Elite Model Look Semi-Final

20 July 2012

Down in the crypt of St James's church in Clerkenwell saw the semi-final of the Elite Model Look competition, an annual search for the next generation of successful models. Created in 1983, Elite Model Look is currently the most prestigious international model search that has launched the careers of some of the industry's top models.

We went behind the scenes to soak up the atmosphere and had a little chat with some of the boys to find out a bit more about them.

As the boys arrived, they were given black Elite t-shirts to change into, then had their measurements taken. Under spotlights and amongst clouds of hairpspray, the fresh-faced boys waited for hair and make up, before having their polaroids taken. After waiting for their time in front of the judges, the boys were called through, one by one, to the other side of the black curtain.

On the judging panel were Eddie Martin (casting director at File & Parade), Elite Model London's head of Men’s division Charlie Clarke, and Men’s booker Holly Hargreaves, who were selecting the finalists for next month’s Elite Model Look UK 2012 National Finals.

Dan, 17, Essex (below)

Have you done any modelling before?
No, this is my first time. I usually work in drainage!

Where did you get scouted?
White Lion St.

Are you enjoying the experience?
I’m quite liking the perm at the minute! It’s the most attention I’ve got in a long time!

Is modelling something you’d really like to pursue?
Yeah, it would be a nice change. A bit more glamorous than being down a drain! My boss would be disappointed though.

As each boy went through to meet the judges, they showed their polaroids and walked the length of the room for them, also removing their tops for their physique to be assessed.

"It's almost like X Factor! The judges are really easy going though, so they made it easy." - Paul

After everyone had been seen, the boys were all called back to line up and walk for the judges a second time.

Henry Smith, 16, Manchester (below)

Where did you get scouted?
In the Trafford centre, I was working in Hollister.

How are you finding it?
It’s a nice change. I’m with Boss at the moment.

What do you like about modelling?
I quite like getting looked after [a lovely lady was styling his hair at that moment]. It’s nice seeing yourself in the pictures afterwards and meeting new people and making friends.

What are you hoping to do in the future?
I play a lot of football, so possibly go into that.

Christopher Khoo, 17, West Sussex (above)

So how are you finding modelling so far?
I like it, it’s like acting, you’re dropping into a role, pretending. It depends on what the photographers looking for, you can be quite natural, but put a bit more effort in when different poses are required. I try to keep a low pressure on myself.

Are you enjoying today?
Yeah, the people are very friendly.

So do you do acting as well?
No, I haven’t acted in about 5 years.

Where did you get scouted?
By Cecilie on the tube in January! I did a couple of shoots with her.

William, 20, Ireland (above)

So you’re Irish, right?
Yeah, my accent’s standing out today!

Are you living in London?
No, I just travelled to London for the day. I’m going back in the morning. The plan is to stay out all night, because we don’t have any accommodation. I think we’ll go to a nightclub and then our flights at 6am.

Had you thought about modelling before?
Yeah I had. I worked in Hollister. This is a bit different for me as I’m an electrical engineer.

Fred Dixon, 16, Hertfordshire (above)

Did you get scouted recently?
I got scouted last summer, but I was too young, so they asked me to come back now.

How are you finding it so far?
It’s a novel experience! It’s like nothing I’ve experienced so far.

Are you in college?
Yes, I’m studying economics, maths, English literature and philosophy.

Had you considered modelling before?
I didn’t really think about it. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.

Are you into fashion?
I guess I’m interested, I try to look good, but I’m not really a fashionista!

Did you enjoy getting your hair and make-up done?
Yeah they were both fine. It’s quite a natural look. I was told it wouldn’t be anything too scary!

"Alright Dad? D'you like my hair and make up?" - Dan

As the finalists of the girls catergory in the morning were announced, there was a rush of excited phone calls ("Out of 6000 I got to the final 12! 6000!!"), it was the boys' turn.

After a long wait whilst the judges deliberated who should go through to the final, the boys were called back to find out who had made it.

"Step forward if I call your name..."

8 boys were called through to the next, and final, round, whilst a further 5 were told that they would be monitored over the next few months.

After a triumphant cry of "C'mon!" and a group hug, the finalists left, heads held high, to go back to the agency, with new and unexpected possibilities now open ahead.

"Are you excited or what?!"

Well done to all the boys who took part that day and we wish you all the best for whatever may lie ahead!

Photos by Cecilie Harris

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