By Lisha Gomes | Opening Doorz Editorial | September 05, 2020

The lockdown has taken the world online and Cocoaberry Talent and Academy wasted no time as their offline studio came to as grinding halt.

The sisters, no strangers to the fashion world, Alesia and Anjali Raut, explored a field that they had never considered before, even though the window was open.They were so busy conducting physical classes that the thought, even though it occurred to them, never materialised online.

In the first four years of the Academy, Anjali and Alesia never ventured online in spite of the numerous enquiries. However, with the given state of the world, Anjali suggested online as an option. Backed by Alesia, Cocoaberry made the necessary shift and gained Global recognition in its fifth year.

Cocoaberry Talent And Academy
Anjali Raut (left) and Alesia have taken bold initiatives in the fashion world.

The sisters have always been passionate about spreading their knowledge and have been great mentors to a number of models and pageant winners. They have helped girls come out confident making them ‘Know themselves in order to show themselves’. They have been impeccable in delivering their three genres, viz: Agency, Modelling School, and Fashion Events. Years of experience have prepared them to tackle the many problems thrown their way and the online experience has been rewarding with students coming from the world over.

On Teacher’s Day, Opening Doorz spoke with Alesia and Anjali Raut about the change in shift and the way their Academy is throwing up winners by the dozen, so to speak.

Online against Offline…

Alesia and Anjali adjust ably to the situations around them and owing to this, nothing much has changed even with their training going online. Teaching has always been their passion and with all the years of experience, they have managed to adjust to online classes skilfully. Anjali, who is more into the theoretical aspects like Personality Development, Pageantry Q & A, Vocabulary and Diction, says there was no change required in the techniques and approach. Alesia, on the other hand, who deals with the more physical aspects, has adjusted to training online with great efficiency.

Exploring untouched fields…

As the curriculum was vast, the sisters never explored the option of going online. Based in Mumbai, they had trainees coming to the city from across India and have always had enquiries for online classes, but had never considered it due to tight schedules. The lockdown gave them an opportunity to explore a side they had never considered and it has worked greatly in their favour. Today, they are not only adapting to online teaching but are able to cater to girls the world over with equal efficiency without any compromise.

Makeup, Choreography and Angles…

During offline lessons, footwork and angles were corrected immediately. When it comes to online, while the teaching technique remains the same, the trainees have to be much more observant. Alesia, with her years of experience in choreography and runway, manages to utilise even small spaces and then asks trainees to practice in bigger settings. When it comes to lighting, the faculty makes sure that even if there are connectivity issues the trainees get videos for references.

Cocoaberry Talent And Academy
Alesia Raut has been a great mentor to all the girls she has trained over the years.

Hours of work…

While offline was four hours a day, the hours with online training have doubled. With these increased work hours, it gets strenuous staring at the laptop continuously. Whilst training offline, the sisters would get a break every half hour which is not possible online. However, between 9:30am and 8.00pm, they have a two-hour break.

Going Global…

Being an established agency, Cocoaberry always had enquiries about online classes from across the globe. It hasn’t been feasible for foreign students to leave their classes and studies and come down to India for training. Today, however, with Cocoaberry going online, they have students from New York, Chicago, UAE, Canada, Sri Lanka and Singapore. Megha Rouniyar, a student from Nepal who will be competing for Miss Nepal Universe, later this month, has been able to train under them owing to the online classes. They have 25 lessons a month and have to take into consideration the difference in timings, as most of the sessions are conducted by Alesia and Anjali. Their day starts as early as 8 in the morning.

Business changes…

Nothing much has changed when it comes to business. There is no great rise in income, neither has there been a fall: even though they have just begun online training they have not had issues in keeping the same amount of business as offline.

Plans on continuing online…

As they have been able to manage online pretty well, they plan to consider online lessons as well, once their studio in Andheri, Mumbai, gets started. An hour of online lessons once everything is back to normal and offline, is what they have in mind.

Going back Offline…

During this period, even pageants are being conducted online with only judges and no audience. Online classes help the girls get a feel of walking and talking. Even the enquiries they have received for physical training are for later times. As of now, they plan on continuing online and may open six months down the line or towards the end of the year.

(Lisha Gomes is a third year BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media) student at St. Andrews College, Bandra, Mumbai. She is passionate about reading, enjoys singing and has also participated in a few dance shows. She plays soccer for her college after being a star performer for her schoolMary Immaculate Girls High School, Borivali).

Pic courtesy: @allylovesgym/Instagram

Also Read: Alesia and Anjali Raut: It takes two to tango

Also Read: From God’s own country to the modelling scene!

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