The 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
photographed by Hannah Richards, Jeff Olson and Richard Machado
print edition photographs by Tony Drayton,
Jeff Olson and Richard Machado
From issue 24 of
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
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.
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
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
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.
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