How a Model Scout Can Tell If You're the Next Big Thing

It’s not unusual to hear people outside of the fashion industry questioning our collective taste in models. As any fashion fiend knows, the industry is often trying to defy convention, so common traits are hard to pinpoint. We often find ourselves, even, trying to figure out why certain models are more successful than others, especially when people we’d expect to be very popular are much less so than their peers. What’s the reasoning behind this, we wonder?

To find out, we went straight to an expert in the field: Kristen Bolt, a scouting and development agent at the acclaimed Marilyn Model Management in New York City. Having worked with some of the coolest models in the industry, Bolt has a killer eye and really knows what differentiates a good model from a great one.

Scroll down to find out exactly what Bolt believes makes for the ideal model.


Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème

When you're scouting for models, what are the first things you notice and pay attention to?

"I like a girl who has personality—someone that can look me in the eye. They have to be genuine, too. I love it when a girl sees modeling as [more than just a job] and as an actual creative outlet—those are the girls that really keep me interested."

What physical traits stand out to you most when scouting? What's most important to you about someone’s body?

"Physical traits vary—I think what’s really important is that the girls own their physical traits. When I’m scouting, I tend to like girls that have wide eyes and a strong nose, wild hair, and beautiful skin. A girl who looks 'expensive' can often look very plain to the naked eye. Many successful models are not what is considered to be typically pretty—they tend to have an ethereal quality that is indescribable and hard to place."


Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème

What personality traits signal to you that someone would make a good model?

"Modeling is an exciting job, but a proper career takes time to develop. This requires a girl that has confidence and work ethic, but she should also be someone who knows how to have fun! A designer will often ask a model to run through the looks before a show—this can be tedious, but [with the right person] it can also be a great way for them to bond and for the model to get to know a collection. Set life is not always glamorous, either, so models need to be athletic and have stamina. They tend to be moving around on their feet all day long and need to be constantly engaging, too."


Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème

What are some trends in the modeling industry right now, in terms of what kinds of faces/bodies are most popular?

"Well, trends are silly. I really don't pay attention to them. As a scout it is my job to follow a model as she develops—often it takes years for her to be ready to do a full show season. The book needs to be ready as well as the mind and body. If I feel a girl is really special I will take the time to develop her regardless of 'trends.'"

What do you think can take someone from being just another model to supermodel status, like Karlie Kloss?

"Reinvention—someone who is constantly reevaluating themselves and their work, always trying to improve."

Scroll down to shop some model-off-duty essentials…
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