Interview with Nicola Atwa, Head Booker at Vivien's Model Management
Posted by StarNow on 21 Jul, 2014

Interview with Nicola Atwa, Head Booker at Vivien's Model Management

Just before the launch of the annual StarNow Global Model Search we had the opportunity to sit down with Vivien’s Model Management Woman’s Head Booker, Nicola Atwa and ask her some questions about what they are looking for, her advice for models entering the competition and what they can expect if they are chosen to come in and meet with Vivien’s Model Management.

StarNow: What do you look for when looking at hundreds of model headshots?
Nicola:Good skin, teeth and hair, symmetrical features or something unique and a look that makes you want to see more.

StarNow: What makes a model special?
Nicola: Every model is special in a different way and they all have strengths and weaknesses just like anybody else. Some of them are amazing on the catwalk, some are great for beauty shoots whereas others have the ability to move and perform in front of a camera and bring clothes to life. Over time you learn what they excel at but a lot of it can also be timing and luck.

StarNow: How do you decide whether a young model has potential?
Nicola: Generally you can tell immediately if someone has the right attributes to be successful in this business. The right height and frame, good body proportions, good skin, hair and teeth etc Most importantly they need to be photogenic and you can’t always tell that until you put them on film. Sometimes people can surprise you, some people photograph differently to how they come across in person and people can change as they grow and develop.

StarNow: What type of personality must a model have? Do you consider this when looking at a new model?
Nicola: A models personality and attitude can have a huge effect on how successful they are in this business. You find that the ones that get to the top and stay at the top are the ones that are a pleasure to work with. It takes a certain type of person to be able to handle the uncertainty of the industry and to be comfortable with not knowing what next week or next month holds. Models will have to be prepared to travel and spend time away from friends and family as they will be working all over the world. This sounds quite glamourous but it is not easy for everybody and they have to be quite mature and self sufficient. Perhaps most importantly models need to have a thick skin and be comfortable in who they are as this job can be very hard on your confidence.

StarNow: What are your top tips for models to prepare for a modelling shoot?
Nicola: Models have to be in peak physical condition at all times, so that is the most important thing. I would advise them to do some research on who they are working with as well and to educate themselves on the photographer, stylist and client. They should also make sure they get plenty of sleep the night beforehand and don’t be late.

StarNow: What would be your 3 best pieces of advice you would give a new model that is just starting out?
Nicola: This is a business and it’s important you act professionally at all times it’s not all glamour and it can take time for success to come.
Your appearance is how you earn a living so it’s very important to look after yourself. Make sure you exercise and eat well and take care of your hair, nails etc
Enjoy yourself and be grateful for the experiences that you are having, you will meet some amazing people and see some amazing places.

StarNow: Take us through to process that happens when a new model visits your agency
Nicola: If you are new to modeling we will spend a lot of time advising you on how to dress, how to do your hair and explaining how everything works. We will help you to arrange shoots to build you portfolio and learn how to be in front of a camera. It’s very much a training process to begin with and we will only send you out to meet clients once you are ready.

StarNow: What could models expect if they are invited in for a meeting during the StarNow Global Model Search?
Nicola: We always ask models to come in with their parents/guardian if they are under 18. To begin with you will come in to meet the booking team who will decide if they think you have the potential to be a professional model. You do not need to be nervous, everyone is very friendly at Viviens, it’s a family business. We will ask to take your picture and measure your height and have a chat with you about the industry in general. If we decide to offer you representation you will be given a contract to read and return. You will then start to do photoshoots with photographers called “tests” that will build your portfolio and give you experience in front of the camera and once you have done a few of these the agents will start to propose you for jobs.

StarNow: What do you recommend models to wear when they meet you for the first time?
Nicola: Something they are comfortable in and something we can clearly see their figure in. Please don’t wear too much make up, we want to see how you look naturally.

StarNow: What common mistakes do you see models making, even if they already have what it takes?
Nicola: We see a lot of people who think they need to present themselves in a certain way… a lot of make up, false eyelashes, fake tan etc and we don’t want this. We want models to look natural and like themselves. We also find a lot of girls compare themselves to other models. Everyone is different, you can’t compare yourself as everyone is unique.

StarNow: Can you explain the different types of models i.e. Editorial, Commercial etc
Nicola: Editorial models are usually the girls who do high fashion – so magazine shoots, catwalk parades, fashion / beauty campaigns. They are usually tall and slim builds and they can be quite unusual looking and strong.
Commercial models are pretty, girl next door, natural types that you see in catalogue and TV commercials and some magazines. Generally good looking types. Sometimes you can have models who can cross over and do both.

Enter the StarNow Global Model Search 2014