Janel: Favorite current designers?
Michael: Muccia Prada, Billy Reid, Paul Smith, Thom Ford, Scott Sternberg (Band of Outsiders), Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga), Stella McCartney (Chloé) Francesco Casta (Calvin Klein), Valentino, Dolce and Gabbana, and my Favorite, the house of Hermes.
Beri: Prada, Theory, DVF, J Brand, YSL, Calvin Klein, Uni Qlo.
Dani: Favorite designers – right now I’m obsessed w Charlotte Ronson, Yigal Azrouel – wearing so much this season. Valentino couldn’t be chicer. Chanel makes me want to tear its heaven. And if anyone knows anything about me, I’m a self-proclaimed Miu Miu fanatic.
As the Fashion & Image consultant at The Scouting office my job here is all things fashion. I styled all the models on the show – starting with bringing them into my office/fashion closet – discussing fashion, likes/dislikes – getting the girls familiar with designer clothes, working with the team (photo, hair, make-up) to come up with the look for each shoot/ each girl… all of it falls under my ‘chic’ umbrella.
Janel: Models are more than just pretty faces now. Is there a higher expectation of what you are looking for when doing the scouting?
Michael: Other than the obvious physical attributes, I look for interesting and unique facial qualities, personality and charisma that light up rooms. I concentrate on natural photogenic and telegenic talent and a girl’s real love and understanding for the fashion industry. I believe that a young woman or man has to have relevant pop culture knowledge (film, music, literature and current events) in order to understand the industry.
Dani: There are so many factors that go into having a lasting career. The obvious keeping yourself in tip top ‘model’ shape is key – and I mean that both physically and mentally. I stress mentally as this is a tough business with A LOT of hard constant work, and it’s important to stay strong, healthy and focused to keep it all up!
Janel: Do you believe you will ever find another Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour or Milla Jovovich, all models who have gone on to have successful careers including film for Milla?
Michael: I am always looking for a triple threat, which includes editorial (no holds bar when working for photographers for editorial magazines like Italian and French Vogue, etc), commercial and talent to cross over to new media, film and television. I believe that with new developments in technology, a model can no longer be one-dimensional (mannequin). She has to be three-dimensional and be able to perform, speak and sell. The digital world has expanded the art of photography and the way we communicate. I am looking for Olympic champions.
Janel: Why did you choose the E! Channel and how is Scouted different from other “talent discovery programs?”
Michael: I chose E!, because Lisa Berger, the President of E!, and Damla Dougan, the Vice President of Development, believed in the concept of the show as a real behind the scenes documentary of how girls are scouted and developed into supermodels. I believed that they would champion my creative vision and allow me to create and produce a show that was different than the existing traditional reality docu-dramas. By partnering with Chris Abrego and with the E! Network, our collective vision has been proven to be accepted by viewers who get the chance to enter this never before seen world of Scouts, Models and Experts (Beri Smither, Julia Samersova and Dani Stahl).
Janel: Do you think the show will change the way people perceive the modeling industry?
Michael: I believe that the show has changed the way people perceive the modeling industry. It has focused more importantly on the Scouts who are truly responsible for doing the legwork for the New York, Paris, Milan, London etc. agents. The behind the scenes of the scouting process and the preparation of potential models to be scouted, developed and presented to agencies to ultimately get signed is a completely different way in which this world has been described or exposed on television.
Janel: Do you have a favorite personal style that each one of you sticks with or do you like to change it up?
Beri: I sway towards classic, elegant, chic, and simple. I also LOVE an aggressive shoe.
And I love wearing color because it changes my mood….
Janel: What made you decide to go to the other side of the business and how different is it working as a model and now working on the developmental side of the business?
Beri: I still model full time. I juggle my schedule so that I am able to also work on the developmental side of the business with the team.
I am so grateful and feel extremely lucky to play a part in both worlds – my different roles complement each other
Janel: How was it being a mentor to the models and did you see yourself in any of the girls?
Beri: It is such an honor to mentor the girls. Each of the girls really wanted to be there, so I had 100% of their attention and devotion. They are hungry for this. In order to mentor someone, a mentorship needs to be desired, or at least willingly received, otherwise the effort may be fruitless. I saw a little piece of me in a lot of the girls, as I was very young when I started out. It was refreshing and fulfilling to be a part of their experience.
Janel: How involved in styling the models do you consider the go-to girl to be like?
Dani: The industry today is very different than twenty some years ago – the era of the booming decadent 80’s and waif of the 90’s, although fabulous, are behind us. Today there is a tremendous focus on wellness and real rules and regulations on age and weight have been implemented to ensure that models are safe and most important healthy. The modeling industry has always very much been associated with eating and substance issues. Today we do our best to eliminate all of that – management and family support here is the key.
Make sure to watch Scouted on the E! Network Mondays at 10/9c to see the fruits of Michael, Beri, and Dani’s labor.