Sunday, 31 October 2010


When it comes to securing a foothold in the modelling industry, the truth is that having the wrong attitude, or worse still, a bad one, can old you back even more than a dodgy runway walk.

If you’re interested in being a model, let alone a successful one like Arlenis Sosa (pictured), it’s easy to overlook this aspect of Modelling 101. We’re told with some regularity about the physical requirements the modelling industry demand of its new recruits.
Height, good proportions and photographable features all play their part in getting you signed, but paying attention to what you bring to the mix will mean the difference in getting hired and getting left behind.

Modelling is all about perseverance, but patience, discipline and self-confidence are the qualities that can turn your career into the stuff that dreams are made of. Modelling is for tough cookies, and if you’re not fully equipped to deal with the rejections that come with the territory, the climb to success will be made that much longer.


You’ve all heard that patience is a virtue, but nowhere is this more applicable than in the modelling industry.

Having ambition – and plenty of it – is certainly no crime, but it is important to realise that there’s no such thing as an overnight sensation in modelling. Fashion moves fast, but the process by which a newcomer becomes established is somewhat slower.

Think about your favourite models and research their back stories. The one thing they have in common is that virtually all of them started their careers from humble beginnings, and that’s no bad thing. Learning the ropes in a smaller, less pressurised environment can often be the making of a model’s career. Getting to be comfortable in front of a camera or walking down a runway takes time, no matter how much of a knack you might have for posing and strutting. It all takes time to learn the basics, and once you’ve mastered those, doing the trickier stuff will seem that little bit easier.

When working on the smaller jobs, it’s crucial to treat every booking with the same elation you’d normally reserve for Italian Vogue. Treat every assignment – and client- with respect because that’s how one booking leads to two, and two lead to four, and you get the picture. If you’re a delight to work with, word will spread. The world of modelling is smaller than you think, and people do talk. Do yourself a favour, and wow every client because great things can come from those humble bookings.

Ambition is a great tool to have: knowing where you want to be in five years is brilliant for keeping you focused, but if it gets in the way of how you perform in the here and now, you may have a problem. Reel it in a little, apply some smile and charm, and watch those bookings roll in.


This may seem like an obvious point, but bear with me on this one. Being self-confident is pretty much a non-negotiable when starting out. You may not be convinced your walk rivals Carmen Kass, but having a solid grounding in the basics of projecting self-confidence is a must.

Head up, shoulders back: if you walk into a casting and get a case of wobbly knees, faking good confidence really does work. Look at how a confident person walks and stands: good posture, relaxed shoulders and plenty of eye contact. Making that first impression only takes seconds, so if you have to, grit your teeth and go for the Oscar in pretending to be self-confident, because it’s worth it.

If you find the call of the wobbly knees too much to ignore, however, just switch off that inner voice that tells you you’re never going to get this booking in a million years, and pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you’re asked to show your portfolio to a client, being able to have something to say (eg: a favourite photo, why you liked working with that photographer), will fill that awkward void. Listen and participate: if a client wants you to walk and you’re not sure what type of walk they want, don’t be afraid to ask. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness – far from it. It will show that you’re paying attention to what’s going on around you. Also when you’re paying attention, your quaking knees soon get forgotten. See how that works?

Projecting confidence is crucial. Don’t listen to that little voice in your head: if you’ve booked a casting, let alone a job, you’re there for a reason. You’re in with a shot and it’s up to you to make the most of it. Rejection will happen, of course, it does to everyone. You may receive knock-backs for jobs you thought you were perfect for, and by the same token, you could get booked for a job you assumed you’d never get. The key to accepting rejection is to not see it as a personal slight against you. Casting directors often have very specific criteria and you may meet 10% of the brief, or 90%. If it’s not 100%, it’s unlikely you’re getting the job. It seems unfair, but it shows that rejection boils down to box-ticking rather than your hair being the ‘wrong’ colour. There is no ‘right look’ in modelling anymore: don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your failure to scoop a job is because you don’t fit in. Modelling is a game of numbers: if you have what it takes, sooner or later, you’ll find yourself at the right casting at the right time.


Not the most thrilling of topics, but discipline is probably the most important quality a model can possess. Those who succeed don’t do so through random flashes of brilliance; they win contracts and editorials because of consistency. Again, not a word that gets the pulse racing, but in a business where time is money, being reliable is music to a client’s ears. They want someone who turns up on time, ready to work. Someone who turns up late, bleary-eyed, grumpy and none too co-operative will not get a second chance with that particular client.

Modelling can often involve long hours (unsociable too: some of the best light for outdoor shoots is at the crack of dawn). To survive travelling, long demanding shoots and endless go-sees requires you to be in peak physical and psychological condition. To get to the top, some sacrifices have to be made. Foregoing a wild night out before a major casting or shoot = good idea. Getting wasted and hoping breath mints and Touche Eclat will hide the evidence? Not so good.

The first mantra a model learns is to be on time. If you know you’re someone who always arrives 10 minutes late, adjust your watch back 15 minutes and go by that. Being constantly late isn’t cute when you’re representing not only yourself but your agency. If you’re going to unfamiliar locations, get yourself a smart phone and download navigation applications. Make that first impression a good one, by respecting that the client’s time is precious.

If you’re lucky enough to become a little more established in the industry, don’t fall into the trap of becoming complacent. Top model Kate Moss nearly lost her entire career when her partying became a problem. As big a name as Kate was, winning back clients still took her a long time, because restoring a damaged reputation is a lot harder than building a good one.

Discipline, however dry it sounds, is probably the thing that separates a good model from a great one. If you’re serious about not only making it in modelling but sticking around, this is the quality it pays to master. Don’t be fooled into thinking that modelling is the soft option: it may take discipline to make it to the top, but it takes even more to stay there.


Sunday, 17 October 2010


Born September 12th 1987, Anna Jagodzinska signed with Next Model Management in 2003, moving to New York that same year to pursue a career in modelling.

The Polish model had her breakthrough season in February 2004 with appearances for Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Chanel, Derek Lam, Louis Vuitton, Marni, Miu Miu, Nina Ricci, Prada, Sonia Rykiel and Zac Posen.

Editorials with W, i-D and Italian Vogue followed, and in 2005 Anna landed her first fragrance campaign with Moschino. Signing with the Italian brand gave Anna’s budding career a boost, with a highly successful runway season in February, including appearances for Celine, Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenberg and an editorial for British Vogue, shot by legend Patrick Demarchelier. Her notability rose further still in August when she got her first Vogue cover, appearing for Australian Vogue.

As the fashion industry began to get a handle on Anna’s unique blend of quirky appeal and old-school beauty, her bookings started to match her strengths. Her runway season in February 2006 was a mixture of quirky talent such as Betsey Johnson with cutting-edge designers Lanvin, Jonathan Saunders and Preen, plus ultra-girly labels Temperley and Isabel Marant.

In March, Anna got the cover of German Vogue, photographed again by Demarchelier. The year ended with an editorial for Italian Vogue, and Anna then took a 2-year break to finish her education. Just like her modelling peer Iselin Steiro, Anna returned in 2008 to find the fashion world had moved on, but it had not left her behind.

Anna’s return to the runway featured appearances for some of the most in-demand labels of the moment, including Balenciaga, Chanel, Balmain, Stella McCartney, Givenchy and Viktor & Rolf. She shot an editorial with French Vogue in June, walked the couture runways for Chanel and Givenchy in July and landed two major campaigns with one major photographer. Anna got contracts for Alberta Ferretti and Calvin Klein Jeans, both of which were photographed by Steven Meisel.

Anna’s absence had made the fashion world’s heart grow fonder. In September, she appeared in editorials for Harper’s Bazaar, British, Italian, American and Japanese Vogue. Anna’s revival neatly coincided with fashion’s love affair with models from Eastern Europe. Sasha Pivovarova was already making a name for herself, and new model Natasha Poly had just received accolades from French Vogue, with her native Russian Vogue devoting a whole issue to the Poly phenomenon. Anna’s Slavic glamour slotted in perfectly and made her one of the most requested runway models of the season, walking for 58 shows in total.

In October, Anna received the ultimate nod of approval when she appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue. In January 2009, she got her second Italian Vogue cover, this time appearing with models Viktoriya Sasonkina and Anna Selezneva.

However, in terms of modelling success, it is campaign work that moves a great fashion model onto the next level, and Anna was destined to become more than just a familiar face on the runway: in 2009 she became the most requested model for campaign work, landing contracts with Balenciaga, Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein cosmetics, Chloe, Donna Karan and Prada.
February saw Anna perform editorial duty twice in one issue for American Vogue, and open the Autumn / Winter shows for Derek Lam, Dolce & Gabbana and Zac Posen. Also appearing for Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Lanvin, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, Valentino and Versace, Anna’s moment had finally arrived.

The months that followed saw Anna rack up editorial and cover credits, including editorial work for American, British and French Vogue, plus the May cover of American Vogue, shot by Steven Meisel.

In late 2009, Anna took her campaign career one stage further, with heritage brands Oscar de la Renta and Bottega Veneta vying for her attention. She signed with both, and in September, got her 3rd cover of Italian Vogue.

But her year ended on a high note with three incredible campaign signings. She was asked to take part in the new ad for the Prada fragrance, L’Eau Ambree, with models Toni Garrn and Viktoriya Sasonkina, and was signed on to be the face of Tom Ford’s newest launch, Black Orchid and Stella McCartney’s latest addition to her stable of perfumes, Stella Nude.

All three fragrances were high-stakes signings, and Anna delivered every time. Her shoot for Prada was groomed and stylishly off-beat. The Stella fragrance shoot was simplicity itself; with Anna shot in profile. For Black Orchid, Anna became the quintessential Film Noir heroine, and her siren-with-a-secret angle was pitch-perfect, making the perfume one of the early success stories of 2010.

With campaigns of this standard, clothes, body language and camera angle all play their part, but it’s the face doing the lion’s share of the selling, and fragrance is notoriously hard to sell.
With a handbag, we see it in the advert, and if we want it, we buy it. But with fragrance you have to take the campaign at its word. If the feel of the shoot is light and airy, you will only be disappointed if you are met at the fragrance counter with a brooding musky perfume. That’s why so much effort goes into casting these campaigns: like the fragrance itself, the campaign has to linger in the mind if we’re to go out and buy it. Without that lure, it doesn’t matter if you’ve created the most beautiful perfume in the world. If the campaign isn’t spot on, no-one’s buying it.

Why Anna is in such high-demand is because she understands that for one-dimensional ads for cosmetics or fragrance, you need to build an image that appeals to all the senses. Despite what’s happening elsewhere in the fashion industry, fragrance remains one of the most financially buoyant areas because certain scents can trigger long-forgotten memories. If a floral note in a perfume reminds you of a particularly memorable holiday, the chances are you’ll stay loyal to that brand for a very long time.

A model that can turn out a great beauty shot is not hard to find, but a model that can turn a beauty shot into an image that has depth and meaning remains a rarity. It’s why Anna’s CV features so much beauty work: she gets that to make an image truly beautiful, it’s got to be more than skin-deep.

With seven Vogue covers to date, Anna’s strength is undeniably the close-up. Beauty shots and campaign work are often underestimated, with people assuming that a high-fashion editorial is the tougher call. But with beauty campaigns, there’s nowhere to hide. The model’s job isn’t just to evoke the notes of a perfume’s personality, but to create a connection with the person looking at the advert. Perfume ads should provoke a response in you – whether that is ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ – but if it leaves you cold, something has gone very wrong.

Anna’s career has been the success it has because she brings a tailored approach to every assignment. Her shots for Prada, Tom Ford and Stella McCartney are indicative of a model that looks at the bigger picture, and then gives the client what they want, by paying attention to the detail. Models are fashion’s sales-girls, but what makes their job even harder is that the best campaigns only work when they apply the soft-sell; look at any successful perfume campaign and it’s all about what isn’t being said. As with acting, the best modelling happens when it’s made to look deceptively easy.

Anna’s return to the industry was about more than good timing or a lucky break: whatever fashion asks of its models, the beauty industry’s requirements remain the same. A made-for-beauty face helps, but knowing what to do with it is a whole other story. Knowing what to do with it whilst maintaining your credibility? That’s the calling card of a truly great model.


Sunday, 10 October 2010


Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1994, Lindsey Wixson is the latest model to become fashion’s favourite teenage kick.

Lindsey began her career aged 15, signing with Vision Models in early 2009. The LA-based agency recognised the find they had in Lindsey and shot video footage of the young model, sending copies to other agencies, plus media / fashion websites. The footage eventually caught the attention of website who were so impressed that Wixson became their ‘model of the moment’ in June 2009.

Lindsey’s market-value rocketed as a result, and she signed with Marilyn Agency. But Vision Models’ sterling job of marketing paid off again, when their polaroids of her reached top photographer Steven Meisel. Wixson was immediately booked by Meisel to take part in a shoot for Italian Vogue.

Fashion has plenty of early-glory tales to tell, but some models have trouble measuring up to great expectations. Lindsey was not fazed. Making her international runway debut in September, she walked for Italian labels Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti and Miu Miu, plus opening the Prada show as an exclusive.

Designer Miuccia Prada’s ability to spot a star-turn is well-documented, with Mirte Maas, Samantha Gradoville and Barbara Palvin all names whose careers have benefited from the Prada effect. Wixson was no exception, and became the most talked-about newcomer of the season.

In October, she landed consecutive editorials for Teen Vogue and the Japanese edition of Dazed & Confused. She also appeared in the A/W issue of i-D, but her career really took off in 2010.
Right from the New Year, Wixson was creating buzz. In January, she appeared in American fashion bible W, in an editorial shot by Craig McDean. A month later, W magazine’s website featured Lindsey as their ‘This Week’s Model’, taking Wixson from industry favourite to public property.

Wixson’s star-power was cemented when it was announced that she would become the face of Miu Miu. The vintage-inspired label was a quirky choice, but perfect for Lindsey’s brand of unique beauty. Her trademark pout made her instantly recognisable, even from the very early days of her career. This is not always a good thing for a model starting out; especially one who needs to prove his or her versatility, but Lindsey’s weak spot became her greatest asset.

Sure enough, the Miu Miu booking had a galvanising effect on Lindsey’s career. Opening the Autumn / Winter show for the label in the Spring, she also appeared for Missoni, Jason Wu, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Versace and Zac Posen. Lindsey’s breakout season contained bookings from the best design talent in the world.

Wixson’s face not only became a fixture on the runways, but also in editorials. Landing another W editorial in March, she also featured in the July issue of V and a third time for W in August.
Wixson took centre stage in the W feature, ‘Sweet and Vicious’, appearing alongside Barbara Palvin and Ashley Smith. Her potential to do themed editorials was explored by W who cast her as a 50’s femme fatale. Despite her age, Wixson translated the brief of the shoot into a pouty glamour that was both innocent and knowing.

Lindsey’s ability to handle a challenging shoot paid off when she not only renewed her contract with Miu Miu, but also signed up for new campaigns with Jill Stuart, John Galliano and top American department store, Barney’s. All three signings tested what Wixson had learnt so far; the Galliano shoot was pure street fashion, the Jill Stuart beauty campaign asked for yearning and wistful, and the Barney’s ad was on-the-nose, high-fashion quirkiness. Lindsey delivered on every count.

Her aptitude for editorial and photograph work has aligned her with other teenage wonders, Ali Stephens, Hannah Holman and Jacquelyn Jablonski, who at a very young age, have also succeeded in wowing a tough industry. In less than a year, Wixson has made the transition from face-to-watch to working model, and has become one of the most requested faces in the business.

The early Polaroids that charmed Steven Meisel into booking her for Italian Vogue are testament to Lindsey’s early promise. Wearing nothing more than a plain white vest and dark-blue jeans, Wixson’s stance belies her (then) lack of experience. Being so visibly at home in front of the camera gave Lindsey a head-start. The shots, intended to show what a find Vision Agency had made, are so convincing that they could almost be an ad campaign. Some models get to the top by perseverance, others by luck and others just have it, that indefinable quality that takes a teenage girl from ingĂ©nue to star. Her fearlessness when interpreting a client’s brief head-on is what puts Lindsey in the latter category.

Lindsey forms part of the batch of newer models that are well on their way to becoming icon-making faces. These girls don’t slot into being termed a classic beauty or a full-on editorial face only really suitable for fashion features. These girls operate in a new sphere, where being a marketable face doesn’t mean middle-of-the-road. Lindsey’s unmissable pout makes her a perfect fit for Miu Miu campaigns, but it also makes her ideal for beauty shoots for Teen Vogue as well as blue-chip editorials in W.

Lindsey’s face is extra special because it has a timeless quality that allows her to participate in themed editorial shoots, and not look like a fish out of water. Being of-the-moment is all very well, but if you can’t switch it up for a retro shoot or handle lots of make-up for a futuristic editorial, then that fashion cachet is only going to be of limited value. It is a curious truth that fashion prides itself on being about the new and the next, but when it comes to models, having a face that defies the trends is always in-demand.

Wixson’s progress is ultimately down to fashion’s love affair with the unusual, but her career now diverges where fashion has taken that obsession and made it mainstream. The shapes that many deemed unwearable as little as five years ago have become a central part of our wardrobes. Modelling has also followed suit, with the real success stories of the past two decades boiling down to one key component: versatility. We have seen Kate Moss leading the way, allowing quirky choices like Coco Rocha to do budget beauty adverts, and glamorous Raquel Zimmermann to sear through the beauty in button-pushing editorials.

It’s not enough to temporarily transfer to the ‘road less travelled’; doing it all is now a standard industry requirement. Far from being tough, it’s a mark of just how far the fashion world has come since the late Corrinne Day photographed a young Kate Moss in the early Nineties. Lindsey’s generation has grown up taking this as the norm, not the comparatively recent development it actually is, and they are working in an industry that’s more open than ever to new standards and definitions of beauty. There is no one look that defines us right now; every facet of modern beauty is covered from the androgynous look of Iris Strubegger to the ultra-girlie image of Sports Illustrated cover girl, Brooklyn Decker.

While fashion’s agenda for the immediate future remains decidedly grown-up, it’s being sent down the runway on models that didn’t do minimalism the first time round. With their influences ranging from cartoons to comic-book-style musical heroines like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, Lindsey’s generation are the most visually-connected yet. With so many diversions vying for their time, if fashion wants to keep their interest, it has to be bold and it has to be daring.

Fast forward to Spring 2011 and the next season will be a marked departure from this autumn’s quiet sophistication. Next year will be nothing short of transformative; with youthful colour embedding itself in fashion’s consciousness. If this winter was about a reset, a pause for thought, then Spring will be about finding a stance that has less to do with breaking even, and everything to do with rediscovering the joy of the creative process.

It is in this environment that we will see Lindsey flourish. She is ideally placed to take full advantage of fashion’s re-engagement with itself. Fashion is exploring shape and colour with the tenderness reserved for a first love, but with a clarity that's born from experience.

That’s why Lindsey’s career has grown so fast. Lindsey’s face isn’t just about novelty, it evokes newness – the new buds of growth that come after a long winter, and for the fashion world, this winter has been exceptionally harsh. Spring - in its physical, creative and financial sense – can’t come soon enough.

Wixson is hotly tipped to become the next big thing, joining modelling wunderkinds Jacquelyn Jablonski and Karlie Kloss to become the generation that takes fashion from bust to boom. But it’s no fleeting teenage crush; fashion’s fixation with Lindsey Wixson is set to be the real deal.