We came, we saw, we conquered: Model Beach Volleyball, arguably the largest promotional event to hit the sands of Miami Beach, hosted its sixth annual event this weekend at Lummus Park. Who doesn't love being surrounded by beautiful, sun-kissed people, the sound of techno-pop wafting through the air and a barrage of free swag being pushed into our freeloading hands?
Model Beach Volleyball can only be described as a promotional circus doubling as a sporting event-slash-charity function. "Model Beach Volleyball is actually an event that was created over 20 years ago," said Olivia Ormos, one of the founders of the tournament. "We decided to revive the event six years ago and breathe new life into it, utilizing social media to generate brand awareness and raise money for a great cause."
See also: Photos from Model Beach Volleyball 2015
That cause is the Irie Foundation, which serves underprivileged and at-risk children in our community by creating mentorship programs that start as early as middle school. Founded by Miami celeb DJ Irie, the foundation's ultimate goal is to improve the graduation rate for kids and teens coming out of troubled Miami neighborhoods.
Known to draw an impressive roster of celebrities and a who's who of the proverbial South Beach scene. New Times caught up with Nina Agdal, the 2014 Sports Illustrated cover model and a soon-to-be Entourage cameo star when the film hits theaters this summer. Agdal played a major role in fundraising for the Irie Foundation this year, hosting SuperSweat, a spin class powered by Red Bike Studios, the proceeds of which would benefit Irie's charity. Donning a t-shirt that read "What You Sweat Is What You Get," Agdal energized the crowd alongside her sidekicks, a Red Bike instructor and Miami's own Julz Goddard of YesJulz, who kept the crowd riled when she couldn't hang with Adgal's bike skills.
For the love of sandwiches, we sampled at least three of Jimmy John's free turkey and italian subs and secretly stuffed six bags of chips into our backpacks. Apparently, the models weren't very interested because everyone we asked hadn't touched the food. Yet, in true model fashion, there wasn't an empty glass in the house: LeSutra's brand of bubbly vodka supplied the entertainment, with a variety of artificially sweetened flavored beverages. Beauty Schools of America was also on hand, braiding hair and touching up makeup, and Zeel massages worked out the worn-out muscles of model athletes and spectators alike.
On to the games: as Miami's top modeling agencies went head-to-head for a more than lackluster display of athleticism and agility. Models frequently compete with each other (call it an occupational hazard, if you will) so the weekend's games were no different. Twelve of Miami's top agencies were divided into two pools, with each team battling it out to be crowned the victor of their lot before taking on the final round. In the Pool A corner, we had CMG, MC2, Runways, Ford, Mega Miami, and Front Management. And over in Pool B, Next, Ocean Models, Elite, Wilhelmina, BMG, and Green duked it out.
Quite impressed by the level of sportsmanship and camaraderie, we witnessed models practicing on the sidelines almost as much as we saw them dancing on stage. Cheering on their teammates and sporting their Wildfox bikinis and agency-branded t-shirts, downing Red Bulls and Evians with the same fervor the beers and cocktails, only one team could be the crowning glory of the world's most frivolous sporting event. Would it be industry giant Wilhelmina, or the lesser known Runways taking the cup? In the end, the best team won, and Team Willy accepted their victory with pride and grace, posing for the cameras like it was the first time.
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