Liz Bruckner | Date posted: May 18th, 2010
LoveSewing: How did you get started as a scout?
Elmer Olsen: I was a hairdresser who did magazine work. Eventually that led to my interest being sparked by models, and the modelling industry as a whole.
LS: How knowledgeable does someone have to be in the fashion industry to be a scout?
EO: You have to know what’s going on in the world of fashion and beauty, but being a good scout isn’t something you can necessarily train someone for. It’s part instinct, part experience, and there’s definitely a quality of having good, refined taste.
LS: What kind of background should someone bring to the table if they’re looking for this type of job?
EO: Personally, I like people with enthusiasm and a love of this industry. People I hire know their stuff—regardless of whether it’s in the hair and makeup, advertising, modelling, or fashion sector. Surrounding yourself with fun, energetic people who work hard is important, and I often find that those who’ve interned wherever and whenever they could to gain experience end up having an edge over someone who hasn’t.
LS: What’s the hardest and best part of your job?
EO: The hardest part is letting someone down when they don’t have the requirements to become a model. So many young people think this is the business for them, but unfortunately, it is very selective and competitive. The best part: spotting some gangly teenage girl in the mall whose peers may have teased her about her looks at some point, and developing her into a model who can walk for the top fashion houses in Paris, New York, and Milan.
LS: What don’t people know about your job?
EO: People don’t realize how hard modelling is, and how it involves the support of many people (like parents, friends, and teachers) to make someone successful. Many models fall through the cracks because they don’t have the support they need at home.