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The next best thing in modellingThe next best thing in modelling

As the latest print issue of Lucire is about emerging talent, we look at three young ladies who are set to become the faces to watch. Jack Yan previews them
photographed by Hannah Richards, Jeff Olson and Richard Machado
print edition photographs by Tony Drayton, Jeff Olson and Richard Machado

From issue 24 of Lucire


IT HAS BEEN a recent lament of ours that the global, personality-driven fashion story doesn’t come nearly as regularly as in the 1990s. I offered a few theories not too long ago: either global companies are hiding globalization by pretending to be regional, thereby using fewer international faces; or there hasn’t been that wonderful meeting of talents (such as Oribe Canales et al) who created the first supermodels (Janice Dickinson excepting—we mean Cindy, Linda, Naomi, Christy).

In the online edition of Lucire, Heidi Klum offered her explanation: that models, other than Gisèle Bündchen who seems to have broken the barriers, have to compete with celebrities from film and music these days. Therefore, the stories that drove the supermodel cult in the 1980s and 1990s just aren’t there while the media look at Charlize Theron or Julia Stiles, or, dare I say it, Angelina Jolie.

In some ways, this was foreshadowed by such films as Andrew Niccol’s Simone, a multi-faceted story from the talented Kiwi-born writer–director. In it, the fictional Simone, played by Canadian model Rachel Roberts, dominates film, music and print media, modelling in titles as varied as Interview and Playboy. The cult of celebrity, as far as the fashion press is concerned, is moving in and it shows few signs of reversing.

As recently as 2005, we heard from contacts in New York that they believed that the cult was reversing. They had a point: the month we were chatting, the Hilton sisters dominated a dozen covers between them (including Lucire’s). Who is not tired of Paris Hilton, for example? But if you looked at Time Warner’s InStyle or even the cover choices at Vogue, the reality, for now, is that celebrity and modelling must learn to live side by side. Paris Hilton, for all her condemnation, brief jail time and an infamous breach of bedroom privacy, has survived, too. Few are tired of Paris Hilton.

Unless there are models who can capture our imaginations through good behaviour, not controversy. Think back: other than a very bad film with William Baldwin, did Cindy Crawford put a foot wrong as she rose up the ranks? Elle Macpherson? The worst I remember about Christy Turlington was that she smoked too much.

This issue, we look at Elle Gibson—with former Lucire cover girl Denise Vasi, the most searched-for model on my own blog—who, at 15, could turn into one of those talked-about talents. Elle’s first shoot, by Hannah Richards, is in the 25th issue of Lucire, done in the wake of her win at Cadbury Dream Model Search. What struck me while judging the contest with fellow industry pros was her grounded nature. She comes from a good, supportive family and has decent, ethical agencies backing her. But her age (14 at the time of her win) cooked up some controversy on my blog, leading to a short debate with a couple of visitors.

The comments were addressed online: there was no sexualization of the models, the underwear they modelled was pretty innocent Hey Sister! fare, and there is every sign that Elle Gibson will be managed by professionals, not the sort of predators exposed nearly 10 years ago by Donal McIntyre in a documentary that gave the industry a black eye. We might like to believe that there is scandal and that Elle will appear in inappropriate campaigns. Our experience with Nova Models (indeed, with most New Zealand agencies) and Trump Model Management suggests otherwise.

Bruna Tenorio has had a few more years under her belt and is another emerging face. There were a few that Lucire’s Richard Machado spotted as he headed down to São Paulo Fashion Week for us, but we narrowed it down to two: Bruna, and Viviane Orth. Viviane had already appeared in Lucire (no. 21) and editor Laura Ming-Wong and I decided that Bruna was more representative of the 21st-century model. With east Asian and Caucasian heritage, Bruna Tenorio is a global face, marketable globally, and she has appeared on catwalks in Milano and in her home country. Shoots in Elle and campaigns for HSBC—some readers may remember that the initials stand for Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp.—suggest as much.

Finally, Jeff Olson chose Marina Jamieson, represented by four agencies worldwide (Marilyn and Karin in Paris, Chic in Sydney, and FM in London), to represent North America. Her breadth of experience indicates that there is room for the all-American girl from Texas globally—especially one who is learning foreign languages to accomplish her goals.

While it’s still early days for the three ladies we’ve profiled, we could see a lot more of them in years to come. Elle could well remain as grounded as she is today and be a well known celebrity in her own right in 2016. Bruna and Marina, whom I have not met personally, may well be tomorrow’s supermodels.

Hang on? Aren’t the forces of supermodelling dead?

Yes and no. Media are more global but they have also proliferated. But I am convinced—just as I was when Lucire began saying that ‘The environment is cool’ in 2003 with the United Nations Environment Programme—that the world is heading to a post-Paris Hilton, post-Anna Nicole Smith era. And those models prepared to exhibit some groundedness, ethics and direction may be the ones we reward in future.

Let me talk about Paris one more time: while Miss Hilton may have gone on to Larry King Live with stories of her having found God to please the Bible belt audience, it does seem certain that she’s dropping the bimbo image. Her press emphasizes Paris Hilton the Businesswoman more, even if paparazzi and the weeklies have maintained a (waning?) fascination with her. Her most revealing one-on-one interview was not with King, but with The Daily Telegraph. In it, Hilton admits to playing up the bimbo image. Those who know her well—not those who have partied with her—are aware that this is all part of the Paris Hilton brand, an act for some of the top-selling magazines around, the weeklies. And like all brands, it can be revamped.

If Paris Hilton is indeed someone who has her finger on the pulse of public opinion, then this shift is significant. The party’s over as far as the misbehavin’ is concerned. Farewell to Nicole Richie and Britney Spears. And hello to the next era of meritorious cover girls, including, perhaps, our models here. •


Get this article with full-page images of Elle Gibson, Bruna Tenorio and Marina Jamieson, photographed by Tony Drayton, Richard Machado and Jeff Olson respectively, in issue 24 of Lucire in print.


Read related blog entry on models of colour.


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Paris Hilton, for all her condemnation, brief jail time and an infamous breach of bedroom privacy, has survived, too. Few are tired of Paris Hilton. Unless there are models who can capture our imaginations



Elle Gibson, photographed by Hannah Richards
Elle Gibson

Bruna Tenorio, photographed by Richard Machado
Bruna Tenorio

Marina Jamieson, photographed by Jeff Olson
Marina Jamieson

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