Many of the world’s most successful models were discovered here in London. As you will see, their stories are proof that even the most glamorous of careers can start in the most unlikely of places.
Born-and-bred Londoner Lily Donaldson was spotted by a Select Model Management scout at Camden Market in 2003 (she is now represented by Storm). Now a resident of New York, Lily is proud her London roots. “I like to think that I bring that ‘girl from Kentish Town’ vibe to the US,” she told NET-A-PORTER’s The Edit last year. “It’s there in my low-key tomboy style, my attitude and my sense of humor. That will never change.”
One of the original supers and world’s most famous faces, Campbell was scouted by the head of the Synchro model agency Beth Boldt on her way stage school Italia Conti. The September issue of British Vogue this year was a celebration of her South London roots.
Originally from Greenford in West London, Jourdan Dunn was discovered in Hammersmith Primark in 2006 and signed to Storm Model Management. This August she became the first black British model to enter the Forbes Rich List, thanks to contracts with Maybelline and Burberry. On the subject of racism in the fashion industry, she once asked reporters, “London’s not a white city, so why should our catwalks be so white?”
Born in and educated in London until she went to boarding school in Hampshire, Cara Delevingne was discovered by the CEO of Storm Model Management Sarah Doukas, whose daughter Genevieve was her best friend at school. Officially signed in 2009, Cara had in fact already appeared in Italian Vogue aged 10 in an editorial shot photographed by Bruce Weber.
When she was 15, Rosie Huntington-Whitely did work experience at a London-based model agency before taking her GCSEs. “During the week, an agent pulled me aside and said, ‘Maybe when you get a bit older you could do some modelling,’” she told Industrie magazine earlier this year,“I didn’t think much of it, I thought she was joking really.”
Aggy Deyn’s was scouted whilst out shopping with fashion designer and best pal Henry Holland in Kentish Town (he was at university here in the capital) and was quickly signed to Select Model Management. She has name checked Dover Street Market, Columbia Road and Borough Food Market as some of her favourite places in the city.
Lily Cole’s modelling career was launched by a chance encounter with Benjamin Hart in London’s Soho when she was just 14 years old. She has appeared on the cover of British Vogue four times. “I just love walking across London and walking along the Thames,” she told Stylist earlier this year. “I love it because I always discover something new even though I know it well.”
Wek fled war-torn Sudan and came to London aged 14. She was discovered at a market in 1995 in Crystal Palace by a Models 1 Scout and went onto transform the fashion industry’s perception of beauty.
Rumour has it that Suki’s modeling career began when she was discovered in a West End nightclub aged 16. It was when she was in a gym in Kensington that she was spotted by Burberry’s creative consultant Elliott Smedley, which led her to be the face of perfume Burberry Rhythm.
Edie Campbell’s modelling career was kick-started when she was selected by British Vogue Fashion Editor Lucinda Chamber to star in a “Young London” story, photographed by Mario Testino. Edie grew up in Westbourne Grove and attended two of the capital’s most famous educational establishments – St Paul’s Girls School and the Courtauld Institute of Art.