Sunday, 27 February 2011


Along with skincare and fitness, hair is one of the most important aspects of personal grooming when it comes to getting model-ready.

Whether you’re already signed, or about to break into the industry, a head of hair that’s in poor condition can be a deal-breaker. But a great head of hair, regardless of whether it’s long, short, straight or curly, can be a phenomenal asset. Just ask cover girl and rising star, Hailey Clauson [pictured]. It doesn’t matter if your skin and body are in great shape – if your hair’s letting you down, that’s the first thing people see, and in an industry where first impressions count, giving yourself the best chance possible means covering all your bases.

Think of all the hair care brands available on the high street at the moment: not just shampoo and conditioner, but the masses of styling products. Then factor in the professional brands you see at the salon – that’s a huge number of potential clients, and hair is very big business. If you want a piece of the action, getting your own hair in check is a must.

The first step to achieving good hair is the shampoo. This may seem like the one part you’ve got handled, but like skincare, the first and most important step is cleansing without stripping the skin of its natural balance – your scalp needs just the same level of attention.

Run your hands through your hair – does it feel healthy and well conditioned, or a bit oily at the roots – do the ends of your hair feel brittle and unloved? The state of your hair will tell you a great deal about what is really needs. Just like skin, if you’re doing something wrong, your hair will tell you in no uncertain terms!

If your hair leans towards oily, buy a good-quality clarifying shampoo. One that’s gentle is essential, because any formulation that’s too harsh will dry out your scalp, causing the oil glands beneath to go into overdrive in replacing what’s been lost – definitely not what you want. Ignore the old wives’ tale about hair not really being clean until it ‘squeaks’. Unless your hair’s been taking a hammering from overuse of styling products, one shampoo should be enough.

If you regularly colour your hair, protect your investment with a colour-specific shampoo. They can cost a little extra, but looking after your shade means it will last longer – great if you’re watching the pennies.

For hair that just feels normal, in good condition and well balanced, a decent cleansing shampoo will be perfect. The key to shampoo is to get one that matches not only your hair type, but your lifestyle. It’s a good idea to have more than one type of shampoo on the bathroom shelf. If your hair is coloured, it will suffer from occasional dryness especially in bad weather, so a good hydrating shampoo will be an excellent addition to a colour-protecting one. If you’re a regular user of product – and as a model, your hair will take some battering - find the best quality deep-cleansing shampoo you can get your hands on. Use this once a week (more if you need to), and your hair will be ready to take on anything that’s thrown at it.

The second step of hair care, still obvious, but still important, is conditioner. Some people think this step is optional, but if you want your hair to be your crowning glory, conditioning is a must.
Again, match your conditioner to your hair’s needs. If you have very oily roots, you may have shied away from using conditioner in the past, assuming it would leave your hair greasy and flat. The key to getting round this is to use a leave-in conditioner. The ultra lightweight formulas now available will transform the way your hair looks and feels. Just spritz it on after showering, and your hair won’t be weighed down or greasy, just beautifully conditioned.

If your hair leans towards the other end of the spectrum, a good moisturising shampoo will be worth its weight in gold. If you’re experiencing extra dryness due to the weather / stress / illness, leave the conditioner in for an extra couple of minutes while you’re still in the bathroom – the steam will encourage the conditioner to really get to work on those pesky dry ends.

If you want to go the extra mile, giving your hair a weekly treatment is a great idea. A good hair mask will restore shine and condition in no time – two things a camera will definitely pick up on. Tailor the treatment to yourself: you don’t have to use the product all over, just where it’s needed. However, if you’re using a colour-protect mask, use it from root to tip. It will conserve your colour and stop it fading prematurely.

Slotting a weekly treatment into your routine is also an excellent idea of you’ve been hitting the straighteners. Great for getting that sleek look that’s finally returned to the runways, regular use of straighteners (even the good ones) are notorious for leaving the hair weak and out of condition. The high temperatures involved means that your hair’s being subjected to some seriously intense wear and tear. Prepping your hair with a heat-protector spray or styling lotion will shield it from some of the potential damage, but the bottom line is if you’re a fan of this look, take time out to give some TLC back to your hair – it’s worth it.

Styling products are fast becoming an industry in themselves. Gel, mousse and hairspray used to be the basics, but now you can found dozens of hybrid products out there for every conceivable styling emergency. Whatever you go for, there’s one cardinal rule when it comes to styling. Use less, achieve more. These products are designed to act quickly and decisively. You know instantly when you’ve applied too much product – your scalp feels overloaded, your hair loses volume – it’s not a good look.

Whenever applying product, especially if you’re using a brand you’re not used to, go easy on the amount you use. It’s the same principle as applying blusher – you can always add more if you need to, but trying to correct a face covered in fuschia is easier said than done. A further note about castings – resist the temptation to try a bold new look to wow clients and casting directors. There is always the chance that something could go horribly wrong and you’re left with a head of lank, overstyled hair, and no time to fix it. Nothing ruins confidence faster than a bad hair day. If you regularly style your hair, on casting days go with what works. You won’t be worrying about what your hair’s doing, and you can concentrate on getting that booking.

The forgotten aspect of hair care is shaving. Whether you’re a guy having to keep that clean-cut look fresh day after day, or a girl opting for the blade rather than waxing, life’s too short to spend it at the shaving mirror. Knowing a few tricks can make the whole business quicker and more efficient.

The first step is to work on a clean surface. If you do have a few extra minutes, gently exfoliate the skin before shaving. It will not only remove dead skin cells and promote fresh cells to the surface, but it will lift the bristles up from the surface of the skin, making them an easier catch for the blade. Failing this, a brilliant time-saver is to get a wash-cloth, soak it in warm water, and then press it onto the skin and leave it there for a couple of seconds. The warmth will open your pores, and the bristles again will lift up from the skin, making shaving easier and more comfortable. The hair will be less resistant, meaning you don’t have to drag the blade over your skin, resulting in red, bumpy, irritation.

Another trick to avoid the dreaded razor rash is to ignore everything you’ve seen in the adverts. Those long, sweeping strokes up the neck and across the chin? Forget about it. When you’re shaving, use short strokes. You don’t want your blade to become overwhelmed. If the razor’s clogged up with shaving foam and hair, it’s not going to be able to give you the results you want. This technique results in a closer shave and re-growth won’t show up as quickly.

Finally, a note about product. The classic move is to slap on some aftershave after shaving, but you will know already that this hurts like hell. Your skin post-shave will be feeling sensitive and it needs a little extra help to see it through the day. Invest in a good aftershave balm – it will soothe your skin and treat any irritation. After that has had time to get to work, apply your usual moisturiser – it may seem unnecessary after using the balm, but your skin will thank you for it. When using aftershave, dab a little onto pulse points. The scent will intensify with the heat of your skin and is a subtle, sophisticated way to wear fragrance. Especially when going out to castings and meeting new people go easy on the scent – good grooming speaks for itself.

Part of the business of being a model is that people will have an opinion on every aspect of your appearance. Every inch of your image will be dissected: what works, what could be improved, and what needs to go. Try not to take any criticism personally – think long-term: will this look help my career get to the next stage? Some agencies will absorb the cost of a ‘makeover’ as part of their investment in you, but if you want to make an image change off your own back, talk it through with your agency first.

It sounds ridiculous, but even a simple haircut could have serious consequences. If you have long hair, go in for a cut that takes 6 inches off the length, and your agency (not knowing this) has submitted you for a go-see on the basis of you having long hair – disaster. The wrong cut could end up with you losing out on work. So in short, anything more drastic than a trim needs to be okayed with your agency first!

Of course, a great cut can make all the difference – model Freja Beha saw her career sky-rocket after her long hair got transformed into a wavy, mid-length bob. The key to any transformation is whether it will make you a better model – will a colour change make you more versatile, will going short give you the edge over your competitors? If you’re currently unsigned, think very carefully before making any big changes. Don’t just consider whether a haircut will physically suit you, but whether it will be a good fit for your future career. If your modelling strength is your classic bone structure and feminine features, getting a severe crop may not be the best way forward.

When you’re at the early stage of your modelling career, hair is probably the most important aspect of your appearance. A good head of hair can sway an agency to sign you, even if your skin’s having a bad day. A career-making haircut can be shorthand for the model you want to be, and get you there that much quicker. You may think success in modelling is all about giving good face, but if your hair’s not part of the team, it can throw off your whole look. Get your hair fabulous, and give your career a fighting chance.


Saturday, 26 February 2011


Born in the Netherlands in 1988, Anna de Rijk was first discovered at age 16 by a photographer who was attending her neighbour’s Xmas party.

Shooting her first international editorial in June 2006, Anna scored her first cover in October with Dutch Elle. Making her runway debut in October 2007 for Vivienne Westwood and Veronique Branquinho, Anna’s career was very much on a job-by-job basis. Working for two years, but somewhat under the radar, Anna’s initiation into full-time modelling didn’t start until February 2009 when she walked for Blumarine, Christopher Kane, Dries Van Noten, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton and Prada. Just a month after her comeback, after being in modelling for three years, pegged Anna as a rising star.

In July, Anna booked slots in the couture shows for Chanel and Valentino – an unusual honour as Anna at 5’ 9”, is at least two inches shorter than most couture models. Her summer was peppered with editorial work for Dazed & Confused and British Vogue, but in the latter part of the season, Anna was announced as one of the faces of the new Autumn / Winter Prada campaign.

It is the sort of casting that dreams are made of. An appearance in a Prada campaign is nothing short of a career-maker. The eccentric ad, featuring the models in woollen separates and rubber boots, was an iconic piece of Prada whimsy. Miuccia Prada doesn’t do femininity head-on, but always from an angle. The saucepot librarian is in heavy tweeds to off-set the va-va-voom; the half-clad Amazon in snakeskin and 6” heels is channelling evolution rather than seduction. There is always present in Prada an element of the unexpected and that’s why it’s the most famous five-letter word in the fashion world today. Any model even remotely associated with the brand, let alone featuring as one of the campaign girls, can look forward to a career spent working with the best creative talent fashion has to offer.

Anna’s next booking after the Prada announcement was for a multi-model haute couture editorial for Italian Vogue. Photographed by Paolo Roversi, ‘Dream of a Dress’ is a roll-call of all the best and brightest modelling talent. Using the latest designs from Paris, it was a gothic, glamorous masterpiece that showed Anna and her peers exploring couture’s dark side. Anna’s reversal of fortune continued with a 45 show season in September and October, opening the show for Burberry and walking for Prada, Chanel, Givenchy, Lanvin, Erdem and Thakoon. Her meteoric rise from fashion girl to face to watch may have been dizzying, but Anna’s performances were grounded by the knowledge and experience gained by working beyond the glare of the spotlight, before her re-emergence in 2009.

2010 was an even better year for Anna, with the model scoring big in January when she was asked to appear in an editorial for Italian Vogue, dubbed ‘Runway’, and shot by Steven Meisel. In what turned out to be a vastly important piece of editorial work, Meisel used every model of note to compile a series of carefully-constructed shots made to look like behind-the-scenes candid snaps from runway shows. Mixed with standard editorial shots (plus a cover of Karlie Kloss about to take a tumble in platform heels), it was a brilliantly self-referential take on high-fashion, and a phenomenal way to kick off a new decade.

Anna took on a challenge in February when she featured in a spread for French Vogue. Called ‘Vogue a Porter’, it paid homage to the controversial 1974 film ‘The Night Porter’. Anna got to take on the topless shot made famous by Charlotte Rampling. A notoriously difficult kind of shoot to get right, it earned Anna major kudos. Turning her classically feminine looks into something altogether more ominous, Anna was the epitome of French Vogue’s point of view: subversive, clever and irretrievably stylish.

The year continued to be lucky for Anna, signing on to become the face of Dior jewellery, and a contract with Chanel cosmetics. The latter booking was particularly important for Anna as it would turn her from a high-fashion favourite to a recognisable presence in beauty halls across America and Europe. Like Prada, Chanel is a label whose image and name go hand in hand, and the fame of Chanel’s make-up is almost on a par with its clothes. The pillar-box red lipstick and the Rouge Noir nail polish are as solid pieces of Chanel iconography as the tweed suit itself. Anna’s face was perfect for the classic beauty with a trend twist that’s needed for Chanel. Again, as with French Vogue earlier in the year, Anna was able to morph seamlessly into that mould. But look closer at the images produced and there is a haunted quality there that takes the Chanel ad to another level: it’s not just about lipstick, but about an entire sensibility.

Bringing an element of individuality is what separates a high-fashion campaign from a more commercial one. The fuss-free look for the H&M campaigns has become synonymous with the brand, but at no stage do these images feel cheap. Freja Beha’s S/S 2011 campaign for H&M is perfectly on-message for the label, but Freja’s personality jumps off the page and that’s what keeps us looking. Great campaigns work because they linger in the mind - and that’s exactly the point.

The remainder of Anna’s year was made up of runway and editorial, plus a new campaign for Sonia Rykiel with up-and-coming model Katie Fogarty. But it ended with another major signing, this time with American icon Vera Wang.

Modelling both her fashion line and bridal wear, Anna became the face of the brand that has changed the way we think of dressing for that ultimate fashion moment. Launched in the Nineties, Vera’s aesthetic rejected Eighties excess in favour of a calmer, more refined look. Anna was a perfect pick to represent the label – she created a look that was soft and yielding but with a high-fashion edge that was aspirational rather than something designed to intimidate. This is especially important when modelling bridal wear, as it has to connect with the customer on a very real level: creating that fantasy image is all well and good, but if the customers can’t imagine themselves wearing that dress, the campaign has failed. Anna made the perfect connection, making the label look desirable but feel attainable – an important distinction.

2011 promises to be off to another good start for Anna, with an early appearance in American Vogue. Shot by Mario Testino, it is an epic multi-page editorial featuring all the trends from the Spring / Summer 2011 runway. Called ‘Gangs of New York’, models were put into groups. Anna was paired off with Frida Gustavsson and Jac. All three were photographed in vintage lace Ralph Lauren. Referencing the more romantic side of the Wild West, the picture is dubbed by Vogue as ‘The New Romantics’. The photo is soft-focus and other-worldly, but at its core, Frida, Jac and Anna are clearly three women not to be trifled with.

It’s a perfect metaphor for Anna’s career to date. Her gentleness on camera belies an inner strength – you can’t reference films like ‘The Night Porter’ or work for designers such as Givenchy or Prada without being able to take a walk on the wild side. Her speciality may be the soft, feminine aspect of high-fashion, her work with Vera Wang being a particularly good example of this, but it is Anna’s willingness to dig deeper and go further that sets her apart from the competition.

Her ability to work with the most cerebral designers and translate their vision, whether it is on camera or on the runway, is all down to the slow-burn part of her career. Having to wait it out for nearly two years would test even the most determined model, but Anna stepped back into the limelight ready to wow us, and she did. Anna’s career will continue to offer up surprises and delights because she recognises the importance of challenge: challenging your industry and your peers, but most importantly, yourself.


Sunday, 13 February 2011


Born May 10th 1990, Karmen Pedaru’s career is testament to how paying your dues can really pay off.

Discovered in 2005 at a drama theatre in Tallinn, the Estonian-born model signed with NEXT Models the following year. Appearing for Teen Vogue in June 2006, Karmen debuted at Fashion Week that September, walking for Christopher Kane, Marni and Emporio Armani.

Skipping the February 2007 season, Pedaru returned to the runway in September 2007 opening the shows for Louise Gray and Biba. Also walking for Collette Dinnigan, Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney, Karmen’s stock was on the rise.

In February 2008, Karmen’s growing confidence on the runway was rewarded with a stellar season, appearing for Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs in New York, in addition to being picked to open shows for Dries van Noten and YSL in Paris.

Her breakout season was noted by the fashion press, with both and dubbing Karmen a top newcomer. Karmen’s success on the runway translated into credible editorial work, with a spread in Numero photographed by Greg Kadel, and a layout for V, shot by Mario Testino.

In July, Karmen made her debut on the couture catwalks, walking for Chanel, Givenchy, Valentino and Dior. Getting to model couture is an integral part of building that envy-inducing CV. The requirements for haute couture are very specific, but once you’re in, you’re in. The ‘look’ of a couture label tends to be more fixed than its ready-to-wear counterpart. Couture forms the ‘essence’ of the brand, so some elements stay in place for nearly every collection, such as white for Chanel, and red for Valentino. Therefore the faces that wear these looks don’t have to be hired and dropped in such quick rotation. Couture doesn’t just build relationships with its clients; it builds lasting links with its models too. American model Karlie Kloss has been the face of Dior for the past two years because she is one of Galliano’s couture favourites. This has led to Karlie becoming one of the most in-demand models working today. Couture is very much a niche market: corner it, and the search for work becomes that little bit easier.

Karmen experienced this domino effect for herself in September 2008 when she was photographed for Numero magazine by Karl Lagerfeld, just a few months after her debut on the catwalk for Chanel Couture.

The couture connection continued with a shoot for Italian Vogue. Karmen, photographed by Miles Aldridge, appeared in Valentino Couture. A deceptively simple shoot, the heavily-worked couture demanded a focussed performance. It would be a tough ask for a more established model, but Karmen’s quietly assured performance showed the industry she was ready to take on more.

Her ready-to-wear season in September was another triumph, with opening show honours from DKNY, Jonathan Saunders and Rue du Mail. Closing the show for Nicole Farhi and Temperley in London, Pedaru also walked for Alberta Ferretti, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Isabel Marant, Proenza Schouler and Roberto Cavalli – a truly eclectic mix of blue-chip and cutting-edge labels that have come to form the basis of Pedaru’s career.

In early 2009 she was announced as the face of Missoni’s diffusion label and was photographed for the D&G spring campaign by Mario Testino. Following another couture season in January, it was announced that Karmen would become the first model to represent the Derek Lam label in a campaign, to be shot by Solve Sundsbo.

Pedaru walked again in the Autumn / Winter couture season in July, adding Armani Prive to her list of credits. Ending the year with a blockbuster RTW season, and the Autumn / Winter cover of French Revue de Modes, 2010 would manage to eclipse the extraordinary run of success Karmen found in 2009.

In February’s A/W 2010 season, Pedaru signed up for an incredible 55 shows. She opened shows for Tommy Hilfiger, Alberta Ferretti, Dries van Noten and Burberry. Karmen’s placing as the opener (and closer) of the Burberry show would prove to be a pivotal moment in her career. Christopher Bailey’s take on aviator chic proved to be the defining image of the season. Karmen’s photo cropped up time and again in the press, and as the season gathered accolades as one of the best for a decade, Pedaru’s photo became one of the important fashion images of the year.

Karmen’s profile unsurprisingly went through the roof, with editorials for French and Italian Vogue in April; the cover of Japanese Numero in June and the announcement in late summer that Pedaru would become the face of Emporio Armani and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Topping the year off with another 55 show season in September, Karmen got a chance to show what she’d learned in the past 12 months with an editorial for French Vogue called ‘Bal Masque’.
Featuring alongside Anja Rubik and Dree Hemingway, the themes were sensuality, opulence and Parisian glamour. Each concept is tricky enough in itself, but a sultry shoot is a notoriously difficult balance to strike. There’s an absolute (but subtle) line between making a statement and edging over into lads’ mag territory. The almost-mathematical precision in getting it right without sacrificing the mood of the editorial requires a level of skill you can only acquire through experience. The shoot worked perfectly in keeping the pages of French Vogue strictly high-fashion.

Karmen’s career zig-zagged again with another campaign signing, but this time she was asked to appear for the autumn / winter collection for Gap. The quintessentially American label chose to focus on one of its best selling points: denim.

Gap’s series of adverts marketed different cuts of jeans (eg: straight, modern flare, skinny) and used a clutch of top models to sell the goods. The campaign’s emphasis on easy fashion, added a stroke of genius when Gap put names to the model faces which included Alana Zimmer, Anja Rubik, Catherine McNeill and Lily Donaldson. Putting their names to each campaign image made the models immediately more appealing, taking it beyond the usual pairing of model with product, creating a campaign that was a slam-dunk for the iconic brand.

Gap’s light bulb moment worked because there is a certain satisfaction in being able to put a name to a face. The Cindys, Naomis and Christys – the models of the Eighties who were more celebrity than mannequin – are a thing of the past. It’s still possible for models acquire a certain level of fame (Lara Stone for example), but for most models, the trade-off is being known on sight, but not by name. In an age where we know everything about celebrities from their shoe size to their favourite snack, it’s a curious state of affairs.

But this is set to change as our interest in fashion continues to grow. Ten years ago, finding a member of the public who could name the editor of French Vogue would have been a tall order. Ten years on, Carine Roitfeld’s dramatic departure from the magazine in 2010 made headlines across the world.

The models emerging today are working in an industry where the rules are now a work in progress. A large part of that change has been thanks to the internet. Access to fashion – the very latest news, editorials and shows – is now just a click away. This proximity has created a generation who are as familiar with Gareth Pugh and Christopher Kane as they are with Topshop and Primark. It’s a generation who feel comfortable enough with the world of high-fashion to dissect the latest ideas, both with each other and the world at large. This willingness to engage in all things sartorial has turned the industry into something to be actively enjoyed, rather than regarded at a distance.

There are of course misgivings; when every opinion gets equal billing, figuring out what’s really worth your time can be difficult. But ultimately having too much information forces you to be selective. Being able to access everything gives you an immediate idea of what you like, what you don’t, and more importantly, why.

Making fashion a friendlier place to be has proved to be a touch of brilliance, because fashion is all about forming relationships. At the heart of this is the link between us, the consumer, and the model. If we don’t identify with the model, that dress, or that bag, won’t sell. The job of the model is to embody a designer’s ‘big idea’, whether that’s old-school sophistication or avant-garde sleekness, but in getting fashion’s finances back on track, the secret is to be relatable. The day of the uber-groomed supers has gone for a reason; we all want to indulge in that element of fantasy, but the post-recession fantasy is about the business of joy, not exclusion. Fashion’s getting back to the basics of why we buy what we buy: not just to feel part of a ‘club’, but to enjoy the act of choosing and wearing great clothes.

In light of this, the obvious choice would be to hire the money-maker faces. But the faces that are rising to the top aren’t just those starry one-in-a-million faces, but models that have got there through sheer hard work.

Karmen’s rise from ingĂ©nue to campaign girl is textbook when it comes to making the move from model to super; some are faces ‘of the moment’, slotting into a mood or look that gets everyone talking. Others make it by stealth, working for years and then suddenly making it big – Iselin Steiro is a perfect example of this. But Karmen falls into the third group: a solid but steady start, which blossoms into regular work on the world’s runway and editorial circuits.

Karmen’s transition from runway regular to the Spring 2011 face of Michael Kors and Gucci has been a process several years in the making, but Pedaru’s star power has lost none of its potency for it. There are some models that just have ‘it’ – that elusive modelling gene – but there’s something to be said for the grafters of the industry.

Karmen’s career will continue to flourish because her years of hard work have given her the skills of a supermodel, with the insight and intelligence needed to interpret fashion for a whole new generation.