Elite Model Look

January 2006

Stephanie Grubesic and Allison MacGillivray
Stephanie Grubesic
and Allison MacGillivray

Imagine you're fairly new to the modelling game and the world's biggest agency says they want to fly you to a major international destination rich with history. The agency will pick up the cost of your return flight, two weeks accommodations and meals, while showing you the sights, developing your modelling skills and grooming your look to take your career to a new level. They're throwing in a photo shoot, introducing you to staff from across their expansive network and making sure you meet influential fashion editors and photographers. Imagine 66 other girls from around the world having this same experience, and one of you is going to get a million dollars worth of modelling contracts for your troubles.

You've just imagined Elite Model Look.

Shanghai, located on China's east coast, was host to eml in November. A city of more than 17 million people, its recorded history goes back nearly a thousand years. Now regarded as an emerging fashion capitol and center for industry, Shanghai has in the past five years also become a lucrative destination for international models.

Ottawa's Stephanie Grubesic was this country's 2005 representative, but she wasn't the only Canadian present. Allison MacGillivray, a booker at Elite's Toronto office also made the trip; her second straight year as a chaperon.

walking lessons on the first day

The first couple of days, according to MacGillivray, were spent making sure the models looked just right. In some cases that meant evening out their hair colour, while other times in meant trimming split ends. All of the grooming was very minor.

With 67 girls however, there was a lot to organize, so while one girl was getting touch-ups others were getting runway lessons. While runway lessons were conducted, French photographer Jean Francois Campos was one-by-one providing every girl with a gorgeous headshot. While Campos was photographing one model, another model would meet with Elite's head European scout Michaela Goddard. "For the first few days it was just that," says MacGillivray, "then we started our event."

MacGillivray was the head chaperon this year and worked with an international crew to make sure all the girls were properly cared for and comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. "The girls were always kept very separate [from those not involved in the event] and there was a lot of security. They're young and in a strange country. You have to be very conscious of this. Some of them were very nervous, so we always kept them very secure even when we were doing public events."