Leah Hibbert, Head Scout for Elite Model Management
We caught up with head Model scout for Elite Leah Hibbert to find out what she looks for when scouting the next big thing!
When you’re scouting how do you see potential?
The preferred age for girls is between 14 and 20, 16 is the ideal age as that’s when you can start working as an adult Model. Height is so important as otherwise the Model won’t work on the international market; I scout for the international market not just London 5’9 and above is ideal.
What are the key aspects of a great Model?
A girl who can do everything, catwalk, beauty campaign then cute and commercial versatility is key; it’s a great way to make it in the industry at the moment as there is so much competition you kind of have to be able to put your fingers in all the pies and please all of the clients. Fantastic facial symmetry is another aspect which sometimes you can’t tell until you photo a girl.
Gorgeous natural beauty and then unique features, like a strong nose that might not seem conventionally beautiful but photographed in a certain way really suits their face. It could be fantastic eye brows or a bird mouth, sometimes it’s really indescribable, you just can’t take your eyes off a certain model there is something that draws you to them.
Nice long limbs, I only scout girls that already fit measurements or just need a little help. Maybe they don’t have the nutritional advice they need or they’re doing the wrong thing at the gym, if i think they are worth scouting or have a little work to do. No girl walks into the agency as a ready made model. I won’t scout a girl who’s not naturally meant to be that slender.
When you’re scouting do you look for the type of Model that might be trending at the time?
I don’t scout by trend, just beautiful British girls. The whole industry is looking for the next big British girl. We’re such a small island that we don’t provide that many amazing girls, so when you do find a great one that’s what people care about. There is definitely a Dutch invasion at the moment; they naturally have these stunning features and height.
Does personality play a big part in choosing models?
100% there are lots of beautiful girls at the semi final (The Elite Model Look) and actually for me it’s usually about personality. Some of these girls you just want to know who they are, they’re dancing they’re not afraid to talk to you, you just want to know who they are- they have a great energy
There is a lot of waiting around , a lot of meeting people you don’t know , people you don’t like, but you have to stay smiley get on with it and yes your car may have picked you up at 5am and maybe you haven’t done anything for 4 hours, but you have to keep smiling. There is a lot of competition out there and to set these beautiful girls a part the clients have to want to work with you. To keep longevity in this business you have got to have a team who wants to book you for the next shoot or look book, they want you on set because you are great to work with. Some of the biggest models in the world are still the girls who turn up and make everyone tea when they get on set. Be nice, be professional just have something about you, show what you’re about without doing cartwheels throughout the door.
Where do you do the majority of your scouting?
I scout at festivals, and outside schools, shopping centers, train stations or girls coming back from the airport after a girls holiday.
What makes an Elite Model:
For me it’s what’s inside, their inside beauty and showing personality. Although we’re a part of a major network we’re fundamentally a family business in London, the directors are Brother and Sister and the people who work for them all come together organically. Although Elite is a big name we try and keep it quite boutique. It’s important our girls are grounded and can really talk to us. We always get feedback after Fashion Weeks that our girls were nice to work with and really professional.
And what makes a great guy Model?
It’s even more so about personality, the boy has to go into a casting and charm the pants off of everybody. Play it straight if you need to, play it gay if you need to. You have to have that natural flirty-ness about you and you have to be fun and professional. No ego but also you have to have some kind of confidence, ‘peacock-ability’. There must be some kind of exhibitionist within them. It’s nice to be a little humble and grounded; you can’t just be good looking you have to be charming and funny, if a casting director asks you about politics you’ve got to have something to say. Read the news; know about current affairs because no one will expect it. Shoots can be long and stressful, it’s meant to be 8 hours and it ends up 12 who wants someone who’s moody, constantly going out for cigarette breaks and doesn’t want to be touched by the stylist. What’s going to set you apart? Being nice and being professional.