Getting ready for the runway

Deborah Wilder Moseley is not the most talented actor in her family — or so she believes.

Born to Lynna Joy Armour, who won an Atlas Award in 1956 for her performance in "The Moon is Blue," and William Moseley, who worked for NBC and produced the Sunday afternoon soap opera "Matinee Theater," Moseley grew up in a highly creative environment. It is no wonder, then, that by age 6 she had taken a page from her parents' book.

Now 56, the Santa Ana resident has racked up three decades of experience making commercials and working on television and in film. In addition to being a fashion model, she's been an acting coach and runway instructor at the Barbizon School of Orange County for seven years, training youths who want to get their feet wet in the entertainment industry.

Come Saturday, Moseley will be at the helm of a classroom on the Orange Coast College campus, teaching a runway modeling and on-camera commercial workshop. Students have been divided into groups of 15 based on their ages — 6 to 11 and 12 and over. One hour a week for eight weeks, Moseley will offer instruction on posing for photos, poise, posture, manners, fashion show turns and more.

"It's not rocket science, but it does take a special person to be a model or actor," Moseley said. "It's not the prettiest, youngest or tallest girl who will get work. It's someone who has good character and is easy to be around. It will be the person who shows up on time and is kind and considerate."

Technology has advanced greatly from her early days as a professional model, Moseley said. Aspiring performers may find it easier to network and be discovered, but because of the amount of time they spend at their computers, their people skills are conspicuously missing, she explained.

"I hope to inspire and show them through my own example how important it is to be a good communicator," Moseley continued. "With these talents, they are learning how to change and have control over their world and future. That's a legacy I'd like to pass on to my students."

OCC holds a special place in Moseley's heart because it's where she won a talent showcase in 1986. This success served as the starting point of several professional connections.

According to Ginger Neel, program director of OCC's Community Education, the new class was Moseley's idea. The pair discussed the curriculum in late 2013, and once the plan was finalized, a brochure was sent to an estimated 200,000 community residents. The response has been great and enrollment is ongoing, Neel remarked.

Youngsters are poised to learn about the importance of "confidence, empowerment and self-esteem," she said. "We are excited to be offering this class [and] plan to offer it again this summer as part of our robust College for Kids program, which includes academics, arts and sports camps."

Eleven-year-old Hannah Taylor of Huntington Beach is looking forward to Moseley's class.

The fifth-grader at Ralph E. Hawes Elementary School, who regularly watches fashion shows, said she would love to be a professional model. Hannah enjoys dressing up and hopes to learn more about posing over the next two months.

When asked if she feels nervous in front of a camera, she replied immediately, "Not at all. I love it."

If You Go

What: Runway Modeling and On-Camera Commercial Workshop

Where: Social Science 107, Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa

When: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturdays (ages 6 to 11) and 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. Saturdays (ages 12 and up) between Feb. 1 and March 22

Cost: $149, includes $10 fee for materials

Information: or (714) 432-5880

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