

We met Lauren at the age of 13, when we judged the Miss Earth Florida and Miss Teen Earth Florida pageant.
We were 10 judges from all walks of life; we were photographers, business men and women, makeup artists, stylists, designers and beauty queens from other pageant systems.

The pageant director walked in with her staff to go over the rules and instruct us how to ask the questions and if we deemed necessary to ask more questions to please do so, show no mercy. She wanted her delegates to become prepared women and young women of the world.
The pageant director leaves and the doors open and the first batch of young ladies walk in. Some are quite intimated and others completely care free. Lauren was not in the first group. We started to ask the established questions and trick questions, most failed because of nerves. Some thought they were going to get by on their looks and/or talent.

The second group walk in, these are delegates from the Miss category, immediately I see the winner of the Miss division. This time the established question were more worldly, these were the ladies to drill and talk about their platforms. Again, we knew who won this Miss division.
The third group walks in, the young Miss, and Lauren is in it. Lauren glowed, her smile, her hair, she was poised and ready for this. The other girls were invisible to me, my eyes and most eyes were focused on Lauren. We had questions for all the ladies, most questions were directed to Lauren.

The fourth and last group to walk in, the Miss division. The ladies were okay, no one stood out like the first group of Miss Delegates.
The pageant is about to start, we are moved to a private room and then escorted to our tables; 2 tables of 5, across from each other. Up on stage, we saw several crowns with different stone colors; obviously we knew the crowns with clear stones were the winner crowns. The other colors represented the elements, green for air, blue for water and red for fire.

It was a long pageant, talent was part of the ladies curriculum, and some sang, some recited, some played an instrument and others danced.
Lauren danced and is an accomplished ballet dancer, very beautiful, danced to her own interpretation of Swan Lake.  The winners were called and I was right, the one I predicted won the Miss Earth division and to my amazement Lauren did not win the Miss Teen Earth title; someone who did not make an initial impact won.

Lauren placed with Miss Teen Earth Water and the others placed with the other elements. Meanwhile, Francisco and I fell in love with Lauren and saw a huge potential in her and her future.
We met with her mother Carmen, and also fell in love with Carmen.  We took Lauren under our wing and started doing photo shoots, introduced her to photographers and put her in different looks and styled her differently.

We did not have to do much though, Lauren was a natural. The dance experience also helped her. The poses were massive, strong and crazy beautiful. Her facial expressions were regal and demanding.
Lauren was our muse, we included Lauren in everything, editorial shoots, and fashion shows. She was in high demand. Carmen, Lauren's mom also business savvy, took the reins of her daughter's career and ran with it. Now Lauren has shot and walked for bigger names; been included in all the big fashion shows of Florida, New York and the world.

Lauren has been signed by agencies; she is in such demand that she has changed from agency to agency.  She has done product commercials, been in Spanish soaps, TV shows, music videos and higher end editorials.

Lauren is quite the model/dancer/actress (triple threat) and I am so proud that we are her godfathers in fashion. We will see wonderful things from Miss Lauren, watch for can also see more pictures of Lauren on our websites, and

Viktor Franovik


Beauty Queen-Model dedicated to patients and their well being

We met Jana March 2008 while casting for a fashion show. She was the current Miss Earth United States 2008. Besides the Miss Teen Earth and Miss Earth organization titleholders, there were titleholders from Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, Miss Universe organization, Miss World, Miss America and Ms. Latina International, past and current titleholders.

Francisco and I must have met 30 to 40 wonderful ladies, mostly titleholders and models from top modeling agencies from South Florida. The moment we saw Jana, we fell in love. She was tall, fit and had an angelic heavenly face, she was going to be my Vanessa Williams. We immediately ran to her side, started talking to her, and discovered that besides being beautiful, she was friendly, kind, down to earth and did I mention gorgeous.

We became friends, and Jana became the face of Franovik Designs.

Because of Jana, we became the official costume designers for the Miss Earth United States organization for the following three years. The organization flew us out to the different pageant locations and Jana was right by our side. On the Las Vegas trip, we were together most of the time; she was the current titleholder, so she could not be around the contestants; so we hung out.

We did the first fashion show for Miss Earth and Miss Teen Earth and since I had a professional photographer, Don Seidman there, we did editorial photo shoots around at the hotel and areas. Miss Earth was our second pageant system where we were official designers.

Among our conversations we found out Jana is quite the celebrity, she has several beauty titles under her sequin belt, she is a model, and was on a TV newscast (previous traffic girl) in her state and to top it all off, a Doctor of Physical Therapy. It does not get any better than that. Jana is a traveling therapist so she goes where she is needed.

She works in a variety of practice settings across the country from hospitals to nursing homes, to private practices. She assists in rehabilitating people after surgery, those who have had heart attacks and strokes, orthopedic injuries, and any other ailments. Jana's fulfillment comes from investing time and expertise into people who truly need her help and seeing them overcome their physical debilities and get back into a normal life day to day routine. Her patience and kind heart make physical rehabilitation the perfect profession for her.

Despite all she does with her very demanding job, she still manages her time to support our causes, fashion shows, TV engagements, photo shoots and important events.

Jana has been involved and included in many of FRANOVIK’s most influential shows, fundraisers, magazine articles and events. Most of the shows included Green Fashion Miami, Elements of Green Funkshion 2010, Million Dollar Diamond show, Funkshion-Elements of Green 2011 and 2012. Jana has been included in magazines like Nuvia Rose International, Bayfront/Icon, HerLife, Broward Lifestyles, Keel Magazine, Lucky Magazine, just to mention a few.

Jana has been on NBC6 South Florida Today, Univision, and Hola TV and soon to be involved with our upcoming event on September 28, where Franovik gives back on our 5th year anniversary.
Everyone she comes in contact with immediately loves her, other titleholders and models too. They want to be her. Lately, she has been involved with her own pageant, Miss Essence.  Now she is also preparing her wedding in June. You know, we are designing her wedding dress.

Thinking back and quite frankly, we have been blessed with many beautiful, professional, exciting women in our lives, but what can I say about this incredible and supportive woman besides “She’s our IT GIRL” the face of Franovik and we want to Thank her for being there for us and also being an inspiration to us all.
I hope we continue to work together regardless of Jana getting married…..Congratulations Jana....

Viktor Franovik

The "Ins and Outs" to a photo shoot

It has been my experience putting together a photo shoot it's not as easy as it seems. I have been part of many of many shoots. The one's I did not plan and coordinate seem to go badly for me and the other folks involved. I want to go through a few steps that have helped me to ensure an effective shoot. 

During the planning stages, be clear on what you want to achieve, what is the feel and looks? Pick the clothes you will be showcasing. Will it be Indoors or Outdoor? If Indoor, get the studio or location confirmed. If it's outdoors have a plan B, nature can play tricks on you and some other issues can arise. Also outdoor decide if it's early or late in the day. If its broad daylight make sure you have all your equipment, reflectors, etc. Your photographer will know what to take and when to take pictures.  
Speaking about photographers, decide who your photographer is going to be. Depending on who they are some could be more experienced with editorials versus runway, some specialize or prefer In (studio) or Outdoor (elements). Photographers should have back up cameras, batteries, lights and any other items they need to do their job.

I normally have a long conversation with them for various reasons, First, I need to convey my ideas and secondly, I want their input; they are artists just like myself plus their years of experience is valuable to be as a designer-stylist of my company.
Next your hair and make-up artists, just as the photographer, connect with these very essential people. They can make you or break you. Sit and discuss your vision and ask if they can accommodate your vision creating the looks you need. I also want their input; I am not a hair and make-up artist, although sometimes I have had too because the artist have not shown up. 

Your models are the most important element of the shoot. Go through your models and see who will be the right one for the shoot. Have a few models at the shoot and also back up models should something happen, we are human. While one is shooting, work on the others so there is no downtime. Remember TIME IS MONEY but you should have breaks between shoots. By the way, No one gets paid until the job is done.
Every photo shoot, you should have a back up photographer, hair & make-up artist, and models, just in case.

Always think of your models and staff, have beverages and food, most, if not all shoots run all day. On the subject of food, think light, small sandwiches, fruits, snacks, water, juices, coffee or tea or both. Forget heavy meals (carbs), sodas, it's a shoot; they have to be lean and light on their feet.
Once all of these things have been done, then comes the fun part, bring everyone in.  Since I am "The DO IT ALL", I become Santa and make a check list and check it twice before the day begins.

On my shoots, I expect everyone to be on time. If you are traveling to the shoot allow extra time. It’s better to be half an hour early than five minutes late, so allow for delays, (that's why I always invite more models). Remember extra time gives you chance to relax after traveling, and to prepare yourself prior to hair and makeup.

It's good practice to introduce yourself to the photographer with no pressure to start working immediately. When you meet the photographer, make-up artist, or other models it’s really important to greet them with a friendly smile, eye contact, and possibly a handshake or a kiss.

When you are shooting it’s important to put all your effort into your work. It’s your job, and you’re lucky to be doing something you enjoy, so be grateful and make sure you offer the photographer value for money in the form of effort and involvement. Take direction and make suggestions. Be patient, be polite, and work with the photographer to make sure he gets the images he wants for himself or client.

I like to play music during my shoots, silences can become long and awkward, and this might affect the quality of the pictures, I like to have fun at my shoots. I don't like posey posey, I like my shoots to be active (walk, jump, spin, sing) yes sing. I have found that lip-syncing is awesome for picture taking. 

Some of my best shoots have been when the photographer, models and I have a laughed all the way through. Models have to be engaged, you see they also get pictures so it's in their best interest to put 100% of them in the shots.

 Time flies when you are having fun, don’t be afraid to suggest and play with ideas and poses. The photographer might not have thought if it, and will be grateful for your input. In my shoots, I like people to participate we all learn from each other.

Viktor Franovik

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Good Bye Fashion Designer Francisco Azucar

Last night, a friend of mine called to tell me the sad news of a local South Florida designers passing.
Francisco Azucar passed away in Tampa while working his fashion show.

Azucar” as he was better known to his friends and fashion industry professionals, was based out of Miami but he was a regular in the Tampa/St Pete fashion scene coming to Tampa several times a year to participate in fashion shows and events in the area.

Miami born "Azucar" was of Cuban descent and he was a very talented fashion designer, loved and respected in the community. His versatility is what set him apart from other designers.

He was able to create womens and menswear including swimwear and pageant dresses but he was better known for his couture designs.

We did not know Francisco personally, we knew of him, he knew of us as well;  we've seen his beautiful creations and also bumped into him from time to time in downtown Miami with a client at the fabric stores. I actually went to one of his fashion shows in a club some years ago.

As a fellow designer and human being, we must pay our respects and for his family, Our Condolences. I know he will be missed by his friends and colleagues. Go with God/Vaya con Dios Francisco Azucar.

Viktor Franovik
Editor in Chief
Models&Designers Magazine



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The last FRANOVIK show of the year

So last Sunday Franovik Designs did their last show of 2012. We were included at LS1426 Inc fashion week. The show was held at the Marriott Biscayne Bay in Miami from 6 to 9 under Linda Scott Productions.

This show was very special; the fashion show was for plus size models. Franovik got the chance to participate and produce a few pieces using plus size models. It was quite the experience, as fashion designers we tend to go with the norm, smaller sizes, taller, stick figure models but the reality is we dress women, all sizes, races, colors, etc.
All we want is for people to see our creations, not only on a mannequin in a store but on a real body.

It was a beautiful day; we walked in and immediately felt the love. We were the only Couture designers from Florida. Miss Linda had models for us and proceeded to a conference room for us to fit the ladies.
We had 18 pieces, fit the ladies, and decided to go with 12 pieces. I, as usual, brought my entourage of assistants, including the fabulous Kathy Nunez from Face Future, CEO of KN Cosmetics, to do all the makeup, 13 girls to be exact. Needless to say, the makeup was flawless.

I don't know how Kathy does it but the lips were amazing, the highlight of my evening. She makes those lips look like vinyl-latex, smooth and wet. I mean, I wanted her to do my lips, MUAH!!!
While the ladies were getting their faces done, I got a chance to meet the other designers (hey Miss Suzette), models, sponsors, photographers, media and the DJ....Very important for me because I needed to discuss start, breaks and where I wanted to cue the music.

My photographer arrived; Don Seidman, so we looked at the place and went ahead to discuss the evening agenda and what kind of pictures I was looking for. Don met the models and spoke to them on what he needed from them. Take your time, he says, it's not a rat race, it's your time to shine.
Sometime went by and Steve, Marnie and Julio from Amplification Inc, (newly acquired marketing company for Franovik) show up to interview us, Kathy and the models. I was interviewed first while we did a run through with the models.

I really need to get a grip while being interviewed; Jeez, I really let go, it's funny, somewhat flaming, (LMAO). Then Francisco is interviewed and he's the complete opposite, he gets nervous and forgets his words and goes west with his thoughts!!
So show time is approaching, the show is late, almost 2 hours late. Show starts and we are the first to present; you know I'm going to open up with a bang, I want to set the tone, I want every other designer to go after us, to catch us, to top us.....

I spoke to all the ladies before, I wanted them to celebrate their womanhood, go out there and be fabulous, show everyone model realness and have fun with it. Well, the ladies did not listen to their designer and went with uptight modeling instead of having fun and it shows in the pictures.
I don't understand, they were getting pictures as well, wouldn't you go for awesome pics, instead of uptight, no smiles, flat pictures. Bummer!!

OMG, before I forget, we had our very first Asian Model (Vivian) and Plus Size Model (Jennifer). So Vivian is Korean and was leaving to Korea the following morning. Jennifer is local (South Florida) and wants to be a fashion designer too, she showed me some of her drawing, very cute, there's potential there.
All in all, we had a very nice time; the crowd was very enthusiastic and proper. Linda was in control but very cool, nothing fazed her, it was her way and you had to do it her way, she ruled!!    

I look forward to next year with Miss Linda at another venue; lets' not get into that....Anyway, as I said before, our last show of the year. We will take a well deserved break, vacations from fashion, although I will be writing, photoshoping, creating the new catalog, and gearing up for 2013.

Talk to you soon....Kisses,

Viktor Franovik

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises-(Blog and my Review)

How can I start besides saying it took me a few weeks to see this movie, one of my favorite if not my favorite superhero, BATMAN.

The opening scene was amazing, NO, FREAKING AMAZING (and that's not the word I want to use) the plane scene- something from a bond movie, it was EPIC (and I am going to be using this word a lot) because  it was EPIC!

It was action packed although Batman made a 45 minute appearance throughout the movie. Dark Knight rises was emotional, a rollercoaster ride, so much I really have to see this movie twice. The first time for the WOW-exciting  factor and the second time to understand all of the story lines happening at the same time.

You have Batman- Bruce Wayne, Bane, Selina Kyle, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, Luscious Fox, Agent Blake, Cameo Villains, Characters and even Gotham City.
Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale was  lost and distant battles with himself, an emotional Wayne was amazing, I felt his pain throughout the Movie, and he got beat up tons more than other movies, I was very surprised-how can they beat up my honey.

 Bain was bad to the core, although in my opinion he had a great concept but handled it so wrong, Chaos is not the way to go. 
 Selina Kyle/Cat woman-played by the fabulous Anne Hathaway was breathtaking; I have always loved Anne, in this movie, I have a new found LOVE for her craft even more; OMG, She looked stunning, fit, the hair was working, glasses that turns into cat ears-YUMM and she kicked some serious ASS, Oh and her boots with that gold heel were FABULOUS!! Please tell me those boots are in a size 14, PLEASE!!!!!! Love you ANNE..
Commissioner  Gordon, played by one of my favorite actors, Gary Oldman was sick and in bed for the early part of the movie but as usual does not disappoint although his role was not as big as previous movies. Alfred had more face time, it was a good thing to do, the emotions poured by Michael Caine in this movie grabbed me, this man who had dedicated all of his life to Master Wayne and then has to choose between life or death and then Bruce just lets him go was cruel.

Mr. Fox-Morgan Freeman-another one of my favorite actors was also stellar. I would love to meet him, he should have been our first African American President! Agent Blake-Joseph Gordon-Levitt, not a new face to movies, was very convincing, as soon as I saw him talk to Bruce Wayne, and how he spoke I figured out he was going to be involved in some way, (Robin) but deduced he was not but can you say Nightwing!! hmmmmm.....
Gotham City (New York), why does everyone want to destroy my city? No really, my City, I'm a New Yorker, well Brooklyn boy but still a New Yorker! It was rough to see all the city and bridges, places I used to hang at; reminded me of 911-WHY?????? Oh, we got to see the progress of the Freedom Tower, can't wait to for the grand opening. I think I will be there for that event.   

On another note, Batman's toys did not disappoint either, the BAT was crazy. And folks don't see this movie in a regular movie theatre, see it at IMAX. You have to get the full EPIC of this movie, seeing this on a five story screen, and the sound, hearing and feeling this Soundtrack; C'mon it's an injustice to the senses.  The visuals superb, I wanted to dive in. Can you guys feel, I'm loving this movie. I want to see it again and see in IMAX again.
The fight and chase scenes were monumental, it kept me on the edge of my seat.  The end was just as incredible, it took me by surprise, I completely lost it; It was hard for me to swallow, tears flowing for my eyes, I was holding back from hyper ventilating. Can you tell I'm a fan?

When it ended I could not get out of my seat, I had to compose myself before I walked out. It grabbed me in a different way, I think, for me this movie was emotional for me.
I am really going to miss Director Christopher Nolan, his point of view in this trilogy well what can I say besides Oscar winning. I hope his next project is Nightwing (hint, Hint)...

For those that have not seen this movie, GO SEE IT!!!!  
Viktor Franovik