Universal Models

Casey De Witt, the owner of Universal Models which is situated in Dowerglen, Linksfield, has been in the modeling industry for about 5 years. Casey is a local and international title holder having won titles such as Miss Gauteng, Miss Africa, Miss Africa Transcontinental and Miss Transcontinental. Casey’s life motto that she lives by everyday is Forti Nihil Difficilius- “Nothing is too difficult for the brave.”

Universal Model Academy offers:

  1. Catwalk and pageantry training.
  2. Grooming and Self Etiquette.
  3. Public Speaking.
  4. Preparations for all castings (acting and commercial).
  5. Portfolios.

The most rewarding is building self-confidence, confidence is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets- Casey De Witt

Universal Models trains young girls and boys from the age of 3 years old.


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Little Charmers 6th Annual Charity Show

This Exclusive fashion event will be held on Saturday 3rd August at the Mall of Africa. Tickets to the event are available to purchase here http://www.webtickets.co.za


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Lets talk about Bullying

Sonja Broschk , a clinical psychologist from Powering your Potential and our very own resident psychologist, spoke to us about this very important issue that affects most children in some way or another.

Dan Pearce, from Single Dad Laughing, made a profound statement when he said : “People who love themselves, do not hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.” This is very true for the bully. The bully becomes a bully because somewhere in his or her past (or present), he or she is being taught that he or she is unloved, is ugly or is even themselves being bullied. Thus bullying is a vicious cycle that needs to be stamped out at the root, which is very difficult because no one is going to admit to ‘bullying the bully’.

As parents, we are often unaware that our children are being bullied. here are a few signs to look out for. First and foremost I always ask if you – the parent- are listening to what your child is communicating or telling you. Sadly it may not always be verbal, but often it is the less obvious medium of non-verbal communication.

The non-verbal signs are not easy to read, they become quieter, more withdrawn and they ‘lose’ their friends (due to being isolated, a common female bullying technique), or they become aggressive. There may be a decline in academic performance, or they start avoiding school by making themselves sick. Stomach cramps being the most common ‘go-to’ illness.

So how do we equip our children with the necessary tools to deal with a bully or being bullied?

Firstly, we must ensure that our children know  that they have a right to say ‘NO’ to any behaviour that is abusive or undermines them in any way. This means that having an open and honest conversation with your children about bullying and saying ‘NO’ are first on your do to list.

Secondly , give your child a safe space at home to express their feelings and believe them. Children and teenagers often feel disempowered because no one hears them or listens to them anymore.

A further step that parents could take, is to teach their children to have differing social networks, and thus the chances of being bullied also dramatically decrease as you do not ‘have’ to be friends with a specific group of people.

Lastly, parents and schools should educate their staff and scholars to identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, as these go hand in hand with bullying. If these could be identified early enough then we as parents or staff could support and guide the child, before they become too depressed and perhaps consider suicide as the only way out.

Love your child, teach them to love themselves and to stand up for themselves and others- let us make a difference and make this world a better place.

Yours in empowerment , Sonja Broschk MA (Psychology)

082 788 2080




Clinical Psychologist Shaheda Khota from the Vaal Therapy Centre explains to us the various types of bullying  that children are experiencing.

What are the different types of bullying?

Physical bullying

The most well-known kind of bullying which includes pushing, shoving or physically hurting another person.

Verbal bullying

This refers to a person being spoken to in a disrespectful or aggressive manner such as being screamed at, it includes being insulted, teased or threatened.

Relational bullying

This means discriminating or treating another person differently within a group setting. It includes embarrassing another person or disrespecting another when they not around. This form of bullying is fairly common particularly amongst adolescents.

Cyber bullying

The use of social media or the internet to intimidate, harass or threaten another person. This may include posting insults and lies about another person. E.g.  Posting an embarrassing photo of someone without their permission.

Bullies are all around us and sometimes even confident people get bullied.

Shaheeda Khota (Clinical Psychologist)

The Vaal Therapy Centre 082 383 7826

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Hospice Wits Night with the stars at SA Fashion week

Image by Eunice driver photography

Child models from Little Charmers agency got to walk the SA Fashion week catwalk once again for the Hospice Wits Night with the stars held at Sandton City on the 7th of April.

These lucky children ranging from 4-10 years old, after training got to model amongst 100 South African celebrities, musicians and designers collaborating for a good cause produced by world renowned events producer and director Jan Malan.

Little Charmers aims at developing self-confidence in children from a young age before signing them onto the agency. The Agency offers beneficial workshops once a month covering various topics for children from 4 years old, wanting to get into the industry.


image by Eunice Driver photography


models : Gia-Grace, Kgatliso, Maria, Lwandile

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Caithlynn’s story

Image by Natalie C Photography

My name is Caithlynn Fourie and i am 15 years old, I grew up in Eldorado park. Growing up I was bullied a lot and i felt unhappy with myself. This continued until I joined the modeling academy called Twirl models. Modeling boosted my confidence in a short amount of time and i grew to love myself, I have great respect for my teacher and mentor Mrs Diana Robertson.

I enjoy the simple things in life like singing duets with my sister in the kitchen! When i finish my studies i want to become an interior designer while still pursuing my career in modeling. My mother is my biggest  fan and she supports me in every decision i make, and loves me for me!

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Psychologist Ashleigh Yaman, chats to us about resilience in kids.


Today’s world requires us to understand resilience as a process, for our children but also for ourselves. Resilience is an area of research that came about when people started to ask the following question: why, when two people are exposed to a similar stressor, one seems to present with a positive outcome and the other a negative outcome? This is a good question to ask, especially considering that there are steps to be taken with regards to influencing a positive outcome. However, considering resilience as merely an outcome would be folly, resilience does not just come about. Instead, it’s a complicated process that is influenced by a complex interplay between risk factors and protective factors. A range of risk factors exist and the literature typically distinguishes between individual (biological, internal) risk factors and external risk factors (those which exist in the environment). Now, the mere presence of a risk factor does not automatically diminish an individual’s capacity for resilience. In fact, the presence of risk factors are more of a probability statement or a gamble, in which the actual impact of the risk factor depends on the time, context, perception of the situation as well as the combination of risk factors that the individual has experienced throughout their lives. The risk factors then interact with the protective factors that are present in the individual’s arsenal and this complex mix then influences a person’s capacity for resilience at that time in their lives.

Now considering that we are focusing on this process in little people and that certain protective factors (i.e. self-esteem, emotional intelligence, internal locus of control, self-concept) develop through a process over a number of years, we need to consider childhood development. When the lay person thinks about development it’s usually around physical milestones (i.e. sitting, crawling, walking, talking, toilet training, etc) but there is so much going on cognitively and psychosocially as well. Without getting into too much theoretical detail, this essentially means that children go through different stages in their lives where they have different emotional needs. The negotiation of these needs allows them to develop psychosocial characteristics and impacts their perceptions of themselves in the world. However, these needs present themselves as the child navigates their way through different stages of cognitive development. This is important to consider because not only do the needs change through development but the manner in which they are negotiated also changes through development also changes. Considering that the parent is responsible for both these processes, we need to be aware of this. THIS CAN BE COMPLETELY OVERWHELMING IF YOU THINK OF IT, so many needs, changing all the time, requiring to be met in different ways. However, this need not be too overwhelming because through connection, we are able to understand and adapt to our children’s needs. It’s connection that helps parents distinguish what ‘kind of cry’ their infant just made – a nappy or a bottle cry, and it is connection that helps parents lend a little more kindness than usual to their feisty teenager because they know something is up without her having to say a word.


Connection is the cornerstone of resilience: it both precedes and maintains resilience.

The Neuro Affective Relational Model (NARM) is an integrative approach that states that people develop through 5 fluid stages, namely Connection, Attunement, Trust, Autonomy and Love-sexuality. It is no coincidence that Connection is at the forefront. The theory states that when we are able to authentically connect, we are able to understand what it is the child needs. Through consistently connecting and meeting the child’s need, the child starts to develop a sense of trust and safety in their environment. Likewise, through the parent’s consistent meeting of the child’s need, the child can start to mimic the process of needs being met and the parent can start to trust that the child will eventually be able to develop autonomy and enter into relationships as an integrated individual. This theory offers a solution to the overwhelming thought of constantly having to meet your child’s changing needs.

Connection is also paramount in the development of the brain structures that are implicated in the stress response. In the first two years of life, the development of the right hemisphere of the brain is prioritized, this is where our ability to emotionally regulate is found. Research has shown that if connection is lacking during this time, these structures are underdeveloped and may have long term implications. The stress response in some ways mimics the complex interplay between risk factors and protective factors – the components of resilience, and so allowing for sufficient development of the brain structures involved in the stress response through connections, means that you are taking steps to set your children up to be resilient. Not only does connection impact the development of the brain and allow us access into the needs of our children and how to meet them, but connection in and of itself has also been proven to be a protective factor.

Now, I am fully aware that parenting is not for sissies and sometimes connection just does not seem possible (and even at times is not desirable) or at the very least, just does not seem to be a priority when merely surviving is the only thing you can think of. As a result, some practical tips will be discussed after this case study.


1) Connect to yourself!!
Is the manner in which you connect child-focused or are your needs as the parent at the forefront? If this is the case, instead of passing judgement perhaps a more helpful response would be to explore how your needs as the parent can be sufficiently met elsewhere. If parents are struggling with difficult emotions or negative thought patterns, it makes your need-detecting abilities really cloudy. Parents themselves need to be well-regulated and aware of their own needs so that when they arise they can identify them, park them and clearly identify what it is their children require from them.

2) Prioritise connection with your family as a whole.
Family structure is essential. Is there cohesion in the family, is there a reliable structure that can provide a sense of familiarity and safety for your children? Are the roles in your family clearly defined?

3) Connecting through boundaries.
Boundaries are not a swear word. They have become notorious for keeping things out, but actually the purpose of boundaries is to keep whatever is in inside, safe. Consistent boundaries, structure and routine allow the child to have some grasp over their environment and thus help them feel safe and contained.

4) Connection and discipline.
Can we say those words in the same sentence? Yes, of course! Children use misbehavior as a means of communication. Due to their limited vocabulary and cognitive development, children have a hard time communicating their needs, desires, or pain (we even have a hard time with this as adults). Children’s misbehavior is thought to revolve around four general goals that arise in response to a misperception of their sense of belonging. Children typically have 4 goals of misbehavior: power, attention, revenge and inadequacy.

5) Connecting to your child during trauma/stress.
Understanding the stress response has led us to understand that if the stress response is not complete, emotional energy remains in the brain which prevents the individual from deactivating from the initial activation of stress. This understanding has helped us respond in more effective ways to children experiencing a traumatic event. For example, when a child who has been in a car accident starts to cry, what is our typical response – ‘oh no, stop crying you’re okay’. While this is completely well intended, it disallows the child the opportunity to release the emotional energy and deactivation does not occur as it should. Instead we should acknowledge what is going on for the child (you’re safe everything is okay, I can see you’re crying) and then allowing them to continue however it is they need to relieve the stress (carry on crying, that’s perfectly okay). This communicates validation for their experience, it communicates that you are regulated enough yourself to deal with their dysregulation and that you are prioritizing connection and attuning to their needs.

6) Connecting to your child’s individuality. Children are wonderfully different, it our job to help them understand and celebrate that. When we deny a child’s individuality we invite them into a space of shame with regards to their very essence, which is very counterproductive in the quest for resilience.

Ashleigh Yaman,  is a councelling Psychologist at Impact Therapy Centre

083 695 1432


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Beauty with a purpose



The little miss and junior miss Ennerdale pageant ,is a local pageant in the Ennerdale community. Aspiring models from the ages of 5-21 years old are able to enter the competition.

The main purpose of the pageant is to assist with community work and build a better environment for children within the community. Our motto is “Beauty with a purpose”.

All winners have community drives and so far have been assisting with numerous projects such as a Christmas feeding scheme, charity drives for local children’s homes as well as drug and youth awareness projects.

While building the community, various businesses within the area have sponsored amazing prizes including computer skills courses as well as toys for the children. One of the prizes is a full PR and marketing contract with S7ven Studios , building their modeling portfolio and career.

Headed up by Cerrol Louw, the pageant has grown from a beauty pageant to an all round community builder.

For more information about the pageant you can contact hello@s7venstudios.co.za

Love Sinead Alves – Owner and founder of S7ven studios

Alicia Oliphant , Junior Miss Ennerdale ,12 years old
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Tips on finding the right agency

There are many casting agencies for children, but how do you know which one to select??

A suitable agency who offers personal attention and takes an interest in your child’s confidence development is the best option when dealing with little ones.

Below are some professional helpful tips to guide you in making this important decision:

Check which brands the agency has been affiliated with – this will help give you an understanding of what type of castings they focus on and what companies select their talent.

Facebook is a good way to check Agency reviews – remembering to take into consideration that one bad review does not make the agency bad, therefore look for a pattern of dissatisfaction.

Make sure the agency you are interested in is a registered company and have done work in the industry before – there are many scammers around who just want to make a quick buck!

NAMA (National Association of Model Agencies) South Africa is a great directory to selecting your agency, as their members follow a certain code of conduct producing transparent, high ethical business conduct and standards which means you will not be messed around.

It is good to belong to an agent who is involved in many areas of the performing arts such as Drama or Modelling resulting in more opportunities than usual.

Once selecting your perfect agent, be patient and loyal – Children between 0-4 years old will not receive as many casting briefs as older children as it is difficult for them to follow direction and instructions well resulting in long unnecessary hours.

Registering your child at a young age has its benefits – preparing them for when they reach an appropriate age for the demand in the industry.

Please note: The amount of castings vary depending on the child’s age, race or gender and no agent can guarantee the amount of briefs the children will attend or jobs they will confirmed.

A good agent will be completely honest and advise if the child will excel in the industry or they feel they are not confident enough before registering them.

We hope this information has helped!


Owner and head coach at Little Charmers SA





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