On my first day of working with Elite, I didn’t know what to expect.
After spending time with the team at the Newcastle scouting event, I knew everyone was friendly and extremely welcoming, but I still had those natural butterfly nerves which occur every time. As I found my way off the tube and into Waterloo film studio’s, I developed a massive buzz of excitement as I realised I was in the heart of London, working on board a big event that many people would be talking about.
Elite Model Look 2012 began by scouting potential male and female faces across the nation, in the hope to find the next catwalk superstar. Narrowing the finalists down to 12 gorgeous girls and 12 beautiful boys, the possible models were then whisked off to London to participate in a week long boot camp involving photo shoots, nutrition, catwalk training and finishing with a final show in front of many industry experts. The winners; consisting of one girl and one boy, would receive a contract with Elite agency and a chance to take part in the world finals.
The first day was hectic. 24 models poured through the door, some confident and some, not so much. Hair stylists began their artwork and makeup followed, to create an extreme high fashion finish. The models were then taken away one by one, to be styled by the Look wardrobe team and experience their first photo shoot. Even though it wasn’t me in their shoes, I still felt extremely excited for them. The boys all sported slick back hair and smart suits, whereas the girls showcased loose waves, tailored tops and eye popping statement outfit pieces.
Meanwhile, whilst preparing for the photo shoot by being given the task of blowing up 150 balloons, I made a friend for life who I still keep in daily contact with now. Olivia, who worked the Elite Model Look 2011, said she had so much fun last year she had to come back again. As we both lay on the floor in a black cab covered by 150 balloons above us, we began laughing as it wasn’t something we would usually do every day!
As the afternoon drew to a close, the 24 finalists then began to receive a small taste of catwalk training, where previous Elite winner Maddy Hooton set an example for the girls and Topman model Matthew Bell showed the boys exactly how it’s done. Finishing off with group photos, everyone seemed in extremely high spirits as we left Waterloo film studios and Myself and 5 other chaperones then escorted the models back to The Flemings Hotel in Mayfair, where dinner and a comfy bed was provided to grab some shut eye after a long day.
Day two: A 6:30 start. Even though I was up at 6:30, I didn’t feel tired because I was still so excited to experience what the day held in store. We began by heading to Pineapple dance studios, the grounds where the likes of Kate Moss started out. The models were then put through a fast paced dance routine by industry expert Mark Battershall and told exactly how to stay in shape. After a quick shower and healthy lunch, we then all jumped on the tube to Arsenal, where we were greeted by a beautiful model waiting at the door of her apartment ready to teach us a class in eating healthy and how to make nutritional meals. The model diet mainly consisted of fresh fruit smoothies, miso soup, omega fish oil, yoghurt, nuts and the main essential-water.
I was then placed with Olivia to look after the 12 boys, who were preparing to have their first model casting at the Elite offices based on Islington Street, London. The girls were taken to the Blue Fin media building, to be casted for Look beauty range, by Look magazine editor Ali Hall. When we arrived at Elite, the boys were told how to act in a casting and given the chance to have a look at their portfolio. The girls on the other hand, found themselves cat walking on a rooftop and across the Millennium Bridge in front of a small audience. After a hearty dinner of steak and chips, we all went to sleep on happy tummies in preparation for Day three.
It was time for Day 3. We started by visiting Topman on Oxford Street, where the boys were given tailored outfits and told how to further improve their walk for the final show. The girls were taken to Buckingham Palace, where they started to get used to a large audience by walking in front of onlookers who were visiting the landmark. After everyone declaring they were craving Nando’s we ate lunch then shocked a poor bus driver by making him deal with 26 excited people on his bus. We stopped at Sylvia Young drama school where the models were greeted by Jed Texas, a model signed to Elite who has starred in campaigns for Primark and Topman, who was there to further help the potentials with more catwalk training.
Day four and it was time for the final show. Westminster business school towered above us as many workers hurried round preparing for the grand finale. As the models practiced, everyone gave off a positive attitude by helping with small jobs that would make a big difference. Nerves and excitement were in the air, as each finalist walked down a long stretch of ground with their shot from the first photo shoot projected onto a screen behind them. T4 presenter Georgie O’Kell began to practice what she needed to say alongside presenter and model John Mason as I looked at them both, star struck. As six o’clock drew in, the team began to add last minute touches and anxiety travelled across the building with added excitement. The workers quickly got changed into smart outfits in the bathroom and waited in anticipation for the final show to begin.
Floods of people began to arrive, including the cast of Made in Chelsea, Kate Walsh from The Apprentice, Aiden Grimshaw, journalists from the Daily Mail, The Telegraph and TV production companies, friends and family of the finalists, and modelling industry experts. As everyone took their seats, the lights were dimmed and the finalists created a storm down the catwalk, with onlookers admiring the outfits displayed and anticipating who would take the Elite crown.
The announcement then came that English rose Gillian Matthew and cheeky Conor Doherty scooped and signed the contract as winners of EML 2012.
The free bar then began and everyone chatted and networked amongst one another, all finding ourselves a bit worse for wear on the streets of London holding extremely high spirits in the early hours of the morning.
The morning after all nursing hangovers, it was time to leave. As the finalists made their way back to Kings Cross, everyone reminisced about how the Elite event had been the experience of a lifetime.
I count myself very lucky to have been given the chance to participate and work with the Elite family and without hesitation my answer would be a huge ‘YES’ to return next year. After making friends for life and seeing how people’s lives have changed, I cannot thank Elite enough. We would definitely all agree we have lived the London dream, even if it was only for a week!
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