BY GIANNI UBRIACO
Sudbury's Gauvreau School of Performing Arts and Modeling sent 46 young and talented people with big dreams to the Canadian Model and Talent Convention (CMTC) in Toronto from March 16 to 19.
Competing against over 300 aspiring talents from all across Canada and with some of the world's top modeling and talent agents and scouts on-hand, the Gauvreau School participants shined brightly returning with a total of 28 trophies won.
They also received 122 callbacks from agents all over the world who are interested in representing some of the school's participants. The three top winners from the school were Alessandro Costantini, 13, Darlene Bourdeau, 14, and Madison Broad, 7.
Costantini was the grand overall winner coming away with the actor of the year trophy.
"It's a great honour because there's only one of them," he says. "I thought to myself that I was better at singing than acting, but receiving this trophy reinforced my state of mind when I act. Now, I'm good at acting too, I guess."
He also won trophies in every actor category that he
entered, including singing, television commercial, cold
reading, and monologue.
"I love the rush of being on stage in front of a live audience," he says. "You feed off their energy."
The youngster, who first got involved in acting with Theatre Cambrian in 2003, was also the first runner-up for improv and the second runner-up for photography. He received callbacks from several agents all over the world, including from the Chateau Billings Talent Agency in Los Angeles, Abrams Artists Agency in New York, and Onset Talent Management in Toronto.
"He's a Broadway kid, no kidding, because he's so good," says Florence Gauvreau, who's the founder of the school. "I see in his future that he will be doing musicals and movies and things like that. I see him succeeding in that because that's what he likes and that's what he's good for."
Costantini has also recently been nominated for an Ontario Youth Program award for his community involvement, which includes working with Easter Seals and singing at the Caruso Club. The awards ceremony will be held on April 20.
For now, he plans on working hard to get auditions and roles in movies and stage productions, but also has his mind set on looking outside of Sudbury to places like New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. He also has a message he'd like to get out to other youngsters who are thinking about getting involved in performing arts.
"In this industry, there's a lot of waiting. and
you might get the part that you want," he says. "You
might not even get casted, but you just got to keep on
The second big winner on the day was Bourdeau, who received the most amount of callbacks ever in the 40-plus-year history of the Gauvreau School.
"I feel overwhelmed, excited and nervous," she says. "You just don't expect this kind of thing can happen to you."
The young female model was contacted by 24 agencies all over the world, including by D'Management in Milan, Traffic in Barcelona, Modelwerk in Hamburg, IMG Models in Paris, and Trump Model Management from New York.
"It's very difficult to have an agency," cautions Gauvreau. "You have to be very special because there's a lot of competition. To have that success at that age is unreal. There wasn't any agency that didn't ask her to belong to them."
Bourdeau also won two trophies at the convention; one in the
swimsuit category and one in photography. She was also the
second runner-up in the cover category. Her plans for the
moment are to go with one of the agents in Toronto and to start
working on her portfolio before she starts considering agents
outside of the country. However, she does love to travel so she
definitely wants to see what the rest of the world has to offer her in the future.
The aspiring model first contacted the school in October of 2005 after her friends suggested that she should get into modeling, so all this attention has come pretty fast for the teenager. Still, she has words of encouragement for other young potential models.
"Don't think you're not good enough, because you never know," she says. "I never, ever pictured myself sitting here right now with any of these guys or winning anything and then it just happened. You just got to believe in yourself and just go for it."
Finally, child-star Broad won a trophy for her runway work. She also was the first runner-up for her photography work and the second runner-up for her cover work.
"She has a bright future in child-modeling," says the school's founder. Gauvreau first got involved in the business over 40 years ago. She started out as a dancer, but then decided to train so that she could one day teach modeling, acting and dancing to others.
"I saw a lot of talent; a lot of young people with
dreams and I wanted to make sure that they would get an
opportunity to be discovered in the right place and by the
right people. I just wanted to help them out as much as I
She feels that all her hard work over the past four decades has definitely paid off.
"I'm just happy for them just to be doing this," she says. "It's something very special to know that young people are making their dreams come true."
She feels most proud of teaching people to believe in their
abilities and in their dreams.
"I try to teach them poise and grace and to believe in themselves," she says. "Giving them self-esteem; that's my goal first, and then some of them succeed to bigger things."
Gauvreau has been sending participants from her school to
the convention for 14 years now, because she believes it's
the best place for young talents to go to get discovered.
However, before any participant is chosen to represent the school in Toronto, they must first compete in the school's model search. Gauvreau has been working with those 46 participants since Christmas. It's a lot of work for her, but she says she loves every minute of it.
"If you love something, it's not work because you
see so much success," she says. "I've been
working for 40 years and I've never worked a day in my
life. I just love it.  I love the children so much. My
only holidays are when I take them to competitions."
Looking forward, she wants to add even more classes to the school, including cheerleading.
Right now, the school offers classes in pre-ballet, ballet, pointe, pre-dance, tap, jazz, acro, acting, vocal, charm and etiquette modeling, and career modeling. They also offer master classes, workshops, adjudicators, and hold elementary and secondary school workshops. Gauvreau  hopes and plans on staying on with the school as long as she physically can.
"If God gives me my health, I hope to go on," she says. "My daughter in-law, Lucy, and my son, Gerry, will be there for me. They know everything about this company."
Ultimately, she receives so much pride and satisfaction from her work, she doesn't want to stop.
"It makes me so proud to know what I can give those young people, believing in their dreams," she says. "It makes me proud to know that we are there to help them. Some of them succeed, some of them don't, but at least they have a chance."