Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Rebirth

Puerto Rican native Joan Smalls is patent proof of what stellar model management can do for a models career. The evolution of Smalls has been anything but an "overnight success story". Smalls first came under my radar back in 2008 when I spotted her in Elite's online portfolio of models and in a V Magazine spread on "Powerhouse Model Agencies" which featured Smalls as part of Elite's line-up. At the time, I can recall noting Smalls' promise and wondered why she was being relegated to banal appearances in Liz Claiborne ads, Nordstrom catalogues and less prestigious editorial exposure for the likes of Cosmopolitan. Smalls' runway appearances were limited to smaller shows at New York Fashion week for the likes of Benjamin Cho and Heatherette. Here was an incredibly beautiful girl with stunning features and dimensions, yet her career was stalling before it had even started.

The Last Magazine - F/W 2011
Photographer - Karim Sadli
Source - models.com

Paris Vogue - February 2011
Photographer - Mario Sorrenti
Source - models.com

Paris Vogue - February 2011
Photographer - Mario Sorrenti
Source - models.com

V Magazine - July 2010
Photographer - Mark Abrahams
Source - models.com

In 2009, Smalls switched representation from Elite to IMG Models and her management team set about revamping her portfolio with new test shots, repositioning her in the market as a classically beautiful girl with a distinct high fashion edge. The time and resources vested in their new protegé paid dividends with Smalls landing a Spring Givenchy couture exclusive in January 2010. Hoping to capitalise on the buzz surrounding Smalls' Givenchy exclusive, IMG set about promoting Smalls to the hilt, sending her on a round of go-sees to a wide-cross section of casting directors and stylists including Andrew Weir, Russell Marsh, Michelle Lee, Karl Templer and Melanie Huynh. Backed by a management team who recognised her true potential, Smalls delivered the goods, booking Anna Sui, Prada, Burberry, Gucci, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent amongst others in her pivotal breakthrough Fall/Winter 2010 show season.

Industrie Magazine
Photographer - Rachel Chandler
Source - industrie.nowmanifest.com

Smalls is now indisputably one of the fashion industry's most coveted faces, appearing regularly in blue chip publications including all international editions of Vogue, V Magazine, W, i-D Magazine, and in campaigns for Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and the GAP. In early 2011, Smalls reached the pinnacle of any model's career by signing a lucrative cosmetics contract with Estee Lauder, becoming a spokesperson and global ambassador for the cosmetics giant. Smalls success is a testament to her hard work ethic, perseverance, charming personality and to her management team at IMG. In an interview with the T Magazine, Smalls is asked whom in the (modelling) industry she most identifies with, to which she replies tellingly, "models who have worked their way to an admirable career and have taken their time to get there."

Thierry Mugler - S/S 2012
Photographer - Filippo Fior

Max Mara - S/S 2012
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos

Gucci - S/S 2012
Photographer - Monica Feudi

Carolina Herrera - S/S 2012
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos

Hakaan - S/S 2012
Photographer - Marcus Tondo

Donna Karan - S/S 2012
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos

Givenchy - S/S 2012
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
All runway images courtesy of style.com

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