Monday, 30 August 2010


Preparing yourself for a career in modelling is rarely a simple process. Regardless of whether you want to be a fashion model, or work for catalogue, plus-size or the fitness sectors of the industry, there are a number of steps that are crucial to consider before you even step inside an agency.

Models Connect, in addition to offering free model evaluations, also offers realistic and industry-savvy advice on what agencies (not to mention clients) are looking for.

The first step is probably the most important. Modelling is already a crowded industry, and to make your mark it’s crucial to know which part of that industry you will be targeting your efforts on. After all, if you have the perfect build for fitness modelling, schlepping to endless fashion castings will leave you feeling utterly miserable!

Look at yourself in the mirror and assess. Measure your height, waist, bust and hips. Be honest as this will determine what sort of model you will become. If you’re over 5’8”with a face and body built for high-fashion like top model Lindsey Wixson [pictured], then that type of modelling could definitely be a possibility for you. If you want to get into plus-size modelling, height is also a factor but you will need to be at least a UK size 12. If your height is an issue but you have good even facial features and excellent hair and skin, then the highly lucrative avenue of commercial modelling may be your best option. It’s all about assessing your best features – try to imagine yourself through an agent’s eyes. What are your selling points? What makes you unique? This will go a long way to making sure you start on the right path and end up with a modelling career that’s tailor made to your strengths.

The next step is to start safeguarding your assets – that’s you by the way. If you haven’t already begun, make grooming and healthcare an immediate priority. As well as taking care of your hair, teeth and skin, make time for exercise. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go mad spending hours and hours at the gym (and with high-fashion models in particular, being too muscular is a big no-no). Focus on a combination of light cardio and stretching work (eg: yoga or pilates): this will give your body a toned appearance on camera which is especially important for sports or lingerie modelling as there’s nowhere for poor muscle tone to hide!

While overhauling your body, don’t leave out your mind. Models Connect advocates that you think of yourself as a valuable commodity: no-one wants to hire a model that’s never on-time for bookings, unenthusiastic and bored (and not afraid to show it). Modelling is first and foremost a business, so think about what clients want: a model that’s focused, enthusiastic and committed to delivering excellent results. Also prepare yourself for the downside of modelling, as you will definitely encounter rejection at some point. It’s nothing personal, as it really does happen to everyone, even the most successful models in the world have not been right for a casting at some point in their career. Rejection may hurt, but the great thing about modelling is that you never know what the next opportunity will bring. Be open-minded: one booking very often leads to another. Treat every booking (regardless of who it’s for) like it’s the best job in the world. Sounds corny, but the client will be impressed with your attitude, and word will spread.

The next stage is approaching modelling agencies. Models Connect offers excellent advice on finding reputable agencies. It also pays to do a bit of sleuthing yourself: find out who your favourite models are signed with and visit their websites. Most agencies will clearly state their preferred method of contact from would-be models. Some allow you to upload a recent photo of yourself onto their website with your personal details, others have Open Days where anyone can come through the agency doors and be assessed in person. If you need to provide a photo, bear in mind that what’s needed isn’t a pricey portfolio shot. All you need is you, a friend and a digital camera. Take a simple head-shot (head and shoulders) and full-length shot (head to toe) against a plain background. Keep your dress simple (vest and jeans are ideal for both sexes), and keep hair pulled back off the face so agents can see how well your features photograph. Don’t grin for the camera (at least not this time!), just keep your face in a neutral expression and that’s all that agencies really need to determine your suitability as a model.

Good news – an agency loved your head-shot and wants to sign you. Congratulations, you’ve officially become a working model. But this is where the hard work begins. Going to castings (or go-sees) is a major part of being a model. Think of them as mini job interviews, but with better shoes. For castings (unless you’ve been specifically asked by the client to dress differently) think back to how you presented yourself in the photos you sent to the agency. This is perfect attire for castings. It won’t distract the client, and it shows you off to your best advantage, because it signals to the client that you understand what’s required of a professional model – sending out all the right signals is surprisingly easy once you know how. It should go without saying, but being on time is a big part of being a model. When everyone else is ready to start a shoot but you’re running late because you slept in, that’s not good. Just remember: time is money.

The final note is very simple: to get to the top takes more than simply looking the part. To become a model requires more of you than simply just good genetics. You need to be dedicated, hard-working and always ready to self-improve. No-one ever got to the top by resting on their laurels. Go back to the start and think about not what the modelling industry has to offer you, but what you can bring to the modelling world. When you have the answer, you’re ready to become a model.


Sunday, 22 August 2010


Born in Martinique on April 24th 1991, Sigrid Agren is the model who became the Chanel girl for a whole new generation.

Agren started her career in 2004 when she won the local Elite Model Look contest. Winning the semi-finals in 2005, she subsequently signed with the Elite agency. An early-starter even by modelling standards, Sigrid took the decision to put her career on the back-burner in 2007 to concentrate on school, and returned to modelling in 2008, signing with New York Model Management.

In June 2008, she appeared in her first major editorial, for Teen Vogue. Just days later, named Agren a future industry star. In September, she made her debut at Fashion Week. Despite having only a clutch of editorials behind her, Agren’s runway booking sheet was filled with the best of international design talent. Walking for Calvin Klein, Rodarte, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren, she also opened shows for Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, Sonia Rykiel and YSL. Closing shows for Prada and Louis Vuitton, Sigrid’s look had struck a chord with the industry. With such an incredible start to her international career, it was no surprise when named Agren one of their Top 10 Newcomers.

Her career as one of fashion’s favourite runway girls gave way to editorial and campaign work. In early 2009 she became one of the faces of Prada, appearing alongside Anna Jagodzinska and Katrin Thormann.

January saw Sigrid walk her first couture runway season, appearing for Chanel, Dior and Givenchy and opening the show for Valentino. Sigrid continued to rack up opening and closing spots as Fashion Week arrived a month later. She opened shows in New York, Paris and Milan, walking for designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Alberta Ferretti, Valentino and Chloe. In addition to also closing the Chloe show, she also scooped closing honours for Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Nina Ricci and Roland Mouret.

After appearing on the Autumn / Winter couture runways, Agren’s delicate looks made her a select choice for campaign work. She signed a contract with YSL Cosmetics, replaced Kate Moss as the face of Stella McCartney and became the face for powerhouse-brands Calvin Klein and Chloe. Sigrid’s easy-to-market look made her a fail-safe when it came to securing campaign work, but her next editorial booking made sure that the fashion world knew she wasn’t a one-note wonder.

Shooting for Italian Vogue, Agren appeared in a couture layout with models Heidi Mount, Rose Cordero, Toni Garrn, Imogen Morris-Clarke, Jourdan Dunn and Constance Jablonski. Named ‘A Dream of a Dress’ and photographed by Paolo Roversi, the high-fashion shoot was dark, atmospheric and dripping with glamour. It was absolute proof that Sigrid could master fashion’s dark arts, not just the campaigns and covers.

In October, she undertook editorials for Numero and Russian Vogue, choosing to sit out the S/S 2010 runway season. It did her career no harm whatsoever, as she renewed her contract with YSL Cosmetics in early 2010, returning to the runway in January for the Prada Menswear show.
Sigrid also appeared in Italian Vogue again, this time photographed by the legendary Steven Meisel. Named ‘Runway’, the shoot was a massive project that included the best of new and established catwalk talent. Sigrid was joined by Lara Stone, Frida Gustavsson, Natasha Poly, Kendra Spears, Kasia Struss, Mirte Maas and Iselin Steiro to name just a few. The documentary-style, behind-the-scenes shoot was a huge success and real-life imitated art when Sigrid found herself undertaking the biggest runway season of her career.

Walking in 71 shows, Agren appeared for Jaegar, Matthew Williamson, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Prada, Lanvin and Gareth Pugh. Closing shows for Thakoon, Derek Lam and Calvin Klein, Agren’s fashion moment had finally arrived. Appearing in some of the biggest shows of the season, her profile soared.

In March, she undertook an editorial for W; April saw her being cited as a top model by Teen Vogue and May and June saw back-to-back fashion spreads for Numero and Japanese Vogue.

But her biggest moment was still yet to come. Already a fixture on beauty billboards for YSL, Sigrid landed the booking of a lifetime when she was chosen to represent Chanel’s new fragrance Chance. Launched back in 2002, Sigrid was to be the face of the fragrance’s latest incarnation, Eau Tendre. A soft, summery companion to the main perfume, it was a huge coup for Agren.

Shot by Jean Paul Goude, the campaign featured Sigrid sat clutching a huge bottle of the perfume and accessorised only with a garland of pink flowers. Pitched as sweetly romantic, the advert is deceptively simple in concept, but ultra-sophisticated in its execution. Aimed at younger consumers, Agren (still in her teens herself) was the perfect choice as the Chanel girl for a generation who have grown-up worshipping the brand.

After her seal of approval from Chanel, Agren became the go-to girl for this coming season’s campaigns. She will appear in the Prada Menswear ad with Angela Lindvall and the campaign for Celine with model Emma Balfour. Sigrid can also be seen in the new campaign for Italian designer Alberta Ferretti, appearing alongside top-model Jac. Shot in sepia tones, the campaign is a yin & yang concept with Jac dressed in black and Sigrid in white. Dreamy and sensuous, the calling-card of all Ferretti campaigns, Sigrid’s career has come full circle.

Agren is making a name for herself as a model that doesn’t have to choose between campaign and editorial work: she is someone who is equally at home on a beauty shoot as she is working on an editorial for Italian Vogue. For a model who doesn’t even reach her 20th birthday until 2011, Sigrid’s body of work already outranks the majority of her contemporaries.

Sigrid’s success is owed much to her ability to be adaptable, a quality that in today’s industry is as in-demand as being photogenic. Much has already been written about the impact of the economic recession on the modelling industry. For blonde models, however, it has been nothing but good news.

In times of crisis, clients tend to go with the familiar, and modern beauty (especially when its best face forward for covers and campaigns), is often equated with blonde models. Seen as approachable and sunny, blonde models like Agren have seen their workload increase significantly over the past year, because of their wide-ranging appeal.

Sigrid’s high-profile campaigns with YSL and Chanel have both utilised her ability to take a great beauty shot. She may be a natural at scooping cosmetic and fragrance campaigns, but Sigrid has smartly balanced this with high-fashion editorial and runway work. Appearing for designers such as Gareth Pugh, Thakoon and Lanvin has lifted Agren’s stock from safe-as-houses blonde to a model whose career is well-rounded and without a doubt, on the rise.

Even the briefest glance through this month’s fashion magazines will tell you that the tide is beginning to change. Gone are the disco shoes, the extravagance and glamour for glamour’s sake. Here to stay is a new mood: pared-back but not dumbed-down. With even Marc Jacobs revisiting and remodelling the camel coat, fashion’s new direction is about shape, texture and finish.

The good news for blue-chip models like Agren is that this is fashion with substance, and her appearance this February in some of the most talked-about show of the season (Burberry and Prada), is raising her value on the modelling market to make her one of the most coveted girls working today.

First hired as the winsome, delicate blonde, Sigrid is rapidly winning herself a reputation as a model of endurance. Far from being fashion’s soft option, girls like Agren are the true backbone of this industry. With a 71-show season under her belt already this year, only three more words are needed: watch and learn.


Sunday, 15 August 2010


Born in Hungary on the 11th May 1988, Eniko Mihalik fuses European glamour with a bold, sensual approach that’s anything but old-hat.

Eniko’s career began in 2002 when she won the Hungarian round of the Elite Model Look contest, and came fourth in the International Elite Model Look contest. She debuted at Paris Fashion Week in July 2006 when she walked for the Chanel Couture show.
Her name became better known in January 2008 when she was nominated as Model of the Week by – the Hungarian then took on Fashion Week and was selected to appear for Alberta Ferretti, Betsey Johnson, Blumarine, Diane Von Furstenberg, Elie Saab, Gucci and Marchesa. A clutch of labels with one thing in common: they were all ultra-feminine labels and Eniko’s unique look answered their purpose perfectly. A body that’s couture-ready but still retains curves is a rare find even in the modelling industry, and Eniko has proved that curves – whatever the fashion barometer’s showing – are always in demand.

Her editorial career took off at the same time, securing a 6-month exclusive contract with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vindooh Matadin. Mihalik shot editorials for Italian Vogue in August and the cover of V in September. Also landing a contract with Gucci, Eniko appeared alongside Lily Donaldson and Abbey Lee as one of the new faces of the brand.

Following a successful runway season including appearances for Versace, Derek Lam, Thakoon, Jason Wu, Isabel Marant and Zac Posen, Eniko ended the year with two more editorials for Italian Vogue in October; shoots for French and Japanese Vogue in November; and further editorials for W and Japanese Vogue in December.

2009 started extremely well for Mihalik, with not only a shoot for the French Vogue calendar (shot by Terry Richardson) but a campaign for Italian luxury label Max Mara, photographed by Craig McDean.

Eniko scored a cover in January with i-D, appearing on the front page with a butterfly over one eye. Both striking and original, it was a brilliant summing up of Eniko’s quirky beauty and editorial appeal. With another editorial for Italian Vogue that same month plus an appearance at the couture shows, walking for both Givenchy and Valentino, Mihalik’s career was blossoming.

In February, Eniko landed her biggest show season to date, walking for 56 designers, including Alexander Wang, Balmain, Chanel, Diane Von Furstenberg, Isabel Marant, Marc Jacobs, Nicole Farhi and Stella McCartney. Her diverse list of runway credits carried through into print work, with Eniko working three editorials in one month. Appearing for W, French Vogue and Italian Vogue in April, Mihalik demonstrated the depth of her versatility. The French Vogue shoot, named ‘Noces de Diamants’ was a shoot requiring nudity (up to and including full-frontal), shot in black and white by Mario Sorrenti. Her work for W, an editorial called ‘Harvest’, was a collection centred on the eclectic folk trend. It was packed with colour and detail, and also shot by the same photographer. Google these shoots and you will find yourself doubting whether the models used in both editorials are the same person.

In May, Eniko got the cover of Japanese Vogue, and further editorials for Italian, Chinese, French and Japanese Vogue throughout the summer. Her work for V magazine in July included a beauty editorial and a fashion spread. Called ‘Forever Young’, the atmospheric shoot paid homage to film noir, and it was ideally matched to Eniko’s strengths. Whether projecting anguish or ennui, Mihalik was pitch-perfect in every photograph. In August, she appeared in three editorials (Italian, French and Chinese Vogue) whose subject matter ranged from Parisian Victor/Victoria chic to sculptural cutting-edge eveningwear.

In September 2009, Eniko’s runway cachet began to soar: not only was she appearing for names such as Balmain and Chanel, but she was also being booked by the best of the newcomers. Walking for Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou, Mihalik was securing her fashion future. The year ended on a surprising note: Eniko was asked to appear in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Like Chanel Iman, she was a high-fashion choice that raised some eyebrows, but her performance on the runway silenced critics: this was a high-fashion model not afraid to be just sultry, but downright sexy.

2010 has seen Eniko already score another high-profile campaign. Working with Liya Kebede, she will be the face of Kenzo. In February she appeared for Jill Stuart, Jason Wu and Carolina Herrera on the runway, but the main story of 2010 for Mihalik is an almost dizzying array of editorial work.

Starting with an editorial for Chinese Vogue in January, Eniko has appeared for Italian, French, Chinese Vogue and W in March; plus the cover of Hungarian Elle. She appeared in a provocative topless shoot for Purple Fashion with Constance Jablonski, Jamie Bochert and Emma Heming. Her coy side came out in a spread for Bon magazine, called ‘Too Shy to Convey’ and this August she has appeared in two shoots: the first for Numero, called ‘Sortilege’ (a Klimt-inspired, Art Nouveau shoot) and the second for Japanese Vogue. ‘Red Star’, shot by Camilla Akrans, is Eniko playing the siren card in ultra-glamorous couture gowns.

The thread running throughout Eniko’s career has been editorial. From the very start, Mihalik has distinguished herself as a model that will go the extra mile when committing to a frame. Her body type also lends itself to the more daring shoots as well as the straightforward fashion spreads which makes her a highly covetable signing for any magazine.

Eniko’s body of work is truly fashion made filmic. Look at any of her editorials, and the one thing they all have in common is they tell a story. The visual aspects of fashion (the shows, the magazine covers, the fashion spreads) are increasingly becoming the most lucrative form of currency the industry has. If the fashion industry’s trade is fantasy, then models like Eniko are doing their part in bringing that fantasy to life. Modelling is about more than striking a pose; it’s about making a visual connection and making it meaningful. Looking gorgeous on a cover is great, but if that cover doesn’t say something to the person thinking of buying that magazine, then it’s an opportunity lost.

Editorial work is one of the most challenging areas for a model to master simply because it requires the model to become someone else for the day, even if it’s well beyond their range of personal experience. Eniko has never been a neo-Goth, a lovelorn aristocrat or a footballer’s wife, but she embodied them all on film. Forget model turned actress, this is model as actress. There is no challenge too tough for the Hungarian, either. So far this year she has modelled for the Pirelli calendar, undertaken a 5-cover shoot for V and shot a multi-million pound jewellery editorial for British Vogue. Eniko’s ability to move from the toughest editorial demands to on-the-nail modelling for H&M is what marks her out as a true chameleon of the fashion world.

Along with models Raquel Zimmermann, Karlie Kloss and Magdalena Frackowiak, she understands that to be an editorial model today requires more than beauty: it requires something deeper, and the model that is prepared to take on those terms cannot be ordinary.

This is what separates high-end editorial work from mainstream. Clothes are there to be showcased, but being editorial is about more than being edgy or controversial. It’s about conveying mood, atmosphere and desire, in a way that’s both subtle and sublime. Eniko’s career puts paid to the theory that fashion is little more than skin deep: great fashion images are the point where fashion intersects with art and film, creating challenging, thought-provoking images that remind us that fashion is more than what is on the surface, it’s about what lies underneath.