Residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ami Julieanna Orto has spent her professional life as a body double, runway and print model, belly dancer, and spokesperson. Recently, I talked to her about her professional endeavors.

Q. Ms. Orto, what opportunities have you found in Las Vegas?

A. Since Las Vegas is such a crucial part of this country’s entertainment industry, there are numerous opportunities for people who want to perform. Casinos, convention centers, stage shows, and even films seek individuals to fulfill important functions in productions.

Q. How have you put your talents to use at a casino?

A. For a period, I played Cleopatra at Caesars Palace. While portraying the Macedonian queen, I greeted and talked with guests while walking through the hotel’s attractions alongside a centurion and Julius Caesar. Cleopatra remains a fascinating figure for me. Despite the focus placed on her relationships with Caesar and Marc Antony, she acted as a strong woman devoted to improving her country in troubled times. She tragically killed herself before she was 40 through the poisonous bite of an asp. William Shakespeare wrote about her in his tragedy, Antony and Cleopatra. Additionally, actresses such as Elizabeth Taylor, Lynn Redgrave, and Claire Bloom have portrayed her in film and on television.

Q. What can you tell us about your work at conventions?

A. The Las Vegas Convention Center holds many events throughout the year. One of the biggest is the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place every year in Las Vegas. The event is the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show. As a spokesperson and convention model, I provide ambiance at the show by talking to attendees about exhibits they might be interested in, handing out materials, and answering questions so that each year’s show can be better than the last.


By Ami Julieanna Orto

About the Author: A longtime model and current entertainment professional in Las Vegas, Ami Julieanna Orto served as a runway modeling instructor for Hawaiian Tropic. During her time with the sunscreen company and modeling competition organizer, Ms. Orto taught beginners about the fundamentals of one of the most visible forms of modeling in the world.

A technical craft that contains many subtleties, runway modeling requires significant practice time before one acquires proficiency. Here are some tips to help beginning runway models improve their techniques.

Know your role: The purpose of a runway model is just that: modeling the clothes of the designer sponsoring the show. Keep in mind the type of garments you are wearing, what the designer was attempting to achieve with his or her outfits, and how you want to represent the clothes.

Mind the eyes: When you are walking down a runway, your eyes should be positioned straight ahead and focused on a spot far in the distance. Many runway models recommend picking a point on the back wall or several yards away. Whatever you do, do NOT look directly at the camera flashes surrounding you. The bright lights have the potential to blind you and prevent you from seeing where you are going.

Maintain good posture: In most cases, you want to keep your chin down when you are walking down the runway, as photographers and spectators will be sitting looking up at you. Stand up straight at all times. Keep your shoulders back and attempt to move them as little as possible as you walk.

Watch your arm movements: In terms of arm motion during a fashion show, men and women vary somewhat in their expectations. Organizers allow men’s arms to swing naturally as they walk. For women, a full arm swing is less desirable. Instead, attempt to keep your upper arms tight on the body and let the lower arms sway as you stroll.

Be confident and have fun: Above all else, confidence is the key to a successful career in runway modeling. Minor details may change from designer to designer, but if you take pride in your appearance and modeling technique, people will notice every time.

By Ami Julieanna Orto

One of my favorite activities, belly dancing refers to a traditional Middle Eastern dance established many centuries ago. Often characterized by sharp hip movements and elaborate, shimmering outfits, belly dancing today exists worldwide as a cultural expression, a form of entertainment, and a physical exercise.

One of the earliest forms of belly dancing was practiced by the ghawazee, a group of traveling female dancers active in Egypt during the 1700s and 1800s. In the 19th century, the dance caught on in Europe and by the latter half of the 1800s, belly dancers performed at World’s Fairs around the globe, including in the United States. The activity sparked national attention in the U.S. at the 1893 World’s Fair, held in Chicago. The dress and movements of these dancers, who came from Middle Eastern and North African countries, shocked members of the United States’ genteel Victorian society.

The 1893 World’s Fair performance spawned numerous belly dancing troupes in the United States. The belly dance received the nickname the “Hootchy-Kootchy” because of its perceived provocative nature at the time, and dancers were occasionally arrested or fined for performing it. During those early days, belly dancers most often appeared in burlesque theaters and at carnivals, attracting men. The belly dance inspired artists, writers, and filmmakers of the time as well, including inventor Thomas Edison who made films featuring the dancers in the 1890s.

During the revival of belly dancing in the United States in the 1960s and 70s, instructors and practitioners of the activity established theories behind the dance emphasizing women empowerment while attempting to discredit its tradition as erotic entertainment. Today in the Western world, belly dancing classes recognize the activity as a physical exercise and promote its fitness and health virtues.