Defining what makes a good model is more difficult than it sounds.
“I don’t like to think that we’re looking for one thing,” says Robyn Bright, a scout for the Models 1 agency, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.
“If you find somebody who really just stands out, when you see it, it’s quite amazing.
“As a scout, it’s always the quiet one at the back of the really loud group of girls who are all caked in make-up, who’s probably not worked out how to do her face yet, and is really inconspicuous – it’s always that one that you see.”
Bright is speaking from experience.
Scouted herself outside Topshop on Oxford Street nearly 20 years ago, she built a successful modelling career before moving behind the camera to help find the next generation of models.
NB the pictures in this article are all of models currently signed with Models 1.
There is, of course, no shortage of people keen to pursue it as a career, and the agency has a number of ways to find new faces.
“We go out on the streets, literally,” says John Horner, Models 1’s CEO. “We go into shops, we run competitions, we go to music festivals.
“We get what we call ‘wannabes’ who turn up – we get about 2,000 of them every year, who literally walk through the door.”
So what’s the success rate, when you have that many hopefuls?
“Of those 2,000? I would think we sign up probably 100 in a year in totality,” he says. “But of those, only maybe 15 or 20 will sustain, i.e. stay with us for a good few years.
“And in excess of that, we get about 20,000 online applications as well.”
While getting signed by an agency is evidently a challenge, the really hard work doesn’t start until you’re actually on the books.