FACE FINDER: SUSANNAH HOOKER

What does it take to find a face that will stop traffic? How do you spot a model in a crowded room? Just ask Susannah Hooker, the head of New Faces at the prestigious Select Models. Hooker is the fashion stylist turned model agent who has snapped up the likes of Balenciaga star Sam Rollinson and on the look out for the next big thing. Whether it’s at a festival or in the toilet queue, Hooker always keeps her peepers out for a strong cheek bone and a shock of great hair. But it isn’t just the initial spotting that Hooker oversees but ensuring that the newest girls are being looked after, nurtured and encouraged to succeed in the wild world of fashion.

We spoke to Hooker about her dream job, life as a model agent and the beauty looks of the moment.

What did you want to be when you were younger? 

I wanted to be a forensic scientist… unfortunately I hated chemistry!

Did you ever imagine yourself as a model agent?

No, never! My parents were both in the military and it’s as far from anything I knew growing up that it could be. Perhaps I run my board with military precision now – ha!

When you see a girl you think might just cut it, what are the first questions you ask?  

Sometimes I ask the time… No, seriously I do. Sometimes I just get a glimpse of someone and I end up having to chase after them, because I didn’t get a proper look, so sometimes I just stop them and ask the time to give me time to look at them. Normally though its just straightforward asking if they’ve ever considered being a model and their age, etc.

What does the current model trend look like?

To be honest, I think at the moment there are so many great looks out there and no specific trends right now, although it’s nice to see some older girls coming into modelling as new faces, I have a new girl who’s 22 which is quite old to start but I’m excited to see what I can do with her!

What tips do you give your wannabe models embarking on their first fashion week?

Fashion Week is physically and mentally demanding on the girls, so it’s important that they are rested in the run up to shows, as by the end of it they are exhausted. They are so busy running around on castings, I make sure that the girls are eating properly and drinking lots of water. We always recommend that they carry little energy boosts, like bounce balls too. I once had a model who had four shows at the same venue, all on one day, so she’d been there from 6am to about 5pm so I biked over a portable DVD player and food to her. We are one big family here and I encourage the girls to support each other too.

What makes some of the girls you choose at Select stand out?

We are big on personality at Select – it’s important to us that the girls have the personality to back up their looks. There’s nothing nicer than having amazing feedback from clients that not only do they love how they photograph but that they genuinely adored working with the girls too. I want to scout girls that inspire me.

Where are the best places you spot girls?

Shopping center’s and festivals are my favourite scouting grounds but realistically you always need to keep your eyes peeled.

Where’s the most unlikely place you’ve spotted someone?

In the queue for the toilet… Oh, the glamour!