By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 06, 2019
Cocoaberry, Talent and Academy, just ushered in its fourth year with 20 beaming girls who have come out higher on the confidence scale, than when they entered the institute for their 12-day stint for grooming. Cocoaberry has been helping youngsters find their footing, literally, as well as understand the intricacies of how to prepare for the fashion industry.
Started by sisters Alesia and Anjali Raut, no strangers to the fashion world, Cocoaberry has grown in strength literally by word of mouth. Delighted girls have spread the word that they have received much more than what they expected and this in turn has had a ripple effect with friends of parents of the girls encouraging their daughters to give it a go at Cocoaberry.
Both the Raut sisters bring in their wealth of collective experience of over 30 years in grooming, walking, speaking, having the right posture at all times… to help groom those starting it out, or even those who just want to up their confidence level.
Maitri Chauhan, the winner of the December 2018 batch along with Mahua Hiray, first runner-up and Shreya Mahana, second runner-up, along with 17 others, are the recent beneficiaries who swear by the Raut sisters.
Opening Doorz caught up with the sisters who throw light on Cocoaberry, saying it was Destiny calling. “It all started with students approaching us to train them. We have always been into teaching, so it comes naturally to us whether it was running our mother’s fitness studio or Anjali’s Dance Institute in Singapore. Eventually, we both planned and decided to shape up the institute in the right way.”
How has Cocoaberry progressed over the years since it started?
We started with lessons on a terrace. Today, we are a full-fledged academy! It has been a sincere progress. Moreover, the passion to spread the knowledge has helped us prepare our own books regarding different aspects of modelling rather than going by rote. It is our collective experience that we have merged together.
What is the USP of CB?
The most important USP is us: Alesia and Anjali! We teach the main syllabus. We don’t outsource or rely totally on visual content. As pageant coach and model educators, we ensure that we are present for each session giving our 100 percent. The module is unique because it comes from our experience.
What do the students go through during the duration of the batch?
Their day is action packed. They start with fitness (Kick-Boxing) going into their ‘Dancing with Heels’ session followed by ramp sessions. They are exposed to lessons for Voice Modulation, Public Speaking, Visual Content, and Pageantry Q&A. We have also inculcated belly dancing as it helps in developing a positive body language and posture. We have mock camera angel rounds where each girl learns the art of seducing the camera. We also have make-up and hair tutorials which is essential so they are aware of the right usage of make-up and what suits their face with respect to both hair and make-up. We have also inculcated Holistic Approach Pranic Healing which helps them deal with pressure whether in a competition or daily life. Apart from this we also bring in special guest speakers from different walks of life. There is also a segment on nutrition and styling.
What has been the best compliment CB has received so far from its student/s?
“Cocoaberry is a place which has two lovely divine fairy godmothers that help us tap our potential and guide us through our journey. I had an amazing experience.” This compliment was from one of our students, Komal Surwade.
Winner, December 2018 batch
When I first entered Cocoaberry, Alesia Ma’am told me, “Let your walk do the talk. It’s the confidence that you project and that is what gives the first impression to the other person.” That has helped me the most. Anjali Ma’am guided us on how to handle questions and how to project ourselves. Also, meeting a lot of people from the industry helped in shaping my confidence as I could ask a lot of questions which only they could answer. So yes, I have definitely become a better version of myself after my stint at Cocoaberry. The way that I talk, walk and reflect upon myself is my biggest takeaway from Cocoaberry.
(Maitri is from Mumbai doing her third year in Textile Design at NID, Ahmedabad.)
First runner-up, December 2018 batch
Well, I’ll tell you something. I was 8 on a scale of 10 on confidence before I entered Cocoaberry. As of today, I am 9.5! Basically, I have never reflected so much on myself than when I was in there. Every day we were just reflecting on ourselves and I realised I had so much more within me than what I thought I had. It was very enriching. I am on an academic break and Mum and I were discussing what I should do next and she suggested I try Cocoaberry because one of her friend’s daughter had been there and had spoken highly about it.
(Mahua is a student, doing her second year architecture, at NDMVP’s Cans College of Architecture and Centre for Design, Nasik.)
Second runner-up, December 2018 batch
There were a lot of things that needed attention that I did not even realise. When I entered Cocoaberry, I feared walking. Now I am so much better at it that I enjoy it. I overcame that fear. I also never gave much thought to my posture. I also learnt the importance of having a presence of mind and to be aware of what is happening around me at all times. Before I entered Cocoaberry, I was 5 on a scale of 10 on confidence. Now, I can confidently say I am on 8!
(Shreya, from Kanpur, has made Mumbai her base since the last two years and is busy with her modelling assignments.)
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