When you think of model names, Gisele, Cara and Kate are usually the first to come mind. But the industry is hardly limited to these high fashion runway beauties. In reality, "fitting models" are actually some of the most in demand faces.
One of the leaders in this booming business is TRUE, a full service model management company founded by Dale Noelle. Headquartered in New York with affiliates in Los Angeles, TRUE represents all sizes and categories of fitting models and embraces a vast network of clients to connect models with showrooms, trade shows, print, runway and commercial talent management assignments.
Wanting to know more about the world of fit modeling, we caught up with Dale following a TRUE Model Search at Yotel in New York City and chatted about what it takes to be a fit model, how she started TRUE, and her tips for those aspiring to break into the industry.
FT:Tell us how you started True Model Management
DN: TRUE Model Management was originally founded for the purpose of representing myself as a fit model with one manager solely focused on maintaining my career. At the time, I had no intention of representing other professional models. TRUE repeatedly received requests for various types of other models, but for several years, I referred all assignments to friends and did not get involved in their businesses. When requests for models increased substantially and I was unexpectedly faced with health issues that forced me to stop modeling, I decided it was time to expand TRUE and welcome other models. In a short time, TRUE has exponentially grown and represents some of the best talent in the industry, with major clients such as Victoria’s Secret, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Gap, to name a few.
Explain the difference between a fashion/editorial model and a fit model?
Fashion/editorial models are featured in commercials, catalogs and print advertisements so they need to be comfortable in front of a camera and pose well. These models typically start their careers at a young age, are tall and lean with angular facial features. Their work is often shown to the public and some fashion print models also participate in shows and walk runways.
A production fit model (also called “fitting model”) is a model who works with fashion designers and/or clothing manufacturers usually at their offices or factories to check the fit, drape and visual appearance of clothing that will be sold to consumers. Fit models are required to have and maintain specific body measurements and stand for long periods of time in one position. Although they are sometimes considered “live mannequins," a fit model must professionally and effectively provide objective feedback on the “fit” to confirm that the feel, sizing, design and shape of garments meet the designers’ standards.
TRUE Model Management represents different kinds of models: men, women, all shapes, colors and sizes. Why is it so important to you and your company to stay diverse?
Clients’ requests can be very diverse so we maintain a vast array of models to fulfill our clients’ needs in a timely manner.
What are the biggest misconceptions about fit models?
Most people outside of the industry think fit models are “fitness” models who are more athletic & muscular than fit models. Many people think fit modeling is an easy job that only requires a person to stand and show clothes. The truth is, many people can try to be fit models but only a select group are truly successful and have longevity in the business. A fit model can majorly impact companies’ bottom lines and the proper feedback from fit models can improve sales and decrease returns dramatically. Fit modeling requires: stamina, resiliency, discipline, consistent body shape and size, technical knowledge, the ability to work well under pressure among people with a variety of strong personalities while exuding effervescent optimism.
How do you find the models for the agency?
We scout EVERYWHERE. TRUE Model Management reps are constantly scouting at restaurants, on the train, at the gym, basically anywhere we see a potential fit model, we approach them. TRUE receives many referrals from clients and models. We also hold model search contests and major castings, post ads and receive many online submissions to ‘Become A Model’ at www.TRUEmodel.net
Is there a certain category or niche type of model that are really in demand right now? If so, why?
BRA MODELS. Young and full 36C, 34D & 36DD bra fitting is very specific and the models who fit the major companies’ requirements are not easy to find.
JAPANESE male & female models of various sizes. More companies are introducing clothing lines specifically for the Japanese market.
Always in demand:
Females (straight size): 5’7”-5’8” contemporary size 4, 6 and 8 with straight hips, well projected backsides (round, perky booties) and lean, toned muscles.
Female (plus size): 5’9”+, high fashion looking plus print models.
Male: 5’10”-5’11”, size 38-40 and jeans size 32-34
What do you find most rewarding about working with your models?
Helping individuals attain their health and career goals, guiding them to live their dreams and achieve financial freedom.
What advice or suggestions do you have for aspiring fit models?
Achieve a toned body and high energy level through good eating habits and a consistent exercise regime. Once you are happy and healthy, be prepared to maintain your physique. Have a tailor or professional fit consultant take your body measurements to compare them with industry standards. Own a tape measure and check your measurements regularly to learn your body’s natural range. Read fashion industry trades, take sewing, pattern-making and technical design classes. Shop major clothing retailers to analyze and learn which brands and styles fit your figure the best. Prepare to work with teams and bring your positive attitude to TRUE Model Management to assess your potential as a model and get started.
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